Back in the early 1990s when the kind old 17th Duke of Norfolk was special guest at prize-giving night at our school he remarked that in Islam one was allowed up to four wives. ‘What a nightmare,’ he quipped, ‘imagine having four mothers-in-law’ (or something to that effect). I think back at the joke as indicative of a more innocent age; if he had said that now, some little Pavlik Morozov in the assembly would have tweeted his outrage and… Read on
At the Spectator blogs, on the cultural divide between the Greeks and the Franks.
At the Spectator today on the subject of Jonathan Sack’s book on why people kill for religion, and how Islamism thrives when traditional nation-states break down. (In fact one of the things protecting Turkey from this problem is Atatürk’s nationalism). I especially liked this comment below, which could have been from Viz’s Charlie Pontoon.
At the Catholic Herald, and following the blogpost on Magna Carta, how Catholicism’s role in English liberty, prosperity and liberty have been whitewashed out of our history. (A sort of sequel is taking place today, with Christianity’s central role in European history being lost down the memory hole, but that’s for another moan.)
Magna Carta again, from 1215 And All That: In retrospect, unlike say the American constitution that was clearly influenced by it, the Magna Carta looks like a mixed bunch of ideas and demands, some timeless and others odd, petty or actually malicious. Clause 33, for instance – ‘Henceforth all fish-weirs will be completely removed from the Thames and the Medway’ – is not something you often hear quoted in legal dramas or anything an Englishman would get misty-eyed… Read on
Today marks the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta, for which we should really thank King John. For as Winston Churchill put it in The History of the English-Speaking Peoples, ‘When the long tally is added, it will be seen that the British nation and the English-speaking world owe far more to the vices of John than to the labours of virtuous sovereigns; for it was through the union of many forces against him that the most famous milestone of our rights… Read on
At the Spectator, on the 2017 European referendum (wait wait,, please don’t close the page!) I don’t doubt there will be some head bangers who show up, for any cause that articulates the nation-state will attract them, just like the only bar in town will end up with all the alcoholics. But most aren’t; some outers are little Englanders (I don’t mean that as a pejorative word), some are Atlanticists or globalists. Personally I’m more of a Europeanist and want… Read on
Me at Spiked on Magna Carta:  was not the first time a king had made such a contract. Two centuries earlier in 1014, the hopeless Ethelred II made a similar promise after returning to the kingdom from which the Danes had previously kicked him out. He was so unpopular that his subjects were fairly ambivalent about whether they would want Ethelred back or would rather go on under the rule of the Viking pirate king Sweyn Forkbeard…. Read on
At the Catholic Herald today. Archbishop Langton was a strange and unusual choice for the role; he was the former tutor to Pope Alexander III, and was a rather otherworldly scholar who wrote page upon page of totally impenetrable commentary on the Bible. However, there was a theme in his later writing, much of which seemed to focus on the bad kings of the Old Testament who broke God’s law and who therefore had terrible things done to… Read on
On the Spectator today on the subject of students who are unwilling to listen to dangerous ideas. But surely, in a free market, there must be consumer demand for a college course that especially offers dangerous, disconfirming ideas? For a parallel take the world of fitness, and the sharpening of body rather than mind; while many people want something gentle or moderately strenuous in their exercise classes, there is also a huge market for people wishing to push the limits…. Read on