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How should Britain respond to the takeover of Hong Kong?

The veteran British diplomat the late Sir Percy Cradock said that Chinese leaders may be ‘thuggish dictators’ but ‘they were men of their word and could be trusted to do what they promised’. Well, the past year has put an end to the latter half of that statement. From coronavirus to the brutal treatment of

Why I’m keeping my church open in lockdown

On a beautifully sunny Maundy Thursday last year, during the first lockdown, I removed my cassock, slung my satchel over my shoulder and rode my bicycle to Lambeth Palace and back. At the halfway point I paused briefly to slip a letter under the Archbishop of Canterbury’s front door, before heading for home and the

Netanyahu’s shot at election success

For Israeli critics of Benjamin Netanyahu, myself included, these are rather difficult times. It’s hard for us, or anyone, to deny that he appears to be leading the world in vaccinations against Covid-19. In less than four weeks, two million Israelis — my parents and many friends among them — have received their inoculations. A

The ethics of eating octopus

Should the undoubted intelligence of octopuses change the way we treat them? This question has been asked a lot of late because of the documentary My Octopus Teacher. The film is about a year-long relationship between a man and an octopus, and it takes place in a kelp bed off South Africa. It celebrates the

Orban and Macron, Europe’s new power couple

After Brexit, the general assumption was that France and Germany would take their place as the two rulers of Europe. But Angela Merkel’s influence has been waning and Germany is often an absent power — preoccupied as it is by redefining its own politics after 15 years of her rule. This suits Emmanuel Macron, who

The stifling cult of self-care

Baby, it’s cold outside. It’s dark. It’s January. It’s Lockdown III. There’s only one thing for it: stay home, snuggle up, save lives. Cocoon yourself in cashmere, treat yourself to silk pyjamas, invest in a lambswool throw. Lay the fire, warm the cocoa, watch Love Actually for the 30th time. Practise self-care. Be sure to

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The political power of America’s First Dogs

From the moment Donald Trump’s presidency began, he was lacking something. But Joe Biden is about to make up for it — twice over. Trump was the first president in more than a century not to have a dog in the White House. Biden’s German shepherds Champ, 12, and two-year-old Major will be filling the