Sam Leith

What Katharine Birbalsingh gets wrong about secularism

22 January 2024 6:03 pm

Katharine Birbalsingh is back in the papers again. The head teacher at Michaela, a free school whose outstanding academic record and…

Why didn’t the British Library pay a ransom to cyber attackers?

15 January 2024 6:36 pm

‘They’ve turned one of our most important pieces of national infrastructure into an internet café,’ was how my friend Marcus,…

Michelle Mone and the rise of the ‘fight back’ documentary

18 December 2023 10:11 pm

You can’t turn on the telly or fire up the internet these days without stumbling across some celebrity or other baring their…

Stop sending Christmas cards!

11 December 2023 5:19 pm

Christmas cards are the pits, aren’t they? A positive engine of seasonal ill-will. They take hours to do, if you…

Newsnight’s fate is a bad omen for the BBC

4 December 2023 4:45 pm

Newsnight, we learned last week, is losing ten minutes off its running time, more than half its staff including its entire…

The evolving phenomenon of ‘Brexit regret’

27 November 2023 5:00 pm

It was reported this weekend that the great trans-Pacific trade deal (CPTPP), the one that Lord Cameron just boasted would…

Can the government be trusted with free speech?

20 November 2023 8:17 pm

This summer, horrified by the rising numbers of students no-platforming and harassing visiting speakers whose views they don’t like, the government…

The dying days of Rishi Sunak’s black hole government

13 November 2023 10:33 pm

In my admittedly sketchy understanding of it, black holes are formed when something becomes so massive that it collapses in on…

What can be done about AI porn?

6 November 2023 6:31 pm

The foul-mouthed puppet musical Avenue Q, way back in 2003, caught the spirit of the age to come. ‘The internet is…

What the Babylon scandal tells us about the British government

30 October 2023 5:00 pm

One of the consistent themes of Dominic Cummings’s kamikaze mission to reform the machinery of the British state was that…

Are Amazon’s publishing gurus doing anything wrong?

23 October 2023 8:26 pm

Alex Kaplo lives, apparently, the life of Riley. The 31-year-old’s website shows him roaring around in a Mercedes, and he…

How to win four Nobel Prizes in literature

21 October 2023 9:00 am

‘Hi Jacques,’ I say as the publisher of Fitzcarraldo Editions appears on my Zoom screen with his Franz Hals facial…

Can we be honest about Israel and Palestine?

16 October 2023 6:40 pm

Qui tacet consentire videtur: who keeps silent is seen to consent. That Latin tag haunts the western response to the…

How Elon Musk killed Twitter/ X

10 October 2023 5:00 pm

Twitter was a newswire. That, at least at first, was the point of it. Something that came with all the…

It is time to rethink the age of consent

25 September 2023 6:29 pm

In 1983 Samantha Fox was sixteen years old when she first appeared topless on Page Three of the Sun. That…

The ‘naive cynicism’ of Russell Brand’s hasty defenders

18 September 2023 5:10 pm

I can’t imagine that Channel 4’s investigative slot Dispatches has had such an audience in living memory. On Saturday evening, many…

There’s not much we can do about China spying

11 September 2023 6:07 pm

A parliamentary researcher has just been arrested on suspicion of espionage. A man in his late twenties, with reported links…

Silicon Valley’s curious obsession with building old-fashioned communities

4 September 2023 6:36 pm

It’s a peculiar thing about billionaires: they don’t half have a weak spot for building ideal communities from the ground up. You could…

Why not house refugees on barges?

7 August 2023 4:15 pm

‘By the light of the torches, we saw the black Hulk lying out a little way from the mud of…

Passports out of hell

5 August 2023 9:00 am

Roger Moorhouse describes how various diplomats stationed in Europe risked their positions to issue as many forged ‘tickets to safety’ to Jews as possible

Ancient worms and the problem with climate politics

31 July 2023 9:39 pm

The poet Elizabeth Bishop, when she was feeling blue (which she often was), used to find comfort in thinking in…

Immigration and a government in a state of post-hypnotic suggestion

24 July 2023 7:15 pm

Hurrah! The government, it was reported yesterday, is working on getting some more migrants. To plug a million-strong post-Brexit labour shortage in…

YouTube and the final state of total Kippleization

17 July 2023 5:01 pm

When I look back over my life, a decade or two from now, when I finally succumb to the strontium…

Trans activists don’t help themselves

10 July 2023 8:41 pm

I’ve tried to stay out of the trans-rights conversation, honestly I have. There are a number of reasons for this,…