Featured articles


The rise of the bluffocracy

Any time we see a politician fail, or an idiotic policy collapse as it passes through parliament — which these days seems like a regular occurrence — we are left with a familiar feeling. That this screw-up is the result of a chancer at work. Someone who has, at the very best, a shallow understanding of the

The heart of the master | 16 August 2018

When I went to see V.S. Naipaul in hospital last week he was feeling marginally better. His wife Nadira had arranged for a violinist to play some Mozart to him, helping him relax. She did not allow too many visitors. This was not the first time he had been in hospital. His health had been

A grave omission

On Valentine’s Day, a homeless man was found dead in the pedestrian subway near the Houses of Parliament. This week, Communities Secretary James Brokenshire published the government’s response, its much-delayed £100 million ‘rough sleeping strategy’, which includes the eye-catching initiative to eradicate all rough sleeping by 2027. Charities and Labour were unimpressed, quickly working out

The patron prince

It’s like any traditional bazaar. Cushions litter the floor and crowds gather around displays of Chinese pottery and Persian rugs. Tea cups stand ready to celebrate a hard-bartered purchase. Except no tea will be poured: this market happens to be in the middle of a stateroom in Buckingham Palace and is the centrepiece of the

War of words | 16 August 2018

How can you be attacked by an encyclopaedia? Until last week I would have thought the idea as absurd as being savaged by a tree frog. Now I know better. Wikipedia bites. Fortunately it can only do so in the electronic dreamland of the internet. But as we all increasingly discover, that world is growing

Notes on...


The great grey river stretched into the horizon. The sun was big and low in the sky. The air was very fresh and the clear sky streaked with smears of pink and orange. We had only a little left of the day. From our spot on the Globian Sluice, a steel grating promontory, we could