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James Forsyth

The new leviathan: the big state is back

‘In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem,’ proclaimed Ronald Reagan in his inaugural speech as American president. Forty years on, the leaders of the G7 have reversed this mantra. In Cornwall last week they declared that the government, and more specifically its $12 trillion of economic

The true cost of cheap money: an interview with Andy Haldane

Britain’s economy is growing at the fastest rate in 200 years. Job adverts are 29 per cent above their pre-pandemic levels and employers say they can’t reopen because they can’t find staff. Wages are rising at the fastest rate in ten years. But here’s the question: how much more support does the economy need from

The art of politics: what ministers hang on their walls

On the walls of the Chancellor’s office hangs a print of Eric Ravilious’s lithograph ‘Working Controls while Submerged’ (1941). Two engineers in blue overalls heave the levers of a submarine. A third slumps asleep on a bench. An image, perhaps, of the ship of state, several hundred feet underwater, but by no means sunk yet.

The fraudulent business of recycling

I am a litter picker. No, not one of those high-minded volunteers who have proliferated of late with litter-picking sticks and black bags, but a professional: I am paid to empty the bins and collect the debris left by the public in a small park in Middle England. And I’m angry, not with the great

Covid has warped our collective attitude to death

So, having been promised that normal life would recommence on 21 June, we are once again frustrated by the Covid scientists. The trouble is, of course, that as far as we know the virus is never going away, so according to the logic of the scientists, there is no reason ever to allow us to

The Sun goes down

A couple of weeks ago Ally Ross, the longtime TV critic at the Sun, was summoned to the managing editor’s office. Such confrontations normally involve expenses. At the Daily Express in the 1950s one Middle East correspondent submitted his — one camel: £125. The narrow-eyed managing editor pointed out that if the camel was bought,

Is lockdown’s tech bubble about to burst?

Netflix is not signing up subscribers at the rate it once did. Disney+ has stalled. At Boohoo, growth is not as red hot as it was just a few months ago, while Deliveroo’s float on the London stock market was quickly dubbed ‘flopperoo’ by City wags. Zoom’s shares price has stopped, er, zooming, at least

Notes on...

Why it’s boom time for bitterns

Bitterns are booming, both literally and metaphorically. These handsome brown birds from the heron family make a noise quite unlike anything else in Britain and we are lucky to be able to hear it. If there is such a thing as a birding bucket list then hearing a bittern’s ‘boom’ — the loudest bird call