February 2009

Brendan O’Neill Monday 2 February 2009 comments

An act of extreme, wilful fecundity?

Why the birth of octuplets in California so speedily turned from a good news story into a finger-wagging morality tale.

Helene Guldberg Monday 2 February 2009 comments

The mother of all interventions

We should roundly reject the new UK report which argues that time-stretched parents are producing damaged children.

Frank Furedi Monday 2 February 2009 comments

Why the British elite is so scared of babies

In arguing that it’s wrong to have too many kids, Jonathon Porritt has joined the eco-misanthropes who want to reduce human numbers.

Mark Gardner Tuesday 3 February 2009 comments

Yesterday’s anti-Zionism is today’s anti-Semitism

The head of the Community Security Trust responds to Frank Furedi’s essay on 21st-century anti-Jewish sentiment.

Ken McLaughlin Tuesday 3 February 2009 comments

Treating life itself as a mental illness

The latest celebrity-fronted awareness campaign conflates everyday emotional turmoil with serious mental ill-health.

Tiffany Jenkins Tuesday 3 February 2009 comments

British museums: the Druids are at the gates

The demand that an ancient skeleton should be taken out of Avebury museum and buried shows the dangers of officialdom’s ‘cultural sensitivity’.

Basham and Luik Wednesday 4 February 2009 comments

Why the government can’t ‘cure’ obesity

There’s one major problem with the authorities’ obsessive focus on making us lose weight and shape up: it doesn’t work.

Rob Lyons Wednesday 4 February 2009 comments

Frost/Nixon: Rocky for intellectuals

So what if Peter Morgan plays loose with the facts? He has produced that rare thing: a thrilling political drama.

Mick Hume Wednesday 4 February 2009 comments

Wild claims and wildcat strikes

The walkouts over foreign workers are neither evidence of a wave of xenophobia nor a re-emergence of trade union militancy.

Rob Lyons Thursday 5 February 2009 comments

Turning salt into Public Enemy No.1

Why has there been such gobsmacking conformity on the authorities’ bizarre demonising of the white stuff?

Nathalie Rothschild Thursday 5 February 2009 comments

A secular witch-hunt in western England

In backing the suspension of a nurse who offered to pray for her patients, New Atheists have become the new inquisitors.

Tim Black Thursday 5 February 2009 comments

Sports stars strike a blow for dignity and liberty

The cyclists, tennis players and footballers taking a stand against the authoritarian, Kafkaesque anti-doping regime deserve our support.

Jerker Jansson Friday 6 February 2009 comments

The kitchen is political

Jerker Jansson, Sweden’s Thinking Chef, cooks a lamb stew while lamenting the death of radicalism and solidarity.

Rob Lyons Friday 6 February 2009 comments

ITV sport: putting the Tic Tacs into tactics

We should praise that pesky advert for Tic Tacs: it saved the nation from the agony of the Everton-Liverpool game.

Patrick West Friday 6 February 2009 comments

The all-new Minder: a passable knock-off

It’s a nice little earner for Shane Richie, but the remake of the Eighties favourite takes a few ‘diabolical liberties’.

Neil Davenport Friday 6 February 2009 comments

The hidden horrors of ‘austerity chic’

A recession could be good for us? The last time austerity ruled Britain, it increased ill-health and authoritarianism and dented community spirit.

Terry Sanderson Monday 9 February 2009 comments

We’re no witch-hunters

The president of the National Secular Society responds to Nathalie Rothschild’s article on the suspended Christian nurse.

Tara McCormack Monday 9 February 2009 comments

The new slave trade?

The term ‘trafficking’ depoliticises the debate about immigration and makes everyone into a pathetic victim.

Frank Furedi Monday 9 February 2009 comments

Muslim alienation in the UK? Blame the Israelis!

Is it true that the war in Gaza has heightened community tensions here in Britain? PLUS: Brendan O’Neill on ‘Muslim anger’.

Sadhvi Sharma Tuesday 10 February 2009 comments

Living in filth is no lifestyle choice

Sadhvi Sharma reports from Bombay on the reality of the slums that Prince Charles hailed as paragons of community life.

Guy Rundle Tuesday 10 February 2009 comments

Burning questions about the bushfires

Guy Rundle asks if the fraying and isolation of communities in Victoria worsened the impact of the ferocious flames.

Dr Michael Fitzpatrick Tuesday 10 February 2009 comments

The MMR scare: from foolishness to fraud?

The latest shocking revelations about Dr Andrew Wakefield’s 1998 Lancet paper suggest there was more to it than skewed science.

James Heartfield Wednesday 11 February 2009 comments

A return to wartime housing policies

What is Britain’s new vision for housing? Bribing council tenants to move into smaller properties to ‘make room’ for others.

Mark Adnum Wednesday 11 February 2009 comments

Meryl Streep: ‘Our Lady of the Accents’

With its lemon-sucking overacting and lack of flair, Doubt misses an opportunity for high Catholic melodrama.

