Featured articles


Blinded with science

We’re continually assured that government policies are grounded in evidence, whether it’s an anti-bullying programme in Finland, an alcohol awareness initiative in Texas or climate change responses around the globe. Science itself, we’re told, is guiding our footsteps. There’s just one problem: science is in deep trouble. Last year, Richard Horton, editor of The Lancet,

Sweet sorrow

So, is that it? The end of sweetness, and the end of taste? Physically speaking, those things will no doubt carry on, when The Great British Bake Off moves to Channel 4 next year. We’ll still take vicarious pleasure in the mouth-watering sweetness of someone’s ‘crème pat’. The taste of lavender will still ‘come through’

Too big not to fail

‘Bad policy.’ ‘No discernible impact on the key outcomes it was supposed to improve.’ ‘Deliberate misrepresentation of the data… a funding model that could have been designed to waste money’. ‘A waste of £1.3 billion’. ‘Failed’. The media’s treatment of the troubled families programme, whose evaluation has recently been made public, cannot have cheered David

‘Hillary Clinton is a disaster!’

Talking to Camille Paglia is like approaching a machine gun: madness to stick your head up and ask a question, unless you want your brain blown apart by the answer, but a visceral delight to watch as she obliterates every subject in sight. Most of the time she does this for kicks. It’s only on

Murder and politics

Six months ago an old friend of mine was murdered on his doorstep. This week his killer was sentenced to life imprisonment. In both cases, the first I heard of it was when someone I follow on Twitter posted a joke with a link to a news story. Both jokes were whimsical rather than callous

Le Pen’s long game

Marine Le Pen can be excused for thinking her time has come. With six months to go until France’s presidential election, the left-wing government of François Hollande has produced only one winner, and it is her. She’s providing the Gallic contribution to the insurgent charge epitomised elsewhere by Brexit and Donald Trump. France, the home

Notes on...

Burlington Arcade

It all began with oysters. Londoners used to eat them as they walked along, throwing away the shells much as they do burger wrappers now. Lord George Cavendish, owner of Burlington House on Piccadilly (now the Royal Academy), was sick of shells littering his garden, and so in 1819 decided to open a shopping arcade