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Freddy Gray

Midterm madness: the only clear winner is paranoia

Election night, folks – America decides! Except, it doesn’t. On 8 November 2022, as on 3 November 2020, the polls closed, the votes came in and, er, nobody appeared to have won. Everybody now looks nervously again to the state of Georgia, which is probably too close to call and will be decided in a run-off

Trump’s bumpy road back to the White House

Washington, D.C My local polling station is a Christian Brothers high school set amid football fields and parking lots. On Tuesday a woman who lives on our street was arriving to vote just as I was. She had come from a mandatory ‘active-shooter training session’ at her office. Of course, all shooters are ‘active’. Active shooter

The true cost of renewable energy

Having delivered his platitudes on climate change at Cop27, Rishi Sunak returns to a more pressing problem: how to keep Britain’s lights on this winter. Last week it was revealed that the government has been wargaming a ‘reasonable worst-case scenario’ in which blackouts last up to a week. Whether those fears prove unfounded or not,

How Ed Miliband became the power behind Keir Starmer

Keir Starmer’s early leadership was defined by the expulsion of his predecessor. Jeremy Corbyn is no longer a Labour MP and will not be a Labour candidate at the next election. But now another former party leader is quietly defining Starmer’s leadership. This week Ed Miliband, the shadow climate secretary, caused outrage by suggesting that

Russian roulette: what ‘tactical’ nuclear war would mean

In 1861 an American seed-drill designer named Richard Jordan Gatling created a super-weapon that he believed would bring an end to war. With his hand-cranked, ten-barrel machine-gun, Gatling did for warfare what his contemporary Isaac Singer had done for sewing, bringing mechanisation to a former handcraft. Gatling’s gun fired more than 200 rounds a minute

The attempt to topple the Scottish Enlightenment

It’s not just America that is in the process of rewriting its history and casting itself as patriarchal and oppressive – a similar process is taking place in Scotland. Giants of the Enlightenment such as David Hume are being reimagined as the architects of slavery and the fathers of modern racism. Scotland’s first black professor,

My 6,000-mile adventure of a lifetime

‘Oh, you’ll hate it, Julia. It’s men talking about cars all the time. Really, really boring. You drive all day, it gets incredibly hot, you’ve got no air-conditioning and then – if and when you make it to your hotel – the men start talking about cars again. It’s awful. Never again.’ This is not

Notes on...

The enduring power of war memorials

This Sunday, in my village of Etchingham, East Sussex, we will gather around our war memorial. It is a fine monument, designed by Sir Herbert Baker, with the names of the dead inscribed around an octagonal base. There are no famous names upon it: indeed, there is only one commissioned officer, a Second Lieutenant (who