Orangemen, welcome to a united Ireland!
Gerry Adams’ promise that unionists will have respect and power in a future republic shows the naivety of identity politics.
Organic food and unhealthy snobbery
People don’t eat organic for its nutrients, but because they want to distinguish themselves from the junk-scoffing hordes.
Bobby Robson and the decline of British decency
He was by all accounts a lovely bloke. But behind the effusive eulogising there lurks a disdain for today’s allegedly crass football fans and players.
|Tuesday 4 August 2009|
It’s time to get real about the recession
Political and media pundits have been far too calm and cavalier about this serious economic downturn.
The return of workers’ blacklists
By calling for far-right people to be sacked from the civil service, the PCS union is adopting anti-union tactics.
In defence of citizens
The only thing worse than Phil Woolas’s points system for citizenship is his critics’ argument that the idea of citizenship is undesirable.
|Wednesday 5 August 2009|
Sorry, but Fairtrade is a political issue
BBC newsreader George Alagiah is shocked that his bosses think Fairtrade is ‘somehow controversial’. It is.
The UN’s Twitter war against nukes
Why Ban Ki-moon’s teenage Twittering about the evil of nuclear weapons has only 1,064 followers.
Don’t bank on it, Brown
The notion that the UK banking sector will rescue the economy is as misplaced as the claim that a few bankers were to blame for the crisis.
|Thursday 6 August 2009|
Who’d go on a government-funded gap year?
Travel can be fun and inspiring, just so long as you avoid the micro-managed, skills-obsessed jaunts provided by New Labour.
Are British stag nights really wrecking Riga?
The annual silly-season attack on British stags in Latvia is, once again, based on snobbery rather than facts.
We need planes, trains and automobiles
Justifying high-speed rail as a way of stopping people from flying is a perverse anti-travel argument.
Defend green jobs! Smash ungreen jobs!
Environmentalists are defending jobs at the ‘good’ Vestas wind-turbine factory while ignoring the sacking of workers at ‘evil’ Thomas Cook.
|Friday 7 August 2009|
There’s nothing wrong with good repeats
Instead of rubbish new productions, cash-strapped channels like ITV should plunder their vaults for some TV gold.
Saving cricket from the stuffed blazers
Far from ruining Cricket's hallowed traditions, the new breed of booing and singing fan has revitalised the sport.
At last, a serious debate on ‘social evils’
In a challenging new book, the Joseph Rowntree Foundation looks at how therapy culture and individuation have frayed the social fabric.
|Monday 10 August 2009|
Save our Sloanes
A long-time Chelsea resident says the Kings Road has been ruined by property speculation and petty regulation.
Against booze bans
Giving police the arbitrary power to prevent people from drinking in public is an attack on everyday freedom.
How killjoys colonised Britain’s public houses
The smoking ban, on top of strict licensing laws and CCTV, has turned pubs from places of choice and tolerance into outlets for official meddling.
|Tuesday 11 August 2009|
Content producers of the world unite!
By focusing on consumption, both sides in the debate over illegal file-sharing ignore the value of creative labour.
Sickened by modern farming?
Agriculture has provided great benefits to mankind, yet greens are keen to blame it for the swine flu pandemic.
The Tories and the tyranny of anti-politics
Anyone interested in Big Politics and society-shaking debate should challenge the Conservative Party’s ‘clean politics’ agenda.
|Wednesday 12 August 2009|
Copenhagen climate deal would be no fairytale
Until we have new technology in place, we can either cut greenhouse gas emissions or tackle poverty — but not both.
Baby P: another round of ‘prole porn’
After the tragic death of Peter Connelly, underclass-baiting offers a relief for pundits in search of a moral crusade.
The lingering death of New Labour
The party has no voters, no MPs, no leadership, no principles — but we still have to endure another nine months of it in government.
|Thursday 13 August 2009|
A chronic case of risk-aversion
Under-investment in UK industry is a problem not just of the credit crunch, but of long-term risk-aversion.
Displaying the truth about policymaking
Newly released correspondence shows how UK government tobacco policy is being created by anti-tobacco groups.
Why parents should oppose vetting
For generations, parents invited other adults to help raise and care for their kids. Now those relationships are being corroded by the state.
|Friday 14 August 2009|
Coco Before Chanel: a rags-for-riches tale
Anne Fontaine’s biopic suggests the French fashion icon was as much a social climber as a trend-setting genius.
An obituary to
a once-great station
The eclectic mix of re-runs on ITV4 remind us that mainstream, commercial television could be great.
The former Aussie batsman was right in his assessment of England’s cricketers: they don't like it up 'em.
