The future for which left environmentalism is unprepared

Left environmentalism struggles in the face of a disturbing truth: the global environmental emergency is going to get much worse no matter what happens, as scientists’ warnings about the future increasingly become the destabilising reality of the present. It is still technically … | Continue reading | 1 day ago

Why work lost its worth

One of the most vacuous idioms we use about our moral and social debates is the idea of being “on the side of history”. The plain meaning of this is that “history” – the record of human actions – has an inevitable trajectory, and we had better get on board with it or suffer the c … | Continue reading | 2 days ago

The big problem with the European Super League

What’s wrong with a European Super League and why are so many politicians, here and across Europe, falling over themselves to condemn it? For those of you who have missed it: 11 of Europe’s biggest football clubs and Tottenham Hotspur have announced their intention to establish … | Continue reading | 3 days ago

Dürer Shaped the Modern World

In 1520 Albrecht Dürer travelled to Zeeland to see a whale stranded on the sands. A storm drove back his boat and by the following morning it had also blown the fabulous creature back out to sea. The artist never saw his whale, so instead he drew sea monsters, putting them togeth … | Continue reading | 5 days ago

Gossip forum Tattle Life became the most toxic place on the internet

When the lifestyle influencer Jessie Lethaby – better known as SunbeamsJess – announced she was pregnant in December, her engagement on Instagram and YouTube soared, with fans shocked at the sudden announcement. “I wish you could’ve seen my face when you said you were pregnant. I … | Continue reading | 16 days ago

The Voice in Your Head

Patsy Hage began hearing voices when she was eight years old. She was playing with her brother in the attic when her scarf caught alight on a candle. She would always remember running downstairs to her mother, her clothing on fire, convinced she was going to die. She was rushed t … | Continue reading | 20 days ago

Why England is dangerously exposed to new Covid-19 variants

The Covid-19 virus, like many others, is unstable and mutates frequently. All vaccines target the “spike”: the sugary protein that allows it to bind to and enter our cells. The vaccines induce neutralising antibodies that block the spike and therefore infection. If the virus has … | Continue reading | 23 days ago

Jacques Derrida became one of the most influential thinkers in the world

In an interview in the Guardian in 2017, the celebrated rationalist Daniel Dennett declared: “I think what the postmodernists did was truly evil. They are responsible for the intellectual fad that made it respectable to be cynical about truth and facts.” If Dennett’s anathema was … | Continue reading | 1 month ago

The BBC and the Battle for Truth

When the pandemic struck and the UK entered lockdown for the first time, the BBC’s nightly news audiences surged to 15 million. Traffic to the BBC’s website in March 2020 almost doubled year on year. Boris Johnson’s No 10, which had briefed consistently against the corporation an … | Continue reading | 2 months ago

What cats can teach us about how to live

A philosopher once assured me, many years ago, that he had converted his cat to veganism. Believing he was joking, I asked how he had achieved this feat. Had he supplied the cat with mouse-flavoured vegan food? Had he presented his cat with other cats, already practising veganism … | Continue reading | 2 months ago

Brazil's new Covid-19 variant points to a long, hard road out of the pandemic

When last spring Covid-19 struck Manaus, an industrial city of two million on the Rio Negro in Brazil’s Amazon, the outbreak supplied an illustration of just how bad the pandemic could get. Appalling scenes of mass graves and hospitals in collapse were beamed around the world. As … | Continue reading | 2 months ago


In May 1929 Yevgeny Zamyatin was the target of hostile verses composed by the poet Aleksandr Bezymensky, a member of the Russian Association of Proletarian Writers. Appearing in the Leningrad edition of the prestigious Literary Gazette under the title “Certificate concerning soci … | Continue reading | 2 months ago

Remembering the World of Yesterday

The World of Yesterday, the 1942 memoir by the Austrian writer Stefan Zweig, resonates powerfully in an age of closed-down cities and rising borders: I feel that the world in which I grew up and the world of today, not to mention the world in between them, are drawing further and … | Continue reading | 2 months ago

The Ghosts of Mark Fisher

When the cultural critic and theorist Mark Fisher took his own life on 13 January 2017 at the age of 48, he was a third of a way through delivering a lecture series titled “Postcapitalist Desire”, which he had devised as part of an MA course in contemporary art theory at Goldsmit … | Continue reading | 2 months ago

Why China's economy is less healthy than it looks

China was the only major economy to experience growth last year, as its industrial sector continued to expand. Following a year-on-year contraction of 6.8 per cent in the first three months of 2020 – the first fall in output in more than 40 years – the Chinese economy avoided a r … | Continue reading | 2 months ago

Harvard’s top astronomer says solar system may be teeming with alien technology

If you could fly two billion miles in the direction of the Pegasus constellation, and knew where to look, you would find a thin, flat object, about the size of a football field and up to ten times more reflective than the average comet. If you watched it for a while, you would no … | Continue reading | 2 months ago

Is Tesla a car company, or a casino?

