Flat White

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Who put the cult into multiculturalism?

A British General of the Raj, told that suttee was an Indian custom, replied: ‘We have a custom too. When…

27 May 2017

Obamacare, Trumpcare… Mediscare?

In his joint press conference with Malcolm Turnbull in New York this month, Donald Trump said that Australia has ‘better…

27 May 2017

Green power fantasies

The cool phrases among the proponents of green electricity are ‘distributed networks’ and ‘micro networks’ which, we are told, will…

27 May 2017

Back to basics

At the end of law school you undertake ‘practical legal training’ to develop the essential skills of advocacy our adversarial…

27 May 2017

Holy Land Diary

Last week, I was in Tel Aviv, to receive an honorary doctorate. The official party entered to the strains of…

27 May 2017

Budget notes

Stealing Shorten’s shorts In 1845 Benjamin Disraeli said of Britain’s Tory Prime Minister, Sir Robert Peel, that he had ‘caught…

20 May 2017

Identity politics

The budget week just gone has marked the moment when both sides of politics officially gave up on budget repair…

20 May 2017

Worth losing the base?

Donald Trump has identified a phenomenon in the Western media which many suspect and which believers in a free press…

20 May 2017

Vanessa Downing and Geoff Morrell in Black is the New White

I should have written about this play earlier; it is on now at the Sydney Theatre Company Wharf 1. Black…

27 May 2017

Taryn Fiebig for Pinchgut Opera

Baroque opera is increasingly popular in Australia, particularly in recent years through the work of Pinchgut Opera. This administratively tiny…

20 May 2017

Elioth Gruner 1882-1939

Last week I lunched at the Coogee Pavilion on the most perfect day. The scene before me was almost identical…

13 May 2017

Alexander Campbell

Inheriting abilities from one’s parents is one of the happy accidents of birth. A remarkable example of inheritance of exceptional…

6 May 2017

High Life

New York   Although both guilt and innocence fascinate me, I’m not so sure that there is such a thing…

27 May 2017

Low life

‘Jeremy, I want you to sit here next to me — unless you’re frightened of me?’ We were briefly introduced…

27 May 2017

Real life

After spending the day unblocking the gutters and drains in the pouring rain, he wasn’t in the mood for a…

27 May 2017

Metal fatigue in the golden generation

Not a bad week for Roger Federer then: first pootling along being cool and rich in a morning suit at…

27 May 2017

Fraternity, solidarity and the spirit of 1945

My father worked as a fire warden during the Blitz, trying to contain the damage done by the Luftwaffe, and…

27 May 2017

The turf

Most racehorse trainers, those at least who didn’t have a legacy from Aunt Agatha to lubricate their way into the…

27 May 2017

A gruesome retelling

‘A shudder in the loins engenders there/ The broken wall, the burning roof and tower/ And Agamemnon dead’ intoned W.B.…

27 May 2017

Moments of absurdity

The bestselling humourist and New Yorker essayist David Sedaris is renowned for an almost hypnotic deadpan drollery and maybe especially…

27 May 2017

Homer Simpson in a chasuble

This is one of the most remarkable, hilarious, jaw-droppingly candid and affecting memoirs I have read for some time —…

27 May 2017

The war in the shadows

I once spent an evening, back in the mid-1980s, with William Colby, the legendary spy and director of the CIA.…

27 May 2017

The ruin of a ruin

In the welter of Syrian bloodshed, why should we remember the death of a single man? Because he was the…

27 May 2017

Home from the hill

As well as being a leading architectural historian Mary Miers is an editor at Country Life. For her latest book…

27 May 2017

Cold comfort

All animals, Scott Carney tells us, seek comfort. But human beings are a bit different. We don’t need to spend…

27 May 2017

Perfect, gentle Knight

I once asked Baroness Manningham-Buller, the former head of MI5, what she did to relax. Nailing me to the wall…

27 May 2017

Forty years of comfort-eating

In 2015 a pair of linen drawers belonging to Queen Victoria sold at auction for over £12,000. In old age…

27 May 2017

The last great pandemic

The symptoms of the Spanish flu could be ghastly. Perhaps Laura Spinney should have chosen her title with more care…

27 May 2017

The fount of all knowledge

Somewhere around the middle of the 17th century our modern concept of the museum began to take shape. Until then…

27 May 2017

Fallen idols

David Hepworth is such a clever writer — not just clever in the things he writes, but in the way…

20 May 2017