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allegory-of-music Britain 

How music can bring order to tame the unruly

Police officers are about to start piping classical music into the notoriously troubled Broadwater Farm estate in north London in an attempt to calm the atmosphere and disperse troublemakers. Relations between estate residents and the police have been poor for decades. In 1985 rioting there resulted in the murder of PC Keith Blakelock; further rioting broke out in 2011 and spread around the country over the fatal shooting by police of Mark Duggan, an estate resident, in the course of an arrest. The suggestion that piping Mozart into Broadwater Farm…

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jackie-walker Britain USA 

Lionising the fringe elements

What happens to someone if they’re lynched? They’re set upon by a bunch of thugs and and murdered. Do you think someone who’s been lynched will then turn up on stage in their own show at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe? No, neither do I. Well here’s a strange thing then. Jackie Walker, who should have been thrown out of the Labour Party over vile remarks about Israel and the Jews but wasn’t thrown out after all, has been appearing at the Edinburgh Fringe in a one-woman show called The Lynching,…

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m-ars-and-venus Britain 

Sexism is squeezing men out of plum jobs

A male politician has said that men are better suited than women to fill top posts in society. This is because they possess the competitive drive that builds success and are less likely than women to feel the low self-worth that destroys achievement. OK, calm down, no male politician said that; I made it up. Obviously if a prominent man had said such a thing his heels wouldn’t have been seen for dust. Yet women have been making equivalent prejudicial remarks about men that are supposed to be not only…

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brexit Britain Europe 

A second note of eurorealism? Pass the smelling salts

I wrote here about Hans-Olaf Henkel, a senior German politician who is deputy head of the European Parliament’s industry, research and energy committee and who accused the European Union’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier of trying to punish Britain by making a deliberate “mess” of key elements of Brexit. This made a welcome change, to put it mildly, from the threats being made almost daily by those protection racket enforcers, aka EU negotiators, that they will pulverise Britain’s economy into rubble so that no other member state will dare even think…

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demtrsnxuaev7io Britain USA 

A cruel and ignorant campaign

The agonising case of Charlie Gard, the 11-month old baby dying from a rare form of mitochondrial disease, is edging towards a no less agonising conclusion. Today, his parents agreed that he should be transferred from Great Ormond Street hospital in London (GOSH) to a hospice to spend there his final period of life. The hospice was a compromise. The parents have been fighting the plan for their baby’s end of life care just as they had fought the decision that he should no longer be kept alive. They wanted…

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william-and-harry Britain 

Emotional incontinence and the cult of Diana

Last night a tribute to Princess Diana was transmitted on ITV. The film showed that, 20 years after her death, Princes William and Harry are still grieving. It’s not just that, even now, they miss the mother so brutally snatched from them at such a young age. They are still forlornly trying to manage lives ripped apart by the breakdown of their parents’ marriage. This was all most deeply touching. We felt their pain. Yet wasn’t that exactly where the whole Diana thing spun out of control? To read my…

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french-rev Britain 

The Tory Jacobins

The reason why conservatives on both sides of the Atlantic have lost their way so badly in recent years is that they never understood, and paid scant attention to, the culture wars. In Britain, this has now led some of them to come out as warriors on the wrong side. Conservatism is not an ideology but an attitude of mind. It involves identifying and holding onto what is most valuable and defending it against erosion or attack. In the 18th century this was embodied in the thinking of Edmund Burke,…

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gender-spectator Britain 

Legalised lying and gender engineering. This is conservative?

The British government intends to change the law so that adults can alter at will the sex registered on their birth certificates. At present, a person who wishes to change gender must apply for a Gender Recognition Certificate. This requires a doctor’s diagnosis of gender dysphoria certifying that the individual has spent two years of living in the opposite gender. All that will be needed in future is for a man to say he is now a woman and vice versa for their birth certificate to be changed. Such a…

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nbh Audio Britain 

Religious tolerance or illiberal liberalism?

Should Britain’s faith schools segregate boys and girls for teaching and activities within the school? How far should a liberal society tolerate intolerant religious beliefs in the school system? Should faith schools receive any public funding at all? My fellow panellists and I discussed this last night on BBC Radio’s The Moral Maze. You can listen to it here.

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