Issue: December 2019/January 2020

In the eyes of a wartime God

It really does not matter what structures are in place to coordinate, direct, and execute strategic military aims; what matters is clarity of responsibility

My warnings to our spy watchdogs

Britain is under attack from Russia. And the government is blocking a Parliamentary report that details it

Why Poles like me are cheering for Brexit

‘Poles like me look on Brexit with admiration and hope. The British may create a new opening for Europe and its peoples, in the same way as Solidarity in Poland was an opening of a new era’

Rethinking Metternich

More than most statesmen of his time, Metternich thought about history and his place in it. He was right to worry: most biographies have depicted him as an essentially reactionary politician—a “coachman” of Europe who was fond of the whip hand

Dare call it treason?

"No one should miss the stench of cowardice, and yet there is no sign voters care or understand that cowardice runs through the British state"

Political homelessness galls; private pleasures keep me sane

‘I am an instinctive, conventional, tribal Conservative voter. But now I just can’t bear even to listen to the shenanigans in Parliament a moment longer’

Wafted by goodwill onto the rocks of error

Without some kind of internal border—in other words, status-checking by employers, landlords and so on—there would be a huge incentive for people, especially from poorer countries, to arrive and stay permanently but illegally

In the bleak midwinter

‘Whether Buddhist, Christian, or Stoic, the central idea is that the human condition involves suffering. By contrast, the new religion of wellbeing demands constant happiness’

Taxation without representation

Being a US citizen brings rights and obligations — some of them onerous and unwanted

Personality journalism started with Paxman. It’s pernicious

‘When I was at the BBC, the cliché was that we left our politics at the door. It appeared not to need saying that other aspects of your personal identity should also be left at the door’

An autumn note

“For many, the end of this uneasy year cannot come quickly enough”

An ordinary killing

Ian Cobain’s book uses the killing of Millar McAllister to paint a meticulous portrait of the Troubles

Greater—not wiser

John Mullan elucidates the genius of Charles Dickens