‘British Values’ won’t help in our fight against terrorism

At the Coffee House Another structural problem is that, as the Adam Smith Institute’s Sam Bowman pointed out over the weekend, these attacks are going to increase hostility to Muslims, which in turn will encourage radicalisation. Sam is a friend with whom I profoundly disagree on the subject of immigration, and he got a lot of flak for this, but the point is almost certainly true. According to one paper, among the big terror risks are the size… Read on

If political leaders can’t have conscience rights, who can?

I have an article on the Acton Institute website on freedom of conscience in Europe.

Labour is now the party of the middle class

At the Coffee House The polling data coming out of the election is very interesting; the Conservatives enjoyed a 17-point lead among people with no qualifications, while Labour had a 15-point advantage with graduates. This does not take into account age, since older people are far less likely to have a degree, but certainly this was ‘Labour’s highest middle class support since 1979, and the Conservatives’ best score among C2DEs since then’, as one analyst Read on

The future belongs to the Left

At the Coffee House When I was in my early 20s and quite conservative I assumed I was just an anomaly, someone who develops these traits earlier than normal, and conservatism was like baldness or impotence or the other bad things that get you in middle age; most of my friends and contemporaries would catch up at some point, because these things just develop at different speeds. Now in my late 30s I realise it’s worse than that and… Read on

Why I’m voting Liberal Democrat for the first time today

From a very early age I’ve been put off by sanctimoniousness; it’s why, I think, I’ve never been attracted to the political Left, which when I was growing up was heavy on the finger-wagging, and why I find a certain style of newspaper column irritating. They remind me of the sour-faced old guys we used to see at church all in competition to see who could look the most serious and disapproving. This whole idea that if you don’t support… Read on

Fr Ragheed Ganni, 1972-2007

Fr Ragheed Ganni, 1972-2007

Ten years ago today four men and a woman were leaving the Holy Spirit Church in Mosul after Sunday evening Divine Liturgy when they were approached by a group armed with guns. Fr Ragheed Ganni, a 35-year-old Chaldean Catholic priest  who had just celebrated Mass, had recently been warned by Islamists to close the church or face the consequence, and the atmosphere in Iraq’s second city had become intense that year as the country’s sectarian violence escalated. Fr Ganni was… Read on

Are Remainers brighter than Brexiteers?

Yes, is the short answer. At the Spectator.  PS Overall, though, there doesn’t seem to be that much difference between conservatives and liberals when it comes to brains. The paper’s personality results are equally expected. Remain voters – heavily concentrated in cities – tend to be more neurotic, while Leavers scored higher on conscientiousness, a personality trait associated with social conservatism. This study of 2015 voters, for example, showed Green Party voters to be off the scale in… Read on

Evening Standard: At least we can always count on our hooliganism

Me in the Standard.

Will Brexit make us better Europeans?

At Coffee House But one of the results of the vote might be that Britons become better Europeans; this is not exactly an unintended consequence, as Daniel Hannan has argued the point before, but it’s still somewhat counter-intuitive. Contrary to the thesis that Brexit has made the country a backwards-looking cesspit of hate, polls show that Britons have become more friendly to EU migrants since the June 23 vote. Maybe strong fences make for good neighbours, or the upsurge… Read on

On St Patrick and St Gildas, patron saint of immigration restriction

Ireland’s rapid and enthusiastic embrace of the new faith is impressive, in particular their attraction to the originally Egyptian and eastern Mediterranean idea of monasticism. Irish monks loved the austerity and self-inflected misery associated with the religious life, and the country’s harsh environment provided the perfect backdrop; the most extreme was Skelling Michael, off the coast of Kerry, an isolated mountain island that can only be reached on calm days (to a younger generation made famous in the closing scene… Read on