Her Cromwell is not quite a hero.
Spectator 7 February Speaking this weekend, Francois Hollande said, ‘If we don’t find a lasting peace agreement, we know perfectly well what the scenario will be. It has a name, it’s called war.’ The day before, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, the former head of Nato, said that Russia was likely to intervene in the Baltic states to test NATO’s shaky commitment to collective defence. ‘This is not about Ukraine. Putin wants to restore Russia to its former position as a great power.’ As telling as anything leaders are saying are the films Russian reporters have been broadcasting – I must warn you that there are age controls on these links for reasons that will become obvious.
Nobody from John Humphrys in the morning to Evan Davis at night dares mention a scandal at the BBC. It undermines their reporting of every abuse whistleblowers reveal. It reinforces the dirty common sense of British life that you must keep your head down if you want to keep your job.
The scandal is simply this: the BBC is forcing out or demoting the journalists who exposed Jimmy Savile as a voracious abuser of girls. As Meirion Jones put it to me: “There is a small group of powerful people at the BBC who think it would have been better if the truth about Savile had never come out. And they aim to punish the reporters who revealed it.”
From the Observer 21 February 2015
The dishonesty of official crime policy cuts two ways. The authorities are treating men, women and, to their disgrace, children with deliberate cruelty. They are stuffing them into ever larger “super-prisons”, run by negligent private punishment corporations and dominated by criminal gangs. You cannot rehabilitate offenders in these anonymous warehouses, and the state’s promise to prisoners that it will try to divert them from a life of crime is nothing more than a pious lie.
The Observer 7 February 2015
Today’s academics are like parents who expect the child they deserted to love them. The state is demanding that they spy on students who may have extreme ideas, but are not inciting violence. Panicked and outraged, intellectuals are embracing liberal principles they abandoned decades ago.
Twenty-four vice-chancellors wrote to the Times to protest that universities must be places where “lawful ideas can be voiced and debated without fear of reprisal”. So they should, but in Britain they are not. An army of 500 professors wrote to the Guardian to say campuses must be “centres for debate and open discussion, where received wisdom can be challenged”. That would make a welcome change too, because they are nothing of the sort at the moment. Peers in the House of Lords argued quite rightly that, rather than being banned from campuses, “non-violent extremists” should be “exposed, challenged and countered”. The noble lords forgot to point us to universities where such challenges can be found.
From the Daily Beast 2 February 2015
From the Spectator 14 October 2014
If a bus driver were heading towards the edge of a cliff, the passengers would try to seize control of the wheel in all cases except one. Members of the Parliamentary Labour Party would sit back in their seats, put on their most confident smiles, and tell each other they were going full-speed ahead in the right direction.
Ed Miliband is leading the Labour Party to disaster. His latest approval ratings are almost as bad as Nick Clegg’s – which is not company any of us want to keep. Voters see him as an insipid waffler, too weak to stand up to foreign rulers or the trade unions.
From the Observer 9 August 2014
Celebrity watchers in Gloucestershire can spend their summer ogling Michael Gambon, Keeley Hawes and many another star. The BBC is in Stroud to film JK Rowling’s The Casual Vacancy, because it tells us “something insightful about the country we live in”. The BBC forgot to add that the best insight that the arguments about Rowling bring is that vindictive fanatics swarm over British culture.
Her story of rivalries in a small west country town is the most unfairly criticised novel in modern fiction. You will not understand why unless you understand the mentality of an intellectual policeman. Perhaps you scan a novel like an inquisitor interrogating a heretic looking for a passing reference to Palestine, America, climate change, the EU or whatever else stirs your passions.
Like a Freudian slip or DNA fingerprint, it tells you all you need to know. Writers may devote 99% of their time to talking about other subjects. They don’t fool you. A forensic scientist can identify a criminal from a stray hair. So it is with the cops who police culture. They need only a scrap of evidence and – gotcha! – ideological guilt is proved beyond reasonable doubt.
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”.