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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. time Such…

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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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brexit Britain Europe 

So just who is really messing up Brexit talks?

Good gracious! Someone tell me I’m not dreaming! A Eurocrat has spoken the truth about Britain’s negotiations with the EU. In an article in The Times (£) Hans-Olaf Henkel, a senior German politician who is deputy head of the European Parliament’s industry, research and energy committee, accuses the European Union’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier of trying to punish Britain by making a deliberate “mess” of key elements of Brexit. You don’t say! Mr Henkel writes that the European parliament’s Brexit negotiator, Guy Verhofstadt, was responsible in “no small part for…

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london_tube_-_panoramio Britain 

Putting the trans into transit

Transport for London has banned the phrase “ladies and gentlemen”. TfL’s head of customer strategy, Mark Evers, said they wanted “everyone to feel welcome on our transport network”. So in future staff will greet passengers with “Hello everyone”. Whoopee, eh! Thank goodness we’ve been stripped of our gender identity! Nasty, bigoted, unfriendly act, thinking of ourselves as either women or men! We’re all gender-fluid now. You might say TfL is putting the trans into transit and about time too. Binary is so last century. To read my whole column in…

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ho-extremism-commission-2 Britain 

Extremism in the eye of the beholder

The British government is planning to establish a commission to counter extremism. This is a very bad idea. It is the result of the Pavlovian government response to a crisis. The crisis in question is Islamist terrorism, and the fact that with three such atrocities in the space of as many months – and with a fourth incident involving a vehicular attack on Muslims leaving a mosque – the government wants to be seen to be “doing something”. Anything. And setting up a commission or an inquiry is the usual…

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wellington_at_waterloo_ Britain 

Where’s Britain’s Wellington when you need him?

Tony Blair has called for Brexit to be stopped in its tracks. The former prime minister, who campaigned for Remain last year, has suggested public opinion is “moving”. He told Sky News: “I think it’s possible now that Brexit doesn’t happen. “I think it’s absolutely necessary that it doesn’t happen because I think every day is bringing us fresh evidence that it’s doing us damage economically, certainly doing us damage politically.” Blair’s call to reverse the Brexit vote is but the most breathtaking example of hysterical behaviour by prominent Remainers…

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The calumny against Great Ormond Street hospital

I wrote here two days ago that in the tragic case of Charlie Gard, the 11-month old British baby suffering from a rare form of mitochondrial disease, reason and objectivity were being howled down by emotion. Since then, it’s got a lot worse. Charlie’s parents want to take him to America for experimental treatment. Great Ormond Street children’s hospital, which has been caring for him, oppose this on the grounds that the damage to his brain and other vital functions is irreversible, the treatment being proposed is futile and might…

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Treating a very sick child – who decides?

In the tragic case of terminally-ill baby Charlie Gard, a legal battle is being fought over his parents’ wish to take him to the US for experimental treatment against the advice of Great Ormond Street hospital that this would merely add to his suffering. On BBC Radio’s Moral Maze last night, my fellow-panellists and I discussed who should have the last word over what happens to a child: parents, doctors or the courts. You can listen to the show here.

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tiepolo_-_the_triumph_of_virtue_and_nobility_over_ignorance_-_pasadena Britain USA 

The hijacking of tragedy

Public debate on highly contentious issues is now careering out of control. Tragedy is being hijacked by political agitators. Facts are being junked for ignorance, misrepresentation and misleading hearsay. A culture of hyperventilating emotion and licensed resentment means that those trying to articulate dispassionate judgment, justice and compassion are being vilified as unfeeling brutes. The Grenfell Tower fire in London, in which an entire apartment block was consumed by flames at the loss of at least 80 lives and left all the survivors homeless, was an appalling event whose causes…

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