Diary: In Conakry

Fleur Macdonald, 22 October 2020

Guinea hasn’t had much experience of democracy. Since independence it has been ruled by a series of dictators, some better liked than others. Alpha Condé was elected ten years ago, in the...

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Red Pill, Blue Pill

James Meek, 22 October 2020

Conspiracists describe epi­phanies where they start to see the big pict­ure, the universal meta-conspiracy that ex­plains and links everything. But the picture isn’t big. It’s small....

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China after Covid

Wang Xiuying, 22 October 2020

Since China tamed the virus and normal life resumed, the CCP has bestowed its highest honours on key scientists and doctors. Political commentators, like middle-class consumers, are in high spirits. The...

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In the Grey Zone: Proxy Warfare

Tom Stevenson, 22 October 2020

Whenever America’s enemies are said to be using ‘asymmetric’ or unconventional tactics and proxy warfare, it’s easy to forget not only that America is the world’s most prolific...

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Diary: At the Mexican Border

Carlos Dada, 8 October 2020

I had just arrived in the town of Tapachula in the southern state of Chiapas, not far from the Guatemalan border, when I heard that a boat had capsized. On the morning of 11 October, a fisherman had spotted...

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Short Cuts: RBG’s Big Mistake

Frederick Wilmot-Smith, 8 October 2020

Should Trump’s nominee be confirmed, the Supreme Court will shift to the right, probably far to the right, and will remain there for a generation. Ruth Bader Ginsburg takes the lion’s share...

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Johnson’s reputation has fluctuated along with historians’ views of Reconstruction. Long celebrated as a heroic defender of the constitution against the Radicals, he is today a leading contender...

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Bye Bye Britain

Neal Ascherson, 24 September 2020

In 2019, Boris Johnson became prime minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. In 2020, he shrank into being prime minister of England. For the second time in less than seven...

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Short Cuts: Woke Conspiracies

William Davies, 24 September 2020

A British equivalent of Fox News, wherever it may come from, would have its own distinctive character – less evangelism and more Elgar, fewer guns and more poppies – but the commercial and...

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The worlds, pre-internet, were so much smaller and dingier and more accidental than those of today’s feminisms. Whether or not you knew about this group or that argument depended on who you...

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I need money: Biden Tries Again

Christian Lorentzen, 10 September 2020

The state of Delaware has given the world three gifts: chemicals, debt and Joe Biden. Each promises great things but may deliver undesirable side effects.

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Short Cuts: Ofqual and the Algorithm

Paul Taylor, 10 September 2020

Ofqual is not an independent agency; it is a government department and acted on the instructions of the minister. The problems with the algorithm aren’t technical but a consequence of the political...

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The US had other ideas: The Pipeline Project

Tom Stevenson, 10 September 2020

Europeans can gripe about having to do business with the Russian state and Russian planners may complain about being beholden to the European market, but geography conspires against them. The gas is where...

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One reason the EU has been so keen to tie the UK to level playing field conditions, and is so reluctant to believe the UK’s repeated assurances that it has no intention of cutting regulatory standards,...

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Short Cuts: Under New Management

Rory Scothorne, 13 August 2020

In a time of crisis, the public sees governments as being like lightbulbs: when they stop working, they need to be changed, and the most important thing to consider about the new bulb is whether it will...

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It’s not only that cultural and political polarisation makes it harder for different ‘sides’ to understand one another, although that is no doubt true. It makes it harder to understand...

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The East India Company’s relat­ions with the British state had always been ambivalent. Its increasing territorial and military pretensions after 1750 attracted growing attention and demands for...

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On some days, bad days, I wonder if our survival in spite of enslavement, lynching and mass incarceration, our refusal to be annihilated, our mere presence is perceived as a sign of contempt for and challenge...

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