‘Many of those who usually insist ministers must “listen to the experts” are among those who now say Boris should ignore them. Armchair generals and football managershave become armchair virologists and epidemiologists’

Standpoint goes to press as the pandemic rages. So too does the search for blame and the political fall-out

‘With “free” wi-fi, we have no idea who else is on that network or what they are doing with the information we exchange over it. We do not even know if the owner of the free wi-fi is really who we think it is’

‘We might suppose that Wuhan’s animal markets are part of a uniquely Chinese tradition, leading up to the current plague. But the facts do not allow for such clarity’

‘Appointing nodding loyalists points to the creeping politicisation of national security. The aim, insiders fear, is to prevent genuine, independent scrutiny of the government’s most sensitive activities and policies’

‘For a young officer unaccustomed to the crack of rounds hissing around me, the ill-trained jihadis in black masks seemed straight out of central casting. It took years for me to realise how insignificant such events really were’

‘Parties of the Left may move back towards the political centre, but they will need a much better story to tell on the economy’

‘Why are children so unhappy? Or, why are they feeling so unhappy, which may be a different question altogether?’

‘Two-fifths of our rivers are man-made canals: dug down, dredged, and separated from their flood plains’

‘Even a small number of prisoners transitioning to the female estate makes a big difference. And numbers are already mushrooming’