John Harris

Journalist & Author

‘We’ll have space bots with lasers, killing plants’: the rise of the robot farmer

Tiny automated machines could soon take care of the entire growing process. Fewer chemicals, more efficient – where’s the downside?
In a quiet corner of rural Hampshire, a robot called Rachel is pootling around an overgrown field. With bright orange casing and a smartphone clipped to her back end, she looks like a cross between an expensive toy and the kind of rover used on space missions. Up close, she has four USB ports, a…

Politicians may finally be catching on: towns now hold the key to Britain’s future

Over eight years of their Anywhere but Westminster series – and eight years of austerity – John Harris and John Domokos have learned a few things about the malaise of towns – and what it means for the future of the country
“These streets were once full of spirit, and hope. A proud community, where an honest day’s work could earn you a decent day’s pay. Years of austerity have ripped the heart out of…

We once marvelled at Neil Armstrong. Now space is a playground for the rich | John Harris

Nasa’s greatest feats were a triumph for mankind. History will be less kind to today’s space pioneers
The promised journey is from Earth to the edge of space, rather than London Euston to Crewe, but the story of Richard Branson’s company Virgin Galactic still has echoes of a bad passenger experience on his trains. For the best part of a decade, his potential customers have been waiting for an experience that was meant

‘I’m afraid a child will die’: life at the sharp end of council cuts

Withdrawal of early intervention services in Somerset reflects mounting national emergency
In July last year, Frances and her two children walked out of their family home in south Somerset. Over the previous few years, her husband had been repeatedly violent towards her, and cruel and aggressive to her eldest daughter. The arrival of a new baby seemed to only make things worse. “He would lock my daughter out in the rain; he called our baby…

Here’s what the people’s vote campaign needs to do | John Harris

Ditch the celebs and faded politicians. Instead visit areas that voted for Brexit – and listen to what’s being said
The music, apparently swelling towards a climax that never arrives, sounds like a Coldplay outtake, and most of the faces suggest an entertaining Saturday night in front of the TV. On and on they go: the singer Jamelia, the actor Dominic West, Philip Pullman, Stephen Mangan, Josh Widdicombe, Tracey Ullman, Natascha McElhone, the musician Nitin…

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