#RIP Cecil

At the Spectator blogs, on the end of big game hunting. Mr Palmer has now hired a PR agency to deal with the disaster, which will be some task; normally the easiest way to get out of these problems is to trawl through your critic’s correspondence to find proof of racism, although this may be difficult with Cecil (he was named after Cecil Rhodes, but I’m not sure that will wash). Saying that the internet has made us a global village… Read on

Idealists tend to cause far more misery to humanity than cynics

While I’ve been away living the English bourgeoise dream in the south of France, my post on Jeremy Corbyn Corbyn is an idealist, and throughout history idealists have brought far, far more misery to the world than cynics and pragmatists. People who think they’re good and that they can make the world a better place end up doing much more damage, which is what can appear so frightening about the new generation of social justice warriors. In a related… Read on

We need a Campaign to Protect Urban England

When I say ‘beautiful’ architecture, I should point out that I mean Gothic, Classical, Georgian and Victorian, my tastes being entirely reactionary on this matter, but then I’ve noticed that modern architects all tend to live in Georgian or Victorian homes, and I tend to pay attention to people’s revealed preferences. Even though British architecture is nothing like as bad as the 1950s and 1960s, we still can never get it quite right. Modern interiors tend to be fantastic, King’s… Read on

Greeks v Franco-Germans, medieval edition

The other day I was writing about the age-old culture gap between Greeks and Franks. Here, from 1215 and All That: a very, very short history of Magna Carta and King John, on how Latin Europe’s crusaders weren’t entirely welcome in the Greek world. The Third Crusade came about after the Christian Kingdom of Jerusalem had been re-conquered by the Muslims. The rulers of England, France and Germany pledged their support and to encourage recruits emperors and kings promised… Read on

The man who invented the jury system

Today is the anniversary of Henry II, the man who brought in the jury system in the 12th century Here’s an extract from 1215 and All That: A Very, Very Short History of Magna Carta and King John Henry II’s great legacy was to revolutionize the English state, making it an efficient tax-raising machine and dispensing justice, but he and his family were also notoriously cruel and violent. So when Magna Carta emerged it was not only aimed at John, but at… Read on

#Greekreferendum and the Islamic father of sociology

At the Spectator today on the Greek disaster and Ibn Khaldun, my favourite medieval thinker, and his grand theory of group feeling – sadly lacking in Europe. If you ever get Irish people on the subject of the Great Famine, the essential point they always make is that had the potato blight hit Yorkshire, no one would have starved because London would have come to its aid. Yorkshire is the example used, because it’s far away enough from… Read on

Spectator: Polygamy could be the next sexual liberation campaign

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

Greeks v Franks – why culture matters in the EU

At the Spectator blogs, on the cultural divide between the Greeks and the Franks.      

Jihad thrives where the nation-state is weak

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.

The whitewashing of England’s Catholic history

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.)