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Black flags in Timbuktu

The drawback to waging a global counter-terrorism campaign is that, just when you think you have one bunch of Islamist militants on the run, another one pops up to take its place. For all the breakthroughs chalked up by those prosecuting the war against al-Qa’eda, the movement has re-emerged in new guises in Somalia and

In this together

Jeremy Browne looks more like a young subaltern preparing to go to India in 1860 than a typical Lib Dem. He stands ramrod straight, his reddish hair has an officer-class cut. He is always impeccably dressed. Whitehall gossip has it that when he was first appointed to the Foreign Office, the officials couldn’t believe that

The passion of Nick Clegg

In the days before conference, a party leader is usually up to his ears in drafts of his speech, worrying how best to please the crowd. But last Monday, Nick Clegg wasn’t slaving away at his speech. He was at Chequers with the Prime Minister and the Chancellor, discussing, according to one participant, a new

Dumped by Dave

Divorce is something I have yet to experience personally but Dave’s reshuffle has set me up nicely for any future threat to my own nuptial bliss. Out of the blue comes the call. It’s Dave’s office. ‘We need to talk — can you come over?’ And better I come round the back way to 10

Free speech betrayed

In Benghazi the ‘spontaneous protestors’ arrived with rocket-propelled grenades and killed the US ambassador. In Kabul the crowds chanted ‘Death to America’. American flags were torched from London to Sydney. But in Washington the Obama administration showed that they weren’t taking any of this personally. It wasn’t about them, but about an excerpt from an

Applying myself

The harvest is in, the smell of dried leaves is in the air, Parliament’s back in session, and pretty soon the 17-year-olds will start ringing: the university admissions deadline is approaching and someone will need to write their personal statements for them. Everyone who wants to go to university is required to fill in a

The new Establishment

The Establishment Club reopens in Soho this week, and it is easy to see why. Peter Cook started the original club in 1961, when there was an unpopular Conservative government, led by a cabal of Old Etonians, presiding over a recession; and the Establishment Club’s Soho premises were at the centre of the satire boom

Where there’s smoke

Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, published 50 years ago this month, effectively marked the birth of the modern environmental movement. ‘Silent Spring came as a cry in the wilderness, a deeply felt, thoroughly researched, and brilliantly written argument that changed the course of history,’ wrote Al Gore in his introduction to the 1994 edition. Mr Gore