The implosion of the political class
The expenses scandal is not A Very English Revolution. It looks more like the self-destruction of the House of Commons.
No party has a divine right to exist
The state funding of parties would prop up the exhausted status quo and erect a barrier to political experimentation.
They’re all ‘independent’ now - but from what?
In response to the expenses scandal, even the PM wants to stand on his personal conscience rather than political principles. But we still need politics.
|Tuesday 2 June 2009|
Tiller’s death: don’t blame Bill O’Reilly
Heaping ‘moral blame’ on to crass anti-abortion broadcasters dangerously blurs the distinction between words and actions.
One family’s tragedy, not a political indicator
While commemorating Dr Tiller's life and work, we should be clear about whether his murder has wider meaning for the politics of abortion.
|Wednesday 3 June 2009|
Expel these managers from UK schools
Labour’s targets culture in schools means hefty salaries for managers and uninspiring education for kids.
At last, a boycott worth supporting
The UK University and College Union’s refusal to snoop on foreign students in Britain should be welcomed.
An unlimited appetite for past obscenities
In the Irish elite, a voyeuristic preoccupation with clerical abuse coexists with reluctance to limit clerical influence in education and welfare.
|Thursday 4 June 2009|
REVEALED: expenses scandal at spiked
Never mind horse manure and duck ponds - there’s an equally worrying expenses scandal in the spiked offices.
The man who should never have been PM
All the former Gordon Brown-nosers are now wondering ‘how did we get it so wrong?’ They should have read spiked.
Taking the politics of fear to a new low
Unable to inspire voters, the isolated, illiberal oligarchs of the EU are using the threat of fantasy fascism to try to force us to be pro-EU.
|Friday 5 June 2009|
Hey, let's all have a laugh at the past!
BBC4’s Meet the British showed us how the UK saw itself in the past, but only to snigger at our forebears’ misplaced optimism.
Kaká: small name, big transfer fee
Yes, £56million is a lot of money, but sometimes you have to spend hard cash on the pursuit of footballing artistry.
John Gray: the poster boy for misanthropy
He thinks there are too many humans and we’ve become a plague on the planet. How does he get out of bed every morning?
The shame of the democracy dodgers
James Purnell, Hazel Blears and Jacqui Smith have achieved the remarkable feat of making Gordon Brown look almost principled.
|Monday 8 June 2009|
The myth of a far-right surge
The BNP won seats not because support for it has exploded, but because of the demise of the mainstream parties.
The psycho-politics of a collapsing elite
The most revealing thing about the leaked Mandelson emails is the amateur psychologising of a cut-off government.
Expenses, excuses and Labour delusions
Whether Gordon Brown stays or goes, New Labour’s political crisis goes far deeper than him.
|Tuesday 9 June 2009|
Greenpeace: putting trees before people
The claim that massive areas of rainforest are being cut down to make way for grazing pasture is a lot of bull dung.
The fishy message of The End of the Line
Instead of guilt-tripping Western consumers about overfishing, we should invest our energy in developing aquaculture.
Government Motors is no substitute for General Motors
Yes, GM showed itself incapable of mass-producing decent cars and keeping people employed – but Obama’s intervention won’t turn things around.
|Wednesday 10 June 2009|
The Omagh ruling is bad for all of us
However outraged you were by the 1998 bombing, you should be worried by this week’s ruling against the ‘bombers’.
Will the Pirates stir up the debate on freedom?
The support for Sweden’s Pirate Party was partly a protest vote against the mainstream, and partly a cry for liberty.
How EU bureaucrats are destroying public life
A majority of Europeans refused to take part in the EU elections not because they don’t understand the EU, but because they do.
|Thursday 11 June 2009|
Is the digital age
One has to marvel at the megalomania of scientists who slam all of modern culture on the basis of their tiny studies.
Committing the sin of demanding more
In their anachronistic demand for better wages, London Tube workers have struck a blow against the culture of austerity.
