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Greek fire

Just eight years ago, when Athens hosted the Olympic Games, the capital celebrated with an orgy of stadiums, hotels  and other infrastructure purchased by what seemed, at the time, to be the fruits of a long economic boom. Today the Helliniko Olympic complex in Athens stands as a monument to this hubris, a decaying white

Bias, Boris and the Beeb

The Today programme ended, and John Humphrys walked out of the studio yawning and stretching. The phone was ringing in the empty programme office, and he picked it up. A spin-doctor’s foul-mouthed rant about how rotten and biased and stupid the programme had been came pouring out of it. Humphrys asked after a couple of

The defeatists

Nato’s leadership is now united in readiness to surrender Afghanistan The leaders of the 50 or so countries attending Nato’s spectacular jamboree in Chicago this weekend will arrive knowing that they can at least agree on one issue: ending Nato’s ill-fated mission to Afghanistan at the earliest possible opportunity. Normally Nato summits have a habit

Windsors in a spin

The royal family’s PR operation is in danger of becoming too successful Is anyone else sick of the love-fest between the modern royal family and the press? That might sound churlish, even unpatriotic, especially when everybody is preparing for next month’s Diamond Jubilee jamboree. But to me the House of Windsor looks less and less

Experts in suffering

It’s unwise to treat victims of tragedy as universal sages It really is no surprise to learn that Sara Payne favours restrictions to keep online pornography away from children. There cannot, after all, be a sentient adult who would not prefer our babies to spend more time with Peppa Pig than with Swedish Dolls. But

Private grief

Two or three mornings a week I walk our four-year-old down to his Catholic primary school in Camden Town. As we pass an expensive though rather bad private school, we have to squeeze our way through the mayhem of north Londoners decanting their pampered progeny from their double-parked 4x4s. I can’t say I like the