January 2008

Angus Kennedy Thursday 3 January 2008 comments

Petitions: a shrunken view of democracy

New Labour's vision for popular engagement in 2008 bypasses the ballot box in favour of just getting us to beg for government intervention.

Rob Lyons Thursday 3 January 2008 comments

Earth: a man-made
morality tale

A new BBC film suggests human beings are screwing up the planet. But without us, Earth would be a pointless rock spinning through space.

David Chandler Thursday 3 January 2008 comments

Britain’s key weapon in Afghanistan: the bribe

In allegedly trying to buy off a local Taliban leader, British officials have shown a haughty and colonial disregard for the Afghan government.

Helene Guldberg Thursday 3 January 2008 comments

Shooting down the feminist Thought Police?

The UK government says adults should chill out and let boys play with toy guns. But who made us so uptight about kids’ play in the first place?

Mick Hume Thursday 3 January 2008 comments

After Bhutto: whoever wins, the West has lost

The panicky reactions to the killing of Benazir Bhutto in Pakistan reveal how the US and its allies are losing the ‘war on terror’.

Mick Hume Friday 4 January 2008 comments

I'm fine. Stop curing me

Brown's plans for a 'personal and preventative' NHS, and the liberty to abuse footballers: read Mick Hume's columns in The Times (London).

Patrick West Friday 4 January 2008 comments

Did postmodernity kill the quiz show?

Once, quiz shows were all about Q&A. Now they’re about ribbing and racountering, and some have dispensed with questions altogether.

Duleep Allirajah Friday 4 January 2008 comments

In defence of Terrace Tourette Syndrome

Forget clamping down on footie fans’ abusive chanting: we should admire the lyrical skill of cramming so much filth into such short verses.

James Delingpole Friday 4 January 2008 comments

Flash for freedom against PC partypoopers

For readers, the Flashman novels were a jolly romp. But for author George MacDonald Fraser, they were also a swipe against political correctness.

John Fitzpatrick Friday 4 January 2008 comments

How England’s civil wars changed the world

In the heady period 1648 to 1660, between the trial of Charles I and the restoration of the monarchy, the democratic instinct came to life.

Daniel Ben-Ami Monday 7 January 2008 comments

There's more to economics than shopping

Commentators obsessed with whether Brits are buying too much or too little ignore major shifts in the world economy – and world politics.

James Heartfield Monday 7 January 2008 comments

Green toffs vs the ‘shopping herd’

The panic about greedy mobs invading Oxford Street during the New Year sales is driven by elite disdain for consumerism and economic growth.

Phil Mullan Monday 7 January 2008 comments

The truth about the ‘credit crunch’

ESSAY: What the Subprime Crisis reveals about the economy, politics and the state in 2008 – and why the real story is the rise of the East as the West flounders.

Justine Brian Tuesday 8 January 2008 comments

Who gives a cluck about a broiler chicken?

Ignore the posh fooderati on Channel 4 moaning about the factory-farming of chickens: we should celebrate the freedom provided by mass food production.

Tim Black Tuesday 8 January 2008 comments

The dangers of ‘celebrity science’

A new report shows why we should take celebs’ advice on food, chemicals, how to avoid cancer and other scientific matters with an unhealthily large dose of salt.

Sean Collins Tuesday 8 January 2008 comments

Getting to grips with Obama-mania

He has charisma, a good physique and ‘hip-mod grey suits’, and a policy programme that consists only of ‘hope’. Barack Obama takes the politics of personality to a new low.

Frank Furedi Tuesday 8 January 2008 comments

Kenya is not the new Rwanda

Why Western observers see every political conflict in Africa as an inexplicable outburst of violence and a harbinger of ‘holocaust’.

Rob Johnston Wednesday 9 January 2008 comments

Ten myths about nuclear power

‘It's dangerous, wasteful and too expensive!’ Greens are busily putting the case against nuclear, but there is not a spark of truth in their arguments.

Dr Michael Fitzpatrick Wednesday 9 January 2008 comments

Healthy in mind and body… what about spirit?

For Aristotle, health meant a ‘flourishing life’. Today, with Brown’s offer of bodily screening, health has been reduced to mere animal fitness.

Mick Hume Wednesday 9 January 2008 comments

What Hope for real Change in America?

With slogans promising Hope, Belief and Change, there is a surge of excitement around the US presidential primaries. But can anybody tell us what the Obama-Clinton contest is about?

Suzy Dean Thursday 10 January 2008 comments

Down with Coercive Participation

Politicians in Britain are keen to ‘engage’ with the public... just as long as our leaders get to make all the big decisions behind closed doors beforehand.

