Featured articles


James Forsyth

Closing time: the Tory brawl over Covid rules

‘The mood of the parliamentary party has noticeably worsened in the past five days,’ one senior Conservative backbencher says. He’s not talking about Brexit — these days, the majority of Tory MPs continue to back Boris Johnson’s hardball approach — but about Covid. No. 10 favours a pre-emption strategy when it comes to the pandemic.

Boris’s Dunkirk moment

It’s hard to deny that Boris Johnson’s government has so far had a ‘bad war’ against the pandemic. Our death toll is high compared with other countries and our economy is in worse shape. We face rising cases, increased hospital admissions and more restrictions. It’s all so bleak; yet that is why now is precisely

The true cost of coronavirus on our economy

When future historians look back on 21st-century mortality statistics, they will struggle to find anything out of the ordinary in Britain in 2020. When they look at the economic data they could be forgiven for thinking we were hit by an asteroid. The Office for Budget Responsibility predicts a fall in GDP of around 12

Is this the man who will replace Angela Merkel?

Markus Söder is the one to watch in German politics. The ascent of the Bavarian Minister-President and leader of the Bavarian Christian Social Union is probably the closest modern Germany has come to Macron-style disruption. The situation is less dramatic than France in 2017 — there is no great disaffection with Chancellor Angela Merkel or

The myth of the ‘stolen country’

Last month, in the middle of the Covid panic, a group of first-year university students at the University of Connecticut were welcomed to their campus via a series of online ‘events’. At one event, students were directed to download an app for their phones. The app allowed students to input their home address, and it

A murderer among us: I was Dennis Nilsen’s boss

How would you know if one of your colleagues was a murderer? When police announced the man they’d arrested for multiple horrific murders was Dennis Nilsen, many of his former colleagues — including me — were amazed, but perhaps not completely incredulous. Des worked with me at the Hotel and Catering Jobcentre in 1980 and


In Madagascar, more will starve than die of the virus

Earlier this month, in his weekly address to the nation, our President, the former DJ and coup leader Andry Rajoelina, announced that Madagascar would shortly produce an injectable treatment for Covid, ‘a medicinal cure not just for Madagascar but for the world’. This was no great surprise to the people of Madagascar. After all, way

Notes on...

Why crowds are so pleasing

London, writes Dr Watson in the first Sherlock Holmes story, is ‘that great cesspool into which all the loungers and idlers of the Empire are irresistibly drained’. The quote sums up the thrill of a crowd, the excitement of being with lots of other people, of not knowing who or what you’ll see or hear.