Featured articles


Corbyn’s our fault

As Labour gathers for its conference in Liverpool this weekend, the Conservatives will be watching with trepidation, rather than the schadenfreude with which they initially treated the rise of the hard left. Underestimating the appeal of Jeremy Corbyn was one of the biggest mistakes the Tories have made in the past two years, and the

A wake-up call

Pupils are back in classrooms and parents can finally have a brief respite from worrying about their children’s excessive screen use — or, at least, worrying it is all their fault. This angst peaks each year in the summer holidays, those long, sunny weeks illuminated in large part by the blueish light from children’s smartphones,

Deep and meaningless

Walking down the street on my lunch break, I sometimes pass a delivery man wheeling a large handcart of Japanese food. The cart bears a striking message: ‘Creating a world where everyone believes in their own authenticity.’ It raises some immediate questions: for instance, what does it mean to believe in your own authenticity? How

The wrong right

To the inhabitants of the British Isles, the nations of central Europe have always existed in a semi–mythical space, near enough to be recognised as somehow European, but too distant to be taken seriously. Neville Chamberlain dismissed them as ‘faraway countries of which we know little’; Shakespeare gave landlocked Bohemia a coastline. In British school

The real Cromwell

One of the many pleasures of writing the life of Thomas Cromwell was to reach out behind the various versions of his life published in the past few years and glimpse the real man lost for so long: a complex, often admirable statesman who set England and Ireland and their successor-kingdom on to new paths.

The hard centre

The Conservative party has to move beyond Brexit and leaders: what is it going to be about? I suggest it has to be about healing capitalism. Capitalism is the only system that is capable of delivering mass prosperity, but it cannot be left on autopilot. Once every few decades it veers off track and requires

Causes without a rebel

One of the better plays at the National Theatre in recent weeks has been about a 21st-century banker, Judy, who quits her job to become a 1950s-style housewife. In Laura Wade’s Home, I’m Darling, Judy ditches her corporate wardrobe for a kitchen pinny and feather duster. She could have stepped from the Good Housekeeping domestic

Notes on...

Coming second

Who was the second prime minister? Everyone knows Robert Walpole was the first. Firsts get all the fame and glory. But what about the poor seconds, elbowed into the shadows of history? Isn’t it time they were given some love? Step forward, the Earl of Wilmington, PM from 1742 to 1743. Let us celebrate the