Telling unfunny jokes should not be a crime
The fining of French comedian Dieudonné for publicly insulting Jews is a crime against freedom of speech.
Why New Labour is so dopey on cannabis
The interminable debate about whether dope should be a class B or C drug reveals the government’s incoherence.
This ‘revolt of the experts’ is revolting
It was wrong of the government to sack David Nutt. But it’s also wrong for experts to pose as paragons of wisdom who are above democracy.
|Tuesday 3 November 2009|
Smoking parents pose a threat to their kids
By all means take away the children of obese parents, but parents who smoke and drink are an even greater danger.
China’s too lenient: we need a no-child policy
With the swarm of human beings expected to hit nine billion by 2050, it’s time we discussed tough remedies.
Why we must wipe out climate denialism
With a survey showing that only 15 per cent of Brits are worried about global warming, it’s time to extinguish the ideas warping the public’s mind.
|Wednesday 4 November 2009|
Giving the young a taste of freedom
Prince Edward’s comments may have been crass, but today’s cotton-wool kids need to be allowed to take risks.
American hippies vs the evil Japanese
The pro-dolphin documentary The Cove exposes how warped are the misanthropic values of the animal-rights lobby.
Who elected these knights to rule parliament?
Grubby elected – and kick-outable – MPs are still more of a democratic choice than squeaky-clean appointed and unaccountable civil servant Sirs.
|Thursday 5 November 2009|
No, I’m the real Irish republican
Jason Walsh spoke to some of those who claim to be the legitimate heirs of 1916 and found their legitimism geeky and unconvincing.
Fireworks: the killjoys’ pet hate
Miserabilists want to make Bonfire Night a less explosive, less colourful affair in the name of protecting pets. No way.
Putting a forcefield around green ideas
The notion that green beliefs in the workplace should be legally protected from ridicule is deeply censorious.
Autism: moving beyond the quest for a cure
The author of Defeating Autism: A Damaging Delusion challenges both those who want to cure and those who want to celebrate autism.
|Friday 6 November 2009|
Are we witnessing a counter-Rafalution?
Most Liverpool fans still believe Rafael Benitez is a tactical genius. But the voices of dissent are increasing.
The Noughties: 10 years of nostalgia
The most striking thing about this decade is how much of it we spent looking back at past decades.
Why pedagogy is in peril
Frank Furedi explains that the real problem in education isn’t intefering politicians or pushy parents, but a profound crisis of adult authority.
|Monday 9 November 2009|
The right to privacy in the Age of Facebook
In an era of voluntary revelation and involuntary regulation, we must find new ways to defend our private lives.
David Nutt is not the new Galileo
The curious Cult of Nutt, backed by both dopeheads and scientists, is actually denigrating scientific truth.
Elevating environmentalism over ‘less worthy’ lifestyles
The legal ruling that a belief in climate change is similar to a religious conviction seriously damages science, philosophy and democracy.
|Tuesday 10 November 2009|
Thirst: a vampire film for grown-ups
If you, too, are bored by the emo, sexless, vegetarian vampires of Twilight, check out Chan-wook Park’s new movie.
See? Mothers can be sex abusers, too
On the flimsiest of evidence, ChildLine and the NSPCC are now even spreading suspicion about the mother-child bond.
It’s Europe, Dave, but not as we know it
Europe might be back to haunt Cameron’s Tories – but this time things look very different for the EU, Britain, the Tory Party and the rest of us.
|Wednesday 11 November 2009|
Still no clear policy on nuclear energy
New Labour’s commitment to nuclear is half-hearted at best, and goes hand in hand with more policing of our energy use.
Airbrushing ‘bad ads’ from public life
The campaign to ban retouched images of skinny models is not only crazy – it’s deeply censorious, too.
‘Lettergate’ reveals the illiteracy of British politics
The bizarre controversy over Gordon Brown’s letter to a grieving mum shows that we urgently need to improve and deepen political debate.
|Thursday 12 November 2009|
Nutts to these anti-alcohol ‘experts’
Last night’s David Nutt debate confirmed that cannabis is now promoted as a means of pacifying young, drunk ruffians.
