Category Archives: Politics

Don’t Go!

Given a lot of the Yes campaigners’ rhetoric, it’s possibly not wise of me, an anti, to suggest to wavering Scots that they should read a blogpost by a pro-intervention Conservative MP in England, but, apart from someone’s friends-only Facebook update, this is the piece I’ve read about the independence vote, taking place today, that […]

Burning Down The House

This summary/graphic by Tim Montgomerie of The Times is fun. It imagines the four parties Britain would have if we started from scratch. If we did do such an experiment with voters—if we asked them about real policy choices—I don’t believe that these are the clusters would emerge; most people, especially English people, believe hotchpotches of […]

Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Israel But Were Afraid To Ask

After a summer break, another episode of International Edition with Levy and Counsell is up at Ricochet.com. [iTunes link to follow.] Here’s the Ricochet blurb: TV news shows often only turn up in distant countries when the shooting starts. This approach can scare off, or simply puzzle, intelligent and curious viewers who would prefer more backstory […]

The Femi-narcissists

At the height of the BBC’s “Jimmy Savile crisis”, when police were estimating that the old, dead child rapist and his associates had assaulted at least 40 boys, a female media twitterer tweeted that she had no sympathy for the BBC’s predicament at all, after the way they had blocked her promotion, because she was […]

International Edition with Levy and Counsell Episode 12: Michael J Totten

This week, Judith Levy and I interviewed independent international correspondent Michael J. Totten. Michael Totten, who has reported extensively from the Middle East, the Balkans, and the Caucasus. Sohrab Ahmari of Commentary wrote of Michael that he "practices journalism in the tradition of Orwell: morally imaginative, partisan in the best sense of the word, and delivered in […]

Sexing down

Here’s an extraordinary thing: a documented cover-up by a US administration—not one imagined by conspiracy theorists: There's new evidence, obtained by ABC, that the Obama administration did deliberately purge references to "terrorism" from accounts of the attack on the Benghazi diplomatic mission, which killed four people including the US ambassador to Libya. Conservatives have long […]

The opposite of scholarship

John Rentoul quotes India Knight: Gove’s proposals are, to me, socialist in their intention, which is to equip every child with the sort of education that has traditionally been available to only a very few. How is that wrong? And what do left-leaning academics think they’re doing when they say, “Ooh, no, the children won’t […]

The Levy & Counsell Podcast, episode 3: special guest Claire Berlinski

This is the first edition of the podcast that’s freely available gratis to people who don’t subscribe to Ricochet so fill yer boots. Judith and I just wound Claire up and let her run, though I did press her to come up with some hard, pragmatic reasons for the West (the US) to intervene in […]

Rulers and Riders

To try out my exciting multiple-choice plugin, test your knowledge of 18th-century British Prime Ministers and contemporary British competitive horseriders by guessing which of the two categories each of the following named individuals falls into.

The first Levy & Counsell podcast at Ricochet.com

Oh the irony. My contribution to the first (test) Levy & Counsell podcast as token friendly Lefty at online US conservative community Ricochet.com was marred by technical problems. Even I find it hard to follow the thread as I listen to this because my audio breaks up and I speak even more slowly and haltingly than I […]

Dancing about architecture

There is a small, ugly overlap between the kind of people who complain about reduced state funding for the arts and education in the UK and the kind of people who excuse the burning of books, advocate the closure of places of learning, attack performances of classical music, and disrupt debates in bookshops. Outside this […]

Mistaken Identity

Tom Doran on why capitalism—I think he means free enterprise—has liberated working-class women: When the average voter looks at Tesco, they do not see a sinister corporate megalith, raping and pillaging their way of life. Rather they see that keeping their family fed and clothed is now that much cheaper and easier. Moreover, they don’t […]

“Comment Is Free”: 1952 edition

Via Daniel Knowles on Twitter, where he is @dlknowles, I read this marvellous old letter to the (then) Manchester Guardian from one of its totalitarian about-to-be-ex- readers: Original here.

Those Nick Clegg apology YouTube remixes in full

In a fit of shameless Google-baiting, I collect here some of the YouTube remixes of Nick Clegg’s Party Political Broadcast apology for his and his party’s breaking of their tuition fees “pledge”. The Original   The Poke's AutoTune version   The Simon Bates “Our Tune” dub   The “honest subtitles” overlay   If you know […]

Parliamentary Microphone Geekery

Yesterday evening, I went a-googling for details about the microphones they use at the despatch boxes in the House of Commons because they fascinate me. They’re AKG D222s, which I used to covet in the 90s. They’re odd dynamic mics: Unlike most others, they don’t make your voice sound bassier as you move your mouth […]

Mittigation

Mitt Romney is a US Republican Presidential candidate who has chosen a Right-wing running mate. All right-thinking people here know therefore that he wants to rape female college students and force them to have their babies so they can be child labour in one of his corporations’ asset-stripped factories. Or, if UK observers fancy themselves […]

Making Money By Telling Women The Correct Way To Have Sex

Further to my post about rescuing fallen women, the Heresiarch examines how evidence-abusing ideologues compete to cash in on prostitution.

