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Agitprop for toddlers: the oddly strident politics of CBeebies

I think I might be a bad parent; whenever my wife is out, I plonk our two-year-old daughter in front of the television. The other day we watched a rainbow nation of children marching around the British countryside singing ‘Let’s make sure we recycle every day’, and I realised that something has changed in children’s

America’s war on sleep

 Fredericksburg, Virginia Ask an American to name the author of the line ‘Sleep, that knits up the ravelled sleeve of care’, and he will promptly reply ‘Shakespeare’. It’s pure guesswork but we always credit the Bard with anything that sounds like a literary quotation, so he inadvertently gets it right. But if you recite the

Why foreign aid fails – and how to really help Africa

David Cameron speaks compellingly about international aid. Eradicating poverty, he says, means certain institutional changes: rights for women and minorities, a free media and integrity in government. It means the freedom to participate in society and have a say over how your country is run. We wholeheartedly agree and were flattered to see the Prime

MPs grope men too

[audioplayer src=”http://traffic.libsyn.com/spectator/TheViewFrom22_23_January_2014_v4.mp3″ title=”Alex Wickham discuss Westminster’s wandering hands with Miranda Green” startat=790] Listen [/audioplayer]As I walked out of the bar, I noticed a Conservative MP following me. It had been an evening for young political activists, mostly teenage boys, and it was drawing to an end. I pretended to be engrossed in my phone, but

Iran, Saudi Arabia, and the Middle East’s 30 year war

[audioplayer src=”http://traffic.libsyn.com/spectator/TheViewFrom22_23_January_2014_v4.mp3″ title=”Douglas Murray discuss Islam’s 30 year war with former solider Thomas Tugendhat”] Listen [/audioplayer]Syria has fallen apart. Major cities in Iraq have fallen to al-Qa’eda. Egypt may have stabilised slightly after a counter-coup. But Lebanon is starting once again to fragment. Beneath all these facts — beneath all the explosions, exhortations and blood — certain


Clarissa Tan’s Notebook: Why I stopped drinking petrol

Florence was in fog the day I arrived. Its buildings were bathed in white cloud, its people moved as though through steam. The Arno river was a dense strip of dew. At the Piazzale Michelangelo, the statue of David was etched by the surrounding murkiness to a stark silhouette, the renaissance defined by gothic cloud.

Notes on...

Golf in the Algarve

My second tee shot soared high and straight, then hurtled down towards the lake; a repeat of my first. I didn’t hear the disheartening plop this time because the breeze had shifted and now moved loudly through the pines that surrounded us. ‘Keep buggering on,’ said my old man, cheerfully. This course, Quinta do Lago