You are here
new-white-hiuse Britain Europe Israel USA 

The western reset

We don’t quite know yet what shape US President-elect Donald Trump’s foreign policy will assume. It’s a fair bet that at this stage, President- elect Donald Trump doesn’t know either. We know he thinks the nuclear deal with Iran was a terrible error. We know he admires the cut of Vladimir Putin’s jib while taking a dim view of China. We know he supports the State of Israel, and wants to try to bring peace there by up-ending previous American policy towards the Arab-Israel impasse. Beyond all that, what he…

Read More
mi5 Britain Videos 

A freedom too far?

Freedom of speech is often taken for granted as one of the pillars of democracy in Britain. But in reality, what we can say is limited in all sorts of ways – not just by the laws of the land, but increasingly by the fear of giving offence. In my BBC Radio Four programme A Freedom Too Far? I argue that we’ve got ourselves into a free speech muddle. We’re outlawing certain points of view for fear of upsetting self-designated victim groups, while allowing free rein to other forms of…

Read More
christianity-in-iraq Britain Global conflict 

Liberals are unmoved by slaughter of Christians

Across the developing world Christians are being attacked and murdered, driven from their homes, converted at knifepoint, kidnapped, raped, tortured, beheaded, sold into slavery and burned alive in their churches. These Christians are truly persecuted. They press no violent cause. They threaten or oppress no one. They are attacked for no reason other than their religion. Yet in the West, this targeted religious persecution is all but invisible. The media rarely mention it. No liberal hearts bleed in public over it. “Syria stains us all”, intones the virtue-signalling West. Well,…

Read More
aleppo Britain Global conflict 

Aleppo, virtue-signalling and myopia

The hand-wringing by western politicians and commentators over the appalling humanitarian catastrophe in Aleppo reveals something far worse even than the nauseating virtue-signalling of pointlessly blaming themselves for having decided not to bomb Syrian President Assad’s forces. It reveals they still don’t understand just how morally culpable they actually are. The current breast-beating is all about how the US and Britain made a terrible mistake in not bombing Assad’s forces years ago in this dreadful war. But the issue that made them back away was valid then and remains valid…

Read More
kern_a_false_note Britain 

Mrs May’s false note

In British Prime Minister Theresa May’s otherwise very welcome and supportive remarks about Israel and the Jews that she made at the Conservative Friends of Israel lunch in London earlier this week, one paragraph struck a jarring false note. She said: “I made sure we kept extremism – including the sort that peddles antisemitic vitriol – out of our country… That is why I said no to so-called comedians like Dieudonne coming to Britain. It’s why I stopped Pamela Geller, Robert Spencer and Pastor Terry Jones coming too – since…

Read More
courage Britain 

Britain deserves better than its weeping MPs

You were once considered a good or decent person if you acted according to moral codes of behaviour organised around something called conscience, or doing well by others. Now that those codes have been dumped in favour of individual expression, people need another way to show they are decent and good. Suffering thus becomes a badge of honour as it makes the sufferer morally untouchable. Others prove their own goodness through displays of compassion towards people suffering in this way. Anyone who questions such attitudes invites a tsunami of opprobrium…

Read More
winter-spring Britain Europe USA 

Western spring or European winter?

Europe is convulsing. Neo-Nazis and racists are pushing at the doors of power along with less alarming populists and nationalists. Austria may have failed to elect as its president the neo-Nazi Norbert Hofer, but the threat from his Freedom Party is far from over. Hofer won more than 45% of the vote, and opinion polls suggest the party may win the most votes in parliamentary elections before the end of 2018. In France, Marine Le Pen not only promotes something akin to National Socialism but her strenuous attempts to distance…

Read More
embryo_8_cells Britain 

Where do we draw the line on the right to life?

Scientists will propose at a conference tomorrow that human embryos used for experimentation should be kept alive in the laboratory for double the present legal limit of 14 days. Such an extension, they argue, would bring significant insights into congenital conditions, heart disease and cancers. The only argument against it, they say, is the risk of a public backlash. That particular concern is echoed by the philosopher Baroness Warnock, who has warned that opponents of embryo research will seize on attempts to extend the limit as an opportunity to try…

Read More
police-badge Britain 

It’s time for an outsider to clean up the Met

Over the course of this month alone, there have been three devastating findings against the Metropolitan police. The commissioner, Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, will retire next February. The rules were recently changed to allow the appointment of a foreign national. Whether the new commissioner comes from abroad or outside the police service, the time has now come for an outsider to cleanse these Augean stables. My Times column (£)

Read More
lady-hale1 Britain 

Lady Hale is not fit to be President of the Supreme Court

The president of the Supreme Court, Lord Neuberger, is to retire next summer. His deputy, Baroness Hale, was considered the favourite to succeed him. Until, that is, Lady Hale made an extraordinary comment in a lecture she delivered to law students this month in Kuala Lumpur. A few days before, the High Court ruled that the government couldn’t use the royal prerogative to trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon treaty and start Britain’s exit from the EU. In the ensuing uproar, the press accused the judges of throwing a spanner…

Read More