Ben Sixsmith

Poland is having its own ‘Dominic Cummings moment’

Kazik Staszewski, a grizzled 57-year-old, does not look like the kind of singer who would top the charts. Nor does his recent accordion-heavy song ‘Your Pain Is Better Than Mine’ sound like the kind of song that sells. Nonetheless, the song took Poland by storm, topping the Radio Three charts and racking up millions of

Russia and Poland’s war of words over the second world war

An extraordinary row between Russia and Poland over the second world war is refusing to die down and threatens to overshadow commemorations for the 75th anniversary of Auschwitz’s liberation. Russia’s president Vladimir Putin has suggested Poland is partly to blame for the war’s outbreak. Poland’s president Andrzej Duda has hit back, accusing Putin of an

If Trump denies the Dunns justice, he is betraying Britain

Donald Trump has consistently supported Britain’s departure from the European Union. ‘Countries want their own identity,’ the president has said, ‘and the UK wanted its own identity.’ Indeed, Trump has been such a forceful advocate of the Leave position that he has announced that he should be called ‘MR BREXIT’. Trump has assured Britons that

Poles are in a quandary over Brexit

At first, Brexit was seen in Poland as a glorious but chaotic farce. As strange as it sounds, three long, grim years after the referendum, the whole thing seemed, to them, like a glorious chaotic farce. Most of them supported Poland’s membership of the EU but the irreverent Nigel Farage was more relatable than a

Locking up bankers won’t solve Britain’s crime epidemic

On Monday, a 16-year-old boy was stabbed to death in Munster Square in Camden. A Witness reported seeing three men ‘screaming and laughing’ as they chased him with a machete. The poor kid apparently sought refuge in a house, banging on the door and pleading for help, but his pursuers were close behind him. A

Can the Brexit party survive Brexit?

You have to admit that Brexit party MEPs have a fun job. Imagine turning up to work to insult your colleagues, ridicule your duties and still collect a pay cheque. As I am fortunate enough to enjoy my work, though, I don’t think it is jealousy that makes me find at least some of their

Poles apart | 18 July 2019

Have you ever seen a Pole on British television? Poles are the biggest immigrant group in Britain, numbering between 900,000 and one million, so you might think they would be all over the TV. But no, there are hardly any. There is a Polish character on Coronation Street, who might turn out to be a

Nish Kumar is Jo Brand’s most obnoxious defender

We are all aware that Jo Brand saying battery acid would be a more appropriate liquid than milkshakes to throw at people was a joke. It was a bad joke, but it was a joke. We are all aware that the chances of a Radio 4 listener hearing the joke and being inspired to hurl

What’s behind Britain’s obsession with video games?

It is bad form to be a killjoy when it comes to gaming, so I will start by saying that there is nothing essentially wrong with it. Everyone has to relax, and there are more damaging forms of relaxation like drink, drugs and arguing with strangers on social media. About half of Britons game, playing

The dark extremism of the ‘extremely online’

The killing of 49 Muslim worshippers in Christchurch, New Zealand, was a very modern massacre. Pacing through the Mosque, the terrorist live-streamed his killings in the style of Call of Duty, with a head-mounted camera that allowed his viewers to see the world from his deranged point of view. The terrorist was the most loathsome

The cowardice of calling for The Satanic Verses to be banned

Let us imagine that a book which Catholics find insulting is published in Britain, and a prominent Polish bishop calls for the author’s death. Catholics march on British streets, burning copies of the book. One of its Latin American translators is killed. A conference is held in Italy, where one of the attendees has announced

Winston Churchill was no angel, but he wasn’t a demon either

Winston Churchill can be blamed for many things. He was an essential figure behind the disastrous landings at Gallipoli. It was on his word that the thuggish ‘Black and Tans’ were sent into Ireland. His racial animus towards Indian people did not help Britain to formulate an effective response to the Bengal Famine. He was

If Britain won’t offer Asia Bibi asylum, Trump should

Asia Bibi was accused of blasphemy after refusing the demands of her co-workers to reject her Catholic faith and embrace Islam. A mob invaded her home and attacked her and her family. The police responded to this brutal, unprovoked assault as you would expect: they arrested Asia Bibi and charged her with blasphemy. The local