Tag Archives: History

Somewhere in England: Bedford, a quiet success

There are few pleasures like exploring an unfamiliar town on foot for the first time. A new series of posts on this website, In Praise of Ordinary Places, will look at Middle England towns that are overlooked by tourists (Oxford, Bath … Continue reading

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One place where the Trump presidency may do no harm? Cuba

I’ll leave aside – for now – his misogyny, racial prejudice, egotism, and contempt for democracy and the rule of law. I will even cast my eye away from Michael Gove’s fawning interview in the Times at the beginning of … Continue reading

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Politicians should get out of Westminster for its restoration – and stay out

News that the Palace of Westminster will be out of bounds for six years for a £4bn mother of all restorations has provoked a stream of predictable responses. A strange coalition of metropolitan Guardianistas like John Harris, nationalists and devolutionists … Continue reading

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The demise of Boris Johnson – the Quintin Hogg of our times – shows that the age of Balliol superiority is now over

The spectacular collapse of Boris Johnson’s Prime Ministerial hopes earlier today have a striking historical parallel. Boris is not – and never has been – the Donald Trump or Winston Churchill of contemporary British politics, or even the Falstaff or … Continue reading

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Of all the places: in praise of Northamptonshire, the middle of everywhere

German has a good word – unheimlich – for this eerie feeling: when something mysterious or unfamiliar somehow makes uncanny sense. Over the last year I’ve felt it in the most unlikely of places: Northamptonshire. Let me explain why. Nearly … Continue reading

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My old snapshot from 1991 shows how the London skyline has changed utterly – and how it has stayed the same

Sorting through some old photos in my cellar a few months ago I came across a snapshot of the London skyline I took, as a callow 17-year-old, in the autumn of 1991. Out of curiosity, in late 2014 I went back … Continue reading

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Jeremy Corbyn as Labour Leader may be frightening indeed. But Corbyn as Party Martyr would be even worse

I like Jeremy Corbyn. I met him once on a dark railway platform in Blackpool, catching a train back to London towards the end of a Labour conference in the early noughties, and we got talking. Although I was a … Continue reading

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