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Much has recently been written about the incumbent Commons Speaker, from (vigorously denied) allegations of bullying to (less vigorously denied) suggestions of Brexit-foxing chicanery. And to call John Bercow a ‘Marmite politician’ is to state the obvious. A little less obvious is his idiosyncratic style of address — the bizarre collision of a Dickensian clerk

The new banality of evil

‘Remember, lads: Subscribe to PewDiePie.’ With these words, the killer began broadcasting his slaughter of 50 worshippers at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, live on the internet — and a new form of terrorism was born. For those unfamiliar with internet subculture, PewDiePie is a Brighton-based videogames blogger whose YouTube channel, the largest in

Wanted: UK doctors

For years, Britain has been failing to train enough doctors and has been importing them instead. This has been a well-known and much lamented fact, raising several ethical issues. Is it right for us to rob developing countries of their much-needed medics? Simon Stevens, the head of the NHS, said at the Spectator’s health summit

They can’t all be right

Has there been a Brexit disaster? It depends on your point of view. When John Bercow ruled that the Prime Minister could not bring the same deal back for a third vote, there were a great number of MPs who seemed delighted. But they were at opposite ends of the Brexit debate. Needless to say,

Will it never end?

The government has lost the ability to run the country. It is no longer in charge of its own destiny, let alone that of the nation. What makes this so humiliating is that power has been ceded not to parliament, but to the European Union. The immediate future of our country will be decided in

Horror show | 21 March 2019

OK, Archers fans out there. All five million of you. Ask yourselves a straightforward question. Why on earth do you — do we — listen to this show full of completely awful people? Why do we subject ourselves to this 13 minutes of daily torment, not to mention the Sunday omnibus, wallowing in the lives

‘The Islamic State will never die’

 Beirut As I write, Isis is still holding out on a few hundred square yards of dirt in the village of Baghouz in Syria. This is all that remains of a ‘caliphate’ that was once almost half of Syria and a third of Iraq. The fighting has now gone on twice as long as the


New Zealand Notebook

In a blink, everything has changed and yet nothing has changed. Life goes on. The long, hot days of a record summer are lazily tumbling into autumn, gridlock has returned to the motorways, the kids are back at school. But the murderous events in Christchurch last Friday have distorted everything for us as a nation.

Notes on...

Beavers in Britain

There is a particularly magical West Country woodland that I know, through which a sunlit stream meanders, braided by a series of neatly dammed pools that hum with life; dragonflies and mayflies, swallows, swifts, kingfishers, amphibians and small fish teem here in numbers rarely seen in Britain. The birdsong is cacophonous. The water’s edge is