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

Make Beauty Affordable Again

At the Spectator Coffee House, my manifesto for more housing in London.

The hypocrisy of pro-Union Brexiteers

At the Spectator, on the prospect of yet another referendum. It would also create the strange situation where a British government that had just left the European Union would be warning Scots that leaving a larger union will have catastrophic economics consequences. Surely no one involved in Brexit, or who supported Brexit, can make any argument against Scottish independence except emotional ones: that the British are a nation and for that reason should stick together. That point was… Read on

Across the West, working-class voters are abandoning the Left

At the Coffee House That’s what many people at the moment believe. But if you look elsewhere, white working-class voters are deserting centre-left parties across the western world, so it would be strange if Labour was able to buck this trend. In Austria, for instance, 85 per cent of working-class men voted for the radical right at last year’s presidential elections. Working-class voters also carried Donald Trump to power – the Orange One having a 39 point advantageRead on

On Christopher Lasch and Steve Bannon

At Spectator Coffee House Last week, there was an interesting profile of another anti-establishment type, Steve Bannon, who is seen as one of the intellectuals behind the Trump regime. This passage, highlighted by Rod Dreher, shows what a revolutionary air there is about him. It brought to mind Christopher Lasch’s prophetic 1994 work The Revolt of the Elites, which I think is essential to understand what is happening now. Lasch, who died before his great work was published, saw… Read on

Airbnb’s odd criticism of Trump doesn’t add up

From the Spectator Coffee House We use Airbnb quite a bit, both as hosts and guests, and it is a fantastic business. On top of the extra cash it allows people to earn, it does bring some solid social benefits, perhaps the biggest of which is that, because of online reputations, it encourages people to behave in a very civil and considerate way. It also encourages trade, exchange and interaction with people from different parts of the world. This… Read on

The rise of the British spiritual empire

From the Spectator Coffee House The decline of Britishness directly goes hand-in-hand with its transformation into an ideology, complete with a set of values attached. Military empires are often followed by spiritual empires after the initial political entity collapses. The Assyrians, for example, still projected huge influence through what westerners called the ‘Nestorian Church’, spreading the faith (and Assyrian culture) as far as China. The fall of Rome was followed by the rise of Roman Catholicism, which preserved and projected… Read on

It’s easy to forget how unnatural it is to tolerate views we disagree with

From Spectator Coffee House Most of us have grown up in such comfortable, peaceful political cultures that we easily forget how unnatural it is to tolerate worldviews and opinions we strongly disagree with; in the English-speaking world it took hundreds of years to achieve this lucky situation, but in much of the planet it is still a mirage. It’s probably more fragile than we think because many people’s actual attachment to democratic liberal principles are pretty wafer-thin when it… Read on

Star Wars is the perfect analogy for the decline of America

From Spectator Coffee House Other great examples of Ottomanism include Hamilton and the Harry Potter series; Ottomanism is not unhappy with other non-progressive ideas, such as hierarchy or inequality. Women must be empowered but then individual women were often very powerful in the least liberal of societies, such as the Ottoman Empire. What defines Ottomanism is what it is against – ethnic nationalism. I can see the Star Wars series increasingly becoming an analogy for the decline of the… Read on

How the Catholic Church created democracy

From Spectator Coffee House The difference family structure makes can be seen in the contrast between southern and northern Italy, where the rate of historic cousin marriage correlates highly with the Mafia index, corruption levels and even how much people cheat at school tests. This is why Sonny Corleone berates his brother for joining the army, those signing up being ‘a bunch of saps because they risk their lives for strangers’. As he tells his sibling: ‘Your country ain’t… Read on