appearance Audio 

Anger in the moral maze

I appeared on the first of the new series of BBC Radio’s Moral Maze to discuss the morality of anger. With outrage and concern over over the language being used in today’s acrimonious political debates, we discussed whether anger can ever be of value or whether it invariably leads to bad consequences. It can be constructive if it’s harnessed to redress an injustice, but what if this objective is actually fuelled by the destructive desire for revenge? Is there a moral distinction between anger expressed in solidarity with the oppressed…

Read More
The View Audio Videos 

My appearance on Sky’s The View, plus podcast

I appeared with Ian Dunt on The View, the daily review of the papers’ opinion pages on Adam Boulton’s Sky TV show. Our main topics for discussion were Boris Johnson’s proposal to the EU for solving the Brexit impasse over the Irish border, and Prince Harry’s bitter remarks about the media treatment of his wife. You can watch this below. Ian and I later took part in a podcast on these and other topics with Adam and Sam Coates, Sky’s deputy political editor. You can listen to the podcast here

Read More
nbh Audio 

Antisemitism in the moral maze

On BBC Radio’s Moral Maze this week, we discussed antisemitism. With the Equality and Human Rights Commission now investigating the Labour party for racism over the hundreds of examples of antisemitism by its members and the party’s apparent refusal to deal with these properly, the programme asked the more fundamental questions. What exactly is antisemitism? Can it be differentiated from anti-Zionism? Is antisemitism just one of many forms of racism or is it a uniquely pernicious prejudice? I discussed this with my fellow-panellists Matthew Taylor, Mona Siddiqui and Tim Stanley.…

Read More
BBC Audio 

The fashion of clothing in the moral maze

On BbC Radio’s Moral Maze this week, we discussed the morality of fashion. What, you didn’t know fashion was a moral issue? Tsk! According to designer-of-clothing-for-the-fabulously-rich Stella McCartney, we shouldn’t wash or dry-clean our clothes in order to protect the environment. Some performers at this year’s Glastonbury festival denounced “throwaway fashion” and are encouraging fans to buy their outfits second-hand (or “pre-cherished”). Is so-cheap-you-can-chuck-it clothing, or the sweatshop conditions in which some of it is produced, proof that capitalism is rotten to the last fibre? Or is this all literally…

Read More
appearance Audio 

Comedy and responsibility in the moral maze

In the wake of comedian Jo Brand’s joke about throwing battery acid over Nigel Farage, my fellow panellists and I discussed comedy on this week’s edition of BBC Radio’s Moral Maze. Should humour have any limits, and if so where should these be drawn? Some people worry that our society is now far too quick to take offence and to shut down any expression they don’t like. Giving offence, after all, never did anyone any harm. But are some expressions likely to cause actual harm to be done? Does humour…

Read More
BBC Audio Britain 

Drugs and hypocrisy in the moral maze

On BBC Radio 4’s Moral Maze last night, we discussed hypocrisy in the wake of Michael Gove’s admission that he had used cocaine on a number of occasions some two decades ago. Since many leading politicians have admitted using illegal drugs at some stage in their lives, should they all be condemned? Isn’t this to set the bar of behaviour impossibly high? Or is it only right that any person in a position of authority who has shown a contempt for the law should suffer the consequences? And is hypocrisy…

Read More
Audio 

In the Moral Maze with art and the transgressive artist

On BBC RAdio’s The Moral Maze this week, Claire Fox, Matthew Taylor, Anne McElvoy and I discussed art and the artist. Can their moral worth be separated? Our peg was “Leaving Neverland”, a two-part TV documentary which detailed child sex abuse claims against the singer Michael Jackson (whether Jackson’s music can be termed “art” is debatable, but anyway). The renewed allegations have prompted a debate about whether we should stop listening to his music. Some believe a boycott takes an important moral stand against the late singer’s alleged crimes. To…

Read More
Audio 

Two podcasts: with The Trumpet and the Foundation for the Defence of Democracies

I have done two recent podcasts. The first was with The Trumpet, the media outlet of the Philadelphia Church of God, which kindly interviewed me about my memoir, Guardian Angel, and my novel, The Legacy. You can listen to the podcast here. The second was with Cliff May of the Foundation for the Defence of Democracies in which we discussed the recent moves by the Irish parliament, the Dail, to institute an Israel boycott, and what this tells us about Ireland and its attitude towards the Jewish people. You can listen…

Read More
BBC Audio 

Decolonising the curriculum in the moral maze

A report commissioned by the Office for Students has recommended that universities should “decolonise” the curriculum to end the dominance of western values and beliefs, which “position anything non-European and not white as inferior.” The “decolonisers’” argument is that a “white” curriculum marginalises minority writers and alienates minority students, contributing to their low representation and attainment in higher education. Some university departments have been reassessing their reading lists accordingly. Critics warn, however, that this promotes tokenism, presenting the works of black or female thinkers as being of equal worth merely…

Read More
Giles Audio 

How Giles Fraser got under my skin

Giles Fraser is a turbulent priest. The left-wing rector of a church in south London, he is also my fellow panellist on BBC Radio’s Moral Maze where, to general astonishment, he and I often make common cause against the brutal utilitarians of both left and right. We have also had some spectacular bust-ups on air, particularly over Israel and Palestinian terrorism. Despite these and other differences of opinion between us, we have a warm and cordial relationship. Unlike so many on the left, Giles is devoid of bitterness or rancour…

Read More