Are we witnessing ‘the rise of the rest’?
The elevation of the G20 over the G8 has prompted talk of an international power shift. The reality is more complicated.
Feral kids: ‘confident, cocky and in control’?
Brown’s latest declaration of war on antisocial behaviour expolits today’s widespread adult fear of children.
Sarah Brown: celebrity wife
Gordon Brown once rejected the politics of celebrity, now his wife hangs out with Paris Hilton.
Not all migrants are scruffy, dirty victims
Yes, the residents of the Calais ‘jungle’ have been treated badly, but the no borders case requires a defence of everyone’s right to move.
|Friday 2 October 2009|
Violence, drugs and Appalachian dancing
White Lightnin’, about ‘dancing outlaw’ Jesco White, is a moving film. If only it didn’t romanticise mental illness.
Audley Harrison: a cautionary tale
How did the man who won Olympic gold in 2000 fail so spectacularly to become a professional champion?
Let’s stand up to ‘supernanny’
Jennie Bristow’s important, engaging and witty book both explains and critiques the tsunami of state meddling in family affairs.
|Monday 5 October 2009|
A hollow victory for the Yes campaigners
Bruno Waterfield reports from Brussels on how the EU’s determination to ‘win’ the Irish vote has damaged its standing.
‘Both sides indulged in scaremongering’
Jason Walsh reports from Dublin where it seems neither the Yes camp nor the No camp voted with much enthusiasm.
A defeat for the democratic instinct
The Second Irish Referendum: the Irish people have spoken, yes, but in the voice of someone put into a headlock by far more powerful forces.
|Tuesday 6 October 2009|
Strictly No Racism – even in private
The reaction to dancer Anton du Beke’s dodgy joke shows that official ‘anti-racism’ is an insidious form of censorship.
Weighing into family life — again
Obesity campaigners want all expectant parents to be weighed. We should tell them to get stuffed.
Population reduction: a war on women’s bodies
Pro-choice activists must defend women’s reproductive rights against those who say we should curb population growth to save the planet.
|Wednesday 7 October 2009|
Are the supermarkets killing British food?
Debate: The big chains seem more popular than ever, but are they strangling small businesses and consumer choice?
No end in sight for Bundestagnation
Angela Merkel’s victory puts an end to the inertia of the Grand Coalition, but German politics still lacks dynamism.
The Tories have changed – but not for the better
Forget the left’s fantasies about the return of Thatcherism. New Conservatives or New Labour, they are all accountants now.
|Thursday 8 October 2009|
The indie scene is fun, but it isn’t radical
A new documentary about the music festival All Tomorrow’s Parties tries far too hard to stand up to ‘the man’.
Tory leader in ‘drinking champagne’ shock!
When appearance is everything in politics, even David Cameron enjoying a glass of bubbly can become a scandal.
What do you think: is this child porn or art?
Nathalie Rothschild took the banned picture of Brooke Shields back to the Tate Modern to let gallery visitors decide for themselves.
|Friday 9 October 2009|
Watching football is not a civil right
Yes it’s irritating that Ukraine vs England will only be shown on the internet. But a ‘national disgrace’? Hardly.
‘To coventrate’: destroy a city from the air
A documentary about the Luftwaffe bombing of Coventry in 1940 challenged prejudices about both Germans and Brits.
Stop this witch hunt against ‘evil deniers’
Labelling everyone from critics of the AIDS industry to anti-vaccine cranks as ‘deniers’ is a way of shutting down debate and dissent.
|Monday 12 October 2009|
Jackson Jive: the return of Aussie racism?
Australia’s bizarre TV ‘black face’ scandal springs more from the politics of identity than old-fashioned racism.
The wrong answer to climate change
It would be wiser, and cheaper, to adapt to climate change rather than to slash CO2 emissions by 70 per cent.
How Hillary became Empress of Ireland
Hillary Clinton’s head-knocking visit to the Six Counties confirms that Washington has successfully conquered both Ireland and Britain.
|Tuesday 13 October 2009|
Hey, union, leave us kids alone!
The NUS’s offer of free alcoholic drinks to students who agree to have STI tests reveals its prudish anti-sex tendencies.
