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Katy Balls

Will the Red Wall revolt split the right?

On Monday night Tories gathered on the Terrace Pavilion at parliament for the 1922 Committee’s spring reception, to which every backbencher was invited. The crowd was small, largely made up of Rishi Sunak loyalists eating steak and chips and drinking sparkling wine. The Prime Minister chose not to give opening remarks and instead chatted to

Is the C of E about to say sorry for Christianity?

Is the Church of England going to apologise for Christianity? A report by something called the Oversight Group has declared that the Church should say sorry publicly, not just for profiting from the evils of slavery (through investment in the South Sea Company) but for ‘seeking to destroy diverse African traditional religious belief systems’. And

The ECHR compromises British agents

How should the state fight terrorism? That is the question addressed by Jon Boutcher’s report ‘Operation Kenova: Northern Ireland Stakeknife Legacy Investigation’. The report was precipitated by the claims that the British Army had an agent at the heart of the IRA. ‘Stakeknife’ was head of the IRA’s Internal Security Unit and was responsible for

The secret to taking ayahuasca

Antioquia, Colombia If you’ve ever wondered what happened to drug lord Pablo Escobar’s enormous cocaine and occasional execution palace, as featured in the Netflix series Narcos, I can tell you. These days – following the violent death of Escobar in 1993 and the consequent escape of his pet hippos from his private zoo – the

Private landowners make better conservationists

The Duke of Norfolk is best known for presiding over the coronation as hereditary Earl Marshal, but what really gets him excited is a native farmland bird, the grey partridge. Nearly 20 years ago he was appalled to learn from the veteran ecologist Dick Potts that the species was down to its last three pairs

Why do South Africans still support the ANC?

Support for South Africa’s ruling party, the African National Congress, has just fallen below 40 per cent, which makes it very likely that, come the May election, there’ll be a coalition government. I’m surprised that support for the ANC is as high as it is. Across South Africa, states run by the ANC are failing.

A toast to the Wine Society

Ask any group of consumers to name the UK’s most enduringly successful mutual enterprise and they will probably point to the Co-op or the Nationwide building society. But there’s a cognoscenti who will come up with a different answer: a business that operates from giant sheds beside a railway track at Stevenage. It is the

Notes on...

How the shamrock became the symbol of St Patrick’s Day

St Patrick’s Day is coming up and you know what that means… a Shamrock Shake at Starbucks, featuring those well-known Irish ingredients vanilla, mint and green tea. And then there’s the Paddy’s Day merch: shamrocks again. If the Princess of Wales as Colonel of the Irish guards turns up to celebrate the day, she’ll be