There’s more to Calvin than dourness and asceticism
We have forgotten that John Calvin was not only a severe Christian but also a key figure in the intellectual making of the modern world.
|Monday 17 August 2009|
EU vote: the opposition will not be televised
Ireland’s scrapping of the equal airtime requirement ahead of the second Lisbon Treaty referendum diminishes debate.
Health wars: six myths about the NHS debate
The support for a Twitter campaign backing the UK health service has little to do with the merits of state-run medicine.
America’s health wars
The backlash against Obama’s modest healthcare reforms is born from the fear of an uncertain future and a distrust of the political class.
|Tuesday 18 August 2009|
Going ‘soft’ on learning
While Michael Gove has attacked the way children are pushed toward easier subjects, the real problem is a society that has devalued education.
A picture of prudishness
A college disciplinary case over a lecturer showing students some edgy photographs reveals how fear of offence trumps academic freedom today.
It’s time to teach them Academic Freedom 101
Students should know better than to oppose the appointment of professors they disagree with. Uniformity of opinion only breeds complacency.
|Wednesday 19 August 2009|
A festival with much to trumpet
PHOTO ESSAY: Every year in the Serbian town of Guca, belly dancers, Gypsies and tourists get together for a week of fun.
New Labour’s power vacuum
The UK government’s obsession with energy self-sufficiency and renewables looks set to lead to blackouts in the next few years.
Afghan questions: eight years too late
There has been no serious opposition to the West’s disastrous war in Afghanistan since 2001. What’s behind the outburst of questions now?
|Thursday 20 August 2009|
‘We’re in the killing Nazis business’
Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds is preposterous, frequently cartoonish and too long — but it’s still lots of fun.
A low level of educational ambition
While A-level grades may be rising, UK education remains as culturally impoverished as the public life that informs it.
How about safeguarding innocent adults?
In the name of protecting children, new vetting procedures will condemn adults based on hearsay and dubious decision-making.
|Friday 21 August 2009|
Science TV strikes back
After a decade of decline, the semi-silly science programme is making a comeback – will it inspire kids to become geniuses?
The Worst Decision Ever — part II
Who was to blame for Crystal Palace’s goal that wasn’t? The ref, Bristol City, or those pesky stanchion designers (again).
Defending A-Rod from moralising sports writers
A Yankees fan is not impressed by a book which claims that Alex Rodriguez is a demanding, self-absorbed drug-taker.
Lockerbie: what’s justice got to do with it?
International politics, not truth or fair play, has been the determining factor in the story of Pan Am flight 103.
|Monday 24 August 2009|
The irrational streak to Israel-bashing
An article about the IDF stealing organs suggests ancient myths are becoming acceptable again in polite society.
Why I’m opposed to a maximum wage
It masquerades as progressive, but the campaign to cap big bonuses is really a moralistic critique of ambition.
Al-Megrahi and the crisis of political leadership
The British government’s mismanagement of the al-Megrahi affair exposes its utter lack of intellectual, moral and political authority.
|Tuesday 25 August 2009|
Turning death into a consumer product
Recent events in America show that the ‘assisted suicide’ approach makes death more regulated rather than peaceful.
Cameron’s Tories: the heirs to Blairism
Promoting patient choice, regulating our behaviour... Cameron is channelling New Labour circa 1997.
Now it’s the ‘special needs’ relationship
The furore over the release of al-Megrahi shows how the US-UK alliance has lost its sheen since the joint crusade against Libya in the 1980s.
|Wednesday 26 August 2009|
Civilisation: it’s more than good culture
An insightful new book reminds us that we need both spiritual and material wealth to create the good society.
Viewing Britain as a nation of Begbies
The Home Office proposal to replace pint glasses with plastic cups sums up its suspicion of animalistic Brits.
We’re all traffickers now
We should challenge the idea that everything from smoking a spliff to employing an African cleaner is potential complicity in a ‘slave trade’.
|Thursday 27 August 2009|
Let’s finally erase this ‘law’ from the statutes
The revelation that the Video Recordings Act is not a real law shows the dangers of kneejerk, censorious legislation.
You say underclass, we say white trash
Chris Grayling’s comparison of Moss Side with The Wire was silly, but his critics have vilified the working class, too.
Yes, it’s a return to the dark ages of football...
...when hysteria about hooliganism was rife, anti-working class prejudice was widespread, and there was a clamour for authoritarian solutions.
|Friday 28 August 2009|
The Futurists’ assault on our lugholes
Most of us associate Futurism with painting, but as Radio 3 recently revealed they made music - well, noise - too.
The Ashes: a five-act Australian tragedy
With fate, a tragic hero and a Hussey, the 2009 Ashes series played out like a classical tragedy — for the Aussies.
Question everything - even environmentalism
A new book on the importance of questioning received wisdom leaves out one area of life where scepticism is frowned on today: climate change.