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Can the EU survive this virus?

This coronavirus has been cruel to the European Union. The supposed fraternity of member states was the first casualty of the virus, as countries hoarded their medical equipment and banned exports to each other. When Italy’s borrowing costs soared Christine Lagarde, now president of the European Central Bank, said this was not her problem. After

Coromance is blossoming

It’s heartening to hear that while it’s curtains for the economy, our domestic lives are on the up. In Wuhan there was a spike in divorce rates, and in Japan, wives have been sending their husbands away to hostels. But here in Britain, there’s love in lockdown. Sales of engagement rings have risen significantly since

Is Trump more left-wing than Biden?

Just when it seemed that Donald Trump had finally committed political suicide — his notion of injecting disinfectant to cure coronavirus marking only one of his recent reckless absurdities — he says something off the cuff that makes one lament the sight of so much raw political talent going to waste in the cause of

Lockdowns are as contagious as Covid

Schools might never have closed in the first place had the coronavirus not started in China. Imagine it had started in Sweden. Whoever responded first was going to set the tone for the nations that followed. When we are uncertain about what to do, we look to the behaviour of others to guide us. Imagine

‘Herd immunity’ is impossible without a vaccine

My great-grandfather did not fight in the war. He wasn’t a conscientious objector — he was a scientist helping to develop radar. It’s tempting to imagine family history repeating itself. I’m not alongside my colleagues on the NHS front line; instead I’ve been part of a large team at the Crick Institute, helping to develop

Britain’s strange aversion to seafood

Last week’s Brexit negotiations, conducted by video conference, failed to come to an agreement on fisheries. Michel Barnier, the EU negotiator (and former French fisheries minister), insisted that continued European access to British territorial waters was a prerequisite of any deal, and David Frost, his British counterpart, replied that this was ‘incompatible with our status


Why is the WHO so worried about Tanzania?

Dar es Salaam The World Health Organisation has drawn up a shortlist of countries it’s most concerned about during the pandemic. Tanzania is at the top. The government’s lack of transparency during the crisis is a big part of the problem. In recent years the country has imposed increasingly repressive laws to muffle the media

Notes on...

Bats don’t deserve all this bad publicity

‘You’d like me to write about bats? I’ve not held one in earnest for years,’ I said, although I did break what I reckoned was about 24 years of cricket abstinence by opening the innings for the Lord’s Taverners in Cape Town shortly before lockdown. For the record, I was just getting the hang of