Columns

“The purpose of this magazine, and the sign of its intelligence, is the ability to hold two opposing ideas in mind simultaneously”

Daniel Defoe’s A Journal of the Plague Year resonates with our new way of life

‘Vast swathes of the television production community stopped working overnight. Any television show involving camera crews, studio audiences, the general public, travel, or proximity of any kind, was, at best, postponed indefinitely; at worst, cancelled outright’

“I had lately acquired a leg of gigantic lamb, last in the shop, a birthday treat capable of feeding at least eight hungry revellers, destined for a sad lockdown twosome”

‘Justin Welby’s edict went beyond what Downing Street sought in its social-distancing policies. Ministers had supposed churches might find safe ways to remain open. They were surprised the C of E was so eager to shut shop completely. It was as if bishops wanted to prove themselves obedient ink-monitors of the governing class’

‘No frightened rabbit could be more petrified than the European Union, for the Covid-19 crisis has hammered all its weakest points: its democratic deficit, the fragility of its solidarity, and—most dangerous of all—the inherent faults in its financial and economic structure’

‘Will the green agenda be killed off by the longer-term coronavirus recovery? Or might the closure of so much business, and the cleaner air that results from planes not flying and factories not working, give us extra years to gain control of our environment?’

‘Violence against women and girls—or, at least, a certain category of it—has been attracting more media attention than it usually does. An increase in domestic violence, including murder, is widely expected to be one of the terrible consequences of the coronavirus lockdown’

‘The homelessness charity St Mungo’s believes the pandemic can lead to a significant long-term reduction in rough sleeping when the lockdown ends. But the current situation suggests this vision might as well have been expressed by Walter Mitty’

‘I’m not sure that “gender studies” are having a terribly good war. A professor tweeted—Pat Robertson style—that Covid-19 “took its revenge” on men after the domestic abuse they inflicted on women’