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

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

It’s okay to hate foreigners so long as they’re rich

At the Spectator. On why absentee foreign landlords aren’t to blame for the housing crisis.

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

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

‘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

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