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My pedigree chum

The backlash has been brutal, unforgiving and, in common with the left’s reactions to so many things, almost hysterical in its hot-blooded fury. My crime? Starbucks shares? Casual racism? Advocating military action in North Korea? No, I have just bought a puppy, a pedigree puppy — and not just any pedigree, but an aristocratic-looking Cavalier King

Mass murder

On Tuesday morning, an 85-year-old man was forced to his knees while his throat was slit by Islamic fanatics. The murder of Father Jacques Hamel in the church at Saint-Étienne-du-Rouvray, near Rouen, has been recognised by western public opinion as an act of unspeakable barbarity. One could say that the facts speak for themselves. But

Europe’s summer of terror

How is your Merkelsommer going? For now, Britain seems to be missing the worst. True, a couple of men of Middle Eastern appearance tried to abduct a soldier near his base in Norfolk for what was unlikely to have been an interfaith dialogue session. But Britain’s geographical good fortune, relative success in limiting weapons and

Trump ♥ Putin

Spy novels and James Bond movies; post-war Vienna and East Berlin; Manchurian candidates and Third Men. The pop culture of the Cold War era created a set of stereotypes about hostile foreign intelligence services, especially Russian intelligence services, and they still exist. We still imagine undercover agents, dead drops, messages left under park benches, microphones

Enemies of history

At the start of the 21st century, no one felt the need to reach for studies of ‘third-period’ communism to understand British and American politics. By 2016, I would say that they have become essential. Admittedly, connoisseurs of the communist movement’s crimes have always thought that 1928 was a vintage year. The Soviet Union had

A few good books

It is a truth universally acknowledged that whenever ITV or the BBC decides — the latter usually with charter renewal in the near or middle distance — that it needs to make some of that World-Class Drama it’s so proud of, its thoughts turn to regency frocks, scruffy urchins, pea-soupy London, agreeable country houses and

What a shower

The fact that we get sun when we expect hail and hail when we expect sun provides those of us who live in Britain with a handy subject to cover the most awkward of conversational lulls. The weather forms the backbone of our national discourse — perhaps because our own personal observations and doom-laden predictions

Notes on...

Ice cream

It was a mistake to tell us about the gelati-to-sightseeing ratio. This was the formula my father, his younger sister and brother came up with when being dragged round Italian churches as children. The ideal was 3:1, that is: three ice creams for each dreary chiesa. My grandparents thought it should be the other way