The Case for Conservative Urbanism

After four and a half years writing for Coffee House I am off. Thanks to all those who have read and commented, both positively and critically (I do take some of it in). The old blogposts can all be found here and my last piece is here. It’s about traffic flow in suburban London so will no doubt go viral.

We are now no longer fellow citizens, we are fellow believers

At the Spectator  We were all taught at school that in-groups and out-groups are necessarily poisonous things that lead to man’s inhumanity to man. Yet maybe the sort of ideological tribalism which is now so common, and which carries almost nothing in the way of social taboo or stigma, will be more dangerous in the 21st century than the ethnic or religious variety. Strangely enough, I’ve recently been reading about another bunch of guys who were on the Wrong… Read on

Children’s films are the only thing worth seeing these days

At the Spectator I accept the possibility that my cultural tastes may have frozen in time along with my politics and haircut – apparently this happens around 24 – but 2017 was indeed a terrible year for film, so clearly someone agrees with me. And as the film industry has become less successful at selling cinema tickets, so it has become ever more overtly political, desperately trying to keep up with the Great Awokening, the spiralling competition to appear… Read on

I do wish the cultural revolution would hurry up and reach its dictatorship phase

At Spectator Coffee House My dinosaur brain obviously categorises things into ‘harmless traditions’ and ‘dangerous threats to western civilisation’, and grid girls are definitely in the former. Formula One is a sort of modern-day version of the medieval tourney, a celebration of masculine bravery and strength by its latter-day knights – the son of the head of the Habsburg family is, funnily enough, a racing driver – and just as the tourneys of the later middle ages had a… Read on

Conservatives are the equivalent of the last pagan generation of Rome

At Spectator Coffee House The problem here is not just Brexit, but that Brexit and the economic uncertainty it has brought has exposed how intellectually exhausted conservatism is in Britain; the Tories have simply relied too much on their USP of being the people who can sensibly run the economy, without any real vision of the future, no intellectual hinterland, no heroic narrative to inspire, no confidence in its ideas, and also little interest in using actual empirical arguments… Read on

Is political correctness speeding up?

From Spectator blogs One of the most influential and popular ideas of the post-war era was that of the Authoritarian Personality, which linked fascism with a number of personality traits, including conventionalism, anti-intellectualism and prudery. Conservatism, in other words. It has become popular to believe that being right-wing is synonymous with being authoritarian. Society may have no common culture or religion or body of literature, but everyone knows who the Nazis are. So as Nazism has pushed out everything… Read on

Does alcohol make us more right-wing?

At Spectator Coffee House Similarly, as this study of the anti-anxiety drug lorazepam shows, ‘anxiety exerts a general inhibitory effect on harmful acts toward other humans regardless of whether the motivation for those harmful acts is selfish or utilitarian.’ People, once loosened up by alcohol, are more willing to punish wrongdoers, and certainly drink is long associated with violence and in particular communal mob violence. Personally this jars with my own experience; since conservatism is associated with higher levels… Read on

Get off social media for 2018

At the Spectator Coffee House I hardly ever use Facebook because I’ve never in my entire time using it closed the browser feeling happier than when I opened it. Instagram I don’t do either but I can see that looking at lots of people more beautiful and happier than you will make anyone miserable. What vanity is to Instagram, sanctimony is to Twitter, the competition to be purer-than-thou and to gain status in the moral community the most tiresome… Read on

Brexit: The boredom of living through ‘interesting times’ 

At Spectator Coffee House And yet 18th and 19th century Britain was politically stable and unified enough to work around these religious-political divisions, without bloodshed, and for minority religions on both sides to be slowly allowed into the mainstream. I’m less confident about the coming troubled times, which have more in common with the far bloodier culture war of the 16th and 17th centuries, which was also spurred on by new technology, in this case printing rather than the… Read on

All conservatives should support Michael Gove’s green crusade

At the Coffee House I appreciate that environmental policy is littered with unintended consequences and it’s not simple, but allowing the Left to dominate the issue of saving the planet was one of the biggest mistakes conservatives made in the late 20th century. One of the central points of conservatism is future-orientation: it doesn’t matter how much the Twitterati despise you, what’s important is that your great-grandchildren admire and appreciate the labours that made their world. Indeed if fashionable… Read on