Author Archive

May 19, 2014

The rise and fall of Mo Ansar

Broadcasters made him the voice of British Islam, even though no electorate had voted for him, and no organisation had appointed him its spokesperson. Ansar was not an Islamic scholar. He had not published a book or led a movement. He was a planning manager at Lloyds-TSB in Winchester until 2006, and has had no visible means of support except appearance fees and state benefits for years

Read the whole thing

May 13, 2014

How to be a traitor

7th edition of the Festival of Literature

No one is as hated as deeply as the apostate. Ordinary opponents are nothing in comparison. They are unbelievers, who know no better. It is not their fault if the light has not fallen on them. The apostate, by contrast, has known the truth and rejected it. There can be no excuses for his treachery, no defence of ignorance the law. The Devil must have seduced him, or to translate old superstitions into language of a secular age, he must have “sold out”.

Carry on reading

April 29, 2014

How British are you? Take the Ukip test

gay-gymIf you believe that Ukip supporters love Britain and cannot abide Europe, look at the report by the pollster Peter Kellner in the current issue of Prospect. Ukip fears Britain has:

‘gone off the rails. Hence the fact that 57 per cent of Ukip supporters would prefer to migrate to mainland Europe if they could.’

To put it another way, no one hates his country more that the bawling patriot.

Read the whole thing

April 28, 2014

Nigel Farage is a phoney. Scrutinise him and he’ll crumble

Nigel Farage laughs up at rain

Allow me to sketch you a portrait of a political leader. Even by the lax standards of the powerful, he is England’s greatest living hypocrite. He courts popularity by warning that tens of millions from the dole queues of Europe are coming to take British jobs, while employing his German wife as his secretary. He denounces “the political class” for living like princes at the taxpayers’ expense while pocketing every taxpayer-funded allowance he can claim for himself, his wife and his colleagues.

He says he represents “ordinary people”. But he is a public school-educated former banker, whose policies will help him and his kind. He claims he is the voice of “common sense”, while allying with every variety of gay-hater, conspiracy crackpot, racist, chauvinist and pillock. The only sense he and his followers have in common is a fear of anyone who is not like them.

Read the whole thing

April 24, 2014

“No one does as much damage to a country as the patriots who profess to love it”

article-2383156-1B1CF30F000005DC-573_634x493No cause is as dead as the campaign to provide an amnesty for illegal immigrants. Far-sighted politicians once found it intolerable that criminals could abuse and exploit the half a million among us who were living beyond the minimum wage, the tax system and the rule of law.

Carry on reading

April 14, 2014

Poverty amid plenty; food banks in property bubbles

What image will social historians use to capture our times? Last week, after frenzied bidding, a drab garage next to a Camberwell industrial estate in what was once a cheap part of south London, sold for £550,000. That might do. No one who sniffs the air can fail to notice that London in the Osborne bubble has a whiff of Weimar Germany – but without the art or indeed the sex.

Yet alongside oligarchs buying the capital’s streets, and the Bank of England and Treasury pumping asset prices, we also have poverty that those of us who remember the recessions of the 1970s and 80s have not seen before.

Carry on reading

April 10, 2014

You sexist/racist/liberal/elitist bastard! How dare you?

Terror arrests aftermath

While he was dying of Lou Gehrig’s disease, Tony Judt found the breath to educate those who believe they could ameliorate pain with soft words and bans on ‘inappropriate’ language.

“You describe everyone as having the same chances when actually some people have more chances than others. And with this cheating language of equality deep inequality is allowed to happen much more easily.”

Carry on reading

March 24, 2014

The climate change deniers have won

The Amazon rainforest is burnt to clear land for agriculture near Novo Progresso

All of which is a long way of saying that the global warming deniers have won. And please, can I have no emails from bed-wetting kidults blubbing that you can’t call us “global warming deniers ” because “denier” makes us sound like “Holocaust deniers”, and that means you are comparing us to Nazis? The evidence for man-made global warming is as final as the evidence of Auschwitz. No other word will do.

Read the whole thing

March 8, 2014

‘Homely’ Boots treats its staff like red revolutionaries

No child dreams of growing up to become a pharmacist. They are never romantic leads or action heroes in films. As far as a search of my bookshelves and the web can tell, they are not the heroes and heroines of novels either. Doctors, detectives and spies are everywhere, while the ignored pharmacist is nowhere to be seen.

To become a chemist is to choose a comfortable existence. At Boots they make around £38,000 on average. This money buys the kind of life the rich and the bohemian have always derided: the semi in suburbia with the spare room for the children; the annual holiday and the car on HP. It can sound dull until hard times fall on you or your society and you learn that ordinary achievements are not to be derided.

Carry on reading

March 7, 2014

No room to breathe

all that is solid dorlingReview of All that is solid
By Danny Dorling

Shelter, like food, is essential for life. Without a home you have no place to lay your head and no place in the world to call your own. Even in rich countries, where they were once secure, homes have become precarious, as if sinkholes were opening under them.

A few figures from Danny Dorling’s brilliantly original study of our national obsession and national malaise explain why. No one can pretend now that we are moving towards a property-owning democracy. For the first time in a century, the share of homes rented privately has risen – up 6% between 2001 and 2011. In London and the south-east – and many cities outside – rents are extortionate.

Carry on reading

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