mob Culture wars 

Mob hysteria on both sides of the aisle

Two incidents over the past few days have illustrated an alarming fact: that mob hysteria threatens the rule of law, the exercise of reason and toleration of dissent not just by ideologues on the left but also by their opponents. Two days ago, the film producer Harvey Weinstein was photographed being frogmarched into a New York court to be charged with rape and sexual assault. The court heard that he had tried to “lure young women into situations where he could violate them sexually”. Multiple accusations of sexual assault made…

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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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peace in our time Global conflict 

Peace in our time cancelled?

So has peace in our time with North Korea been cancelled? When President Trump abruptly called off his prospective meeting with North Korea’s chairman Kim Jong-un yesterday, the media immediately crowed that his strategy had gone belly-up, that it showed how incoherent and altogether rubbish his foreign policy was and that we were now right back where we started. Once again, the media merely exposed its own shallowness. A few hours earlier a high-ranking North Korean foreign ministry official, Choe Son Hui, called US Vice-President Mike Pence a “political dummy”…

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front foot Israel 

Going onto the front foot on the battleground of the mind

Going onto the front foot on the battleground of the mind The attempt to scapegoat the IDF communications team for the shocking western media coverage of the Gaza Strip border riots reveals once again that Israel’s political class simply hasn’t got a clue about the anti-Israel madness. Mainstream media in Britain, America and Europe presented the murderous attempts by Hamas to storm the border, using Molotov cocktails, IEDs, firearms and flaming kites under cover of the unarmed civilians they pushed to the front, as peaceful demonstrators being killed by brutal…

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radar Culture wars 

Cultural radar leads resistance to extinction of reason

Across our species there seems to be an innate ability to lock into a cultural radar based in reality which those who subscribe to socially destructive or sinister ideologies can’t detect. In the former Soviet Union, millions were able somehow to access and absorb ideas that were ruthlessly censored. Sometimes political prisoners smuggled out their writings from jail. The intellectual dark web is our contemporary equivalent to those samizdat channels that stood up to the mind-bending process of repudiating not just certain ideas but the exercise of reason itself. Dave…

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Q&A My books 

Lovely review of The Legacy

Blogger Christine Sunderland has posted on her website a lovely review of my novel, The Legacy. This is what she has written: “The Legacy, a first novel by the bold British journalist Melanie Phillips, is a page-turner involving layering mysteries. The mysteries interweave through time to the present day, in a story set in England, America, and Israel. But The Legacy is more importantly a novel of ideas. My novels, too, are novels of ideas, with characters that care about today’s culture, about moral choice, about faith and family, about…

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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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border invasion Israel 

Evil and human depravity – and then there’s Hamas too

When confronted with absolute evil or the depths of human depravity, some of us experience a very particular kind of depression. It’s as if we just can’t cope with such a repudiation of humanity. Some experience it when exposed to the details of child sexual abuse. And some feel it over the libelous falsehoods hurled at Israel whenever it’s forced to defend itself against genocidal fanatics, as happened this week in the Hamas onslaught on the Gaza border fence. There is actually a strong thematic connection between these twin evils….

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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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