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James Forsyth

The lady vanishes: the Truss agenda is dead

‘Governments don’t control markets,’ the new Chancellor, Jeremy Hunt, likes to say. But there are times when markets control governments. The market, or the fear of how the market might react, is now the driving force in British politics. It explains the dramatic developments of the past week and will determine the new Prime Minister’s

What will the Halloween Budget bring?

Liz Truss did not think that spending cuts would be a major part of her agenda. She and her first chancellor, Kwasi Kwarteng, were confident that markets, having lent Britain billions of pounds to cover the cost of the lockdowns, would be more than happy to do the same to transform the economy. Their argument

How bad will the midterms be for the Democrats?

Towards the end of the summer, almost in a spirit of contrarianism, well-informed Americans started talking about President Joe Biden and the Democrats winning again. It had been a bad year, these pundits conceded, but Biden was suddenly on a ‘hot streak’ and, as the November midterms approached, the Democratic party finally had some political

Will The Parthenon Project seize the Elgin Marbles?

Thirty-five years ago, the late Christopher Hitchens published a book about the Elgin Marbles. Unsurprisingly, it was a polemical work; he was passionately campaigning for the return of the sculptures to Athens. But that was not the reason why I wrote a scathing review of it for The Spectator. Parts of it were plagiarised, as

What’s killing our birds?

If you are a bird, any kind of bird, the current pandemic of avian influenza rampaging through your kind is far more terrifying than anything the hairless apes on the ground below experienced in 2020 and 2021. Britain’s seabirds – guillemots, gannets, gulls, kittiwakes and skuas – have been hardest hit because they breed in

The strange inspiration of the Gobi desert

The first time I went to Mongolia was in 2014, when I travelled across the country with the actress Michelle Rodriguez and a group of her friends, courtesy of the Mongolian-American conservationist Jalsa Urubshurow. Driving out of Ulaanbaatar at dawn, we stopped at a market on the outskirts of the city to buy caviar, blinis

The case against a stripped-back coronation

The last King Charles was crowned in 1661. Samuel Pepys attended the ceremony. He was captivated by ‘the sight of all these glorious things… sure never to see the like again in this world’. He later became so merry, he told his diary, that ‘my head began to turne and I to vomitt…Thus did the

Zuckerberg’s empire collapses

Mark Zuckerberg is in a lot of trouble. He has turned away from the slog of running Facebook to focus almost entirely on his ‘metaverse’, a vision of the internet where people enter interactive virtual spaces using virtual reality (VR) headsets. He has pledged investment of at least $10 billion a year for a decade,

Notes on...

What your signature says about you

I have a photograph of Queen Elizabeth II and her parents on the wall of my bathroom, not out of any lack of respect but because the gloom there prevents it fading. It is signed Albert, with an odd droop forward of the bar of the T to join a single flourish beneath, and Elizabeth