migrants Britain Culture wars 

Britain has lost the plot on migrant crossings

With Britain’s attention distracted by the virus emergency, migrants have been redoubling their efforts to breach the country’s border defences by arriving in small boats from across the Channel.Their numbers have now reached record levels. At least 1,085 migrants have arrived on British shores since lockdown started, compared with 1,890 for the whole of 2019. Far from turning these illegal migrants back, UK Border Force vessels escort them into British ports. Even worse, as Nigel Farage has been protesting, French patrol boats escort them carefully from French to British territorial…

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culture wars Britain Culture wars 

Even coronavirus can’t kill our grievance culture

Optimism has been expressed in some quarters that our poisonous culture wars will fade away under the impact of a global emergency with real victims and real heroes. So how’s that playing out? Not terribly well. This year marks the 400th anniversary of the voyage of the Mayflower, the ship that sailed from Plymouth for the New World bearing 102 Puritans fleeing religious persecution in England to start a new life. Commemorations are being organised by Mayflower 400, a UK-wide body that has created a variety of resources to enable…

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lockdown Audio Coronavirus Culture wars 

Lockdown, liberals and literature: NZ podcast

While under lockdown in Jerusalem, I took part in a podcast with New Zealand broadcaster Leighton Smith. We discussed my personal and political memoir, Guardian Angel, of which he was kind enough to say :”It leaps off the page with an immediacy and relevance that few books achieve”. We discussed Israel’s measures against Covid-19, and how its use of data technology in this effort wouldn’t be tolerated in Britain even though the evidence is that it has helped Israel achieve far greater success in saving lives from the effects of…

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Pope Culture wars 

Is the Pope a pagan?

The observations by Pope Francis on the coronavirus pandemic published in The Tablet are startling. They reveal with unusual sharpness just what kind of person currently heads the Catholic church. Asked whether the economic devastation wrought by the virus was a chance for an ecological conversion by reassessing priorities and lifestyles, the Pope replied: “There is an expression in Spanish: ‘God always forgives, we forgive sometimes, but nature never forgives.’ We did not respond to the partial catastrophes. Who now speaks of the fires in Australia, or remembers that 18…

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Britain Culture wars 

Why so many “experts” make such disastrous errors

If you want to discover why so many of our experts are getting things so terribly wrong, Giles Fraser’s interview on Unherd’s “Confessions” with the former Bank of England governor, Lord King, is essential listening. King asks what it means to be rational in an age of deep uncertainty. Many experts, he says, have come to believe that mathematical calculations and computer modelling provide us with an authoritative representation of reality. This is hopelessly wrong because such calculations can never encompass the uncertainties that help form human behaviour. Yet these…

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Culture wars Global conflict Israel 

How the virus exposes magical thinking and short-term greed

The coronavirus emergency has affected virtually the entire world. In the west, it has brutally exposed the effects of a cultural characteristic that is as amoral as it is self-destructive. There is a refusal to face reality and the difficult choices it often requires, taking refuge instead in magical thinking and short-term greed. It’s a characteristic that has made victims of Israel and the Jews, along with many other people. In the current crisis, the west is paying the price of pretending that China’s communist regime does not represent a…

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Phillips Britain Culture wars Jewish people 

What will Jewish leaders say about Trevor Phillips?

The veteran anti-racist campaigner and former head of the Equalities and Human Rights Commission, Trevor Phillips, has found himself accused by his own Labour party of Islamophobia. The case is grotesque. Phillips has done much for British Muslims. And none of the accusations against him meets any reasonable test of bigotry. His allegedly “Islamophobic” comments are for statements over issues such as the Pakistani Muslim grooming gangs, or polling which found that a quarter of Muslims were “sympathetic” to the aims of the terrorists who killed the Charlie Hebdo journalists…

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appearance Audio Culture wars 

Islamophobia in the moral maze

This week on BBC Radio’s Moral Maze we discussed Islamophobia. The anti-racism campaigner and former head of the Equalities and Human Rights Commission Trevor Phillips, whose own inquiry first cemented the use of the word Islamophobia into British public life, has now himself been accused of this thought-crime. On the Maze, we didn’t discuss his particular case so much as the issue of the word itself. Does it actually describe a real prejudice, or is it used to silence legitimate debate about the Islamic world? Does it seek to prevent…

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revolutionary Britain Culture wars 

The left is eating itself in a trans culture war

The Guardian has been convulsed after publishing an article by its longstanding columnist Suzanne Moore. Its appearance triggered a letter of protest to the editor, signed by 338 Guardian and Observer employees. Getting on for half the workforce thus believe that their readers should not have been allowed to see what Moore wrote. Cue a blazing row at The Guardian’s editorial conference, with one trans member of staff claiming as a result to be too frightened to go to work. This employee subsequently resigned after reportedly receiving anti-trans comments from…

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Culture wars 

The real western civilisation emergency

A few commentators have begun to stumble towards the fact that the policy of becoming “carbon neutral” by 2050, as adopted by the UK and the EU, would undo modernity itself. On Unherd, Peter Franklin observes that, if carried through, the policy will have a far greater effect than Brexit or anything else; it will transform society altogether. “It will continue to transform the power industry, and much else besides: every mode of transport; how we build, warm and cool our homes; food, agriculture and land use; trade, industry, every…

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