Harriet Sergeant

Harriet Sergeant is a journalist and the author of Among the Hoods: My Years With a Teenage Gang.

How the culture war came for Kenwood Ladies’ Pond

‘Not another step!’ The large women in an old T shirt stretched across her bulging shoulders glared at my father. We were standing under a canopy of trees on Hampstead Heath in north London. Sunshine dappled through the leaves onto my face. I was 12 years old and clutched a wet and muddy costume. Through

Trump II: Back with a Vengeance

47 min listen

On the podcast: what would Trump’s second term look like?  Vengeance is a lifelong theme of Donald Trump’s, writes Freddy Gray in this week’s cover story – and this year’s presidential election could provide his most delectable payback of all. Meanwhile, Kate Andrews writes that Nikki Haley’s campaign is over – and with it went

The criminal gangs behind the rise in shoplifting

‘She was dressing half of Brixton at one time.’ A former plumber from south London is recalling the pretty, well-groomed shoplifter of his youth. Expensively dressed, her favourite place to target was Selfridges. ‘I don’t know how she did it but she got everything. You put in an order and she’d get it. Those days

Ghost children: the pupils who never came back after lockdown

33 min listen

This week: In her cover piece for The Spectator, Harriet Sergeant asks what’s happened pupil absence which has increased since the pandemic. She is joined by The Spectator’s data editor Michael Simmons to account for the staggering number of children who were failed by the government’s Covid response (01:08). Also this week: Owen Matthews, The Spectator’s Russia correspondent, looks at

The red line: Biden and Xi’s secret Ukraine talks

38 min listen

On this week’s podcast: Could China be the key to peace in Ukraine? In his cover piece for the magazine this week Owen Matthews reveals the covert but decisive role China is playing in the Ukraine war. He is joined by The Spectator’s Cindy Yu, to discuss what Xi’s motivations are (00:53).  Also this week:  Harriet Sergeant

The Iranian regime is at war with its own children

Twenty-two-year-old Hadis Najafi does not look like a foot soldier in a revolution. In the last film of Najafi alive, it is night and she’s walking down a road in Karaj, her home town, smiling and scrunching up her hair into a ponytail. She is young, blonde and on her way to a demonstration. Najafi

Harriet Sergeant, Lionel Shriver, Martin Vander Weyer and Philip Patrick

30 min listen

This week: Harriet Sergeant writes about why ethnicity matters in sexual abuse cases (0:30), Lionel Shriver takes aim at the American university students failing their exams, (8:06), Martin Vander Weyer looks at the latest forecasts for housing prices (17:01), and Philip Patrick thinks Japanese food is overrated (25:19). Produced and presented by Natasha Feroze.

Music and murder

A young man in a grey tracksuit and silver mask looks straight at the camera. He is flanked by others in black anoraks, heads jabbed sideways, moving to the beat. The young man raises his hand and curls it into the shape of a gun. ‘Bang, bang, I made the street messy. Bang, bang and

Does aid help?

What a scandal for our times. Oxfam, that upholder of modern-day virtue, unassailable in its righteousness, buried for seven years that its aid workers exploited young girls. The men abused their power to have sex with desperate victims of the Haiti earthquake — the very people they were supposed to protect. Michelle Russell of the

Not refugees, not children

I was interviewing ten foster parents in west London for a report on children in care. Foster parents are in great demand, so I was startled to discover that only one of the sets of parents was looking after the sort of vulnerable children you imagine to be in the care system. The others were

Home is where the art is

The house in which I lived in Tokyo was built by my landlady, a former geisha. It stood on a plot of land given to her by her last lover. It was small, full of light and positioned to enjoy the large ginkgo tree in the garden next door. It was easily the best designed

How to spot a charity snake

How do we judge a charity? Very badly, it turns out. Until The Spectator revealed the full horror of Kids Company in July, not even the press had asked hard questions of the charity or its founder, Camila Batmanghelidjh. The subsequent political scrutiny showed our democratic process at its best. When Paul Flynn, a veteran

Mansion migrants

This election will see me up all night until the last results are in. It will have me knocking on doors, handing out leaflets and driving old ladies to the polling stations. All this is a first for me — and for the many others I find myself doing it with. Why does this election

Banned – and booming: the strange world of Chinese golf

I was in Shanghai interviewing a Chinese film director and an actor. We were discussing government censorship. How did anyone manage in China, I lamented. The two men burst out laughing. I had not understood at all. ‘Because everything is forbidden, everything is permitted. You are free to do anything,’ they assured me. Dan Washburn

Is there a way to live without economic growth? 

During Japan’s lost decade in the 1990s I found myself handing out rice balls to Tokyo’s homeless on the banks of the Sumida river. The former salary men — it was always men — slept in cardboard boxes the size of coffins. I peered into one. Its owner had neatly arranged his last few possessions.

Out on the town

In the middle of last summer’s riots, Mash, a member of a South London gang I have befriended, phoned me. He was standing outside a shop that was being looted. ‘It’s the funniest thing, Harry man,’ he declared. ‘This day I can go anywhere in London and there is no beef.’ Mash is usually confined

WEB EXCLUSIVE: These rioters are Tony Blair’s children

Nihilism and disorder have been fostered by the state On the third day of the London riots I received a telephone call from Mash, a member of a Brixton gang who I befriended three years ago. He was standing outside an electronics shop in Clapham, watching the looting. I could hear shouts, glass breaking but

Reverting to type

While I was living in Tokyo, a Japanese girl friend of mine fell in love with a British investment banker. After promising marriage, he abandoned her for an English wife from the counties. But my girl friend was no Madame Butterfly. She did not attempt suicide. She felt she had had a lucky escape. A