Stephen Vaughan’s life reminds us that there is no sweeping historical change that cannot also be measured in the small, incremental, often painful adjustments of everyday life. His political service,...

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Disappearing Ink: Life of a Diplomat

Tom Stevenson, 10 August 2023

Diplomats are often quite isolated from the societies to which they are posted. Their central task is not statecraft but the promotion of their country’s ‘interests’ – reducible to the arms industry...

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Habits of Empire: Financial Imperialism

David Priestland, 27 July 2023

As Western investors became controlling shareholders in the railways, mines and plantations of the global South, the supposedly peaceful worlds of trade and finance became harder to distinguish from imperialism....

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Short Cuts: Radiant Ambiguity

James Butler, 27 July 2023

Keir Starmer will be the next British prime minister. The nation is miserable and conditions are favourable, but this hardly diminishes Starmer’s achievement: he has isolated the left within his party,...

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Anti-Anglicisation: Welsh Second Homes

Owen Bennett-Jones, 27 July 2023

In small village and coastal resorts in Wales and Cornwall, for a few weeks each summer and increasingly at weekends throughout the year, the richest and the poorest end up in close proximity. The disparities...

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Something on Everyone: Hoover’s Secrets

Deborah Friedell, 27 July 2023

J. Edgar Hoover liked to say he didn’t hire policemen but investigators. Agents were university graduates, only to be seen in dark suits and ties (hats were required when outside). Until 1934, they weren’t...

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Intimated Disunion

Colin Kidd, 13 July 2023

The unionist fondness for Union Jacks does not preclude violent resistance to the British state when its policy conflicts with the interests of Protestant Ulster. Under the auspices of the Ulster Covenant...

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Pain, No Gain: Inflation Fixation

William Davies, 13 July 2023

Despite evidence showing that only the top 10 per cent of earners received above-inflation pay rises last year, Rishi Sunak has threatened to squeeze public sector wages further in an effort to combat...

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What are the consequences for politics if the supposed grown-ups are outside the room? For Osborne, Balls, Stewart and Campbell, it means power without responsibility, armchair politics with advertising...

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The first two decades of the USSR saw what was then the fastest and largest instance of urban growth in human history. In just thirteen years, the population living in cities and towns more than doubled...

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Dining at the White House: Ralph Bunche

Susan Pedersen, 29 June 2023

Ralph Bunche is a complex subject, someone who chose administration over advocacy and international service over national politics, but who, because of his race, but more precisely because of white America’s...

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Be like the Silkworm: Marx’s Style

Terry Eagleton, 29 June 2023

Unlike most realists, Marx does not see art as precious because it reflects reality. On the contrary, it is most relevant to humanity when it is an end in itself. Art is a critique of instrumental reason. In...

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Diary: Children of the Spied-On

Matt Foot, 29 June 2023

My brother John and I knew that the telephones in both our parents’ houses were tapped. My dad had been a surveillance target since the formation of the Metropolitan Police’s Special Demonstration...

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Cancelled: Can I speak freely?

Amia Srinivasan, 29 June 2023

Most of us would find it horrible to be told that we aren’t worth engaging with, that our views are socially unacceptable or merely a function of demography. But that it is painful to be on the receiving...

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Because the USSR had no military presence in Africa, it relied on the work of intelligence services – the GRU and the KGB – and institutions such as the International Department to conduct a Cold War...

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You cannot help being struck by the awesome stability of all the Bank of England’s arrangements: the paper for banknotes was manufactured at Portals’ mills in Hampshire from 1724 until the switch to...

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Short Cuts: At NatCon London

Peter Geoghegan, 1 June 2023

The British and American right differ in the weight they place on ideological purity. With a limited cast of characters – and an even smaller pool of funders – British conservatives can ill afford...

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Many white Southerners adopted their own equation of the era of the civil rights movement with Reconstruction, warning that federal civil rights legislation violated local freedom. Despite the courage...

Read more about The Little Man’s Big Friends: Freedom’s Dominion