Nancy McDermott Thursday 10 January 2008 comments

A striking lack of ideas on US TV

With the schedules packed full of Pop Idol clones, ripped-off Brit-coms and half-scripted reality TV shows, it's little wonder the US public finds the screenwriters' strike a turn-off.

Julie Hearn Thursday 10 January 2008 comments

Kenya and the myth of ‘African barbarism’

Observers describe the post-election violence as a virus. In truth, everyday Kenyans have historically resisted the top-down process of ethnic
one-upmanship.

Brendan O’Neill Thursday 10 January 2008 comments

One short drive for a man, one giant leap for mankind

All hail ‘The People’s Car’, which could liberate Indians from their (bicycle) chains.

Mick Hume Friday 11 January 2008 comments

Semi-incandescent over Ken’s ‘Lightbulb Amnesty’

A new dark age in Livingstone’s London, industrial chick farming as golden goose - read Mick Hume’s columns in The Times (London).

Patrick West Friday 11 January 2008 comments

Please don’t make darts fashionable

How the fun police are sanitising the boozers’ preferred ‘sport’, by banning drink, fags and heated banter.

Duleep Allirajah Friday 11 January 2008 comments

The monkey incident: cricket’s darkest hour?

Those who claim the ‘Bollyline’ affair is just not cricket are wrong: the game has always been a mental war of attrition.

Ethan Greenhart Friday 11 January 2008 comments

Is it ethical to use low-energy bulbs?

Our ethical columnist on the benefits of sitting in the dark.

Tony Gilland Friday 11 January 2008 comments

Climate catastrophe? Cool it!

In his new book, Bjørn Lomborg shows how the ‘climate science’ on everything from polar bears to pollution has been politicised.

Neil Davenport Monday 14 January 2008 comments

Women's libbers for law'n'order

Why are once radical feminists joining the chorus of disapproval about young women in mini-skirts going out, getting hammered and having sex?

Tim Black Monday 14 January 2008 comments

‘We should refuse to be terrorised’

At the London launch of his new book, Invitation to Terror, Frank Furedi offered some salutary advice to Gordon Brown on how to win the ‘battle of ideas’.

Dr Michael Baum Monday 14 January 2008 comments

Prevention is better than cure? Not necessarily

ESSAY: A leading cancer expert says Gordon Brown’s disease-screening initiative could cause unnecessary distress and diminish autonomy.

Holly Ellyatt Tuesday 15 January 2008 comments

The Black Man’s Burden

They don’t wear ribbons or white wristbands to show off how caring they are, yet African and Asian expats send billions of dollars in ‘aid’ to the developing world every year.

David Chandler Tuesday 15 January 2008 comments

Kosovo’s Declaration of Dependence

Hashim Thaci, one-time guerrilla turned PM of Kosovo, has promised to break away from Serbia. It's independence, Jim, but not as we know it.

Frank Furedi Tuesday 15 January 2008 comments

Politicising science

Scientific evidence is being repackaged as ‘The Science’: a superstitious dogma used to hector us on everything from sex to saving the planet.

Rob Johnston Wednesday 16 January 2008 comments

‘Green’ light bulbs: not such a bright idea

Some states are planning to ban incandescent light bulbs. But how bright will the future be under their gloomy, ‘energy efficient’ replacements?

Suzy Dean Wednesday 16 January 2008 comments

Democracy is not child’s play

British ministers want to extend the vote to 16-year-olds, in the forlorn hope that a youthful turnout will gloss over the crisis in adult politics and democracy.

Helen Searls Wednesday 16 January 2008 comments

From ‘Hillary hate’ to ‘Hillary hurrahism’

The Clintons did more than most to turn politics into a personality contest. So why is Hillary so shocked to be judged by what she wears and how she cries?

Mick Hume Wednesday 16 January 2008 comments

Would you donate your body to Gordon Brown?

The PM now wants a system of ‘presumed consent’ to provide more organs for transplant. Yet it was his government obsession with consent that exacerbated the problem in the first place.

Alan Miller Thursday 17 January 2008 comments

Ron Paul: no friend of freedom

The Texas congressman has vicious views on abortion and immigration. So why are so many liberals supporting him?

Neil Davenport Thursday 17 January 2008 comments

Turning teachers into spies and snitches

UK schools minister Jim Knight wants teachers to monitor their pupils' every antic and the behaviour of their parents. We should give his proposals a big red cross.

Nathalie Rothschild Thursday 17 January 2008 comments

Why we need an open-door policy

Kicking off spiked's campaign for freedom of movement in 2008, Nathalie Rothschild argues that there's one way to stop illegal immigration: stop making immigration illegal.

Brendan O’Neill Thursday 17 January 2008 comments

Princess Diana: off with her figurehead!

Bitchiness, backstabbing, cults, conspiracies: the inquest into Diana's death shows the triumph of backward court politics over republicanism.

