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Why Pontins thinks I’m an ‘undesirable guest’

Oh curses, one less option for the summer holidays. Pontins, the holiday camp for those who don’t mind bringing their own cleaning products, has been exposed for issuing a list of surnames belonging to ‘undesirable guests’. Under the legend ‘You Shall Not Pass’ on the company intranet was an instruction: ‘Please be aware that several

The ‘long Covid’ time bomb: an interview with Tim Spector

It sometimes seems as if Professor Tim Spector, of King’s College London, was conjured up especially to be a walking, talking rebuke to Public Health England. Where PHE has been lumbering, slow to respond to the fast-moving virus, Spector has been nimble, quick to see opportunity and adapt. This time last year, as Boris was

An open letter to my golf club

Dear Mike, Thank you for asking me, along with all the other members, whether I would like to become part of the golf club’s new ‘Equality — Diversity — Inclusion (EDI) Working Group’. The short answer is I would rather spend a couple of hours in the mud, picking up old beer bottles and condoms

Churchill’s enigma: the real riddle is why he cosied up to Stalin

Dresden. Tonypandy. Gallipoli. Bengal. Winston Churchill’s reputation has withstood an array of charges, made by each generation with their own prejudices. Whereas in the 1970s it was Richard Burton and Jim Callaghan accusing him of a vendetta against the Welsh miners, today it’s racism, imperialism and white supremacy. The words ‘Was a Racist’ were scrawled

Is Britain heading for war over Taiwan?

It is billed as a once-in-a-generation review of Britain’s foreign policy and defence strategies. ‘Global Britain in a Competitive Age’, Boris Johnson’s ‘new chapter’ for Britain, identifies two main adversaries: Russia — an ‘acute threat’ — and China — a ‘systemic competitor’. And while it nods at a geopolitical ‘tilt’ towards the Indo-Pacific, the more

Awards season loses its shine when no one can go to the cinema

Here it is again, a couple of months later than usual but back nevertheless. It’s the time of the annual jamboree that is film awards season, a three-month extravaganza that predominantly revolves around three key events: the Golden Globes, the Baftas and the Oscars. All three of these celebrations of artistic excellence and mutual backslapping

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Top floor: Minton tiles inspire a remarkable devotion

It’s only since I moved to Staffordshire that I’ve come to appreciate that some of the finest works of public art aren’t on the walls of great buildings, but on their floors. Staffordshire, of course, is the home of Minton tiles — one of the most successful British exports of the Victorian era. The company