Elon Musk became the world’s richest man on 7 January, when a further increase in Tesla’s galloping stock price increased his net worth to $195bn (£141bn). “How strange,” he tweeted. He’s not the only person who finds this odd. In 2020, Tesla delivered fewer than 500,000 cars, bu … | Continue reading | 3 months ago

Why Allende had to die: on the 1973 Chilean coup by GABRIEL GARCÍA MÁRQUEZ

Forty years have passed since the Chilean president Salvador Allende died in La Moneda Palace in Santiago, attempting to defend himself with an AK-47 he had been given by Fidel Castro. Here, in a piece from the New Statesman published in March 1974, the Nobel Prize-winning noveli … | Continue reading | 3 months ago

Edward Hopper became an artist for the pandemic age

A woman and two men are seated at the bar in a diner. We can see from the lights outside and inside that it is night. Each one has a cup of coffee. The woman and one of the men sit close together, though, looking at them, it’s impossible to say whether they know each other or whe … | Continue reading | 3 months ago

The Return of American Fascism

In 1933 Mussolini Speaks, a “cine-biography of Il Duce,” received its Broadway premiere on 10 March, only five days after the Nazi Party seized control of the Reichstag, and six days after the inauguration of Franklin D Roosevelt as US president. “Who is this modern ­Caesar?” ask … | Continue reading | 3 months ago

The Death of Privacy

Suppose you walk into a shop and the guard at the entrance records your name. Cameras on the ceiling track your every step in the store, log which items you looked at and which ones you ignored. After a while you notice that an employee is following you around, recording on a cli … | Continue reading | 3 months ago

Unmasking Graham Greene

In the early summer of last year, I found myself on the Cote d’Azur – in Antibes, to be precise – with a couple of hours to spare. Spontaneously, I decided to try to find the apartment block in the town where Graham Greene had lived for the last ­decades of his life – the Résiden … | Continue reading | 3 months ago

Sweden’s Covid-19 failures have exposed the myths of the lockdown-sceptics

Many strange things happened in 2020, but one of the strangest was the romance between Britain’s Covid-sceptics and Sweden. It turned out to be an ill-fated one, ending in tragedy, but it was intense while it lasted. For much of this year, those who object to measures to control … | Continue reading | 4 months ago

DeepMind’s 4 year mission to solve one of biology’s greatest challenges

It takes the world's best structural biologists several years to determine the precise shape of a protein molecule. The work requires patience and deep pockets, but it also affords scientists a far better understanding of cells, the diseases that afflict them, and the medicines t … | Continue reading | 4 months ago

Who wins on the ephemeral internet?

It’s easy to forget that one of the primary appeals of the early internet, beyond endless information, chatrooms and porn, was anonymity: Nineties and early Noughties users were drawn to the idea that they could be anyone, doing anything, shedding each new identity by simply logg … | Continue reading | 4 months ago

Will the EU's battle with Amazon expose the limits of Vestager's power?

At midday on 10 November, Margrethe Vestager, the EU's high-profile enforcer of competition law, unveiled the preliminary findings of a landmark investigation into Amazon. The online retailer, the investigation claims, has been using data on products sold through its platform to … | Continue reading | 5 months ago

JBS Haldane: the man who knew almost everything

JBS Haldane – “Jack” to his family and friends – was once described as “the last man who might know all there was to be known”. His reputation was built on his work in genetics, but his expertise was extraordinarily wide-ranging. As an undergraduate at Oxford, he studied mathemat … | Continue reading | 5 months ago

Why scientists fear the “toxic” Covid-19 debate

On one side of the Covid-19 debate are the anti-maskers, self-styled freedom fighters versed in the ideals of free market libertarianism and the defence of personal liberties. On the other, are the militant pro-lockdowners – curtain-twitching vigilantes obsessed with rising case … | Continue reading | 5 months ago

Hermione Lee on How to Write a Life

Hermione Lee and Tom Stoppard operate on very different sleep schedules. While writing her new biography of the British playwright, Lee would visit and sometimes stay overnight at Stoppard’s 1790s home in rural Dorset. The next morning, Lee “would be sitting there with my noteboo … | Continue reading | 6 months ago

The record shop, the taxman and the missing billions

It was the autumn of 1992, and Richard Allen, an import-export manager at a luxury wallpaper company, was spending the day at a conference held by Her Majesty’s Customs and Excise. He was half-listening to a presentation about how the UK’s ratification of the Maastricht Treaty th … | Continue reading | 6 months ago

Ten lessons of the Covid-19 pandemic

The second wave of Covid-19 is now truly upon us, and winter will be hard. Yet for all the talk of the pandemic having changed the world, it’s arguably more true to say that it has acted as a lens to bring our global predicament into sharper focus. Important though it is to ask w … | Continue reading | 6 months ago

The Rise of the Traditionalists

Steve Bannon, Donald Trump’s former chief strategist, returned to the headlines in August, having been arrested on a yacht and charged with defrauding donors to a private campaign to build a wall along the US-Mexico border. Of the $25m collected by the We Build the Wall organisat … | Continue reading | 6 months ago

