The Outsider’s Diary

Holding on to our heroes

‘Why does a nation still admire people like the heroes of Dunkirk who — so far as I can see — they in no way still aspire to become?’

Shame on Mayor Khan

"Imagine if Boris Johnson had insulted Angela Merkel. Imagine that it wasn’t even a gaffe. Imagine if he had actually campaigned to stop her coming to London"

Halfway to wisdom

‘Did anyone anywhere predict that Harvey Weinstein would bring down the British
Defence Secretary? Yet people still confidently pronounce on life after Brexit’

See it, say it? Only if slam-dunk

‘The public aren’t told what might constitute suspicious behaviour. But I occasionally ponder the circumstances in which I would report anything’

From perpetrator to victim

‘At almost any time in history before today, someone who had deliberately released their own nation’s secrets would have been regarded as a traitor’

Getting Hysterical

‘People now live under the misapprehension that the hysterical attitude is the correct one and the pitch at which we should all conduct our lives’

Post-election solace

‘Britain is in the most complicated mess we have been in for decades’

The Era Of Overload

‘Bernard-Henry Lévy and I debated populism, with Tony Blair as our warm-up act, at Google’s Zeitgeist event’

Overreaching Outrage

‘Society’s rewarding of outrage means we are ever less-inclined to give people what we used to call “the benefit of the doubt”’

The Best Of Enemies

"This must have been the first oration by a book-burner at Cambridge University for some centuries"

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"