podcast Audio Britain Culture wars 

The cultural chasm over Britain’s place in the world

I took part in a “Brexit breakdown” podcast discussion with Ian Dunt, editor of Politics.co.uk, and Anand Menon, Professor of European Politics and Foreign Affairs at King’s college, London and director of the UK in a Changing Europe initiative. Chaired by podcaster James Millar, our discussion quickly developed from the eponymous issue of Brexit which so divides us. After we talked about what it meant to us and how we saw it developing, we moved into wider and deeper cultural issues. These opened up before us as an unbridgeable chasm.…

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Frost Britain Europe 

David Frost’s reflections on the revolution in Britain

Wow. The speech delivered yesterday evening at Brussels university by David Frost, who is now leading the UK’s negotiations with the EU over the post-Brexit trade deal, was a belter. Straightening his country’s spine from its five-decade scoliosis as a demoralised supplicant at the European table, Frost reclaimed, on behalf of the British government, the moral and intellectual high ground for Britain’s departure from the EU – and for doing so entirely on the UK’s terms. This magnificent speech, which deserves to be read in full (as you can mostly…

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presenter Britain 

Don’t blame lawyers for TV presenter’s death

The suicide of the Love Island presenter Caroline Flack has provoked an outpouring of anguish. But it’s managed to miss the point which should concern us most. The TV personality took her own life on Saturday, three weeks before she was due to stand trial charged with assaulting her boyfriend, Lewis Burton, last year. She reportedly suffered from anxiety and depression, and the reaction to her death has been framed as a blame game. Surely, though, the most pressing issue is the rate of suicide in general. Statistics for 2018…

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reason Britain Culture wars 

“I need to check your thinking” said the English police officer

At long last, an English court has struck a blow against the cultural tyranny of thought-crime and in support of freedom of speech, reason and sanity. In the High Court this morning, Mr Justice Julian Knowles ruled that the police had been disproportionate in the action they took against Harry Miller, a former police officer and a shareholder in a plant and machinery company in Lincolnshire, when they recorded as a “non crime hate incident” a series of disobliging comments he had tweeted about transgender issues. It’s worth reading the judgment in…

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Sky Britain Videos 

Holocaust memorial and BoJo on The View

I took part this week on Sky TV’s The View, the politics show hosted by Adam Boulton. Because of Boris Johnson’s government reshuffle that morning, the show was broadcast from outside 10 Downing Street to capture all the comings and goings. That would have been great, except for the small fact that it was raining and freezing cold! We were also plagued by a man in the street who, during the Brexit agony, had constantly interfered with outside broadcasts by bellowing through a megaphone about stopping Brexit and now seemed…

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BBC Audio Britain 

The moral maze that is the BBC

On BBC Radio’s Moral Maze this week, we discussed the moral purpose of the BBC. Does it even have one? With the government boycotting Radio Four’s Today programme in protest at its perceived bias, and now threatening to destroy it altogether through a fundamental change to its funding structure, we asked whether the Beeb’s original aim of uniting the nation has now become impossible in such an era of technological and cultural fragmentation. Can it or should it compete with Netflix, or does it still have a unique role to…

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revolutionary Britain Culture wars 

Tory policies don’t look much like conservatism

When Boris Johnson delivered his effervescent encomium to free trade at the Old Royal Naval College in Greenwich conservatives were ecstatic. At last, they cried, a real Tory prime minister! Just one week later, a great wailing has gone up from the same quarter. Horror and woe, they lament; we’ve got yet another fake Tory in No 10! People in the so-called “red wall” constituencies that used to be solidly Labour are down to earth. They are hard-working and thrifty. They greatly dislike money being thrown down the drain. Red…

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nazanin Britain Global conflict 

It’s all about the narrative. Who controls it, wins

Are we seeing a crack developing in the hitherto impregnable “human rights” dogma which has helped emasculate Britain’s defences against terrorism? In the wake of the latest Islamic terror attack last Sunday in London, in which two people were stabbed by a terrorist who had recently been released from jail and was actually considered so dangerous he was being shadowed by armed police, the government has indicated it will scrap automatic early release for such prisoners. It may also re-introduce control orders and other more draconian sentencing options for terrorists,…

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Christians Britain Global conflict 

Britain is losing the fight against extremism

For the second time in just over two months, terrorism on Britain’s streets has descended into lethal farce. On Sunday Sudesh Amman, an Islamist who had just been released from prison even though he was considered so dangerous that he was being shadowed by armed police officers, seized a knife from a shop in Streatham and stabbed two people before those officers shot him dead. Last November Usman Khan, an Islamist released from prison 11 months earlier, murdered two people at a conference that he was attending on London Bridge…

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Stoppard Britain Jewish people 

“Hineini”, says Sir Tom Stoppard; here I am, a Jew

The first play to be written by the Jewish writer Tomáš Straussler is shortly to open in London. Actually, it’s the latest play by the acclaimed playwright Sir Tom Stoppard, who was born Tomáš Straussler in Czechoslovakia in 1937. But Leopoldstadt is the first of his plays which reflects the fact that he identifies himself — deeply, emotionally, viscerally — as a Jew. He told the JC last week that he realised what this meant to him only in late middle age. The play, which I have seen in preview,…

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