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Britain should back a ceasefire

Six weeks ago, I invited Ahmed Alnaouq, a young diplomat who recently joined the Palestinian mission in London, to stay for a cricket weekend in Wiltshire. He resisted all entreaties to play the game but was in every other way a delightful guest. On Sunday, Ahmed learnt that his family in Gaza has been wiped

Mind games: why AI must be regulated

During my time in No. 10 as one of Dominic Cummings’s ‘weirdos and misfits’, my team would often speak with frontline artificial intelligence researchers. We grew increasingly concerned about what we heard. Researchers at tech companies believed they were much closer to creating superintelligent AIs than was being publicly discussed. Some were frightened by the

How the BBC scapegoated Martin Bashir

I have become rather obsessed with Martin Bashir and his downfall. Three years ago, I began researching for a play based around his infamous 1995 Panorama interview with Diana, Princess of Wales, which he secured by forging bank statements and reinforcing her belief that there was an Establishment conspiracy against her. When I started writing

A beginner’s guide to witchcraft

Next year, Exeter University will offer an MA in Magic and Occult Science: the first of its kind in a British university. The new course has led to newspaper headlines about a ‘real-life Hogwarts’ and questions as to whether magic is as worth studying as say, economics. The course director, Professor Emily Selove, refused my

The sad death of the pony ride

Pony rides were once a staple of every village, church and primary-school fête. A brusque, horsey mother would swing you up into the saddle, and the patient pony would trudge up and down while you clung to its mane, before it was the turn of the next child in the queue. No one ever plonked

Notes on...

Are Ouija boards really that scary?

The name is the only clue you need. The French and German words for ‘yes’ show that the board will always tell you what you want to hear. Mind you, Elijah Bond and Charles Kennard, who invented the Ouija board for their novelty games company, claimed that Bond’s sister-in-law, a spiritualist, was given the name