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Isabel Hardman

Cast off: how knitters turned nasty

At first glance, Nathan Taylor might seem the very definition of a ‘right on’ hipster. He goes by the name of ‘Sockmatician’ online and he’s famous in the knitting world for his complicated double-knit patterns. On his Instagram, in between videos of people speed-knitting and many, many photos of socks, Taylor had posts about what

Why try to impeach Donald Trump?

Democrats have long criticized Donald Trump for his addiction to Twitter, his rolling-news attention span, the backlit narcissism of his reality-TV presidency. But the most media-addled people in public life are, in fact, Trump’s critics. Nobody is quicker to reach the most hysterical conclusions. The anti-Trump show must go on, just like the president’s Twitter

There is only one law: there must be no Brexit

You’re surprised? Really? What are you surprised by? The specifics — that 11 non-elected, mostly public-school-educated judges, and doubtlessly Remainers I’d guess, should put the final nail into the lid of Brexit? Yeah, sure — that knocked me for six. Never saw that coming. Or was it the generality that surprised you — we’re not

The alliance between America and Saudi Arabia is over

The oil-for-security alliance between the US and Saudi Arabia, forged in 1945 when Franklin D. Roosevelt met King Abdul Aziz aboard a US Navy destroyer, is now over. Just look at the American reaction to the attack by Iran on Saudi oil facilities. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo duly called it an ‘act of war’;

Justin Trudeau is not a racist – but he is a fool

The election campaign was off to an unexciting start even by Canada’s standards. A well-known but fluffy incumbent, Liberal Justin Trudeau, faced a Conservative leader, Andrew Scheer, whose strategy had been to lay low. The Trudeau message these past four years has been total  political correctness: equal numbers of male and female cabinet members, ‘peoplekind’

Why do we write dedications in books?

When my siblings and I were clearing out my dad’s bookshelves (he died earlier this year), I made sure to keep any books in which I’d written a personal dedication to him. For some reason I baulked at the idea of them passing into the hands of strangers, or just being left to languish in


Paul Embery: Labour is too much Hampstead, not enough Hartlepool

Arrived in Remain-on-sea (also known as Brighton) for Labour party conference. As an old-fashioned trade unionist hailing from a working-class heartland who supports Brexit, opposes mass immigration and doesn’t believe someone with a penis can be a woman, I feel about as welcome as a hedgehog at a nudist colony. The conference centre and fringe

Notes on...

We have the French Revolution to thank for Ordnance Survey maps

You could say it started because of the French. The turmoil caused by their revolution got the British military worried about the possibility of an invasion, so maps of the ‘invasion coast’ (beginning with Kent in 1801) were produced. Hence the name ‘Ordnance Survey’. Until the 1960s every director general of the agency held an