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Xi’s world: Covid has accelerated China’s rise

Back in February, the Chinese state appeared to be in trouble. A terrifying virus had infected thousands of people and the country’s social media exploded in anger against the authorities faster than Chinese censors could scrub away the critical comments. Like governments elsewhere, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) turned to the emergency analogy of choice,

Kemi Badenoch: The problem with critical race theory

Even now, months after the event, Labour MPs have not forgiven Kemi Badenoch for saying that Britain is one of the best countries in the world in which to be black. It was during the Black Lives Matter protests and many politicians — including Sir Keir Starmer — were ‘taking the knee’ to show fealty

The fundamental flaws of NHS Test and Trace

The NHS Test, Trace and Isolate programme — which was meant to be one of our main weapons in the fight against a second Covid-19 peak — has not had a good few weeks. First, when schools went back last month, an inevitable rush for tests was not met with sufficient supply. It then emerged

The National Archives are making historians history

The next time you settle down in the evening to enjoy the latest work by your favourite historian, treasure it, because it may be their last for a while. This is for the simple reason that historians are effectively being denied access to one of the most essential tools of their trade — the National

Covid has become the go-to excuse for shoddy service

When we were hit by Britain’s biggest crisis since the war, some people behaved like heroes, laying their lives down to fight coronavirus. Others made their excuses, put their feet up and had a good long six-month snooze. My favourite Covid excuse came from Eurostar, which declared in August that, ‘As a result of coronavirus,

London’s war on motorists isn’t helping anybody

Late one evening in Yangon in Myanmar a few years ago, I noticed a grey Morris Minor van patrolling the streets. It had an old-fashioned double–ended trumpet loudspeaker on its roof blaring out an amplified voice. ‘What’s it saying?’ I asked my guide. ‘It tells the people “It’s late! Stop drinking and go to bed!

Winston Churchill’s remarkable love of science

Churchill was the first British prime minister to appoint a scientific adviser, as early as the 1940s. He had regular meetings with scientists such as Bernard Lovell, the father of radioastronomy, and loved talking with them. He promoted, with public funds research, telescopes and the laboratories where some of the most significant developments of the

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The joy of drinking alone

Thanks to a combination of night-time curfews, social-distancing rules, pubs closing, restaurants failing, the ‘rule of six’ and compulsory mask-wearing, that basic and necessary human need for people to meet for a drink has never been so difficult. Now, with the government’s new three-tier Covid strategy in place, anyone at any moment could find their