Mick Hume Wednesday 11 February 2009 comments

Now it’s a war on words

Free speech controversies involving Prince Harry, Carol Thatcher and Jeremy Clarkson show the new thought police are in danger of running riot.

Joel Cohen Thursday 12 February 2009 comments

Vote for me because I’m not the other guy

Joel Cohen reports from Israel on an election in which debate about policy came a poor second to pre-pubescent bickering.

Nathalie Rothschild Thursday 12 February 2009 comments

Israel and the new politics of insecurity

The Israeli elections confirm the death of grand Zionist visions and the rise of new forms of fearful separatism.

Rob Lyons Thursday 12 February 2009 comments

Bashing the bankers will make you go blind

Everyone’s enjoying the two-minute hate against greedy bankers, but it is obscuring a proper, truthful understanding of the recession.

David Berkley Friday 13 February 2009 comments

Milk: a new blend of politics

Gus Van Sant’s praising biopic captures the pioneering gay politician’s skillful mix of idealism and pragmatism.

Duleep Allirajah Friday 13 February 2009 comments

Celeries, socks and other footie missiles

As Liverpool fans recently proved, throwing objects on to the pitch is part of a rich tradition of terrace humour.

Emily Hill Friday 13 February 2009 comments

E certainly doesn’t stand for ‘evidence’

The UK government’s insistence on classing Ecstasy alongside heroin exposes the limits to its ‘evidence-based’ approach.

Sean Collins Friday 13 February 2009 comments

The downturn is a crisis of the real economy

Blaming selfish bankers, bridge-playing CEOs and greedy consumers for the downturn overlooks the larger systemic forces at work.

Tim Black Monday 16 February 2009 comments

Britain is not a ‘crowded theatre’

Foreign secretary David Miliband’s use of the ‘fire in a theatre’ argument against Geert Wilders was ahistoric and illiberal.

Brendan O’Neill Monday 16 February 2009 comments

The Culture War that dare not speak its name

The Geert Wilders affair exposes an elite more interested in battling imaginary Islamofascists or Islamophobes than having an enlightened debate.

Tim Black Tuesday 17 February 2009 comments

Stuck in the counter-cultural cul-de-sac

Written at the start of the 1960s, Revolutionary Road – now turned into a film – foresaw the decade’s decline

Christopher Snowdon Tuesday 17 February 2009 comments

Smoking out ‘deniers’ and ‘dissidents’

Anti-smoking activists are now comparing their critics to Holocaust deniers. It is a vile attempt to shut down debate.

Jennie Bristow Tuesday 17 February 2009 comments

Rule 18: be sceptical about ‘bad childhood’ reports

With so many shrill studies telling us that parents are selfish and uncaring, is it any wonder some children might feel a little insecure?

Alex Hochuli Wednesday 18 February 2009 comments

Why I’m standing up for the right to fly

The co-founder of Modern Movement explains why they’re holding a pro-flight demo in London on Thursday.

Nathalie Rothschild Wednesday 18 February 2009 comments

Warning! These photos may be useful to terrorists

PHOTO ESSAY: In defiance of a law making it a potential crime to photograph police, spiked went cop-snapping in London.

Sean Collins Wednesday 18 February 2009 comments

It takes more than money to revive an economy

Why President Obama’s $787 billion recovery package won’t fire up the US economy — and might even make things worse in the long term.

Roger A Pielke Jr Thursday 19 February 2009 comments

The rise of scientific authoritarianism

The megalomania of James Hansen of NASA shows how ‘climate expertise’ can undermine democracy.

Philip J Spencer Thursday 19 February 2009 comments

The left must stand up to anti-Semitism

An academic who specialises in anti-Semitism responds to Frank Furedi’s essay on 21st-century anti-Jewish sentiment.

Wendy Kaminer Thursday 19 February 2009 comments

Beware predatory prosecutors online

Laws ostensibly designed to protect children online are being used to punish them for sexual shenanigans or for ‘harassing’ their teachers.

Patrick West Friday 20 February 2009 comments

The Amish are more American than you think

Amish communities are often depicted as a monolithic ‘Other’ to modern society, but the truth is far more complex.

Duleep Allirajah Friday 20 February 2009 comments

Chelsea: a Roman farce in west London

Abramovich’s sacking of yet another Chelsea manager once again emphasised the folly of dumping Jose Mourinho.

Patrick Marmion Friday 20 February 2009 comments

Mocking multiculturalism at the National

The controversial play England People Very Nice might be bawdily irreverent, but it ultimately conforms to Hampstead Liberal piety.

Tim Black Friday 20 February 2009 comments

Injecting the mainstream with chimney-sweep chic

Media commissioners love Russell Brand because they think he’s the perfect combo of prole edginess and intellectual wit. Only he isn’t.