Animals Or Savages?

Some commentators who have opinionated about the recent murders in Afghanistan, murders supposedly committed “in response to” a US pastor’s burning a copy of the Koran, have resorted to what I ironically call “good racism”. Bad racism is what unemployed people living on council housing estates display when they blame their being unemployed on immigrants. […]

Chuka Umunna on slavery

Chuka Umunna in The Voice on the question of a UK government apology for slave trade: African slavery and colonialism are not simply remnants of the past – they helped lay the foundations for the successful modern Britain of today. The effects of slavery are still felt in our communities – many cite the matriarchal […]

On Rescuing Fallen Women

I spent my first two terms at university up to my naked wrists in a woman’s corpse. This was A Good Thing For Humankind. This week, one of the top BBC News stories has been the outrage at a woman demonstrating a sex toy in front of a university psychology class. This was An Act […]

The Alternative Vote System: So Simple That An Attempt To Write A Simple Description Of It Leads To A Complicated Debate

Tom Freeman questions one of the criticisms aimed against the Alternative Vote system (AV), which, in a referendum in May, citizens will be voting to adopt or reject in, er, preference to First Past The Post (FPTP) in UK elections. The criticism in question is that AV is too complicated and/or voters don’t/won’t understand how […]

Bush Was Right

This would be a good day to quote and laugh at some of the many racist articles written over the past few years that warned us not to “inflame the Arab Street”, that rhetorical mass of undifferentiated savages that “we” created by interfering in the Noble Civilizations of the region with our Imperialist Adventures, and […]

A Face-Saving Exercise

The BBC reports: A former soldier who was jailed for refusing to fight in Afghanistan has handed back a medal in protest at Britain’s involvement in the war. “There’s a real up-swell of awareness now among military families and among the military, and among the people in this country, that this conflict is, has kind […]

Cross In Box

Continuing the theme of suffrage, if you were unfortunate (and nerdy) enough to listen to Today In Parliament yesterday evening, you will have been treated to our law-makers displaying the sort of ignorance of the basics of the law and of European institutions that makes you embarrassed to be a British citizen as they debated […]

The Not Vote

The always-interesting marketing guru Seth Godin wisely alerts citizens of democracies who fail to exercise their franchise because they claim to hate politicians to an important fact they have probably overlooked: many politicians want them not to vote: Political TV advertising is designed to do only one thing: suppress the turnout of the opponent’s supporters. […]

Who’s Mad?

Martin In The Margins makes an important criticism of an otherwise mostly admirable and well-intentioned enterprise: As for that plea for a focus on ‘tolerance’, it would have helped if the rally organisers hadn’t included a performer who has expressed the most outrageously intolerant opinions. Appearing onstage in the National Mall was Yusuf Islam, the […]

If You To Want See A Briton Fight, Threaten To Bring Down The Price Of Her House

Rory Sutherland’s wiki man column in The Spectator is one of the few things remaining inside that magazine that might yet tempt me to buy another print copy. In his latest he sticks a finger through one of the biggest holes in the Tories’ buckshot “Big Society” balloon of bullshit: In one sense, it seems, […]

“…the most inalienable and sacred of all human rights”

I am against bans on the wearing of the burqa or niqab in public1 therefore I am going to recommend that you read the best article I have read in favour of such bans: The argument that the garment is not a religious obligation under Islam is well-founded but irrelevant; millions of Muslims the world […]

What Hamas Gets Up To When No One (Here) Is Looking

Over at Ricochet, Judith Levy illustrates her commentary on the state of the “ceasefire” with a picture of the effects of another rocket attack from Gaza on a rehabilitation centre for special needs kids in Israel two days ago. For “prison camp” guards, the Israelis are surprisingly easygoing. …the attack on Sderot took place twenty-four […]

Self-Replacing Elites

The BBC’s Paris correspondent Hugh Schofield is broadly happy with his children’s French education, but he does have one complaint: French schools have absolutely no extra-curricular activities. There are no debating societies, no orchestras, no film clubs, no sports teams, no painting classes, no school newspapers, and no drama, at least none worthy of the […]