flat white

How we’ve turned mad – half mad, anyway

Two numbers in the low forties popped up in two separate stories this week: Americans today are more closely divided…

23 May 2019

Chris Bowen’s out, but will Albo heed his warning on religious freedom?

It is slowly starting to dawn on some Labor voters that Australians with a traditional Christian worldview are feeling somewhat…

23 May 2019

Ten more reasons Labor lost the unlosable election

Most people I speak to think that as a nation, we just dodged a bullet. And even those who voted…

23 May 2019

The app that could see GetUp downed

In an era where political parties and policy advocates on the right are struggling to find new ways to engage…

22 May 2019

Tony Abbott: with thanks to the fallen warrior

Last night former prime minister Tony Abbott succumbed to a perfect political storm: a climate zealot candidate dressed up as…

22 May 2019

A progressive ALP is unelectable

There used to be a line in the Lord’s Prayer which went: “But lead us not into temptation; and deliver…

22 May 2019

The Israel Folau affair: Kafka – or John le Carré?

In the midst of the coalition’s ‘miraculous’ come from behind win at the federal election was the news that Israel…

21 May 2019

Only a dragon and a bottle of bleach separates Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez from Daenerys Targaryen

Judging by the social media response, the only people to appreciate the “Game of Thrones” series finale might be politics and…

21 May 2019

Donald Trump’s one-front trade war

At 12:01 a.m. on Monday, President Donald Trump went a long way toward defusing a potential war – not with…

22 May 2019

Can Brexiteers trust Boris Johnson to deliver a ‘real’ Brexit?

The current Westminster consensus that Boris Johnson is the next Tory leader and prime minister raises all sorts of thoughts.…

21 May 2019

The case against Boris Johnson

In the old days, if the Tory party was in trouble, old hands who had seen it all before would…

21 May 2019

The inevitability of Joe Biden

‘Biden is their nominee until further notice,’ a source close to the White House told me recently. The candidacy of…

21 May 2019

ScoMoses

Scott Morrison, having parted Labor’s red sea and led his astonished people to the promised land, must seize his Moses…

25 May 2019

If the ABC is so trustworthy, why isn’t anybody watching it?

Here’s a  question. Who said this recently, about the ABC: ‘The ABC is one of Australia’s most important institutions. Now,…

25 May 2019

Business/Robbery etc

Bob Hawke and Sir Peter Abeles; Bill Shorten and Anthony Pratt. What is it that attracts such close friendships between…

25 May 2019

The sloppiest suicide note

‘No-one saw it coming,’ the shocked commentariat claimed. Goodness.  Where are the ABC’s fact checkers when you need them? In…

25 May 2019

The immigration iceberg

In the Middle Ages the periodic return of plague from the Middle East to communities throughout Europe killed off possibly…

25 May 2019

It was The Speccie wot won it

‘No body saw it coming,’ the mainstream media repeated endlessly when results emerged on Saturday evening 18 May, contrary to…

25 May 2019

Dirty dancing with Fannie and Freddie

You don’t need a crystal ball to see that whoever wins our federal election, the taxpayer is going to be…

18 May 2019

All the news that’s fit to spin

Idly watching the ABC’s idea of news one evening and hearing for the thousandth time how man’s greed and indifference…

18 May 2019

Captain James Cook. Wedgwood and Bentley, c.1779

Three speakers: one is Director of The Royal Collection comprising over a million objects in 13 royal residences across the…

25 May 2019

John Beard Edmund (+Bill)

I don’t imagine the newest member of the Royal Family was named after the Archibald Prize but it was a…

18 May 2019

Broadway production of Come From Away

We all remember where we were when first hearing of 9/11. Some people were on trans-Atlantic flights. When the US…

11 May 2019

Royal portraits at Bendigo

One of our favourite places in London is in St Martin’s Place, just around the corner from Trafalgar Square and…

4 May 2019

My feud with Conrad Black

Goody goody gumdrops! The Donald has pardoned Lord Black and I couldn’t be happier. Conrad got a bum deal and…

25 May 2019

Banana leaf, wood-effect on knitted? Choosing my mother’s coffin

The mental fruit of yet another sleepless night was that my mother was determined to arrange her funeral as quickly…

25 May 2019

My little lodger has been stolen from me

‘Farewell then, little lodger. I wish you would stay for ever but I understand that girls in their early twenties…

25 May 2019

In praise of older horses – and their trainers

Newbury is as fair a test for a racehorse as you can get with its galloping track and a wide-open…

25 May 2019

Towards a technological utopia

The rebranding of John Browne has been a long and, to those of us living overseas, instructive affair. Readers will…

25 May 2019

Passing bells for old Tokyo

In Edo (now Tokyo), before the Meiji restoration, bells marked the beginning of each hour. The hours were named after…

25 May 2019

Oddballs of English philosophy

Charles Kay Ogden once proposed that conversations would be conducted more efficiently if participants wore masks. Apart from confirming the…

25 May 2019

Bach helped me survive Bergen-Belsen

One of the great joys of the 18th-century novella La petite maison is the way Jean-François de Bastide matches the…

25 May 2019

Last lines on Brexit from Geoffrey Hill

In 2012 OUP published Geoffrey Hill’s Collected Poems; they could have waited, because they’re now going to need another edition.…

25 May 2019

Brutish Brits: You Will Be Safe Here, by Damian Barr, reviewed

Damian Barr explains the upsetting genesis of his impressive debut novel, You Will Be Safe Here, in his acknowledgements: This…

25 May 2019

The celebrated poet who’s been erased from English literature

Biographers are a shady lot. For all their claims about immortalising someone in print, as if their ink were a…

Parallel worlds: The Heavens, by Sandra Newman, reviewed

The Heavens is Sandra Newman’s eighth book. It follows novels featuring, variously, sex addiction, Buddhism and a post-apocalyptic teen dystopia;…

18 May 2019

Gothic extremes of human cruelty: Cari Mora, by Thomas Harris, reviewed

It has been 13 years since Thomas Harris published a novel, and the last time he published one without Hannibal…

18 May 2019

Feminism for the Fleabag generation: The Polyglot Lovers, by Lina Wolff, reviewed

Everyone behaves badly in The Polyglot Lovers — no saving graces. It’s a complex, shifting structure of sex, self-hatred and…

18 May 2019

Drawing from the deck: superb sketches by sailors

Working in the Public Record Office some years ago, I ordered up the logbook of the badly damaged HMS Scylla…

18 May 2019

It’s judo, not chess, that’s Putin’s game

These two refreshingly concise books address the same question from different angles: how should we deal with Russia? Mark Galeotti…

18 May 2019