website Britain My website 

My new service for readers

I’m delighted to tell you about improvements I’m making to the service I provide for my readers. There is now a better way for you to receive and enjoy my work. I have launched a new website: All new posts will now be added to that website. I shall no longer be updating the website you are now reading. But it will remain accessible as an archive of work published before September 2020. My new website comes with a subscription service. This is how it works There are two…

Read More
Britain Culture wars 

Arrogant National Trust betrays trust of the nation

The National Trust’s proposed “revolution” in its relationship with the public has caused justifiable outrage. Its ten-year strategy, revealed by The Times, is to shift its emphasis from enabling the public to visit its stately homes and gardens to promoting access to the countryside. Historic houses, it says, will be “repurposed as public space in service of local audiences” to junk the “outdated mansion experience”. The Trust declared that although it remained “committed to, and passionate about” country houses, arts and heritage, it needed to ensure that these were “meaningful…

Read More

MP should be named – along with his accuser

An unnamed former Tory minister, who has been accused of rape, arrested and released on bail but as yet remains uncharged, will reportedly absent himself from the Commons when his fellow MPs return from holiday next month. There has been public outrage that he has not been suspended from either parliament or his party. Charlie Elphicke, the former Tory MP who was convicted last month of sexual assault, was first suspended by his party in 2017 even though he wasn’t charged until 2019. So what’s the difference? The answer is…

Read More
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…

Read More
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.…

Read More
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…

Read More
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…

Read More
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…

Read More
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…

Read More
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…

Read More