The hangdog dictator in Downing Street
It is the cowardice of his own party and lack of moral authority of the other parties that allows the utterly isolated Brown to stay in power.
|Friday 12 June 2009|
Springsteen: a preacher without a religion
Jerker Jansson reports from a magic evening of rock’n’roll in Stockholm where ‘the Boss’ thawed the frozen souls of Swedes.
Mitchell and Webb: third time unlucky
The third series of the comedy duo’s sketch show is too self-referential and knowing to be funny.
Federer: the greatest tennis player on Earth
At a time when sporting greatness has become a devalued currency, the Swiss champion shows the way.
What’s behind today’s epidemic of epidemics?
As the World Health Organisation declares swine flu a pandemic, a new book encourages us to be sceptical about the panicked politics of disease.
|Monday 15 June 2009|
‘I am not a man. I am Cantona’
With a brilliant and surreal turn from King Eric of Manchester, Ken Loach’s Looking for Eric is a film of unusual optimism.
Risk-taking, R&D and the recession
Contributing to the spiked/CMP debate on the future of business, an innovation expert demands real wealth creation.
Hands off home education!
The UK plan to clamp down on home-schooling, partly to ensure children aren’t being abused, is a serious assault on parental autonomy.
|Tuesday 16 June 2009|
‘Smokers are now treated like lepers’
David Goerlitz was a star of cigarette ads until he turned against Big Tobacco. Now, however, he thinks the anti-smokers have gone too far.
Keep border police out of universities
Patrick Hayes talks to the students occupying the director's office at SOAS in protest against the arrest of nine university cleaners.
Another Iranian revolution? If only…
Will protesters in Tehran win real change - or be used as a stage army for conservative opposition leaders who only want another palace coup?
|Wednesday 17 June 2009|
The philistines in the ivory tower
The real threat to academic freedom today comes from the collapse of belief in the worth of intellectual enquiry.
The new c-word in British politics: cuts
British politicians’ utter lack of honesty about the depth of the recession will make matters worse in the long run.
Iraq: we don’t need another inquiry
Supine, shameless politicians want a public inquiry to do what they signally failed to do six years ago: refute the case for invading Iraq.
|Thursday 18 June 2009|
Northern Ireland: the capital of ‘race hate’?
The attacks on Romanian migrants are shocking, but they are not evidence of any widespread virulent racism.
No longer master of the Middle East
Netanyahu’s public swipe at Obama’s Cairo speech reveals that Washington even has trouble influencing Israel today.
Peaches: hereditary celebrity
Sir Bob used Africa to puff up his ego - his daughter just falls out of night clubs.
Why the state cannot save the economy
Instead of having arid debates about the state versus the market, we must create institutions and policies that can restructure the economy.
|Friday 19 June 2009|
Funny women need to develop some balls
If TV panel shows are confrontational and laddish, female performers should stop moaning and get stuck in.
Why aren't there any decent football films?
From Sly Stallone saving Nazi penalties to Frodo Baggins running with hooligans, the beautiful game comes off badly.
Is anywhere free from the anti-smoking lobby?
After banning smoking in our public houses, now they want to ban it in our private spaces. First up, the car.
In praise of Engels
A new biography shows that he loved wine, women and song, and was never afraid to leap headfirst into the intellectual battles of his day.
|Monday 22 June 2009|
Bring me the head of Fred Goodwin
Commentators called for Goodwin’s head to be put on a spike. Now, courtesy of an EU-funded arts festival, it very nearly has been.
What about us gays who are flamers?
The editor of a gay website lambasts those gay activists who want a ‘tolerance message’ added to Sacha Baron Cohen’s new comedy Brüno.
Climate change horror: the UK will be like Provence
A UK government report unwittingly reveals that we should not be cutting carbon use but investing in Mediterranean-style cooling measures.
|Tuesday 23 June 2009|
Giving the green
light to suicide
Revelations that non-terminally ill people were euthanised in Switzerland calls into question the ‘right to die’ campaign.
Smoke gets in the government’s eyes
Tobacco displays do not lead young people to light up, so why on earth are UK officials banning them?
