Is Amnesty right that Britain has a black mould epidemic?

Are large numbers of children in Britain being killed by black mould in their homes? That seems to be the assertion made by Amnesty International in a short film featuring Olivia Colman. Colman plays a lapsed lawyer whose career is reignited by the injustice suffered by a neighbour whose baby dies. The local council housing department fails to move the child and their family from a property where the wall is scabbed with damp and mould. At the end of the trailer, Colman turns to the camera and tells us ‘this is real life’. We are told ‘there are so many kids like this,’ before words are flashed up on

Dennis Hutchings and the problem with a Troubles amnesty

The death of the former solider Dennis Hutchings from Covid-19 during his trial for attempted murder is yet another example of the complex legacy problem which besets Northern Ireland. Hutchings, who was 80 years old, was accused of killing John Pat Cunningham, 27, in County Tyrone in 1974. Hutchings’ supporters – which includes a broad swathe of unionist politicians, the Tory MP Johnny Mercer and the wider veteran community – regarded his prosecution as a disgrace. The 80-year-old, kept alive by dialysis, was dragged to Belfast from Cornwall for the non-jury trial. After his death, Hutchings’ lawyer argued he would still be alive had he not been compelled to go to

Why The Spectator is wrong to call for amnesty for illegal migrants

The Spectator is a magazine for conservatives written by liberals. From that tension comes an editorial persuasion — there is no line — that can seem winsome, beguiling, even perverse. Optimistic but never idealist, sceptical of the big but not the new, The Spectator combines a radical’s grasp of the possible with a reactionary’s sense of the inevitable. It is instinctually Whiggish but plagued by spasms of Toryism, looking forward through the rear-view mirror of life. If National Review is in the business of standing athwart history yelling ‘stop’, the The Spectator has more often been found sprinting ahead of history yelling ‘hurry up’. In the 1860s, it came close to

The Troubles amnesty and the hypocrisy of Sinn Fein

Predictably – and understandably – the Northern Ireland Office’s proposed amnesty for crimes relating to the Troubles has resulted in a backlash across both sides of the Ulster divide. Yet, while the criticism was initially uniform, rifts have already emerged in the week since they were first unveiled. The noble ideal that justice delayed is justice denied has proved relatively feeble as a unifying glue, despite the Northern Ireland Assembly voting on Tuesday for a motion rejecting Westminster’s proposals. Prior to that vote, which heard many heartfelt and worthy speeches from across the chamber about the moral and legal basis for rejecting the amnesty, a gathering took place outside the

Amnesty International has undermined Navalny’s fight for freedom

In his fight against Putin, Alexei Navalny needs all the help he can get. The might of the Russian state is pitted against him. Having failed to kill Navalny, the Kremlin has achieved its aim, at least in the short term, of silencing him: by locking him up in prison. Navalny and his supporters have called on the west to assist him. So far, the response has been fairly measly: this week, the EU announced sanctions against a handful of figures in the Russian regime.  This small scale retaliation for the attempted murder of a political opponent won’t bother Putin much. Now, though, Navalny’s attempt to take on Putin has been undermined