obesity Britain 

This wobbling over obesity has been farcical

For the road to Damascus, read the road to Corona. Last week the government announced that TV adverts for “junk foods” high in fat, sugar or salt would be banned before the 9pm watershed. Yesterday it unveiled its “Better Health” campaign calling on the public to embrace a healthy lifestyle. The reason for all this is Boris Johnson’s conviction that being overweight was the reason he nearly died of Covid-19, and that obesity is a significant factor in the virus’s toll of death or serious illness. There’s no reason to…

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Holocaust Britain Jewish people 

Betraying Jewish history by watering down the Holocaust

In my JNS column below, I refer to a talk given by Baroness Deech. Her text is reproduced below my own article. The British baroness Ruth Deech, whose family were Jewish refugees from Nazism, recently delivered an impassioned address to the Oxford Jewish community about the way the Holocaust is being evacuated of meaning by memorials and museums in its name. Her concern was prompted by the controversial plan to build a Holocaust memorial and learning center in London’s Victoria Tower Gardens, a small park near the Houses of Parliament.…

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Coronavirus Britain Coronavirus 

Anti-vaccination culture threatens Covid fightback

Preliminary results published yesterday from early trials of a Covid-19 vaccine being developed by Oxford University suggest that it safely triggers an immune response. Other research teams around the world are racing to develop a vaccine against the virus This may be the only way to return to normal life. Yet there are suggestions that an alarming number of people would refuse to be inoculated. Vaccination has enabled one of the greatest global advances in public health. I have always been strongly in favour of safe and properly tested vaccination…

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Labour party antisemitism Britain Israel 

Why Starmer cannot succeed over antisemitism

The Equality and Human Rights Commission has now sent its report on Labour antisemitism to the party leadership so it can register its response before publication. The Labour leader, Sir Keir Starmer, has said getting rid of the party’s Jew-hatred is his first priority. The big question, though, is whether he can do so even if he accepts all the commission’s conclusions. He drew many plaudits for sacking from his front bench Rebecca Long-Bailey, after she tweeted a link to an interview voicing a Jewish conspiracy theory. But other actions…

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nbh Britain 

Education in the moral maze

On BBC Radio Four’s Moral Maze this week, we discussed education. While the Institute for Fiscal Studies is claiming that as many as 13 universities may no longer be financially viable, the government has abandoned the policy of getting half of school-leavers into university and says it wants to concentrate instead on vocational qualifications. With grade inflation rampant not just in the universities but down through the school system, we asked whether university places should be available to all who wanted a university degree or whether the 50 per cent…

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conversation Britain Culture wars USA 

Politically homeless as the western mind shuts down

To make oneself politically homeless may be regarded as a misfortune. To do it a second time looks like recklessness on steroids. In the Eighties and Nineties, I broke with my former comrades on the left. On a variety of issues arising from their repudiation of the western nation and its values, I challenged the orthodoxy and found myself condemned as having gone over to the dark side, otherwise known as “the right”. I concluded that the left consisted of people who denied evidence and reason in the furtherance of…

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conversation Britain Culture wars Videos 

Conversation: the eclipse of liberalism and the failure of conservatism

I was pleased to have a long video conversation (in two parts) with John O’Sullivan, former senior policy adviser to Margaret Thatcher and now president of the Danube Institute, a think-tank based in Hungary. Our conversation started by talking about my early years at The Guardian newspaper and my experiences while working there which led me to break with the left. We discussed my play, Traitors (yes, I did write one and it was actually performed at a fringe theatre in London in 1986), my experience of antisemitism which led…

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Britain Culture wars USA 

Mrs America and the start of the culture wars

Know much about Phyllis Schlafly? Indeed, have you even heard of her? Well, people are about to find out a lot more, and perhaps learn for the first time about the direct line from her to our current political and cultural tumult. Tomorrow BBC2 starts screening a brilliantly produced and addictive series, Mrs America. This deals with the tremendous fight put up in the 1970s by Schlafly, an anti-feminist, anti-abortion, anti-communist campaigner, against the US Equal Rights Amendment. That sought to end the legal distinctions between men and women over…

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Britain Culture wars USA 

The war against the west, and its defender

Across America, law and order has now broken down. There are repeated attacks on the police and a huge spike in the number of murders. On FrontPageMag, John Perrazzo reports: “On Sunday, May 31, eighteen homicides were committed in Chicago, breaking the city’s previous one-day record of thirteen, set 29 years ago. In fact, over the course of that same weekend as a whole, Chicago police responded to at least 73 incidents in which 92 people were shot, including 27 who died as a result. ‘We’ve never seen anything like it at…

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The red wall and the hole in Labour’s heart

The Labour leader, Sir Keir Starmer, chose Armed Forces Day last week to launch a “Labour friends of the armed forces” programme, promising “an exciting new dialogue with forces communities”. Since his predecessor, Jeremy Corbyn, appeared to view the existence of Britain’s military capacity as a kind of stain on his conscience, Starmer’s gesture was intended as further evidence of a break with the far left. On this issue, however, he is also reaching out to part of the population whose support is essential if Labour is ever to regain…

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