December 2007

Patrick Hayes Monday 3 December 2007 comments

A backpacker's guide to eco-death

Into the Wild, Sean Penn's film about the anti-materialist Christopher McCandless, reminds us why being 'one with nature’ is no picnic.

Vrielink and Grasso Monday 3 December 2007 comments

Get a life over
Rent-a-Wife

The decision of a Belgian court to ban an ironic advertising campaign on the grounds of sexism reveals a patronising view of men and women.

Mick Hume Monday 3 December 2007 comments

Mr Bean meets Little Britain

'Donorgate' looks like a tawdry tale of small potatoes and Lilliputian politicians, which only confirms how the crusade against sleaze has corrupted political life.

Emily Hill Tuesday 4 December 2007 comments

Still forty metres of junk

Mark Wallinger’s Turner Prize-winning recreation of Brian Haw’s anti-war protest was hailed as brave political art. But it wasn’t political and it wasn’t art.

Neil Davenport Tuesday 4 December 2007 comments

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before

Former Smiths frontman Morrissey is alleged to have made reactionary comments in an interview for NME. But what’s new about that?

Stuart Simpson Tuesday 4 December 2007 comments

There's no new 'scramble for Africa'

China’s relationship with Africa is no threat to the West - all the major economies are gaining from a continent that is no longer a ‘basket case’.

Rob Harris Tuesday 4 December 2007 comments

Let's ditch this 'nostalgia for mud'

While subsistence life is hopelessly romanticised in the West, it is the city that has become a symbol of hope for millions of Ghanaians.

Stuart Waiton Wednesday 5 December 2007 comments

Drowning in risk aversion

Children are being turned away from swimming pools in Scotland because bureaucrats think they know better than parents how to keep kids safe.

Nathalie Rothschild Wednesday 5 December 2007 comments

Banksy: bigger than Jesus?

The famous ‘guerrilla graffiti artist’ and his friends believe their spraying for peace will attract more tourists to Bethlehem than Christ himself.

Kevin Yuill Wednesday 5 December 2007 comments

...‘gun culture’?

The connection between gun ownership and homicide is a myth - but gun control is a serious restriction on our freedom.

Angus Kennedy Wednesday 5 December 2007 comments

Brown’s got a brand new bag

The UK prime minister’s latest ‘big idea’ is to get rid of plastic carrier bags - the petty contemporary symbol of human wastefulness.

Rob Lyons Thursday 6 December 2007 comments

Bali: no more jaw-jaw, this is climate war

Greens are demanding state-enforced austerity and authoritarianism to deal with 'climate catastrophe'. And they're using the Second World War as their model.

Brendan O’Neill Thursday 6 December 2007 comments

How a Sensitivity Stasi is eroding artistic freedom

Citywide bans on the ‘wrong’ kind of music; poets put under house arrest; plays pulled lest they stir up violence… what’s going on in modern Britain?

Mick Hume Friday 7 December 2007 comments

From Iraq troops to abortion law: what's the point?

Read Mick Hume's columns in The Times (London).

Patrick West Friday 7 December 2007 comments

How to escape a society that is all at sea

Deadliest Catch celebrates fishing, smoking and bashing crabs over today's dry-land health-and-safety culture.

Duleep Allirajah Friday 7 December 2007 comments

Football is no place
for democracy

Football teams should be picked by professionals, not over-opinionated Mr Loudmouths in the grip of match-day dementia.

Ethan Greenhart Friday 7 December 2007 comments

Is it ethical to use a computer?

Computers generate nearly as many carbon emissions as flying - but our ethical columnist has the solution.

Michael Cook Friday 7 December 2007 comments

The ultimate miserabilist

There's stiff competition these days for the title of Biggest Misanthrope. But with his ‘pro-death’ book on why it is better never to have been born, David Benatar pips the rest to the post.

John Fitzpatrick Sunday 9 December 2007 comments

Putney Debates

Putney

Phil Cunliffe Monday 10 December 2007 comments

Kosovo: plaything of the Great Powers

Ignore the shrill claims about irrational ethnic desires pushing Serbia and Kosovo towards conflict - it's foreign meddling that is fracturing the region.

Rob Lyons Monday 10 December 2007 comments

Boxing: it’s not a tickling contest

Following the hype over Ricky Hatton’s big fight in Vegas, the ‘noble art’ is fashionable again - but not necessarily for the right reasons.

Frank Furedi Monday 10 December 2007 comments

Golden Compass: the ‘God Wars’ as child’s play

Religious zealots and secular crusaders are cursing Hollywood over its film version of Philip Pullman’s story. Both sides lack a moral compass.

David Chandler Tuesday 11 December 2007 comments

Britain's theatrical war against the Taliban

British troops are not fighting the ‘good fight’ in Afghanistan; they are hiding behind US airpower and taking towns from weak forces.

Rob Johnston Tuesday 11 December 2007 comments

Energy: the answer is not blowing in the wind

Ministers calling for a massive expansion of wind generation in Britain are full of hot air. The rational solution to the energy issue is to go nuclear.

