Spectator Coffee House: Are hipsters the new aristocracy?

Inevitably, also, the politics of Twitter is status-based, with the centre-left and centrists being the cool kids from the school playground, and the various other tribes of Corbynites, Communists, social conservatives, English nationalists, rad feminists, jihadis, counter-jihadis and Alt-Right people being the equivalent of metallers, goths or the angry loners planning a school massacre. Social justice warriors are more like a gang composed of middle-class kids with trouble at home: whatever one privately thinks of them as individuals, there are… Read on

Would the migrant crisis have happened without the EU?

At the Spectator blogs: Likewise EU migrant policy is a disaster because it is only as strong as its weakest states; free movement within the union would work fine only so long as the external border was strong, and only so long as the Union had one common authority that chose who got to live here. It’s like a group of flats that knock down their internal partitions to create a house share, only for one member to hold the… Read on

Our leaders should read history books – but not just ones about the Nazis

At the Spectator The problem with history is that the most dominant subjects tend to crowd out all others, just as in any artistic sphere the most celebrated musician, writer or artist tends to become remembered at the expense of contemporaries. This has happened with Nazi Germany in our culture, which has become ubiquitous just as knowledge of large areas of the past has become confined to a few enthusiasts. I’d certainly agree with Amnesty that we would… Read on

Donald Trump and the breaking of the American working class

At the Spectator So why he is so popular? Trump’s supporters, a large number of them Democrats, tend to come from what we would in Britain call the lower-middle-class; demographically they’re similar to Ukip voters, although Trump has far more support among women than Farage does. So it’s probably true, as Owen Jones points out, that growing inequality plays a part in his rise, and for some time now America’s middle class – much like Britain’s – has been under… Read on

How Britain gave up learning French

Me, at Comment is Free, on the decline of French. The Cameron government ruled that from 2014 all children aged 7-11 must reach some proficiency in a foreign language, which is good news, but French will increasingly slide. My daughters’ primary school teaches only Spanish. Having found this out, I promptly decided to take them to a French school every Saturday. I appreciate this is possibly just one more thing that they’ll hate me for me when they’re older. And… Read on

Cologne: By downplaying social problems, multiculturalists help extremism to flourish

  At Spectator blogs In Haidtian terms, proponents of the multicultural society also feel a strong urge to protect perceived victims, in this case migrants, which is why there is often a blind spot about commenting on violence and victimisation by minorities. In my experience, few feminists would be prepared to sacrifice their beliefs in the name of multiculturalism. It’s true, though, that diversity is a sacred idea, which leads to sensitivity about some of the ‘challenges’ of mass migration,… Read on

There’s nothing wrong with public grieving

At the Spectator  If anything, I’d say that people have become more wary of celebrity grief, precisely because of what happened after Diana. People make this comparison often but the events of August/September 1997 were genuinely scary and weird; I remember large crowds of people in floods of tears outside the palace, hysterical eejits shrieking to journalists about the royal family, demands by the media that the Queen grieve, NO PROPERLY, in public. One poor eastern European was even punched… Read on

‘What happens on right-wing chat rooms is at least as awful as the acts of those assaulting the women’

After the Cologne sex attacks and the media’s downplaying of the issue, perhaps the most telling comments came from Ralf Jaeger, interior minister for North Rhine-Westphalia, who said: ‘What happens on right-wing platforms & chat rooms is at least as awful as the acts of those assaulting the women. This is poisoning the climate of our society.’ Lots of people in positions of power in western Europe are terrified of a Right-wing backlash against immigration; some perhaps genuinely… Read on

Spectator: Angela Merkel’s Facebook party turns sour

I previously compared Chancellor Angela Merkel to one of those teenagers who post their house parties on Facebook and end up with hundreds of random people turning up at their homes. And this is indeed the social media migration: people responded very quickly to Angela Merkel’s change of policy last summer because of Twitter and other sources, something that even five years ago would not have happened so quickly. Meanwhile the smartphone is driving African migration north, a movement that is more… Read on

Feast Day of St Thomas Becket – December 29 #ThomasBecket

Feast Day of St Thomas Becket – December 29 #ThomasBecket

This is from 1215 and All That: A very, very short history of Magna Carta and King John A lowborn cleric Significantly, Clause 1 of Magna Carta starts by stating ‘that the English Church shall be free, and shall have its rights undiminished, and its liberties unimpaired’. Central to the conflict of this age was the relationship between the Plantagenet monarchs and the only being more powerful – the Almighty. It rather goes without saying that during this… Read on