Mick Hume Friday 18 January 2008 comments

Give the NSPCC a good smack

Reality check for child crusaders, and Diana: death of the inquest – read Mick Hume’s columns in The Times (London).

Patrick West Friday 18 January 2008 comments

YouTube: even the best bits are Danny Dire

User-generated sites are mostly full of rubbish, but there are a few gems out there - like Terry Alderton's parody of the Real Football Factories.

Duleep Allirajah Friday 18 January 2008 comments

The second coming of the ‘Geordie messiah’

Kevin Keegan can be relied on to maintain Newcastle United’s traditions: Keystone Cops defending, lousy signings, and bugger-all trophies.

Ethan Greenhart Friday 18 January 2008 comments

Is it ethical to boycott Japan?

Our ethical columnist on the 'uncivilised barbarity' of the world's leading whaling nation.

Helene Guldberg Friday 18 January 2008 comments

Humanity, thou art sick

Shyness is now ‘social phobia’, and dissent is ‘Oppositional Defiant Disorder’. How did everyday emotions come to be seen as illnesses?

Brendan O’Neill Monday 21 January 2008 comments

The fall of Rome played out in Southfork

Charlie Wilson’s War, a borderline slapstick comedy about the CIA’s arming of the Mujahideen, reveals more about America than the pious new films on Iraq do.

Angus Kennedy Monday 21 January 2008 comments

How public houses enforce public order

No music; no rowdiness; no getting pissed in front of the kids... Britain's Wetherspoon chain of pubs is going even further than the government in policing our behaviour.

Nathalie Rothschild Monday 21 January 2008 comments

How to be European: ban smoking in public

After ‘smoking like a Turk’ in Istanbul, Nathalie Rothschild laments the city's plan to enforce an EU-style clampdown on the evil weed.

Rob Johnston Tuesday 22 January 2008 comments

Cloned food scare: where's the beef?

An Axis of Reaction is furious about the idea of 'cloned meat'. Yet such meat is not only safe; it could also bring enormous benefits to both farmers and farmyard animals.

John Browne Tuesday 22 January 2008 comments

Barack Obama: white America's candidate

Desperately hoping that he will change the ‘image of the USA’, white liberals have invested more hope and energy in Obama's campaign than have black Americans.

Jennie Bristow Tuesday 22 January 2008 comments

Rule 8: There’s nothing wrong with ‘electronic babysitting’

Ignore the organic-obsessed supermums and mumsy officials who say kids shouldn't watch TV: there's nothing wrong with electronic babysitting.

Tim Black Wednesday 23 January 2008 comments

Environmentalists: don’t label them Luddites

Using the L-word to describe today’s middle-class eco-miserabilists is an insult to the nineteenth-century radicals who fought for their rights and dignity.

Mick Hume Wednesday 23 January 2008 comments

They couldn't run a
credit-spree in a bank

Beyond the mind-numbing financial stats, the Northern Rock debacle gives an insight into the real state of politics and economics today.

Daniel Harris Thursday 24 January 2008 comments

Liverpool, you’ll always walk alone

If fickle football fans weren’t so parochial, supporters around the country could unite to put pressure on the money men who run the Premiership.

Duleep Allirajah Thursday 24 January 2008 comments

‘Stick your minute’s silence up your arse’

Football's vibrant terrace culture once thrived on trading insults; now it languishes under post-Diana codes of emotional conduct.

Daniel Ben Ami Thursday 24 January 2008 comments

How Asia bails out America

The Federal Reserve’s ‘shock’ slashing of interest rates was only the latest episode in a drawn-out drama starring Western sluggishness and Eastern dynamism.

Rob Lyons Thursday 24 January 2008 comments

Let's call a ceasefire in the 'war on obesity'

In tackling an imaginary fat epidemic, the government is intruding into our lives, guilt-tripping parents and stigmatising chubby children.

David Clements Friday 25 January 2008 comments

The new face of law‘n’order

The elevation of anti-social behaviour into a central political issue reveals how the directionless political elite in Britain has manipulated our sense of vulnerability.

David Chandler Friday 25 January 2008 comments

Keeping humanity secure?

The new focus on ‘human security’ in the debate about international relations suggests there should be an even more meddlesome form of policing of other states’ affairs. No thanks.

Guy Rundle Friday 25 January 2008 comments

Rehab: it’s not rock’n’roll

The Heroin Diaries, by a cleaned-up, self-deluded Nikki Sixx, is probably the last in the classic genre of the bad rock memoir. And it reminds us that early rock’n’rollers’ idea of freedom can’t be found in rehab.

Tim Black Friday 25 January 2008 comments

The little book of big ideas

Slicing through PR and marketing bullshit, James Harkin’s dictionary of the ‘latest thinking’ reminds us that ideas can change the world and invites us to start formulating our own.

