A botched coup: the desperate Cato Street conspiracy

Almost half of the terrorists hadn’t even turned up. Still, on the night of 23 February 1820, 25 men, including a butcher, several shoemakers and a cabinet maker, met in a hayloft on Cato Street, just off the Edgware Road in central London. Led by the semi-respectable son of a tenant farmer, Arthur Thistlewood, their plan was to assassinate the prime minister Lord Liverpool and his cabinet, who were thought to be dining together at the Grosvenor Square mansion of Lord Harrowby, the president of the privy council. The butcher, James Ings, would decapitate everyone at the table, putting the severed heads of Lord Castlereagh and Viscount Sidmouth (foreign and

Myanmar is on the verge of collapse

Deep in south-east Asia sits a country where 54 million people are living a total nightmare. A nation that, benighted for decades, now faces a humanitarian catastrophe. Myanmar – otherwise known as Burma – has been hit by a quadruple whammy: a military coup, a half-century long civil war reignited with a vengeance, economic collapse and coronavirus. It faces a dire humanitarian emergency fuelled by coup, collapse, civil war and Covid. Since the coup on 1 February, over 900 people have been killed by the army and over 5,000 jailed. Hundreds of thousands have been displaced after the military unleashed an aerial bombardment on ethnic minorities on a scale not

Will Burma’s Buddhist monks help bring an end to the military coup?

In what could transpire to be a significant development, Buddhist monks joined tens of thousands of anti-coup protesters in the Burmese capital of Rangoon on Wednesday. This is the sixth continuous day of mass demonstrations since the military seized control. In a country where over 80 per cent of the population are Buddhists – and devoutly so – men of the cloth are influential. In fact, saffron-robed monks taking to the streets in 2007 paved the way for an end to 49 years of military rule in Burma in 2011. Along with China, they are key to restoring democracy in the south-east Asian state. On 1 February Burmese generals again

Is China’s hidden hand behind the Myanmar coup?

Was China involved in the coup in Myanmar? It seems unlikely, but that does not mean Beijing is blameless. As satisfying as it might be to point the finger at an omnipotent and scheming superpower, the reality is rather more complicated. After all, for all the shenanigans associated with China’s wolf-warrior diplomacy, Beijing is not as reckless or revisionist in its ambitions as it was back in the mid-to-late-60s.  Back then, amidst the chaos of the cultural revolution, Mao set about spreading his revolutionary thought abroad. Myanmar was firmly in his sights. In Southeast Asia, Beijing supplied communist guerrillas with money, weapons and training in an effort to instigate civil wars. In