Michael Cook Tuesday 11 December 2007 comments

The pitter patter of tiny carbon footprints

It sounds like a joke from Monty Python’s University of Woolloomooloo, yet the Aussies proposing a carbon tax on newborns are serious.

James Woudhuysen Wednesday 12 December 2007 comments

Knocking the wind out of the energy debate

The UK government department in charge of energy is strangling urgently needed generation schemes in red tape, precaution and ceaseless consultation.

Alan Miller Wednesday 12 December 2007 comments

‘Political art’ that treats the public like mugs

An art installation in New York featuring fake criminal mugshots of Bush and Cheney is meant to be cutting edge. In fact it is cynically conformist.

Mick Hume Wednesday 12 December 2007 comments

When even the police get stars in their eyes

More pay is far from the only sort of reward and public recognition that Britain’s celebrity-chasing police chiefs seem interested in today.

Emily Hill Thursday 13 December 2007 comments

Carry on Commando

James Delingpole’s Coward on the Beach, detailing the exploits of Second World War hero Dick Coward, will have you gripped with its derring-do.

Tara McCormack Thursday 13 December 2007 comments

Cranford and the poverty of adaptation

The TV version of Elizabeth Gaskell's novel is enjoyable. But it fails to do justice to the subtle humour and pathos of the book.

Rob Lyons Thursday 13 December 2007 comments

...Greenland melting?

Greenland's ice is melting faster than ever, according to researchers, but that's no cause for alarm.

Nathalie Rothschild Thursday 13 December 2007 comments

It's time to unwrap ‘Oxfam Unwrapped’

Celebs want us to give ‘funusual’ Xmas gifts to Africans, like goats, cans of worms and dung. A new film says the recipients are not impressed.

Mick Hume Friday 14 December 2007 comments

Get Ricky Hatton to Plant one on Led Zep

Behind the week's hype about boxing and Led bleedin' Zeppelin - read Mick Hume's columns in The Times (London).

Brendan O’Neill Friday 14 December 2007 comments

Please give to spiked this Christmas

Despite the best efforts of green-tinted Scrooges, this is still a season of giving – and we hope you will give to spiked’s fund-drive.

Duleep Allirajah Friday 14 December 2007 comments

Doing an Italian job
on English footie

If the appointment of Fabio Capello as England manager means our team of bottlers and underachievers learns to 'win ugly', so be it.

Ethan Greenhart Friday 14 December 2007 comments

Is it ethical to go to Bali?

Our ethical columnist discusses the Bali summit

Dolan Cummings Friday 14 December 2007 comments

Defending the Terror

Maximilien Robespierre was a fearless critic of tradition and incorruptibly committed to liberty: a million miles from today’s webcam jihadists.

Justine Brian Monday 17 December 2007 comments

Giving the homeless crumbs from the table

Who could object to making a £1 donation to the homeless as you pay for your meal in a fancy restaurant? Frequent diner Justine Brian could.

Munira Mirza Monday 17 December 2007 comments

Christmas is banned! Or is it?

Many of the 'PC gone mad!' stories about Christmas cards and cribs being outlawed are little more than rumours. So why do people believe them?

Frank Furedi Monday 17 December 2007 comments

From Singapore to Basra: British militarism as farce

If the fall of Singapore in 1942 exposed holes in the British Empire, today's 'fleeing' from Basra reveals a confused and complacent British elite.

James Heartfield Tuesday 18 December 2007 comments

Eco-imperialism at
the Bali summit?

After Bali: Are Western powers offsetting their industrial growth by blackmailing poorer countries to foreswear development? One writer thinks so.

Rob Lyons Tuesday 18 December 2007 comments

Hairshirt posturing vs everyday reality

After Bali: It ended in stalemate because while everyone poses as an opponent of CO2-emitting technologies, the fact is humanity needs them.

Brendan O’Neill Tuesday 18 December 2007 comments

Al Gore: enviro-tyrant

After Bali: In aspiring to ‘control the destiny of all generations to come’, Gore has unwittingly unveiled his anti-democratic streak.

Anna Travis Wednesday 19 December 2007 comments

Don't drink if you want to be merry

With undercover cops spying on pub staff, and everyone else conforming to official wisdom on 'binge-drinking', Xmas boozing might be a rather flat affair.

Tim Black Wednesday 19 December 2007 comments

'Toys can be fun.
They can also kill'

Fueled by irrational fear and a dash of angst about the 'yellow peril', Channel 4's investigation of dangerous Xmas toys was like an episode of Brass Eye.

Mick Hume Wednesday 19 December 2007 comments

Meet the new Eco-nezer Scrooges

In the name of scrimping and saving the planet, miserabilism about Xmas has gone mainstream and taken the moral high ground this year.

Patrick West Thursday 20 December 2007 comments

Please sir, can I have some more Dickens?

The latest TV adaptation of Oliver Twist is a traditional take on a great story, and far superior to that modern view of Cockney life: EastEnders.

Shirley Dent Thursday 20 December 2007 comments

BBC, pogue mahone

As if the BBC's cack-handed censorship of the Pogues' Fairytale of New York wasn't bad enough, now it seems Beeb bosses want to sanitise every record they play.

