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Katy Balls

Does Keir Starmer stack up?

Few Labour politicians have anything nice to say about Margaret Thatcher, so when Keir Starmer wrote an op-ed over the weekend praising her for bringing ‘meaningful change’ he was looking for a reaction. The left of the party obliged, calling her legacy destructive and chastising Starmer. Even some former Blairites stepped in to say the

The myth of the Boston Tea Party

At 6.30 p.m. on Thursday 16 December 1773, a group of between 100 and 150 Americans raided three East India Company merchantmen moored in Boston and threw 92,000lb of tea (worth $1.7 million in today’s terms) into the harbour. A central part of the American founding story, the 250th anniversary of the Boston Tea Party

Make drag innocent again!

One of the most regrettable things about the last decade of general cultural awfulness has been the politicisation and sexualisation of drag. The crude and frequently obvious art of blokes dolled up in women’s clobber has been a golden thread running through British comedy for centuries, from Falstaff in The Merry Wives of Windsor to

The Ukrainian war can only end in a peace deal

Kyiv In Ukraine, the political mood has become sombre and fractious. As the front lines settle into stalemate, Russia ramps up for a new season of missile and drone attacks, and vital US support for Ukraine’s war effort crumbles under partisan attack in Congress, one existential question looms large. Should Volodymyr Zelensky continue to fight

Help! I’m trapped in a leasehold flat

Generation Rent, we are always being told, are fed up of having to pay ‘dead’ money to their landlords. The rate of home ownership among 35- to 44-year-olds plunged from 74 per cent in 2003 to 56 per cent in 2019. But no one should think they will necessarily be better off, or feel more

Notes on...

The slow death of Christmas cake

Wouldn’t you just know it? Christmas cake, as in dense fruitcake covered with marzipan and usually tooth-destroying royal icing, is being displaced by chocolate cake. Almost half of a sample of 2,000 people surveyed by Ocado said they’d prefer chocolate to fruitcake. The trend is represented by Nigella Lawson, who is making something called a