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James Forsyth

Britain’s winning hand

On the morning after the European Union referendum, Britain looked like a country in crisis. The Prime Minister had resigned, Scotland’s first minister was talking about a second independence referendum and the FTSE was in free fall. In several EU capitals, there was an assumption that, when the Brexit talks began, Britain would be the

France’s new right

The result in France in the first round of the Les Républicains party’s primary elections marks the political death of one of the big beasts of French politics. Nicolas Sarkozy, widely known as ‘Sarko’, has been a volcanic presence on the public stage since he became Jacques Chirac’s minister of the interior in May 2002.

Permanent ink

 Brooklyn Shall I have my sister’s skin peeled off for display after she dies? Specifically, the tattooed bits — the swatches on either forearm adorned with foliate designs by her favourite artist, and the patch on her wrist inked in her own handwriting with transliterated Hebrew. I’ve always liked them, and not just because they

No Khan do

Let’s try a thought experiment, shall we? If a senior adviser to my old boss, Boris Johnson, had celebrated John Smith’s heart attack, mocked Gordon Brown for talking about his dead son and referred to senior members of the Labour party as ‘scum’, how long do you think that person would have kept their job?

Class act | 24 November 2016

I wish I could say that some of my best friends are working-class, but it’s not true. I do have Dave — my plumber and political sparring partner. Bright and well informed about politics, Dave loves to tease me because I live in Islington, I read the Guardian, I eat organic food and I was

In praise of Advent

The first Sunday of Advent is 27 November this year. For those of us who prefer Advent services to Christmas ones, the earlier the better, frankly. I relish the frisson of gloom, foreboding and fear of judgment you get at Advent, alongside the hope. ‘The Holly and the Ivy’ is all very well, but it’s

Exodus from Gambia

A ticket to paradise comes very cheap in Gambia — as long as you’re headed in the right direction. Thomas Cook charges just £230 for the six-hour flight from Gatwick to West Africa, and in the cheaper hotels along the cream-white palm beaches, a week’s stay costs even less. For the 100,000 Europeans who flock

The devil they know

You will, by now, be familiar with the argument: that Donald Trump’s triumph in the American presidential election represents a kind of social and political apocalypse. That his victory came at the hands of fundamentally irrational, bigoted, disgusting extreme right-wingers beyond the pale of civilised values. It is axiomatic that there can’t be any good

Notes on...

Zurich’s wild side

On the green edge of Zurich, where this neat and tidy city melts into neat and tidy countryside, an icon of Zurich’s hedonistic heyday has been reborn. The Atlantis Hotel reopened last December, restoring an old landmark to the city and reconnecting prim and proper Zurich with its rebellious past. If you’ve only ever been