Featured articles


Web exclusive: the global free schools network

A dozen years ago the charter school movement found me when I volunteered my time as a member of the governing board of the MATCH Charter High School in Boston. American charter schools are taxpayer funded public schools that are independently managed, akin to the free schools that are taking root in England now. I’d

How to save the Union | 14 May 2011

Alex Salmond will be a formidable opponent – so David Cameron needs to fight on his own terms In Aberdeen this week, a new statue of Robert the Bruce was unveiled. Canny, daring and tenacious, he is a king revered for an audacious victory that altered the course of Scottish history and secured his country’s

Salmond’s treasure map

Since oil was struck in the North Sea in 1970, it has fuelled dreams of Scottish independence. ‘Rich Scots, or poor Britons?’ ran the Scottish Nationalist Party’s slogan two years later. Alex Salmond has refined this slogan into a formal plan for separation which — he says — would make Scottish independence financially viable. For

Too many toddlers

A new baby boom is reaching school age, and we’re not prepared Some time in the next week or so, all being well, my wife will have baby number three. That means more hours spent in Battersea Park’s playground, a flocking place for parents who inhabit that sliver of south-west London known as Nappy Valley.

The chattering classes

Louise Stern on what the deaf really think of ‘hearing people’ I’m at my desk in London chatting to a deaf woman in Mexico. We are communing through the internet. At 17.57 GMT, an instant messenger bubble pops on to my computer screen: ‘Louise Stern: Hi Freddy, it’s Louise’ and the interview has begun. It’s

Breaking the bank

The vendetta against Bangladesh’s Nobel Peace Prize winner ‘It is all lies,’ says Muhammad Yunus, his voice quiet but firm. ‘The media in Bangladesh attacks me unceasingly and I cannot stop them, but the accusations are untrue.’ I believe him absolutely. Yunus is a Nobel Peace Prize winner who has done perhaps more than any

Neighbourhood botch

‘Localisation’ is an expensive path to greater political corruption The last time the Dorset village of Cerne Abbas played a part in national debate was in the 17th century, when — recent studies suggest — locals carved a rude chalk parody of Oliver Cromwell into a hillside. It failed to unsettle Cromwell, but the village


Kisangani, capital of the province of Orientale, Democratic Republic of the Congo, once Zaire, is the setting for A Bend in the River, V.S. Naipaul’s grim masterpiece, published in 1979, about post-colonial reality in central Africa. Naipaul’s plot describes a tribal war that threatens the city. This actually happened 20 years later, when Kisangani became