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Algerian Notebook

• This is surely a mistake, I thought, stooping to kiss the hand of Algeria’s minister of culture. Madame la Ministre Toumi Khalida is throwing a party to mark the start of Algeria’s annual book fair, the Salon International du Livre. This year’s line-up includes a contingent of South Africans led by Breyten Breytenbach, the

The free market in danger

Young people say capitalism has failed them. They’re right. We must change the system to save it It would be easy to attack the London spin-off of the Occupy Wall Street protests, which manifested itself in the form of a 300-tent encampment outside St Paul’s last weekend. Their political agenda? The same, meaningless, Dave Spartesque

A case in point

You can tell that the economy of East Anglia is more flourishing than that of the West Midlands because the fine for drunken vomiting in the back of the taxis of Peterborough is £50, whereas it is only £40 for doing so in the back of the taxis of Wolverhampton. The other difference between the

Playing Churchill

Where would gentleman actors be without Churchill? No prime minister has given as much work to the profession as Winston (though Blair comes a close second), patron saint of jowly thespians of a certain age. Churchill now features in a new stage play called Three Days in May, about the British war cabinet in May

The case for cliché

If I had neglected to brush my hair, my grandmother would say that I looked like a birch-broom in a fit. Untidy clothing made me look as though I had been pulled through a hedge backwards. If I appeared unhappy she would say that I had a face like a wet week. These similes, exaggerated

Strauss rules

Andrew Strauss is arguably the most successful England captain of the modern era. He shares with Mike Brearley the distinction of having beaten Australia at home and away, and this year he became the first captain to take England to the top of the official world Test rankings. Yet, unlike Brearley, Strauss is not talked

Skeletons in the closet

Britain must publish the truth about Irish presidential candidate Martin McGuinness – before it’s too late Martin McGuinness is standing for the presidency of a cash-strapped Ireland. Soon after this paragraph is printed he may be among the world’s heads of state. If so he has promised to refuse the €250,000 salary and subsist on

Yes, Ma’am

Less than four months away from her Diamond Jubilee — only the second in history — we still tend to forget that we have the oldest monarch (85) and oldest consort (90) in history. We see a monarch who is reassuringly unchanged — and unchanging — in an uncertain world. It is an integral part