Columns

With and without prejudice

"Context and balanced opinion tend to be first on the sacrificial altar in any echo chamber"

Bearded diplomacy

‘The illusion of control that dictatorships offer is just that. They promise their acolytes eternal life in exchange for silence. But silence is expensive’

Eliot’s editorial legacy

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

The point of church

‘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’

Roast mutton and other stories

"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"

A European tragedy

‘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 pandemic?

‘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?’

That’s entertainment

‘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’

God’s waiting room

‘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’

Spirit of the age

‘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’

Underrated: Abroad

The ravenous longing for the infinite possibilities of “otherwhere”

The king of cakes

"Yuletide revels were designed to see you through the dark days — and how dark they seem today"
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