Germany: still divided after all these years
The fall of the Berlin Wall, far from heralding a unified future, ushered in a new period of discord between west and east.
We must stop being tolerant of repression
In a recent speech, the libertarian Wendy Kaminer argued that state intervention into everyday life is giving rise to ‘habits of submission’.
|Friday 13 November 2009|
Erasing David and the fight for privacy rights
David Bond’s documentary makes a decent case for defending privacy, but it too often fails as investigative journalism.
Why not just call it the Blub-o-drome?
Yes, Sportsdirect.com@St James Park is a rubbish name for a stadium, but why are Geordies really upset about it?
Communists can’t make cola
The Secret Life of The Berlin Wall was gripping, but it didn’t explain anything new, like why East German coke was so bad.
The ‘McCarthyism’ of the anti-smoking lobby
Two new books expose how epidemiology has been used as a tool of propaganda in the war on tobacco, leaving little room for real facts.
|Monday 16 November 2009|
‘Poker is all about skill and self-control’
An American expert on poker challenges the idea that it encourages reckless, addictive, spendthrift behaviour.
The truth about those unemployment stats
Is the small rise really due to economic recovery, or the fact that people are willing to accept wage and hour cuts?
There’s more to human character than sharing toys
Demos should go on the naughty step for arguing that parenting style determines whether kids become good, bad and even middle class.
|Tuesday 17 November 2009|
Why Northern Ireland is a one-party state
Forget Sinn Féin or the DUP, the only party that matters in the Northern Ireland Assembly is the Peace Process Party.
Undermining nursing care by degrees
The proposal that nurses in England should be university graduates will further reduce the level of basic nursing skills.
Election: up for grabs, but nothing to play for
As Gordon Brown launches the General Election campaign, the one certainty seems to be that we won't be offered any political choice.
|Wednesday 18 November 2009|
Modern Warfare 2 has not made me a terrorist
The hysterical campaign against the greatest videogame ever made is based on outdated effects theories.
A climate scare in Trafalgar Square
Ghost Forest, a new art installation, wants to frighten us into changing our greedy, planet-wrecking ways.
Let’s give children the ‘store of human knowledge’
In flattering kids as ‘digital natives’ for whom the past is irrelevant, we degrade a vital adult mission: transmitting knowledge.
|Thursday 19 November 2009|
What’s stopping us from feeding the world?
Malthus was wrong about the inevitability of famine, but we still need to ask why so many people don't get enough to eat.
Welfare: how help becomes a hindrance
With the shift of emphasis from welfare to wellbeing, the state reinforces the sense that we are unable to cope with life.
Too many people? No, too many Malthusians
Since 200 AD, scaremongers have been describing human beings as ‘burdensome to the world’. They were wrong then, and they’re still wrong today.
|Friday 20 November 2009|
Never mind the guest presenters
The fashion for using a variety of hosts to replace a familiar front man reveals the BBC's indecision.
The crisis of Scottish football, part 147
This week’s sacking of Scotland manager George Burley won’t make a mediocre generation of players any better.
|Monday 23 November 2009|
Irish fans take on perfidious France
Jason Walsh popped along to the loud, green and peculiar anti-Henry protests outside the French embassy in Dublin.
Save us from Le Hand of God!
That handball has become a huge diplomatic issue because the Irish invest way too much political hope in football.
The European Union: a tyranny of no-marks
The problem with ‘our’ new president and foreign minister is not that they are nobodies, but that they are unelected, unaccountable nobodies.
|Tuesday 24 November 2009|
Cockermouth floods: monsoon as metaphor
These aren’t the worst floods England has seen, yet they are being turned into a symbol of human vulnerability.
Now all of Europe is governed by a Kremlin
With the appointment of its new president, the EU abandoned even the sham of democratic legitimacy.
