Happy Thanksgiving – now give me $1.50

Happy Thanksgiving – now give me $1.50

Happy Thanksgiving, Americans! Today you celebrate your country’s founding by spending time with family. But if you wanted something else to do, and you have a Kindle, why not buy this ebook on Magna Carta, 1215 and All That. It’s selling well in America, but then at $1.50 it’s a bargain. Here’s an extract on how Magna Carta influenced America:   The doors to America’s Supreme Court feature eight panels showing important moments in legal history, one with an angry-looking King… Read on

Spectator: Oldham is a bad omen for Labour, even without the Corbyn effect

Much has been written about Ukip’s decline this year, but all the trends suggest that populist parties are a permanent feature of European politics now. Even Germany’s version of Ukip has now broken into double figures, and that’s a country where the taboos about xenophobia are strongest; it seems unlikely it will go away in Britain, even after Farage retires. So while Ukip won only one seat in May, in terms of their goal of finishing second in 100… Read on

Evening Standard: Comforts of the West have let radicalism grow

In today’s paper: In his recently published book Not in God’s Name the former Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks explained that Westerners, in their “effort to eliminate identity by abolishing groups altogether and instead enthroning the individual”, had created the perfect vacuum for the return of hardline religious identity. Radical Islamism thrives in the absence of other identities, which is why it is especially prevalent among second-generation immigrants, who are more likely to feel alienated and torn between cultures. This alienation, which… Read on

St Hugh, the medieval bishop who tried to protect Lincoln’s Jews

St Hugh, the medieval bishop who tried to protect Lincoln’s Jews

Today is the feast day of St Hugh – or yesterday was, depending on your tastes – who appears in 1215 and All That. One of the great churchmen of medieval England, Bishop Hugh of Lincoln is perhaps best known for saving the Jews of that city from a massacre during one of the period outbursts of intolerance. Living in a difficult time, Hugh also had the bad luck of being bishop during the reign of… Read on

Political correctness is not ‘all about politeness’

Me in the Spectator PC is certainly not new. Students have always supported daft political ideas, largely because these ideas are seen as attractive, sexy and high-status. American students, in particular, have had a hugely intolerant streak for at least five decades, and some of the things they did in the 1970s were arguably worse than today’s escapades. E.O. Wilson, for example, ‘became a target of vilification and harassment’ (in Steven Pinker’s words) after suggesting in Sociobiology that things like altruism and violence were… Read on

The New Church: me in the Bow Group magazine

I feature in Crossbow, the magazine of the Conservative Bow Group: But while the churches are not as influential as they once were, the far bigger problem for the Tories in 2015 and 2020 and 2030 is what has replaced them: the new church, that of the established institutions of government, education, social work and media, and the moral and political consensus that has grown inside them. Sometimes this is called the Blob, or the Cathedral, or new establishment, but whatever we call it, it is understood this new church… Read on

Why you have to love the French

It’s one of my great sadnesses that the French language, and with it its culture, is in such decline. My childrens’ schools doesn’t teach it at all, and so I make them go to Saturday classes to learn it; I appreciate this is despite it probably not having much practical use, it’s just my bloody-minded way of opposing the modern world, the equivalent of driving a tractor into McDonald’s. Anyway, here’s yet another reason to admire the French –… Read on

Do France’s neo-reactionaries herald the end of the Left’s golden age?

Me, doing my Comical Ali  thing. In fact what progressive ideas have in common is that when put into practice they seem to cause people to be miserable. Multiculturalism removes people’s sense of comfort and community, replacing it with alienation and atomisation. Secularisation may lower social capital. Egalitarianism makes people feel like failures because it offers them largely false hopes of rising socially. Sexual liberation is based on the contradiction of sexual equality and sexual freedom, which clash… Read on

‘Because it’s 2015’ is not a strong line of argument

In the Spectator blogs on chronlogical snobbery. Trudeau, the first son of a prime minister to take office in Canada and the second-youngest in the country’s history, has grabbed international attention for his good looks and retail approach to politics. Asked why he felt gender equality in the Cabinet was important, Trudeau said simply: ‘Because it is 2015.’ But when you think about it, that could also be the answer to the question ‘why are you cutting… Read on

Why don’t we replace Remembrance Day with All Saints and All Souls Day? PS thank you Americans

I’m a big believer in the idea of having a day devoted to remembering the dead. It’s psychologically helpful and important, which is why it’s sad how November 1 and 2 have lost their significance to many people. At the Spectator I have a blog on what is sometimes called ‘poppy-fascism’, the social pressure for people to wear poppies, something that personally annoys me. My bigger problem with 11/11 is that it’s presented as a day to rememeber… Read on