Featured articles


Womb service: the moral dangers of surrogacy

Last month, the Law Commission published its long-awaited report on the legal status of the surrogacy industry. It contained – as expected – one particularly alarming recommendation. Alongside various tweaks to payment and regulation processes, the Commission suggests a crucial change to the parental status of a baby born by surrogacy. At present, the woman

I’ll be forever grateful to my son’s surrogate

When my husband, Robin, and I first discussed how we might try to have a child, we were against exploring surrogacy. Wasn’t this something that only celebrities did in America? Was it really in children’s best interests? How could you be sure that the women were not being forced? Five years later, and we have

Pay and dismay: the nightmare of ‘smart’ parking apps

In Notes from a Small Island, Bill Bryson bemoaned the ‘wilfully unhelpful’ ticket machines in car parks: ‘You go hunting for some distant pay-and-display machine, which doesn’t make change or accept any coin introduced since 1976, and wait on an old guy who likes to read all the instructions before committing himself and then tries

How the junior doctors’ strike could have been avoided

Easter and Passover coincided this year, so we’ve been in America visiting my in-laws. Four years ago, in the spirit of the holiday of liberation and exodus, we had all travelled to the Ukrainian village outside Lviv from which my father-in-law’s family emigrated. In just a few short generations during the 20th century, people there

Meet the aristocrat plotting Macron’s downfall

Vitry-le-François Can a modern revolution emanate from the political centre or, more unconventionally, from the heart and mind of an aristocrat who places republican values above factional allegiance? This was the question that propelled me more than a hundred miles east of Paris – while another day of mass demonstrations unfolded in the capital and

How I found friendship through online Scrabble

The internet, as we all know, is a place for rage and hate. It’s a free-fire zone in which even something as apparently innocuous as Facebook – original use-case: posting family snaps for your gran – ends up incubating armed insurrection and spreading 5G conspiracy theories. But what if there was some corner of it

How to find the Holy Grail

If you visit Valencia Cathedral, you will find, in the old chapter house converted into a chapel, the Holy Grail, made up of a humble agate stone and kept safely behind glass. But if it is really the cup used by Christ at the Last Supper (and the Vatican recognises the possibility that it is),

Notes on...

We are losing the war to save red squirrels

Two years ago I watched a red squirrel climbing a pine tree at my home in Northumberland. I fear it may be the last time I have that thrill. Twenty years ago they were everywhere in our woods and regular visitors to my bird table. Then in 2003 we saw the first grey squirrel. Almost