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1 Editorial 5 Contributors 6 Letters

Up front

8 HOW TO FIX The NHS backlog

Reward, retain—and resist the urge to tinker 9 WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT... Critical race theory

A scholarly field feeling the populist heat plus In fact 10 IN PRAISE OF LOST CAUSES The Cabinet

Today’s bootlickers are often tomorrow’s big beasts „ plus Stephen Collins’s cartoon strip 11 AT LAW Superpowered property

In the world of comics, copyright laws have been turned against creatives ˆ ‰ ˆ Š 12 SPOTLIGHT ON Herat Can Afghanistan’s cultural heart survive the Taliban? Œ Š „„ 13 SPEED DATA Workers of the world,

unionise! How trade unions have changed ˆ ‰ ˆ „c 14 THE DUEL Is China now the enemy?

‰ ‰ 16 TOP THINKERS 2021 RESULTS Your votes are in and counted

A Palestinian embryologist emerges as our shock winner , „ Ž & „ „

Cover story

20 Nemesis Why the west was doomed to lose in Afghanistan—and could be doomed entirely, if it doesn’t learn the lessons

26 Towards a real feminist foreign policy We failed Afghan women—but here’s how the international community can combat misogyny


32 Failing the test How England’s exams expose rot at the heart of the nation


PROSPECT PORTRAIT Something new, something blue Tory Tees Valley mayor, Ben Houchen, embodies our political realignment

44 The Green surge Is progressive politics at a tipping point where Labour could be replaced?





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