New year

The best new year celebrations in literature

Literature presents many different ways of observing the new year. Much like real life, the options range from big parties to quiet stay-at-home gatherings… and existential crises. In Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women, Meg and Jo March attend a New Year’s Eve party at the home of their family friend Mrs Gardiner. ‘Down they went, feeling a trifle timid, for they seldom went to parties, and informal as this little gathering was, it was an event to them.’ This is the moment that Jo converses with Laurie for the first time and sparks fly as they watch the New Year’s Eve party from their shared point of refuge in a

Ross Clark

Lewis Hamilton doesn’t need a knighthood

Given that I know about as much about Lewis Hamilton’s tax affairs as I do about Formula One motor racing it would be unwise for me to be churlish about his knighthood, announced in the New Year Honours list. For all I know, he could be making generous voluntary donations to HMRC. A few weeks ago, it was reported that his tax status was being vetted by the Palace, and it doesn’t appear to have prevented his name appearing on the honours list. Then again, it is hard to escape a suspicion that the big attraction for his decision to live in Monaco might just possibly have been the modesty

Mark Galeotti

Putin’s New Year’s resolution: survive

Even in tough times, Russia tends to put on a show to welcome the New Year, and 2020/21 is no exception. But what may be on Vladimir Putin’s New Year’s resolutions this time round? Most immediately, to test Joe Biden’s incoming administration. We have already had a taster, with alternating calls for renewed arms control talks and tough rhetoric about the need for Russia to field advanced new weapons. Beyond a not-so-secret relief at having a White House that will at least be relatively stable and predictable, the Kremlin is not expecting an easy time from a Biden administration on a range of fronts, from sanctions to Ukraine. However, it

Is it time to ban New Year fireworks?

When I was 11, Iraqi scud missiles exploded next to our home, collapsing part of our roof while I huddled together with my younger siblings on my parents’ bed wearing gas masks. This was in 1991, during the Gulf War when Israel was under attacks for the better part of January and February. I lived with my family near Tel Aviv, in an area designated ‘Zone A’ – the most likely to be hit by missiles. This wasn’t the only time I’ve experienced bombings: as an operations sergeant in the IDF, I was stationed on the border with Lebanon at a time of fierce and frequent fighting with Hezbollah; and