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Katy Balls

Rishi’s mad dash: can he catch up with Truss?

Just a couple of weeks ago, Rishi Sunak was the clear bookies’ favourite in the Tory leadership contest. He had the largest parliamentary support and was set to top every round of MPs’ voting. He had 20,000 volunteers, a well-organised team, a slick launch – and (he thought) all of August to convince party members

The toxic cult of the superhero

‘We don’t need another hero,’ sang Tina Turner back in the sexy-greedy 1980s. How times have changed. These days we have Superheroes Are Everywhere, a children’s book written by the Vice-President of the USA, Kamala Harris. Puffs tell us that ‘the book teaches that superheroes can be found everywhere in real life, from family members,

Is technology killing nostalgia?

The latest trend among the scions of Generation Z – those born between 1997 and 2012 – is posting ‘throwback videos’ on TikTok. Talk about a snake eating its tail. Having reached the ripe old age of, say, 11, Generation Z is digging through their archives to offer a wan critique of that embarrassing haircut

The China threat our politicians don’t seem to have noticed

The Chinese Communist party can congratulate itself on another sign of its rise: for the first time it has become a factor in deciding the fate of British politics. During Monday’s televised leadership debates, Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak tried to appeal to Tory members by outdoing each other on their commitment to protect our

Notes on...

The parallel universe you can explore on two wheels

Many of us daydream about escaping into an imaginary parallel universe. The good news is that Britain has its own genuine, and literally parallel, universe that we can escape into at any moment. It’s the National Cycle Network that threads its way quietly and meanderingly over, under and alongside our gridlocked main roads and our