‘He manages to make me look like a blond Hitler’: Alan Bennett’s pandemic diaries reviewed

You have to be a major National Treasure to get away with publishing a book of only 49 pages, especially when the text has already appeared in the London Review of Books. Luckily, Alan Bennett attained National Treasure status years... Read more

‘Boris Johnson considered himself above the law’: Readers on the week’s biggest stories

‘Mr and Mrs Sunak have been gaming the system’ @Pierrot Pierrot: “Mr Sunak might well have told the truth but is this yet another case of being ‘economical with the truth’? Mr Sunak does not live in isolation from Mrs... Read more

Partying was the least of Boris’s lockdown sins

For the rudderless Marie Celeste that is the Conservative Party, each day seems to herald a new public relations disaster. Sometimes, like buses, their catastrophes arrive in twos and threes. First, the Wakefield MP Imran Ahmad Khan was found guilty... Read more

Britain is now reaping the rewards of Freedom Day

The February GDP data will also not yet reflect the full impact of the war in Ukraine or the growing cost-of-living crisis. However, the more timely business surveys suggest that private sector activity remained strong in March and firms are... Read more

Did the Culture Recovery Fund actually work?

On July 5 2020, the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, unveiled the £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund (CRF), a one-off investment in the UK arts industry to help it weather the impact of Covid. After months of uncertainty and dire warnings from an... Read more

The public sector is still living in a lockdown fantasy

The ghost of lockdowns past still haunts Britain, despite the Government ending free mass coronavirus testing this week. Covid prevalence is still high, with the official figures showing that 15,632 people in England were in hospital with the virus as... Read more

The Covid inquiry must address misguided measures

The Government’s “living with Covid strategy” has reached a new milestone, with the end of universal free testing for the virus. Of course, it never was actually “free” but instead paid for at great expense by the taxpayer. But from... Read more

Sophie Ellis-Bextor delivers an unabashedly feelgood echo of lockdown (yes, really)

There was curiously little difference in energy levels between Sophie Ellis-Bextor’s performances in her kitchen to her phone screen during lockdown, and her performance to a packed-out London Palladium on Wednesday night – which serves only to compliment her weekly... Read more

Covid inquiry called out for ‘disgraceful’ omission of disabled people

The Cabinet Office has been accused of breaking “assurances” over the scope of the Covid-19 inquiry by a disabled MP. The inquiry will look at the UK’s preparedness and response to the pandemic and recommend lessons to learn for the... Read more

Children must be at the core of the Covid inquiry

Two years ago today the shutters came down on our freedoms as the Government introduced the most draconian set of restrictions on personal liberty in peacetime. In a televised address, a sombre Boris Johnson said: “I must give the British... Read more

Lockdown baby boom myth debunked as birth rates continue to fall

The data, which analysed NHS birth notifications, follows widespread reports of a “baby boom” during the pandemic amid headlines about growing numbers of “Covid babies” or “coronials”.  The Merriam-Webster dictionary named “coronial” – a term that became increasingly popular to... Read more

New Covid findings should offer a serious moment of reflection

Over the last two years, a popular narrative has come to dominate discussions about the UK’s handling of the Covid-19 pandemic. Britain, it was suggested, had fared uniquely badly due to what the Government’s critics saw as a laissez-faire attitude... Read more

Britain’s Covid death rate compared with rest of world is not as bad as feared

Many experts believe excess deaths are a better indicator of the true scale of the pandemic because they discount people who would have died anyway during the period and level the playing field, exposing countries that have under-reported deaths.  Last... Read more

A claustrophobic, horribly gripping 90 minutes of toxic masculinity

It’s an interesting moment to revive Dennis Kelly’s 2005 nasty little two-hander about a man and a woman holed up in a bunker following a terrorist nuclear explosion, written in the fearful aftermath of the 2001 World Trade Center attacks.... Read more

New face covering rules — face masks in London, in hospitals and where else?

While the wearing of face masks has not been compulsory in England since Plan B measures came to an end on January 27 2021, as of Thursday 24 February, it is no longer mandatory to wear them on TFL services... Read more

‘Mrs P read the lesson with a budgie perched on her shoulder’: how a vicar’s Covid diary went viral

“And there sat in a window a certain young man named Eutychus, being fallen into a deep sleep: and as Paul was long preaching, he sunk down with sleep, and fell from the third loft, and was taken up dead.”... Read more

GCSEs and A-levels: What you need to know about how exams are changing in 2022

A-level and GCSE students will be given more “generous” marks this summer, the exam watchdog has said, as it confirmed that students will be given a “safety net” to make up for the disruption they have faced.  For almost all... Read more

Rule changes have created Covid chaos in our theatres

As for measures like Covid passes, some venues have been stringent in their requirements. Moulin Rouge! The Musical was at the forefront of shows wanting to see proof of vaccination; Cabaret went further, wanting a negative test result as a... Read more

‘The public has to accept some responsibility for lockdowns’, says senior Tory MP

For Sir Charles Walker, there’s an uncomfortable aspect of the pandemic policies he railed against throughout much of the last eleven months: the support they had from the public.  “I do think the public has to accept some responsibility, because you... Read more

Boris Johnson likely to be among 50 Downing Street party goers to be questioned by police

Another of the gatherings for which attendees are likely to face fines is the “bring your own booze” party held in the Downing Street garden on May 20. 2020, which Mr Johnson claimed he had believed was a work event.... Read more

Long Lockdown is destroying Britain

You feel sleepy and lethargic. Even the slightest effort leaves you short of breath. Everything feels like too much of a hassle, nothing has much meaning, and all of your plans have been put on hold. The symptoms of Long... Read more

Why Sturgeon can’t apologise for Covid mistakes

Scrolling through Facebook the other day I came across an advert paid for by the Scottish Government advising tenants that they cannot be moved out of their accommodation without written notice. At the corner of the advert – too large... Read more

New picture shows Boris Johnson near bottle of sparkling wine at Christmas quiz during lockdown

Boris Johnson has come under further scrutiny over Downing Street parties after a picture emerged showing him near an open bottle of sparkling wine at a Christmas quiz.  The photo shows the Prime Minister and two members of staff, one... Read more

End mass testing now and let us return to normality

Britain has got itself into a terrible mess on mass testing. A recent study led by Oxford academics, which found that up to a third of people found positive on a PCR test were not contagious, should give the Government... Read more

The pandemic may be over, but the true cost is only just emerging

Fingers crossed, but for the first time in two years it is possible to say with some degree of certainty that the pandemic, and the measures that were deemed necessary to contain it, are essentially behind us, not just in... Read more