Circumcision: cut the crap
‘Intactivists’ who claim that being circumcised abused their human rights, and ruined their sex lives, should get a grip.
Brighton bomb memories
How the world has changed since I was bizarrely accused of involvement in the IRA attack on the Tory cabinet 25 years ago this week.
|Wednesday 14 October 2009|
New Labour’s phoney battle with fascism
The more the party’s crisis deepens, the more it cynically ups the ante against a far-right phantasm.
Exit stage right, pursued by a banker
Former Communist David Hare is now a knight of the realm, yet his play on the recession is his most radical to date.
Why libertarians should support the right to die
In the US, the war on drugs and federal heavy-handedness are limiting a doctor’s ability to help patients in exceptional pain.
|Thursday 15 October 2009|
Jane Austen meets Sex and the City
A new BBC adaptation of Emma abandons Austen’s barbed wit in favour of 21st-century dating psychobabble.
A naked assault on our right to privacy
Airport scanners that will ogle our naked bodies are only a more hi-tech version of everyday state surveillance.
The self-destruction of the House of Commons
The mock-populist backlash on parliamentary expenses poses a serious threat not only to MPs’ bank balances, but to democracy itself.
|Friday 16 October 2009|
It’s not true that ‘black men can’t coach’
Just as black players proved themselves on the pitch, so black managers should prove themselves in the dugout.
Giving animals human motivations: that’s Life
Like so many nature series, David Attenborough’s latest show is visually stunning but built on childish storytelling.
‘Welcome to the rohypnol conference’
Emily Hill watched the Tories in Manchester swig fizz, dodge photographers and talk about as little as possible.
We’re all Keynesians now? I’m not
Robert Skidelsky’s book on Keynes gives a good account of today’s economic crisis. But its faith in the ‘master’ of economic debate is misplaced.
|Monday 19 October 2009|
Stop presenting gays as whiter than white
The editor of a gay website says that, beneath her prejudice and inaccuracy, Jan Moir kind of had a point.
I am offended, therefore I am
The overblown reaction to Jan Moir’s bilious column about Stephen Gately shows offence now trumps open debate.
The fight to re-enfranchise the electorate starts here
If the next General Election is to have any real impact, it must be turned from a technical affair into a big, loud public debate about the future.
|Tuesday 20 October 2009|
Recycling: an eco-ritual we should bin
Reprocessing waste might one day be cost-effective, but for now it's a moralistic reminder that humans are greedy.
Climate change is not beyond questioning
A BBC News journalist's willingness to report more than climate orthodoxy should be encouraged not condemned.
Off with their head of state
New Labour’s craven justification for maintaining the Royal Prerogative shows that today’s political class doesn’t trust the people – or itself.
|Wednesday 21 October 2009|
An Afghan farce, produced in the West
For Hamid Karzai to justify the West’s unjustified war, the Afghan presidential elections had to be rigged.
What do family courts have to hide?
Opening up UK family courts to the public will not lead to social worker witch-hunts, but to greater public trust.
They couldn’t manage a mail service in a post office
Behind the UK postal dispute is the spectre of privatisation and the authorities’ inability to take responsibility for basic state services.
|Thursday 22 October 2009|
A tragi-comic censorship campaign
Cartoonist Sarnath Banerjee illustrates how a website about a sexy Indian sister-in-law got the censors hot under the collar.
‘Voltaire never saw concentration camps’
Tim Black reports from a radical-left anti-BNP rally at which free speech was denounced as ‘nonsense’.
This isn’t a recovery. It’s an Obama Bubble
Just because the Dow Jones Industrial Average recently reached 10,000, that doesn’t mean the US economy is springing back to life.
|Friday 23 October 2009|
Life’s a beachball, and then you die
Eight weeks in and Liverpool’s season might already be over – thanks, in part, to a little comedy intervention.
‘My name’s Josie... and I have a penis’
Age 8 and Wanting a Sex Change took an unusually empathic look at ‘gender dysphoria’ amongst children.
‘Would the BBC give a platform to Hitler?’
