James Fergusson

Sharia for feminists

Is Islam inherently misogynistic? That old charge arose again after the Manchester bombing in May, with the suggestion that Salman Abedi’s choice of target was driven by a deep-seated prejudice against women — above all against young western women, with their supposedly lax morals and corrupting ways. It was a subtext, too, of the timing

The house that Jock built

When John Murray was sold in 2002 it was billed by the Daily Telegraph as ‘the oldest independent book publisher in the world’. The firm had been in the same family since the first John Murray began selling books in Fleet Street in 1768. It was also, reported the Telegraph, ‘the last of London’s “gentlemen

John Saumarez Smith at 65

‘Might it amuse you to see (and perhaps even buy) Gibbon’s spectacles?’ John Saumarez Smith made Bevis Hillier a once-in-a-lifetime offer. It was 1976 and Hillier dithered. He neither saw nor bought Gibbon’s spectacles, but he did make a Saturday column out of it for the Times — characterising Saumarez Smith as ‘perhaps the most