The english channel

Saviours of souls: the heroism of lifeboat crews

Our summer holidays by the sea were the thrill of the year and the lifeboat was the thrill the holidays. Whissh-crack! went the maroon, sending the dauntless crew and their punchy little vessel off into the waves to save souls. The Royal National Lifeboat Institution has been doing this for 200 years. Mariners and all of us must hope it never stops, because its story is the best of us. In One Crew, Helen Doe, a maritime historian, writes the official history with verve and precision. She explains that there were 39 lifeboats operating independently around the coast, ‘enjoying varying degrees of effectiveness’, before Sir William Hillary, a ‘bankrupt baron’

Macron is playing politics in the Channel

The stand-off between France and Britain has escalated into something altogether more serious. Yesterday, the French maritime minister called for Jersey’s electricity supply to be cut off in response to a dispute over fishing rights. Egged on by French officials, around 80 boats began blockading the port of St Helier this morning in a move that is reminiscent of Ursula von der Leyen’s aborted plans for a hard Irish border to stop the flow of vaccines into the UK. Now there are scenes of British Navy vessels approaching the fishing boats as French ships chart a course for the Channel island. Some on the Continent are claiming that the stand-off