The closing of the conservative mind

When Theresa May, in 2017, promised “strong and stable leadership in the national interest”, she cannot have had this in mind. The long, agonised collapse of her premiership has left the Conservative Party in search of its sixth leader since the turn of the century and its third … | Continue reading | 6 months ago

Judith Butler on culture war, JK Rowling and living in “anti-intellectual times”

Thirty years ago, the philosopher Judith Butler, now 64, published a book that revolutionised popular attitudes on gender. Gender Trouble, the work she is perhaps best known for, introduced ideas of gender as performance. It asked how we define “the category of women” and, as a c … | Continue reading | 7 months ago

Noam Chomsky: The world is at the most dangerous moment in human history

Noam Chomsky has warned that the world is at the most dangerous moment in human history owing to the climate crisis, the threat of nuclear war and rising authoritarianism. In an exclusive interview with the New Statesman, the 91-year-old US linguist and activist said that the cur … | Continue reading | 7 months ago

Why Goodreads is bad for books

On a typical day, a long-time user of Goodreads, the world's largest community for reviewing and recommending books, will feel like they're losing their mind. After numerous frustrated attempts to find a major new release, to like, comment on, or reply to messages and reviews, to … | Continue reading | 7 months ago

Personal Story: My failed music career

I arrived early to my final audition, scheduled at 9.20am one Friday in December 2018. I sat in the entrance hall of the Guildhall School of Music & Drama for an hour before I was sent to warm up on the piano, my programme of Beethoven, Chopin, Rachmaninov, Gershwin and Glass whi … | Continue reading | 7 months ago

US anarchist David Graeber’s crusade against the rise of “bullshit jobs” (2018)

In 2013, the American anthropologist David Graeber began to notice a strange phenomenon. “I kept running into people at parties who didn’t want to tell you what they did [for work],” he recalled when we met. Others would say “we just make up the numbers” or “I can do my job in tw … | Continue reading | 7 months ago


In a 1981 essay, Raymond Carver described some of the quotations taped to the wall around his desk. One had “this fragment of a story by Chekhov: ‘… and suddenly everything became clear to him’”. For Carver, these words are “filled with wonder and possibility. I love their simple … | Continue reading | 7 months ago

The world to come: What should we value?

Human beings are the only species on Earth that do not know how they are supposed to live. All other species have a natural environment and a natural way to sustain their form of life. While some animals have to build things to make their environment what it ought to be (as in th … | Continue reading | 7 months ago

Jobseekers face exploitation as online recruitment is riddled with fake news

When a blood-splattered job applicant tumbled into Michael Kovich’s office, covered in dirt, grass and jet fuel, he knew he had to hire him. The candidate, who was seven months late to his interview, had been kidnapped for ransom, after getting into an unlicensed taxi in Brazil. … | Continue reading | 8 months ago

Why Bertrand Russell’s argument for idleness is more relevant than ever

We are used to thinking of idleness as a vice, something to be ashamed of. But when the British philosopher Bertrand Russell wrote “In Praise of Idleness” in 1932, at the height of the Great Depression, idleness was an unavoidable reality for the millions who had lost their jobs. … | Continue reading | 8 months ago

Dickens and His Demons

The Mystery of Charles Dickens is a biography ready to take risks. Wading away from the shore – where the crowd laughs at comic turns and weeps at the pathos of orphans – AN Wilson takes six deep-sea dives in search of the monsters of the lower waters. He is after the darker thin … | Continue reading | 9 months ago

Bestselling Holocaust memoir by Denis Avey should be withdrawn from publication

Over the weekend, the Sunday Times reported that Denis Avey, the author of the memoir The Man Who Broke Into Auschwitz, had changed important elements of his story before his bestselling book was published.According to the article, Avey's account of how he had bravely swapped pla … | Continue reading | 9 months ago

Instagram Transformed Our Personal Lives

Kevin Systrom, a 26-year-old Stanford graduate who had recently left ­Google to launch his own tech start-up, was walking along a Mexican beach with his girlfriend in 2010 when she delivered some difficult news. She just couldn’t see herself ever using “Codename”, the photo-shari … | Continue reading | 9 months ago

Why is the NY Times threatening to reveal blogger Scott Alexander’s identity?

The old adage about online anonymity goes: “On the internet no one knows if you’re a dog.” It hasn’t stood the test of time, not least because it has proved possible, and often easy, to work out not just the species, but the full identity of someone who tries to hide online. Tha … | Continue reading | 9 months ago

Coronavirus revealed the unexpected strengths of Germany’s model of government

There are plenty of English-language commentators who see every German twitch as proof that the country’s long period of prosperity and stability is finally coming to an end. The sort of commentators who have predicted all 17 of Angela Merkel’s last zero political downfalls. I am … | Continue reading | 9 months ago

City of London: Tax haven in the heart of Britain (2011)

On 7 October 2002, an Anglican priest, William Campbell-Taylor, and an English-Jewish academic, Maurice Glasman, came to the law lords to challenge a parliamentary bill. It was the start of an episode that anyone worried about tax avoidance - or, for that matter, about the fate o … | Continue reading | 10 months ago