‘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

The future belongs to the Left

At the Coffee House When I was in my early 20s and quite conservative I assumed I was just an anomaly, someone who develops these traits earlier than normal, and conservatism was like baldness or impotence or the other bad things that get you in middle age; most of my friends and contemporaries would catch up at some point, because these things just develop at different speeds. Now in my late 30s I realise it’s worse than that and… Read on

Why I’m voting Liberal Democrat for the first time today

From a very early age I’ve been put off by sanctimoniousness; it’s why, I think, I’ve never been attracted to the political Left, which when I was growing up was heavy on the finger-wagging, and why I find a certain style of newspaper column irritating. They remind me of the sour-faced old guys we used to see at church all in competition to see who could look the most serious and disapproving. This whole idea that if you don’t support… Read on

Are Remainers brighter than Brexiteers?

Yes, is the short answer. At the Spectator.  PS Overall, though, there doesn’t seem to be that much difference between conservatives and liberals when it comes to brains. The paper’s personality results are equally expected. Remain voters – heavily concentrated in cities – tend to be more neurotic, while Leavers scored higher on conscientiousness, a personality trait associated with social conservatism. This study of 2015 voters, for example, showed Green Party voters to be off the scale in… Read on

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