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The selfie is dead – but self-obsession is universal

In 2013 the Oxford English Dictionary named ‘selfie’ as the word of the year. Its use had increased by 17,000 per cent in just 12 months, the OED revealed. Before long a cottage industry of feminist scholars sprang up, dedicated to producing gruesome waffle on the subject. A paper by Emma Renold of Cardiff University

Why the UK can’t rely on renewables…yet

Like a football tournament with an official beer, COP26 had an official energy provider: the Griffin wind farm in Perthshire, operated by SSE. Trouble is that for much of the conference it was not paid to generate electricity. Instead, it received £500,000 in ‘constraint payments’, which are given to owners of wind farms when they

Pub theatres are a British institution

Which is the oldest pub theatre in London? The King’s Head in Islington claims that its American founder, Dan Crawford, established the trend back in 1970. But a rival venue, Pentameters, above the Horseshoe in Hampstead, maintains that its proprietor, Leonie Scott-Matthews, set it up as a fringe theatre in August 1968. The dispute rumbles

Is China about to invade Taiwan?

This week, the central committee of the Chinese Communist party will issue a ‘resolution on history’. It will enshrine the official historical narrative of the Xi Jinping era. Only two CCP leaders have issued a resolution of this kind before: Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping. Mao’s resolution set out his role as China’s sole leader;

How America can defend Taiwan

How would America respond if China attacked Taiwan? The pressure to defend the island would be compelling, if not overwhelming. Washington nominally maintains a ‘strategic ambiguity’ towards the defence of Taiwan, but the two countries are linked in many ways and the Biden administration recently reiterated its ‘rock solid’ commitment to the island. Beijing clearly

China has begun its campaign to take Taiwan

Normally, if the response to a speech of mine was that it had been a ‘despicable and insane performance’ from a ‘failed and pitiful politician’, I’d question what went wrong. But since the comments came from Chinese communists about an address I’d made in Taiwan, it’s hard not to feel some pride. Two years ago,

Notes on...

How to get drunk on tiramisu

You can get drunk on tiramisu. I have done it. It takes two portions at least. You drink (I mean eat) the Marsala wine and the rum — and then must be escorted, tenderly, to the bus stop. I don’t usually drink alcohol. If I did, I would smash up restaurants. But I do eat