Tag Archives: Spectator World

Britain Is Falling Apart

There’s a macabre joke in Britain these days that my friends and family also play. We compete to see who has had to wait the longest for medical treatment. It starts relatively innocuously. People talk of the ordinary things: like having to wait days to get an appointment with a doctor. They call up in the morning at 8 a.m., only to be told that all of the slots are gone. Best of luck tomorrow.

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Praising Famous Men

Leadership, Henry Kissinger writes in his latest book, is a medium by which a society moves from the past of its memory to the future of imagination. It is “indispensable.” As Kissinger says, “Decisions must be made, trust earned, promises kept, a way forward proposed.” Without leadership, ordinary people are, he argues, incapable of “reach[ing] from where they are to where they have never been and, sometimes, can scarcely imagine going.” But leadership is also, in Andrew Roberts’s phrase, “a ‘protean’ thing with little fixed definition.” Leadership is ultimately what leaders do; it goes in whatever direction they choose.

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Boris Johnson Saved by His Hollow Party

Boris Johnson has survived the attempt by some in Britain’s Conservative party to remove him as prime minister. The margin not quite close. But by being so publicly called into question, both the prime minister and his party have been weakened. Dogged by real and performative public disapproval, Johnson will have difficulty remaining in power for the rest of the parliamentary term, and more performing to do in the next election to remain in office after it.

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German Stinginess Is Betraying Ukraine

Bafflement is not quite the right word. Instead, Ukrainian officials and their allies now see Germany through a confused form of anger. Things had started out well. Within days of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in late February, and in seeming response to international condemnation, Germany had done the following, against type:

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Where Will the War Go Next?

Almost every night in Russia, it seems, a government building bursts into an unexplained fire. Fuel depots, office buildings, infrastructure hubs — and once a bridge. No doubt people have their theories. Insinuation abounds. ‘Karma is a cruel thing,’ one Ukrainian official has said on Telegram. But in the main, both the Russian government and Ukraine maintain an eloquent silence.

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A Maduro on the Mediterranean

Visibly, and with very little pretence, Tunisia is sliding into tyranny. In the last two years, its president, Kais Saied, has frozen and dissolved the country’s parliament, and threatened its former members with prosecution. He has dismissed an errant prime minister. He has ruled by decree. He has quashed the high judicial body attempting to scrutinise his changes to the constitution, and replaced it with a new organisation filled with hand-picked appointees.

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How Syria Became a Narco-State

There is a drug war brewing in the Middle East, and Syria is at its centre. The country has been destroyed by its eleven-year civil war, and in the ruins of what was once a prosperous country, an entirely different economy now takes shape. It’s an economy of poverty and privation, where food and energy prices are perpetually high, and supplies of basic commodities are uncertain.

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