James Heartfield Friday 25 January 2008 comments

The tyranny of
identity politics

The left’s cry ‘the personal is political!’ sounded radical once, but it has been used to legitimise state interference in our lives. If what we do in the bedroom is ‘political’, why shouldn’t the authorities regulate it?

Daniel Ben-Ami Friday 25 January 2008 comments

The midwife of miserabilism

With its attacks on advertising, opulence and environmental filth, John Kenneth Galbraith’s The Affluent Society, published 50 years ago, anticipated today’s small-minded growth scepticism.

Sean Collins Friday 25 January 2008 comments

Is ‘hyperpartisanship’ paralysing American politics?

It is not a clash of ideologies but rather an empty bickering over nothing of much substance that makes the presidential campaign seem so shrill and divided.

Dr Michael Fitzpatrick Friday 25 January 2008 comments

Anti-MMR mania:
diagnosis and cure

Once, the media fawned over anti-MMR crusaders; they were ‘handsome’, ‘glossy-haired’ and ‘brave’. Now it ridicules them as quacks. What explains journalists’ turn from inflaming anti-vaccine hysteria to embracing scientific evidence?

Damian Thompson Friday 25 January 2008 comments

Dare to know nothing

‘Counterknowledge’, fiction masquerading as fact on everything from 9/11 to homeopathy, is thriving thanks to today's mad mixture of postmodern political correctness and capitalist greed.

Alexander Cockburn Friday 25 January 2008 comments

I am an intellectual blasphemer

When Alexander Cockburn, author of the forthcoming book A Short History of Fear, dared to question the climate change consensus, he was punished by a tsunami of self-righteous fury. It is time for a free and open ‘battle of ideas’, he says.

James Heartfield Monday 28 January 2008 comments

Suharto: made and broken by the West

The bloody dictator was not overthrown by Indonesian ‘people power’, as the obits claim; he was sacked by his Western backers when his face no longer fitted.

Sean Collins Monday 28 January 2008 comments

Will Obama change American politics?

After his big win in South Carolina, Barack Obama said the word ‘change’ a dozen times. Does he really have a transformative, convention-busting vision?

Frank Furedi Monday 28 January 2008 comments

If you believe in Europe, then reject this Treaty

Those of us committed to true European ideals should challenge the EU oligarchy's disdain for democracy and demand a referendum.

Dennis Hayes Tuesday 29 January 2008 comments

Would you like relish with that A-level?

The idea that McDonald's could provide qualifications has prompted derision, but the ‘McDonaldisation’ of learning has already begun.

David Chandler Tuesday 29 January 2008 comments

Why Karzai was right to reject Ashdown

He relished his role as colonial overlord in Bosnia, so it's not surprising the Afghans don’t want Paternalistic Paddy anywhere near their country.

Mick Hume Tuesday 29 January 2008 comments

Ruled by accountants who can’t do their accounts

On the donations scandals, one question remains: apart from denying it did anything wrong, what has Gordon Brown’s government actually done?

Brendan O’Neill Wednesday 30 January 2008 comments

Institutionalised prudishness

A Ryanair chief has described the Advertising Standards Authority as a ‘bunch of unelected, self-appointed dimwits’. He has a point.

Dominic Standish Wednesday 30 January 2008 comments

Pantomime politics,
Italian-style

Rivers of refuse, bust-ups in parliament, the fall of Romano Prodi’s government: Dominic Standish reports on Italy’s descent into farce.

Rob Lyons Wednesday 30 January 2008 comments

‘Bin the bag’: the bizarre cause célèbre

Why has ridding society of ‘evil’ plastic bags become the issue for radicals, retailers and officials from San Francisco to Shanghai?

Neil Davenport Thursday 31 January 2008 comments

Compulsory cookery: another half-baked idea

Teaching children how to cook should be about taste and pleasure - but the UK government is only interested in obesity, salt intake and telling us how to live.

Tim Black Thursday 31 January 2008 comments

This is more than a case of ‘media Maddieness’

Tim Black reports from a debate amongst leading journalists about the ‘story of their lifetime’: the abduction of Madeleine McCann and the subsequent public hysteria.

Nathalie Rothschild Thursday 31 January 2008 comments

Nul points for the immigrant points system

Nathalie Rothschild reports from the first meeting of the Migration Parliamentary Group, which wants to lead a ‘positive’ debate about migration. It got off to a bad start.

Brendan O’Neill Thursday 31 January 2008 comments

Trafficking: return of the ‘white slavery’ scare?

The Metropolitan Police’s legalised kidnapping of 10 Roma children suggests the anti-trafficking industry is the greatest threat to migrants.