Britain 

Oxbridge colleges must learn Oxfam’s lesson

The president of Murray Edwards College, Cambridge, Dame Barbara Stocking, faces a showdown today with her governing body that may oust her from her post. This follows revelations about her period as chief executive of Oxfam, during which it covered up allegations of sexual harassment, prostitution and bullying by its aid workers. The voluntary sector has long appeared to be a kind of musical chairs recruitment game, with people moving seamlessly from running one charity to heading another and appointing friends to similar posts. This cosy club has now expanded…

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Britain 

The alternative to BoJo must not come from the not-a-conservative wing

Boris Johnson is said to be the runaway favourite to become Tory party leader and Britain’s next prime minister. Tory MPs, including some ostensible front-runners and even some not known to be his fans, are already positioning themselves to serve in his cabinet. According to opinion polls, 47 per cent of the public think he can see off Nigel Farage’s Brexit party and defeat Labour, while only 22 per cent think he would lose. Yet nearly six out of ten also say he is not the kind of man from…

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Britain Global conflict Israel 

Hezbollah UK terrorist plot kept secret as British continue appeasing rising Iran aggression

A few days ago, Britain’s Daily Telegraph revealed that in 2015 the British authorities had uncovered a Hezbollah terrorist plot. The key point was that this had been kept secret until now. In a bomb factory on the outskirts of London, a total of three metric tonnes of ammonium nitrate was discovered — more than was used in the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing that killed 168 people — stashed in ice packs. This was apparently no rogue plot, but part of an international Hezbollah operation laying the groundwork for future…

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Britain 

Can this leadership contest produce a real British conservative?

Boris Johnson has topped the first ballot for the Tory leadership with 114 votes, and it is being assumed that his bandwagon is now unstoppable. Is it? If Michael Gove, that intellectually formidable, competent and experienced minister is deemed by the admission of his past cocaine use to have a character flaw that makes him unsuitable to lead his country, how much more so is this true of Boris Johnson. His launch press conference was shoddy. Faced with awkward questions, such as over his own sampling of cocaine in the…

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fashion 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…

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Tories Britain 

How liberal conservatives are having their coke and eating it

Michael Gove is fighting to stay in the Tory leadership race after the weekend’s startling revelation that during the 1990s he had used cocaine “on several occasions”. He drew a distinction between individuals behaving illegally and the importance of the drug laws in protecting society. Accordingly, he said, he refused to join London’s liberal consensus for drug legalisation because “there is a greater sin than hypocrisy. It is the refusal to uphold values because one may oneself have fallen short of them.” Which you might think is having his coke…

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Labour party antisemitism Britain 

Jewish dismay increases after the Peterborough by-election

The Brexit Party narrowly lost yesterday’s Peterborough by-election by 683 votes. For a brand-new party registered only four months ago, that was a significant achievement. What a pity, though, that it didn’t actually win the seat. According to national polling by YouGov, the Brexit party has opened up a staggering six point lead over Labour and the LibDems, suggesting that more than a quarter of voters would back it in a general election. To do that, however, voters need to be persuaded that the party has a credible chance of…

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judges Britain Israel 

Whoever becomes Israel’s prime minister, judges should be put back in their box

Israel’s electoral crisis has put politics on hold. One important casualty is the attempt to curb the power of Israel’s Supreme Court and legal establishment. This was the policy single-mindedly pursued by outgoing justice minister Ayelet Shaked, who Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sacked from her post this week after she lost her Knesset seat in last month’s election. The controversy over judicial activism has echoes beyond Israel, particularly in Britain: who in a democracy should have the ultimate whip hand, politicians or the judiciary? Israel has been transfixed by the…

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Thatcher Britain 

Thatcher paved the way for left-wing culture warriors

Our current era’s extreme intolerance of dissent was foreshadowed in the Eighties by the immediate pillorying of anyone who dared suggest that Thatcher might not be responsible for every British ill. A more balanced view is surely required. The Thatcherite revolutionaries failed to grasp that the bonds keeping the nation together, which they were weakening in the name of the free market, were also being deliberately eroded by culture warriors on the left who wanted to create an entirely different world. The left wanted to slough off individuals’ responsibility for…

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UK Britain 

Trembling on the verge of political meltdown – but they still don’t get it

Can we now please end the pretence that Michael Gove is a reliable Brexiteer? Still dead-set against leaving the EU with no deal – which remains the single most likely way to honour the referendum result – he has reportedly told other Cabinet ministers that he is prepared to delay Brexit until late 2020. Assuming the EU would agree to another, longer extension (and if they didn’t, what would Gove do then?) such a delay would kick Brexit into the long grass. Uncertainty would continue, bringing continuing political paralysis and…

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