How many countries have conscription?

Halfway points Rishi Sunak told us we would have an election in the second half of the year, and we will have one on 4 July. When, exactly, is the halfway point of 2024? – There are 366 days in 2024, so we will be halfway through after 183 of them. That brings us to midnight at the end of 1 July, a day later than many might assume. – However, there is also the effect of daylight saving, which takes a hour away from March and puts it in October, shifting the halfway point of the year forwards by an hour to 1 a.m. on 2 July. Only two days of

How the Tories gave up on liberty

43 min listen

On the podcast: have the Tories given up on liberty? Kate Andrews writes the cover story for The Spectator this week. She argues that after the government announced plans to ban disposable vapes and smoking for those born after 2009, the Tories can no longer call themselves the party of freedom. Kate is joined by conservative peer and former health minister Lord Bethell, to discuss whether the smoking ban is a wise precedent for the government to set. (01:22) Also this week: can the UAE be trusted on press freedom? At The Spectator that’s a question close to our hearts at the moment as we face possibly being sold off to an Abu Dhabi

Would I die for Britain? No thanks

The West’s military posture has moved from ‘thick’ to ‘suicidal’. The recent speech of General Sir Patrick Sanders, the head of the British Army, in which he suggested that Britain needs a ‘citizens army’ to see off Russia, has forced the Government to deny that it wishes to introduce conscription – in advance of a great power conflict that Grant Shapps says is perhaps five years away. The media is casually debating ‘would Britons refuse to serve?’, on the basis that Gen Z is too neurotic to fight. The better question is ‘should we serve?’, on the grounds that our generation of leadership is so staggeringly dumb. What did Phil

How many Russians have fled Putin?

Ever since the war in Ukraine started there have been reports about Russians emigrating, either fleeing conscription or simply dismayed at the conflict and Vladimir Putin’s authoritarian turn. Moscow has previously dismissed reports that as many as 700,000 could have fled. But that figure no longer looks so far-fetched in the light of data just released by the FSB saying 9.7 million trips out of the country were made in the third quarter of this year (July to September), almost double the number made between April and June.  This figure was slipped out over the weekend and has so far gone unreported in the English-language press. It’s significant as it covers 21 September,