Patrick Hayes joined the rabble of censors protesting outside BBC Television Centre in the run-up to Question Time.
Hating Nick: a shared national experience
Alex Hochuli reports from a London university that showed Question Time on a big screen in a bar, football-style.
The new divide in British politics: Us and Him
Question Time was no victory for rigorous and free debate – it merely confirmed Nick Griffin’s elevation as the voodoo doll of public life.
|Monday 26 October 2009|
The calm before the immigration storm?
The lack of hysteria at a new influx of refugee boats to Australia has disappointed pro- and anti-refugee groups alike.
NYC: the city that never smokes
A proposal to ban lighting up in New York’s parks has exposed the puritanical agenda behind the crusade against smoking.
‘Rescue’: a new PC term for repatriation
As the sex-trafficking scare is exposed as a tissue of lies, Nathalie Rothschild spells out the need for full freedom of movement for migrants.
|Tuesday 27 October 2009|
The cheap thrill of global warming
Ed Miliband’s ‘climate map’ confirms that climate change is the only thing providing New Labour with a sense of mission.
Artists, resist this propagandist agenda
In a speech for the Battle of Ideas, Tiffany Jenkins argued that cultural diplomacy leads to bad art and bad politics.
Making a pig’s ear of the vaccination debate
People are right to be sceptical about the swine-flu scare, but it is telling – and worrying – that they focus their scepticism on swine-flu jabs.
|Wednesday 28 October 2009|
If comedians can’t be offensive, who can?
Jimmy Carr is only the latest public figure to fall victim to the ‘offence hounds’ who love being scandalised.
Why they love to hate Mother Teresa
The radical-atheist assaults on the late sister of Calcutta are the intellectual equivalent of mugging an old woman.
Why do they all want to hijack Churchill?
The ‘would Churchill have supported the BNP?’ furore says more about politics today than it does about the role of ‘our hero’ in history.
|Thursday 29 October 2009|
In defence of terrace abuse
The arguments that football fans have become too abusive and more inclined to violence don’t stack up.
Steve McQueen, without the car chase
BBC Radio 4’s brave choice to rework the ultra-visual Bullitt showed that old-school noir can still be entertaining.
Go veggie to ‘save the planet’? Burger off!
The Stern-endorsed campaign to stop people eating meat shows that greens have no solutions for society beyond launching wars on enjoyment.
|Friday 30 October 2009|
A book to set democratic alarm bells ringing
Martin Bell’s account of the expenses scandal has insights, but his willingness to embrace infringements upon parliamentary sovereignty in the name of restoring trust denigrates democracy.
State intervention is no substitute for innovation
British industry isn’t dead by any means, but if low-carbon jobs and protectionism trump new research and development, it soon will be.
Cooking up a new theory of evolution
With his smaller teeth and jaws, what separated Homo erectus from his predecessors was not just eating meat, but cooking what he caught.
Seeing Sweden through the eyes of Stieg Larsson
Larsson’s hugely popular Millennium novels are not only brilliant page-turners – they also challenge the clapped-out view of Sweden as a social paradise peopled by buxom blondes and depressives.
The drawn-out decay of the capitalist class
Richard Overy’s splendid new book on the ‘morbid age’ of the 1920s and 30s sheds light on the emergence of a profound crisis of confidence amongst the bourgeoisie – a crisis that has never quite gone away.
Farewell, Norman Levitt
With the passing of Norman Levitt, a rigorous defender of scientific truth against the relativism and cowardice of the ‘academic left’, we have lost a modern Enlightenment hero.
The anti-smoking ‘truth regime’ that cannot be questioned
Two new books expose how epidemiology has been used as a tool of propaganda in the war on tobacco – and woe betide anyone who tries to inject some real facts into the debate.
China and America: the economic Odd Couple
Stephen Roach provides some useful, counterintuitive insights into the economic relationship between America and China, but too often uses the term ‘global imbalance’ as a euphemism for ‘US decline’.
Why pedagogy is in peril
Frank Furedi, author of the new book Wasted: Why Education Isn’t Educating, talks to Jennie Bristow about the politicisation of education and the crisis of adult authority.