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Pullman gives God a break for Easter

The author of His Dark Materials talks to A.S.H. Smyth about the latest episode in the saga in which he turns towards politics — with a nod to The Magnificent Seven along the way Several years ago, Philip Pullman wrote that ‘“Thou shalt not” might reach the head, but it takes “Once upon a time”

Al-Qa’eda’s secret UK gangs: terror as a ‘playground dare’

As Brown unveils his National Security Strategy, Fraser Nelson talks to those in the front line against Islamic extremism. MI5 has expanded successfully, but faces in al-Qa’eda an enemy that is organic, elusive and constantly mutating: gangs built on deadly bravado To defeat an enemy, one must first understand him — and this, for years,

Mugabe is the Mobutu of our time

‘Nice shoes,’ said a young Zimbabwean looking wistfully at my $40 Nike tennis shoes that I wore when I encountered him sitting on the floor of a completely barren Bata shoe store in the town of Victoria Falls. It was last November and I was in Zimbabwe having crossed the border from Botswana earlier that

A holy man tipped to lead the nation’s Catholics

Mary Wakefield meets Dom Hugh Gilbert, the Benedictine Abbot of Pluscarden — said to be the Pope’s ‘dark horse’ candidate to succeed Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor What is holiness? How do you spot it? I’ve come to Worth Abbey in Sussex to meet a monk often described as ‘holy’ — Dom Hugh Gilbert, OSB, Abbot of

The miners’ strike and the fight against Islamism

The huge defeat of the Conservative party in the election of 1997 drove the party back into its rural and suburban redoubts and so cut it off from many things which were happening in Britain. It did not want to think about the rise of political Islam. This opting out was part of a wider