The Normans were the original liberal metropolitan elite ‘Remainers’

The Normans were the original liberal metropolitan elite ‘Remainers’

Originally appearing at the Spectator Coffee House, October 14, 2016 Today is the most important date in our history, the day on which thousands of men fought outside Hastings and England was changed forever. By the end of Saturday, October 14, 1066, thousands were dead, among them England’s king, Harold II, and most of the country’s leaders. As historian Elizabeth van Houts put it, ‘No other event in western European history of the central Middle Ages can be compared… Read on

Me, my voice, again. This time talking about Vikings this time

And my face too, looking a state (and I wasn’t even drunk). At the Future Nations vlog, talking about Alfred the Great and the Vikings.

1215 and All That: A Very, Very short history of Magna Carta

Is available from Amazon. This began as an ebook in 2015 and was last year bought by Skyhorse to publish in print form. The downside is that I lost all the reviews for the original, and as the Spectator’s Rory Sutherland wrote, when a company upgrades a product now they do not always give it a new name because they want to keep its positive record. (I realised this when I bought a mini-hoover this year which was… Read on

Conservatism has no future unless it tackles housing

At the i. While Margaret Thatcher secured 42 per cent of the youth vote in 1979, Britain’s second female prime minister got less than half that, and to the vast majority of under-40s the party is essentially repulsive,  regarded as the Nasty Party, to use Theresa May’s famous Ratnerism. A number of factors might explain this, among them the expansion of university education, declining religious belief, the dominance of the Left in education and media, or the way small-c… Read on

Is America’s ‘despair epidemic’ about to arrive in Britain?

At the Spectator. Numerous commentators have linked America’s huge rise in early deaths with the decline of organised religion, in particular the sense of hope and community faith brings. And perhaps just as importantly religion also offers some respite from the relentless competitiveness of life, since it emphasises the importance of acceptance and dignity. Never mind if he isn’t rich or famous or especially talented, a man doing an ordinary, honest job and looking after his family can hold… Read on

Never mind the terrorists, chaps, London will just keep calm and carry on.

At the Spectator It’s the same argument people make about crime: why are people so worried, when we have less crime than in the 1990s? But we have farmore crime than in the 1950s. If this sort of decline had taken place in an area like child poverty or maternal mortality, such comparisons would hardly be taken seriously. Imagine if cancer survival rates were now worse than 40 years ago: would anyone be arguing ‘lol they were much worse in… Read on

The shrinking circle of religious tolerance

At the Acton Institute This fits in with Max Weber’s observation that people are much more likely to trust people with religion – even one totally different to theirs – to atheists. Etymologically “religion” comes from the Latin “to bind,” and religious belief has almost universally played a central part in maintaining high levels of trust within groups. Trust, or social capital, is a vital ingredient for any healthy society or political system. Even highly secular, liberal groups, such… Read on

Do we really want restrictions on German immigration?

Nein, I say. (And despite what the government thinks, non-EU migration is a much bigger issue for voters, even Leave voters.)

To attract my fellow kids, the Tories need more houses, not memes

At Spectator blogs So here’s a proposal to save the Tory party: devolve all planning law to the regional level – allowing Greater London to build on its green belt, in return for which the Tory-voting shires can preserve theirs. This is actually a viable solution in a way that building on brownfield sites isn’t, for as the Adam Smith Institute point out: ‘Just 3.7 per cent of London’s green belt—that fraction within 15 minutes walk of existing train stations—would… Read on

Plutôt anglais que britannique

A Spectator article of mine on the modern significance of identifying as British or English appears in the latest Courrier International.