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 the £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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Jeremy Hutchinson’s life tells us why civil liberties matter – and how Labour was largely to blame for their erosion

Just occasionally, you meet someone with a life story so extraordinary that you pinch yourself as you hear it. Jeremy Hutchinson – one of Britain’s leading criminal barristers throughout the 1960s and 1970s, former chairman of the Tate Gallery, former … Continue reading

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A storm in a teacup: the Guardian misses the point about Charles’ black spider memos

Dear Minister, Thank you so much for joining me at the inaugural symposium of my Global Bear Preservation Initiative at Clarence House recently. I know that I will be lampooned by so-called “modernisers” as a inexcusable old stick-in-the mud, but … Continue reading

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Eight media myths about the 2015 election – and why they are wrong

I missed the start of this campaign: for the first ten days of April I was in France, in a house without Wifi or even a telephone. Coming back to the UK on April 10th I scanned the papers and … Continue reading

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