Manick Govinda Monday 23 February 2009 comments

Britain’s red light to overseas artists

Manick Govinda attacks government restrictions on the unfettered movement of artists into Britain.

Dr Michael Fitzpatrick Monday 23 February 2009 comments

MMR-autism scare: the truth is out at last

The ‘vaccine court’ in the United States, and its excellent expert witnesses, have finally slain and buried MMR junk science.

Brendan O’Neill Monday 23 February 2009 comments

Jade, Diana and the myth of public hysteria

Commentators are made uncomfortable by Jade Goody because she’s a product of the degenerate celebrity culture that they helped to institute.

Rob Lyons Tuesday 24 February 2009 comments

Why It’s Not Our Fault. Honest.

A website designed to show the government offering ‘Real Help Now’ for the economy is an exercise in blame-avoidance.

Rob Killick Tuesday 24 February 2009 comments

What next for the British economy?

In order for the economy to recover and thrive, we need a revolution in political thinking and some serious risk-taking.

Mick Hume Tuesday 24 February 2009 comments

State-run banks won’t save Britain — or even Brown

There is seemingly no financial crisis so bad that it cannot be made potentially worse by the prime minister’s intervention.

Ben Pile Wednesday 25 February 2009 comments

‘We have an extremely selfish population’

Ben Pile talks to a member of the UK Climate Change Committee — and to one of its staunchest critics.

Tim Black Wednesday 25 February 2009 comments

Why is the BBFC so scared of arousal?

Film classifiers’ fear that they might be turned on by porn if made to watch it alone reveals their elitist prudishness.

Frank Furedi Wednesday 25 February 2009 comments

Climate change and the return of original sin

Officials want us to observe a ‘carbon fast’. It’s further evidence that environmentalism is about managing human behaviour rather than nature.

Tom Slater Thursday 26 February 2009 comments

Nowt so queer as folk

Brought up by parents who listened to Fairport Convention, I've always been suspicious of folk - until I heard Ranger3.

Patrick West Thursday 26 February 2009 comments

The science of sleep

As two BBC documentaries revealed this week, we really need those 40 winks; without them, we'd go mad.

Basham and Luik Thursday 26 February 2009 comments

Four fat myths about obesity and cancer

A new report from the World Cancer Research Fund recycles some highly dubious claims about our waistlines and health.

Brendan O’Neill Thursday 26 February 2009 comments

The cult of transparency is a threat to democracy

I’m opposed to the Iraq war and to Jack Straw. But he has a point when he says that not all Cabinet minutes should be published.

Alex Standish Friday 27 February 2009 comments

Leave the hobby horses at the classroom door

Universities need to remember what they are there for: to provide students with the intellectual tools to understand the world, not to provide a platform for the partial interests of academics.

Rob Lyons Friday 27 February 2009 comments

The death of community is greatly exaggerated

A new collection of thought-provoking essays challenges the idea that communities are falling apart, and puts the case for less official interference in public space.

Jane Sandeman Friday 27 February 2009 comments

‘The “evidence” doesn’t stand up to scrutiny’

Helene Guldberg, author of Reclaiming Childhood, tells Jane Sandeman about the instincts that encouraged her to investigate the parenting panic, and why her book has caused such a stir.

Jennie Bristow Friday 27 February 2009 comments

Deconstructing dads

Instead of lecturing fathers about ‘doing their bit’, politicians would do better to understand the messy and complex reality of contemporary parenting.

Guy Rundle Friday 27 February 2009 comments

An historian’s love/hate relationship with Uncle Joe

Simon Sebag Montefiore officially loathes the subject of his book, Joseph Stalin. Yet secretly, he also seems to find him – and the early revolutionary events he was involved in – entrancing and magnetic.

Stuart Derbyshire Friday 27 February 2009 comments

Sex, war and stupidity

In labelling Churchill as ‘ape-like’ and claiming that Timothy McVeigh was driven by ‘primate’ instincts, the authors of Sex and War hope to prove that war is an evolutionary trait. Their thesis is mind-blowingly dumb.

Nathalie Rothschild Friday 27 February 2009 comments

Stars in their eyes

Cosmo Landesman’s hilarious and compassionate memoir of growing up in a fame-obsessed, hippy household reveals more about celebrity culture than many a sociological tract.

Sean Collins Friday 27 February 2009 comments

From Nixonland to Obamaland

A thorough and absorbing account of how Richard Nixon took advantage of shifting political dynamics in the 1960s sheds new light on that era, and also on American politics today.

Frank Furedi Friday 27 February 2009 comments

Energising the debate about climate change

Energise!, a brilliant manual for humanist futurologists, eschews the green ideology of misanthropy and restraint and instead puts the case for more human action to solve a human-made problem.

Tim Black Friday 27 February 2009 comments

A shot across the bows of philistinism

What sets Denis Dutton’s lucid The Art Instinct apart from other books is not his attempt to use Charles Darwin to explain our cultural needs, but his insistence on both art’s universality and necessity.