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Question Time Britain 

How the Question Time bear-pit changed me

As a regular panellist over the years on BBC TV’s Question Time, I’m sorry to see that David Dimbleby is stepping down from the show after a mere quarter-century in the chair. He says he wants to return to his first love, reporting. Maybe so. Or maybe he’s just had enough of the trivialisation of the show that he has anchored for so long. Nowadays there’s almost invariably at least one comedian among the five-strong panel — and that’s just the politicians. I have come to realise that the audience…

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minefield Britain Israel 

Prince William: an FCO hostage in a minefield

It was always a racing certainty that next week’s visit to the Middle East by Prince William, featuring the first official visit to Israel by a member of Britain’s Royal Family, would prove to be a diplomatic minefield. It now turns out, however, that rather than playing the role of minesweeper-in-chief Britain’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office has left one of its own landmines defiantly in place – and is guiding Prince William straight for it. Prince William is to visit Jordan, Israel and the area controlled by the Palestinian Authority….

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titanic Britain 

The titanic struggle to save the United Kingdom

No-one should be in the slightest doubt about the titanic struggle becoming more desperate by the day to defend British democracy and restore the UK as an independent self-governing nation. An all-out attempt is being being made to frustrate the wish of the British people, expressed by 52 to 48 per cent in the 2016 referendum, to leave the EU. Last night, after a day of drama and arm-twisting, Theresa May’s government narrowly escaped defeat over the EU Withdrawal Bill. A number of amendments to the bill, which had been…

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prostitution Britain 

Prostitution: men shouldn’t get all the blame

Prostitution: men shouldn’t get all the blame At the University of Cincinnati, the sex war has reached an absurd impasse. A male and female student who woke up together after a drunken encounter have each complained of sexual assault by the other. Some have speculated that the case might signal a weakening of the presumption that women are invariably victims of male sexual aggression. This premise lies behind the Commons women and equalities committee inquiry into sexual harassment to which I was invited to give evidence last week. The word…

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drugs Britain 

Going soft on drugs is a disastrous mistake

Going soft on drugs is a disastrous mistake Two young people died and 15 others were admitted to hospital after attending a music festival in Portsmouth at the weekend. Not all these incidents were drug-related but the festival subsequently issued a warning against a “dangerous high-strength or bad-batch substance on site”. Three people have been arrested on suspicion of involvement in the supply of class-A drugs. Following this tragedy, there have been predictable calls for all festivals to provide drug-testing facilities. Niamh Eastwood, executive director of the drug liberalisation group…

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Livingstone Britain 

Livingstone departure: Labour’s cynical totem

Ken Livingstone has now resigned from the Labour party. So what? His departure will not lance the boil of Labour party antisemitism. First, Livingstone has still not resiled from his claim that Hitler supported Zionism, nor has he admitted to antisemitism; even today he has doubled down on his position. He used the standard excuse that he was resigning simply because he had become a “distraction” to Labour’s opposition to the government. He was “truly sorry” only for the “offence and upset in the Jewish community” which he had caused…

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inquiries Britain 

Verdict first, inquiries afterwards

What do Sir Martin Moore-Bick and Sir John Mitting have in common? Both are distinguished former judges. Both head public inquiries. Moore-Bick chairs the one dealing with the Grenfell tower fire; Mitting chairs the one looking at claims that undercover policemen who infiltrated various groups deceived women members into sexual relationships. The two have something else in common. Both are under heavy attack from victims and complainants who are demanding they be removed from their posts. Everyone “knows” there should be arrests after Grenfell. Everyone “knows” those undercover officers should…

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secular Britain 

Times column and exploding brains

While my Times column this morning has attracted much support (for which, many thanks to all) other brains appears to have been exploding over my argument that there is no moral equivalence between antisemitism and Islamophobia. The New Statesman has devoted an entire article, no less, to what it calls my “terrible column on the ‘fiction’ of Islamophobia, annotated”. Writer Nicky Woolf laboriously holds up paragraph after paragraph for scrutiny. Presumably she intends to demonstrate that not one of my arguments can withstand the force of such forensic analysis. Alas,…

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Antisemitism and Islamophobia Britain 

Islamophobia is a fiction to shut down debate

Islamophobia is a fiction to shut down debate Remarks I made on BBC TV’s Sunday Politics seem to have caused some controversy. Even before the credits started to roll, Twitter was going into meltdown. I had said there was no equivalence between antisemitism and Islamophobia. The former was a deranged demonisation of a people; the latter was used to shut down debate. Cue foaming outrage. No matter that I acknowledged the existence of prejudice against Muslims, just as against Sikhs, Hindus and others. In denying Islamophobia, I was an Islamophobic…

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titanic Britain 

Sunday Politics show: why Anna Soubry was wrong

I appeared on BBC TV’s Sunday Politics show last weekend, talking about the local election results and the Brexit negotiations. You can watch the whole show here. On Brexit, I said this about the proposal for Britain to remain in a customs union with the EU (my remarks were kindly reported in the Express:) “Either you are in the EU or you are not in the EU.The customs union is a way of keeping us in the EU by stealth and all those voters, all those millions of British voters,…

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