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

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

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

Is democracy in danger?

At the Spectator Coffee House One of the reasons many people are sceptical about democracy is because they’re right to be. There is a fair amount of research suggesting that people power is not necessarily the best system of government. For example, one paper suggests that ‘hereditary monarchs with lots of legal power choose better policy than other systems do, including democracies, non-hereditary dictators, and weak hereditary monarchs, and this is reflected in higher growth.’ On top of this… Read on

Donald Trump played the identity politics game – and won

At the Spectator: Trump seems to have survived by refusing to submit when his opponents took offence and attempted to shame him into backing down, a tactic that has been hugely successful against conservatives in the past. But Trump is also the triumph of identity politics. For years the punditry have been saying that the GOP is finished because America is becoming more diverse, failing to see that since the Democrats win through identity politics, then Republicans could… Read on

Democrats might not like the future America they have created

At the Spectator blogs, on the future of America. And yet the huge contradiction is that this dream of ‘every shade of humanity’ is incompatible with the sort of egalitarian society Democrats favour, which depends on high levels of trust. There is a great deal of research into the negative effects of diversity on trust, such as this paper here. Or here. Or here. Or here. Or here. This trust affects how much is… Read on

Can Katy Perry stop Donald Trump?

At the Spectator Coffee House I don’t know whether any of Katy Perry’s fans will be more inclined to vote because she has stripped off – I’m not sure how many can vote – but it will sure inspire Trump’s supporters. One of the many interesting findings Jonathan Haidt has made in his study of political partisanship is that liberals are much worse at understanding their opponents than conservatives are. It might be that, as David Brooks has pointed out,… Read on

If Trump wins, Europeans will have to grow up

At the Spectator I admit to having a rather sentimental view of America’s role in Europe, being part of that generation who grew up playing out the Second World War in our bedrooms; I remember, aged 8, visiting Berlin and being aware that it was the US soldiers there who stood between us and this hideous political system. That the Americans may wish to withdraw that support, just as Russia has become aggressive again, is frightening in a… Read on

Does size matter for US presidential candidates?

At the Spectator blogs I don’t know whether men blessed with enormous manhoods are more likely to make effective leaders; social scientists probably lack the necessary data to draw any correlations between length and girth, and things like GDP per capita or the underlying rate of inflation. A few newspaper articles recently suggested that Hitler had a micropenis, but for all we know he may have been an outlier. Based on my own prejudices, I would imagine that men with… Read on