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Abbott’s mission

As Adam Smith once observed, in most nations there’s often a lot of ruin. His point was that it takes…

29 Jul 2017

The game’s up. Or is it?

A state division of the Liberal Party will have a State Conference on 2-3 September 2017 to debate the introduction…

29 Jul 2017

Woolf works

‘What I want to say is I owe all the happiness of my life to you,’ Virginia Woolf composed in…

Batteries fail to spark

Elon Musk is such a good salesman that, despite formidable and blindingly obvious problems, he has managed to convince everyone…

22 Jul 2017

Ideological evasion

Malcolm Turnbull’s speech to London think tank Policy Exchange on 11 July provided an insight into his government’s ideology, and…

22 Jul 2017

Tony, Donald and the X Factor

Ernst Bertram’s study Nietzsche: Versuch einer Mythologie was published in 1918, but its first English translation, under the subtitle Attempt…

22 Jul 2017

Business/Robbery etc

July is a wonderful month, blessed by federal parliament not sitting and so temporarily depriving the Turnbull government of opportunities…

22 Jul 2017

Economical with… free speech

The Spycatcher trial established Malcolm Turnbull’s reputation at the time as a brilliant champion of free speech. Personally, reviewing a…

22 Jul 2017

The Father

A co-production by MTC and STC of a new play which has been acclaimed in Paris, London and New York…

29 Jul 2017

Grace Cossington Smith, The bridge in building 1929

The viewer could treat this exhibition as an exercise in ‘compare and contrast’, or follow my preference and simply enjoy…

22 Jul 2017

Nadine Garner

Three women who shared a flat as university freshers in 1983 and have maintained their friendship through the years are…

15 Jul 2017

Alan Moorehead

He left Melbourne in 1936 to become a famous writer, and he did. Not just a famous writer but a…

8 Jul 2017

High Life

Greece   I am surfing along the Cycladic islands on Puritan, a 125ft classic that was launched in 1929 by…

29 Jul 2017

Low life

‘We are always waiting for somebody,’ observed a vexed British journalist. Usually it was me they were waiting for, but…

29 Jul 2017

Real life

Quite stoically, I was mountaineering on my hands and knees over a sea of rubble to get to the temporary…

29 Jul 2017

Now I get it – Corbyn is the new Murdoch

For our 16th wedding anniversary, Caroline and I went to the Almeida Theatre to see Ink, a new play about…

29 Jul 2017

Low life

Valencia was a furnace. During the short ride from the airport, the taxi driver supplemented his chat about the weather…

22 Jul 2017

Real life

Two months after I cancelled Sky, a strange letter arrived in the post. ‘We are writing to you because we…

22 Jul 2017

Spirits from the vasty deep…

‘The sea defines us, connects us, separates us,’ Philip Hoare has written. His prize-winning Leviathan, then a collection of essays…

29 Jul 2017

Towering extravagance

The Shard is an unnecessary building. Nobody apart from its developer asked for it to be built. Nobody was crying…

29 Jul 2017

Rules of behaviour

It’s the constant dilemma of the pop science author: how to write something flashy enough to grab readers, but solid…

29 Jul 2017

Down – if not out – in Paris

Virginie Despentes remains best known in this country for her 1993 debut novel, Baise-Moi, about two abused young women who…

29 Jul 2017

A cacophony of complaint

What sort of monster gives a bad review to a book by someone who was gang raped as a 12-year-old…

29 Jul 2017

His own worst enemy

One fail-safe test of a writer’s reputation is to see how many times his or her books get taken out…

29 Jul 2017

The dark side of creativity

In Eureka, Anthony Quinn gives us all the enjoyable froth we could hope for in a novel about making a…

29 Jul 2017

Black prince or white knight?

We cannot know for sure how Edward the Black Prince earned his sobriquet. For some it was the volatile mixture…

29 Jul 2017

Drowning in mud and blood

George Orwell’s suggestion that the British remember only the military disasters of the first world war is certainly being borne…

29 Jul 2017

… trailing strands in all directions

Letters of Intent — letters of the intense. Keen readers of Cynthia Ozick (are there any other kind?) will of…

29 Jul 2017

Playing Stalin for laughs

Christopher Wilson’s new novel is much easier to enjoy than to categorise. And ‘enjoy’ is definitely the right word, even…

22 Jul 2017

The new age of the refugee

After years of estrangement in a foreign land, what can immigrants expect to find on their return home? The remembered…

22 Jul 2017