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Max Jeffery

Is Nato ready for a Russian invasion?

Tapa, Estonia In a pine forest two hours from Estonia’s border with Russia, preparation for war is under way. British, French, American and Estonian soldiers are rehearsing what Nato would do if Vladimir Putin invaded. They’ve brought Challenger II tanks, an F-16 fighter jet and Himars artillery systems – some of the best equipment the

What I learned from my father’s life of crime

I was on my way home from sixth-form college when I heard about Dad’s arrest for his alleged involvement in what, at the time, was the biggest heist in history. Three tonnes of bullion, along with platinum, jewellery and traveller’s cheques, had been taken from the Brink’s-Mat warehouse at Heathrow in the early hours of

Britain can no longer defend itself

When the Berlin Wall fell, the British Army had 152,800 soldiers. Tony Blair’s government cut this to 110,000; David Cameron’s reduced it to 87,000. Plans to let that number fall to 82,000 were accelerated by the former defence secretary Ben Wallace. It’s generally accepted that by next year numbers will have dropped to 72,500. That’s

How to check in to a haunted hotel

The haunted hotel. It’s a definite thing, isn’t it? From Stanley Kubrick’s classic The Shining to the slightly less classic I Still Know What You Did Last Summer, the hotel with an unwanted and probably long-dead guest is a leitmotif in scary cinema. It can also be found in poems, plays, novels; possibly the first

The Bishop of Oxford: why I support gay marriage

We all know the Church of England is ‘divided’ over homosexuality. But it’s not a very equal division. Reform is favoured by a clear majority of bishops, the clergy and Anglican worshippers. So how are the conservative evangelicals managing to hold back the tide? Perhaps the problem is a lack of leadership. The archbishops have

Decarbonisation is Labour’s next green policy disaster

Keir Starmer isn’t even in Downing Street yet already his government-in-waiting is in danger of being defined by its £28 billion green spending pledge, just as Tony Blair’s administration was defined by ‘45 minutes’ – the claimed deployment time of Saddam Hussein’s fabled weapons of mass destruction. First, Starmer promised to spend that sum on

Ukraine’s spirit isn’t even close to broken

Rome and Kyiv have one thing in common – the distinctive whine of motor-scooter engines in the night. The difference is that in Kyiv the high, Vespa-like noise does not rise from the streets but drifts down from among snow-laden clouds. It’s the unmistakable sound made by Iranian-designed Shahed-136 suicide drones, essentially modern-day doodlebugs armed

How to choose a better death

In 1984 I was a third-year student nurse. The last secondment before my final exam was gynaecology. The wards were housed several miles away from the friends and familiar faces of the Edwardian general hospital where my training had been based. It was an unfriendly place. The staff had little time for outsiders and none

Notes on...

Why Napoleon (may have) loved St Helena coffee

Michel Dancoisne-Martineau, Saint Helena’s French honorary consul, wants to set the record straight. Contrary to popular belief, he tells me, Napoleon wasn’t exiled to St Helena for life. In a highly idiosyncratic sentencing, drafted by the Russians and ratified by the other powers involved, Napoleon’s banishment was to last ‘until his deadly fame ends’. While