We don’t need another conspiracy theory
The sceptics poring over those ‘Climategate’ emails are indulging in easy conspiracy-mongering rather than having a tough, grown-up debate.
|Wednesday 25 November 2009|
Don’t make libel law ‘fairer’. Make it history
If we are serious about defending freedom of speech, then English libel should be sentenced to death.
Why should Beckham cough up his private life?
In our era of identity-through-suffering, David Beckham has shown heroic restraint by keeping his asthma private.
What happens if the state turns off the ‘life support’?
The UK remains in recession – and in denial about how capitalism has been kept alive by massive state support, secret loans and a pact of silence.
|Thursday 26 November 2009|
The ‘Hand of Frog’: a great day for football
That handball reminded us that cheating, controversy, injustice and Roy Keane are all part of the fun of footie.
Revisiting the Great Tennessee Monkey Trial
Ignoring the BBC’s implicit anti-Americanism, its radio play on the 1925 creationists-v-evolutionists trial was excellent.
Don’t feel guilty about this all-American feast
This Thanksgiving, forget about the calorie-counting and carbon-crunching encouraged by food snobs. Let’s just eat!
Society is collapsing because you are greedy
Social crises have always been blamed on the extravagance of the rich. But today, all of us - from wealthy to peasant - are labelled ‘decadent’.
|Friday 27 November 2009|
How to overcome recession: develop some ‘autistic’ skills
Books on behavioural economics are everywhere, but this one brings something particulary bizarre to the debate: the idea that autism shows us a way out of recession.
What if the EU was a Nazi conspiracy?
Focusing on that triumph of opacity and elitist disdain for the people - the EU - Adam LeBor’s enjoyable conspiracy-theory thriller draws a little too closely on reality.
Football moves in mysterious ways
Why England Lose is entertaining, but in attempting to explain football teams’ fortunes through number-crunching it overlooks the key subjective factors of footballing success: self-belief, confidence, flair...
Our humourless, illiberal, curmudgeonly rulers
From smoking bans to sin taxes, Brian Monteith finds that Scotland has proved itself a willing victim for the practices of the nanny state’s angrier successor: the bully state.
Why the left failed to make a drama out of the crisis
Slavoj Žižek’s latest work explores why the near-collapse of capitalism generated so little response from the left, and asks how we might rescue, or remake, radical politics.
Whatever happened to the Obama ‘movement’?
The Obama for President campaign excited millions, enthused many first-time voters, and inspired youthful door-to-door campaigning. But it died on the day Obama was elected.
The barriers to a Republic of Britain
In this piece for a new collection of essays commemorating the death of Thomas Paine, Brendan O’Neill says republicans face two problems today: the elite’s continuing distrust of the electorate, and the electorate’s distrust of itself.
Why they’re really scared of Heidegger
The philosopher still makes some academics feel itchily uncomfortable, not because they truly believe his Nazism will leap from the pages of his works, but because his deeply anti-humanist arguments sound a little too familiar.
‘These rocks are here for me, waiting for the drill’
Maybe one reason why free-marketeers idolise Ayn Rand is because they far prefer her imaginary heroic capitalists to the snivelling and mendacious capitalist class of today.
The rise of the Carbon Fat Cats
The ‘carbon market’ – trading in an invisible gas which cannot be used – has involved the redistribution of resources to unproductive green pursuits and the creation of a vast bureacracy. Let’s bring it down before it gets any bigger.
|Monday 30 November 2009|
‘This is a waste of youthful potential’
Youth unemployment is rising and causing hardship. So why were there so few on Saturday’s ‘Youth Fight for Jobs’ demo?
The Coen brothers’ uncertainty principle
Featuring Jews in 1960s Minnesota struggling with the mystery of being, A Serious Man is a seriously good film.
Don’t tinker with the monarchy. Abolish it
Gordon Brown is madder than Richard III if he thinks an institution as undemocratic and unequal as the monarchy can be made ‘more fair’.