A poem that can bring tears even after seven centuries

I finished Ian Mortimer’s The Time Traveller’s Guide to Medieval England yesterday. Perhaps this signals the start of some sort of breakdown, but I was incredibly moved by a poem featured in the last chapter, called Pearl, which I’d never read before. It was written by an unknown poet in Cheshire or Lancashire in the 14th century, and concerns loss: So round, so radiant in each array, So small, so smooth her sides were, Wheresoever I judged gems gay, I… Read on

Spectator: Katie Hopkins, migrants and virtue signalling

Katie Hopkins seems to have upset a few people with her column about migrants. Read it all here. As an afterthought, don’t most people associate the word ‘cockroaches’ in describing people with the Rwanda genocide? It’s of course possible that she doesn’t, but thats what comes to mind for me. For an account of what the migrants are escaping from, this Guardian report makes fascinating – if rather downbeat – reading. 

The BBC has woken up to the war on Christians

My review of last night’s BBC documentary Kill the Christians. The Monastery of Mar Sarkis dates to the fourth century, and looked like somewhere Indiana Jones might turn up on his adventures. It truly felt like our religion frozen in amber. To be honest, though, and it’s strange how memory works, for what sticks in my mind is that in the hotel-restaurant afterwards there was a free buffet with profiteroles (I must have had five or six). Frozen in amber,… Read on

The Green Party as case study of Jonathan Haidt’s moral foundations theory

At the Spectator, on the subject of the Green Party, The Greens are a great example of Jonathan Haidt’s moral foundations theory, all their moral energies being focussed on the care principle. That is possibly why the Greens are disproportionately female, and why their manifesto contains a long litany of groups they feel are vulnerable. For example, their mental health section promises to ‘pay special attention to any mental health issues of mothers during and after pregnancy, children… Read on

There is no such thing as ‘immigrants’

A campaign group has launched posters around London making the case for more immigration. Here’s what I wrote about on the Spectator blogs about there being no such thing as ‘immigrants’  There was much glee about yesterday’s publication of a report into the economic impact of immigration, which concluded eastern Europeans had provided a net benefit of £4.4 billion to the UK economy. There was far less mention of the fact that immigrants from outside Europe… Read on

Prince Charles has certainly done one good thing – standing up for persecuted Middle Eastern Christians

Prince Charles is in the news, the Supreme Court ruling that his letters to government minister can be published after all. Not everyone is a fan of his interventions, but he has certainly spoken up about one issue few in Government seem to care about – the persecution of Christians in the Middle East. It is the subject of this week’s cover story in The Catholic Herald.

The ‘othering’ of Ukip

At the Spectator, on Nigel Farage’s pub lunch There was something genuinely frightening about the disturbance aimed at Nigel Farage and his family this weekend; what’s scary is that there seem to be so many people in our country who think a man having lunch with his family is a legitimate target for such a stunt because of his views. If you’re prepared to do that in front of people’s kids, you can likely do anything. Their self-justification… Read on

Richard III’s crimes against God, nature and Darwin

At the Catholic Herald Richard III, again – last time I promise Of England’s monarchs, only King John did something as monstrous, and his nephew Arthur was old enough to be a combatant and by the sounds of things probably deserved it (before being captured by John, Arthur had just besieged his own grandmother Eleanor of Aquitaine). Yet it all makes sense in some gruesome way; Richard’s coup was in order to pre-empt a takeover by the queen’s family, the… Read on

The unbearable whiteness of philosophy

A subject that pains some students of the subjects, who are behind a campaign to make the subject more diverse. But why is the subject so dominated by white males? What are the reasons? some of these include the systemic killing of female philosophers, massacres of some of our earliest thinkers such as the Aztec; and the destruction of ancient African cities that illuminate the thinking of old civilisations. William of Ockham probably wouldn’t agree, but… Read on

Why conservatives are so enthusiastic when they adopt politically correct ideas

One of the most moving passages from English history comes from the Venerable Bede on the converson of King Edwin of Northumbria. Meeting a council of elders, the king of the north, whose life had been saved by a Christian, discussed the possibility of adopting the new religion. Christianity had come to Kent at the end of the 6th century and had spread to Essex and East Anglia; its conquest of the entire Anglo-Saxon world perhaps seemed inevitable and pagans might… Read on