From the Daily Beast 2 February 2015
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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”.
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.”
Go to London or of any other Western capital and here is what you will not see. You will not see mass demonstrations against the Russian invasion of the Ukraine swaying down the same streets in which the liberal-left marched against the invasion of Iraq. You will not hear prominent left-wing voices emphasizing that Putin is attempting more than an invasion; that the Russian Federation – and what a benign word ‘federation’ is for a revived Tsarist autocracy – is the last of the European empires, and is seeking to expand its borders, as empires always do.
In short, the activist left will not tell its followers that we are witnessing imperialism: not ‘cultural imperialism’ or ‘neo-colonialism’ or any of those other catchall, thought-forbidding phrases, but the real thing