Featured articles


This is going to hurt

There is much to be terrified about in today’s global economy. The eurozone’s death dance, China’s slowdown and America’s inability to create jobs are enough to make the most upbeat investors gloomy. But even these problems pale in comparison with the biggest threat, one with implications so hideous that financiers are reluctant to talk about

The world’s worst flirts

Why can’t British men show a natural, healthy appreciation of women? Last week, on the Paris Métro, I had a marvellous boost. I’d been feeling wretched after a flaming row with my boyfriend on the station platform, when a charming man winked at me and offered me his seat. I gratefully accepted. My eyes sparkled

Paddy pulls no punches

The former Lib Dem leader on learning to love the Tories – and the fate of the euro  ‘Have you ever been in the world’s smallest lift?’ Paddy Ashdown asks when we meet at the entrance to the House of Lords. ‘It was designed by William Gladstone!’ We travel up in the lift, admiring the

Bad Juju

The Mandela years are well and truly over. Now, sharp-suited Mugabe fan Julius Malema has the people’s ear It is spring here in Johannesburg, and in the spring, one’s thoughts turn to throttling Jonny Steinberg, a newspaper columnist who would have us believe that Julius Malema is about to be expelled from the ruling African

Galliano’s not the worst

John Galliano, the fashion designer who likes to dress up as a pirate, was convicted of anti-Semitism in a Parisian court  last week, and fined. Galliano was once chief designer at Dior, but he got drunk in a Paris bar and screamed anti-Semitic abuse at some fat people (I am guessing they were fat) who

Feel the pain

There’s a passage in Willy Russell’s wonderful novel, The Wrong Boy, which could almost be funny — except, wisely, Russell doesn’t play it for laughs. The book chronicles a childhood blighted by adult misunderstanding, and describes an instance of it in which zealous ‘educationalists’ observe that the Boy’s artwork is harshly, relentlessly black: echo and

Are explicit sex scenes OK?

Yes! Philip Hensher In April, I published a novel, King of the Badgers, about a series of events in a small town in Devon called Hanmouth. It is, in a way, about private and public lives, and the surprising and sometimes deplorable events that happen between people when their front doors are closed. It got

Russian Notebook

It took me more than three hours by taxi to get from Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport to the centre of town. My Bulgarian friend, Ivan Krastev, a shrewd political analyst, describes the difference between Russia and the Soviet Union as one between traffic jams and queues. Queues were tedious, freezing in winter, but sometimes convivial. Traffic

Preaching to the converted | 17 September 2011

Loudly and eccentrically religious candidates represent the Republicans’ best chance of losing to Obama Atlanta, Georgia The prelude to the first presidential primaries is always an entertaining phase of the American electoral cycle. Exotic blooms flower for a moment or two, but shrivel almost as quickly when the voters discover what they actually represent. Two