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A Le Pen as president?

Marine Le Pen is the new, friendly face of French extremism – and suddenly, she’s leading in the polls There are just 13 months to go until the French presidential election and Le Phénomène Marine Le Pen, as it is called here, is getting spooky. Not so long ago, the 42-year-old daughter of Jean-Marie, now

One week to get a grip

It was meant to be a routine budget. Now Osborne looks like the government’s last chance ‘The Cameron project is worth saving’, a government insider said to me recently. It was a striking declaration. After ten months in government, the people on the inside are not talking about a bumpy start or a rough patch.

Old father time

Becoming a dad past retirement age isn’t miraculous, it’s just selfish He isn’t the first and he won’t be the last. But lack of originality was clearly the least of Donald Trelford’s concerns as he commandeered acres of Sunday newsprint to boast of the arrival of his baby son, Ben. Mr Trelford is, if you

The hawk in No. 10

Will Cameron play the Bush to Obama’s Blair? Eight years ago an American president led a passive British prime minister into a war both countries would regret. David Cameron is eager for history to repeat itself, with the national roles reversed. While Barack Obama dithers, Cameron demands tough action against Libya — with a western-imposed

Has David Dimbleby killed the BNP?

Is this the end for the British National Party? I know that sentence reads like one of those headlines in the Daily Mail to which the answer is always no, like ‘Do tramps give you cancer?’ But things are nonetheless looking a little grim for that doughty and loveable band of white supremacists who, the

Tokyo waits

A strange calm followed Friday’s earthquake It is eerily quiet this evening. I hear no traffic, no wind, not even the birds. It’s hard to believe that Tokyo has been in a state of emergency for four days, following earthquake, tsunami and radioactive leaks. I was at home alone on Friday at 2.45 p.m., in

Battle lines | 19 March 2011

It’s tribal and religious divisions that really shape the Middle East – and that account for the Saudi intervention in Bahrain I once got lost in Asir, the mountainous region on Saudi Arabia’s southwestern border with Yemen. This was the home of many of the terrorists on September 11, from the million-strong al-Ghamdi tribe. But

Chained to the keys

I recently had to write the final section of a book. It wasn’t very long — 500 words or so, about half the length of this article — and an imminent train journey seemed the ideal opportunity. No laptop accompanying me, but that didn’t matter: as an exercise in nostalgia I would write the words