The Week: Jeremy Corbyn’s topsy-turvy culture war

Me, in The Week: That referendum turned into a bitter and ugly culture war, a marked sign of the shifting from the traditional left/right axis towards a conflict between globalism and nationalism. Yet it has had a huge unintended consequence, too: What started as a battle for Britain’s soul between metropolitan liberals and conservatives seems to have left both sides exhausted and impotent and instead emboldened hardline socialists, viewed until recently as harmless relics of a bygone age. And… Read on

I’m a Leaver who would be happy for a second referendum

At the Spectator I voted Leave but if it looks like clearly being an economic disaster, then it’s ridiculous to pursue it whatever the cost. In no field does someone continue along the same course, knowing it will end in complete failure, whatever the consequences. It is true that there would be public anger at a second referendum, but there would be far more if the economy went down the toilet. There is also the fact that, while we… Read on

‘Saxons vs Vikings’ and ‘1066 and Before All That’ published August 8

I have a series of history books aimed at young adults published in the US. It came about as a result of an Amazon Kindle Single on Magna Carta, which Skyhorse wished to publish (in extended form – the ebook was 30,000, the book book is 50,000). The five books are sort of my idea of a slightly older Horrible Histories, officially aimed at young adults but accessible to non-young adults too (I was too old for HH, although I… Read on

The spiritual cause of the ‘European intifada’

Me, for the Acton Institute. Others are not so optimistic. In Germany, historian Rolf Peter Sieferle has made even more of a splash. His account of German political psychology and its effects, Finis Germania, has enjoyed good sales just as it has been roundly condemned by the prestige press. Die Zeit called it a book of “brazen obscenity.” (He has not been able to enjoy his surprise bestseller, having taken his own life last September.) A former socialist who grew disillusioned… Read on

The Week: Of course language is essential to class. Take it from an Englishman.

Me in The Week Throughout history, food and the manners that surround it have always been important class markers. There’s a reason why the words for the stuff served at the table — beef, pork, mutton — bears no resemblance to the names of the animals they originate from — cow, pig, sheep. The latter are Old English while the former are French in origin, reflecting that language’s prestige status after the Norman Conquest and France’s cultural dominance in the Middle… Read on

Me, my voice, talking about me, and my book

I’m interviewed on a podcast on the Diversity Illusion. It’s with a new, regular podcast called Future Nations. I can’t stand the sound of my voice but it seems to have turned out okay. Listen and enjoy!

The real history that inspired Game of Thrones

The real history that inspired Game of Thrones

With season 7 starting next week, I’m featured in an article on the subject. “The show is all about the tragic sense of history and the wheel of fortune,” says West. “You can be happy with the world one day, and the next everything you hold dear is swept away. “Medieval people, who were especially at the mercy of political systems they had no control over, understood this better than we do.” The Realm, my kindle single on the… Read on

Young people check their privilege – and feel deeply disappointed

At the Spectator Political correctness is fashionable, a positional good, and it is understandable that high-status people should therefore compete to become more politically correct than rivals. This is one  possible explanation for the US campus ‘safe spaces’ movement, which is a well-trodden path among commentators, and unfortunately comes with the same problem that Political Correctness did in the late 80s and 90s; the people who endlessly complain about it become almost as tiresome as the people doing it…. Read on

Donald Trump is a gift for the progressive narrative

At the Spectator Coffee House What I can predict is that after Trump the triumph of the progressive narrative will be more complete than ever.  My grandchildren will be taught at school about the president’s ‘Muslim ban’ just as my children are told about Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King. People will recall the Naked Gun-like image of a Jewish and Muslim family hugging while protesting against the order. There will be a film about Iraqi-Americans stuck at JFK, and… Read on

If you can’t afford a home, why vote Tory?

At the Spectator Things are so bad that even Tokyo will soon have a larger proportion of homeowners than London; in fact the residents of Japan’s capital now have far larger homes than a generation ago, largely a product of densification in the capital. Japan, of course, has little in the way of immigration, and it has low fertility rates which will inevitably free up space in the future; Britain, in contrast, has historically unprecedented levels of migration… Read on