What, if anything, have dictators over the centuries had in common?

Big Caesars and Little Caesars is an entertaining jumble with no obvious beginning, middle, end, or indeed argument. But there is an intriguing book buried underneath it which asks more or less this: where does Boris Johnson stand in the historical procession of would-be strongmen or, as Ferdinand Mount calls them, ‘Caesars’? How successful was Johnson’s attempt – overshadowed by the Brexit noise, his personal scandals and his Bertie Wooster act – to turn Britain into a more authoritarian state? Even when Caesars are kicked out, they weaken a country’s institutions Mount, now 84, comes at this from a long Tory past that in recent years he has seemed to

Latin America in crisis again

It wasn’t so long ago that British readers, on hearing about the incompetence and corruption of Latin America’s political leaders, could gasp, despair or smirk, depending on their own political leanings and the leaders in question, and rest assured that, for all the United Kingdom’s problems, they were immune to such folly. Institutions were stable, the rule of law was unshakeable, the economy was reliably solid and, besides, the good old Brits, born with an innate common sense that was the envy of the rest of the world, would never fall for such blatant chicanery. Those days are no more. In Latin America, however, charlatans have long been part of