People should not be punished for their beliefs
The proposal to ban British National Party members from teaching in schools is a far bigger threat to democracy than the BNP itself.
|Wednesday 24 June 2009|
‘This is only the beginning’
Tim Black spent the day with strikers at the Lindsey oil refinery, listening to Freddie Mercury and some heated conversation.
Why unemployment is no longer a political issue
Thousands are being thrown on to the dole queue, yet there are no mass uprisings, no widespread strikes, no marches for jobs. Why?
|Thursday 25 June 2009|
Listen to the world in Fès
PHOTO ESSAY: From African reggae to American gospel, a Moroccan festival showcases music from around the globe.
I’ve changed my mind about Twenty20 cricket
Yes it’s vulgar; yes it has drunken crowds and dancing girls; yes it simplifies cricket. But so what?
Letting Ordinary Joe loose on the nation
Radio producers think phone-in shows are democratic. In truth they’re stuffed with whiny, clichéd invective.
They need more than sympathy for Neda
The way that the image of a dying student has become the icon of the Iranian protests suggests both strengths and weaknesses in the opposition.
|Friday 26 June 2009|
Digital Britain: welcome to the slow lane
The UK government’s report on the future of the internet and the creative industries replaces the freedom to innovate with an overwhelming impulse to regulate everything.
Gladwell: hero or zero?
One reviewer is disappointed that Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers reveals more about the author’s prejudices than it does the nature of success, while another is won over by Gladwell's emphasis on hard work.
The kids, including the boys, are all right
Using questionable facts and tiny selections from complex research, Sue Palmer tries to convince us that twenty-first century boys are vulnerable, neglected and confused. Things aren’t as bad as she makes out.
Puritanism disguised as science
In the past tyrannical rulers poured molten lead down the throats of offending smokers; today smokers are shunned from public buildings and forced to light up in the street. Why have puffers always been seen as a threat to society?
Travel can change the world? Get over yourself
At a time of so much doom and eco-gloom about foreign travel, Rick Steves puts an impassioned case for exploring the world. But his belief that travel is a political act means he ends up debasing both tourism and politics.
Restating the case for human uniqueness
A brilliant new book cuts through all the media-oriented research about ‘clever chimps’ using tools, doing maths and feeling emotions, and reminds us that, in truth, there is nothing remotely human about primates.
China’s factory girls: nobody’s victims
At last, a book on China’s growth that doesn’t paint migrant workers as pathetic victims but rather as aspirational individuals who now have far more choices than marrying the village idiot.
Al-Qaeda: what’s the big idea?
Faisal Devji’s new book draws some daring parallels between the outlook of militant suicide bombers and that of Western humanitarians – but it ultimately projects the author’s own search for political meaning on to the al-Qaeda network.
Bad mother, good book
Ayelet Waldman’s memoir about her various ‘maternal crimes’ is sometimes eye-wateringly detailed, solipsistic and infuriating – but it is also far more enlightening than the reams of mummy lit written over the past 10 years.
The politics of the hidden agenda
Spreading conspiracy theories – stories about a world warped by evil forces – remains the pastime of marginalised groups. But conspiratorial thinking, the idea that someone, somewhere is to blame for every misfortune, has become respectable.
|Monday 29 June 2009|
Far from promising a wild weekend, the UK seaside town of Brighton is fast degenerating into a centre of booze-confiscating puritanism.
Jacko was a product of our Wacko culture
In staying childish and obsessing over his identity, Michael Jackson was actually normal by today’s standards.
Let’s go back to the
moon — and beyond
As the 40th anniversary of the first manned moon landing approaches, backward attitudes here on Earth have tainted our view of lunar exploration.
|Tuesday 30 June 2009|
These obscenity laws should be abolished
The case of a pervy blog about Girls Aloud should alert us to the dangers of allowing the state to regulate people’s fantasies.
Turning fat people into social outcasts
A new report chastising fat celebs as a bad influence is part of a worrying campaign to ‘denormalise’ chubbiness.
In defence of the right to discriminate
The attempt to force religious groups to embrace gays and non-believers is an intolerable assault on the freedoms of religion, speech and association.