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Behind the irony curtain

The comedy of Ruslan Boshirov and Alexander Petrov, the two glum Russian ‘tourists’ who denied on television that they were involved in the poisoning of Sergei Skripal, seems set to run and run. The Moscow press tells us that Russia’s ‘Golden Brand’ has offered them a brand name for a company specialising in tourism, women’s

All by herself

Few people would choose to celebrate their birthday by listening to Philip Hammond speak, but that is the pleasure that awaits Theresa May on Monday. On Tuesday she must suffer in silence as Boris Johnson derails Tory party conference with an appeal to ‘chuck Chequers’. It’s hard not to pity the Prime Minister. She is

‘She will decide’

David Lidington is the most powerful minister you’ve never heard of. He is Theresa May’s de facto deputy, tasked with both supervising the domestic agenda and solving the trickiest Brexit conundrums. Much of government business is, nowadays, done through committees of cabinet members: he chairs seven such committees and sits on another 20. ‘I am

A taste of Brexit

Supermarkets have always moved with the times. After the recession we wanted affordable luxury, so we got M&S’s ‘Dine in for two’ and its various imitators. These promised us a restaurant-quality meal and a nice bottle of sauvignon blanc for a tenner. Well, now the times they are a-Brexit, and retail giants are adapting accordingly.

Clerical error

Next month the Islamist preacher Anjem Choudary will be released from prison, having served just half of his five-and-a-half-year sentence. He was jailed for his role in encouraging Muslims to join Islamic State. At the time of his sentencing in 2016, the judge described the hate preacher as ‘calculating’ and ‘dangerous’. The Justice Secretary, Rory

Politics trumps trade

‘What the hell is going on?’ That anxious wail of economic incomprehension has been heard ever since President Trump decided last January to impose tens of billions of dollars of tariffs on China and other countries, including Canada, Mexico and the member states of the EU. The wail went up another octave last week as

Notes on...

Hebden Bridge

Bernard Ingham once told a story about a reporter from the Financial Times who went to cover an election in Ingham’s hometown of Hebden Bridge. The reporter went into a café and ordered a cappuccino. ‘Nay lad,’ said the waitress. ‘You’ll have to go to Leeds for that.’ Ingham told that story to illustrate the