Ethan Greenhart Thursday 20 December 2007 comments

My ethical ‘heroes’ of 2007

Our ethical columnist nominates the ‘heroes’ of 2007

Jennie Bristow Thursday 20 December 2007 comments

Rule 7: Have a merry Christmas

Ignore the killjoys kicking up a fuss about pester power, toys-as-consumerism and secret paedophiles in Santa suits: Xmas with kids is fun.

Emily Hill Friday 21 December 2007 comments

Carry on Commando

James Delingpole’s Coward on the Beach, the first novel of 10 detailing the exploits of Second World War hero Dick Coward, will have you gripped with its knowingly posh derring-do.

Nathalie Rothschild Friday 21 December 2007 comments

Can Zadie Smith salvage the short story?

It’s often said that the short story is ‘in crisis’; unfortunately The Book of Other People, a colourful tome containing 23 character-driven tales by hip youngish writers, will not return it to glory.

Jay Bernard Friday 21 December 2007 comments

TS Eliot, thingamabob and tonal conformity

There's much to enjoy in the dark, sparse and occasionally bizarre collections on the shortlist for the 2008 TS Eliot poetry prize. But do poets have a responsibility to engage with the world in which they live?

James Heartfield Friday 21 December 2007 comments

New Labour’s out-of-control freakery

Yes, the UK government under Blair, and now Brown, has tried to micro-manage our daily lives. But it is Labour's outsourcing of political responsibility, rather than its control-freakery, that has killed politics.

Stuart Derbyshire Friday 21 December 2007 comments

How powerful is the ‘power of persuasion’?

A witty new book lists the psychological tricks you can play on people to make them say ‘Yes!’ to doing strange and unusual things. But the human mind is not putty that can be moulded.

Helene Guldberg Friday 21 December 2007 comments

Humanity, thou art sick

With shyness diagnosed as ‘social phobia’, and dissent as Oppositional Defiant Disorder, more and more emotions are being psychologised. Or perhaps I’m just suffering from Book Review Hyperactivity Dementia?

Tony Gilland Friday 21 December 2007 comments

Return of the Skeptical Environmentalist

In his new book Cool It, Bjørn Lomborg shows how ‘the science’ on global warming – covering everything from polar bear extinction to the disappearance of Greenland – has been distorted and politicised.

Emily Hill Friday 21 December 2007 comments

Lunching with the doyen
of ‘loser lit’

Toby Young, journalist, author and soon-to-be subject of a Hollywood movie, poses as a hapless failure. ‘Is it all an act?’, asks Emily Hill over a £5 platter of Indian food.

John Fitzpatrick Friday 21 December 2007 comments

Don’t mention the war

Some historians skirt around the period 1648 to 1660, between the trial of Charles I and the restoration of the monarchy, because they see it as messy and ‘illegal’. Yet the democratic instinct came to life in that heady decade.

Michael Fitzpatrick Friday 21 December 2007 comments

Was Jesus a revolutionary?

In our age of vulgar atheistic polemics, Catholic-turned-Marxist Terry Eagleton brings a rare combination of intellectual depth and seriousness to his study of the gospels. But humanity will not find salvation in the ‘Good Book’.

Emily Hill Saturday 22 December 2007 comments

Carry on Commando

James Delingpole’s Coward on the Beach, the first novel of 10 detailing the exploits of Second World War hero Dick Coward, will have you gripped with its knowingly posh derring-do.

James Panton Thursday 27 December 2007 comments

Why I've no appetite for the Fife Diet

A 'small, grassroots movement' has sprung up in Scotland based on eating only food produced nearby. Local boy James Panton is appalled.

Patrick West Thursday 27 December 2007 comments

Parky: knighted for services to sycophancy

When ‘chat show king’ Michael Parkinson gets his gong from the Queen, it won’t be the first time he’s bowed and scraped before a famous person.

Emily Hill Thursday 27 December 2007 comments

Amy Winehouse: the anti-Diana of 2007

In our era of bland, rehabilitated celebrities, let’s give thanks for the diva with the beetle-black beehive who put the naughty into the Noughties.

John Browne Thursday 27 December 2007 comments

Will America ♥ Huckabee
in 2008?

The strong showing for Mike Huckabee in Iowa exposes the disarray in the Republican party and the weakness of more prominent candidates.

James Heartfield Thursday 27 December 2007 comments

He’s a son of a bitch, but he’s their son of a bitch

Western observers loathe Time Man of the Year Vladimir Putin’s aggressive nationalism. But he is widely supported by the Russian people.

Frank Furedi Thursday 27 December 2007 comments

In 2008, let us challenge the Politics of Apocalypse

In the past year, the threat of doom – from weather, terror or disease – became an everyday, even banal issue. It’s time to inject a dose of humanism into public debate.

Brendan O’Neill Thursday 27 December 2007 comments

Mankind is more than the janitor of planet Earth

I am avowedly atheist. But listening to the bishops' drab, eco-pious Christmas sermons, I couldn’t help thinking: ‘Bring back God!’