morrissey-and-oscar-wilde

How to Become Interesting at Short Notice

If you, like me, are about to start at a university this month – and what a university – you will probably be thinking about a few things.

Worrying is probably more accurate – seriously fretting, becoming afeared. Continue reading

Ahmed Chalabi, center, the former Pentagon favourite in Iraq, exits a courthouse flanked by security guards in Baghdad, Iraq, Tuesday, May 12, 2009. Chalabi appeared Tuesday before a judge after the Iraqi Intelligence Service filed a lawsuit against him for comments he made on a local TV station in which he questioned the finance sources for this security body. (AP Photo/Hadi Mizban)

Another Kind of Air War

Review – The Other Air Force by Matt Sienkiewicz

America, Matt Sienkiewicz asserts at the beginning of his new book The Other Air Force, ‘is not a subtle nation’. In many ways – religious, political, cultural – the United States is seen as the enemy of nuance; its values are perceived to be bold, brash and often in conflict with those of older societies and older systems, in Europe and the world over. Continue reading

Keith Vaz on BBC Breakfast

Keith Vaz and Moral Decay

Keith Vaz, the Member of Parliament for Leicester East, has done something objectionable – morally, ethically, whatever you want to call it. And beyond personal taste, there’s the suggestion of real wrongdoing, and something resembling real moral decay hanging about his person. This particular characterisation could be made in reference to innumerable things the man has done. But his past is past; all that seems to matter right now are the contents of a tabloid tale or two. Continue reading

William Gerhardie by Norman Ivor Lancashire

Bilingual Writing and Britain’s Place in the World

In the aftermath of the referendum on Britain’s membership of the European Union, a fairly momentous event in the history of the United Kingdom, it seems important – or at least valuable – to look at some reasonably basic things about our country. Many of the assumptions and fundamental preconceptions which we in Britain exhibit can be traced to two things: how we see ourselves, and how we view the rest of the world. In reality, those two issues are really one – the global and the national inseparable in an age of increasing and inescapable interdependence, in economic terms, with regard to political realities, and even in matters cultural. Continue reading

Michael Weiss

A Dirty Business: The Attack on Michael Weiss

Richard Silverstein, a blogger, has written a hit piece. This description, which may seem at first intemperate, is entirely merited. The article Silverstein wrote, which was published on a fringe website, The Unz Review, a week ago, has little in the way of a narrative thread. Its genesis can be attributed, one can safely assume, to Silverstein’s hatred of one man: Michael Weiss, a writer and journalist, co-author of ISIS: Inside the Army of Terror, and an editor at The Daily Beast. Weiss is seen to represent something Silverstein hates – a slightly intangible collection of leftist, Zionist, ‘neoconservative’ (of which more later) and other positions, including, apparently, Weiss’ pledged support for ‘socialize[d] healthcare’. Continue reading

Clement VIII

Individuality in the Age of Heresy

The question of individuality is an important one. What makes us individuals may not be similar in fundamental terms to what makes us people, but it is an essential component of personhood. Being different, being unique – these are facts to treasure, and there is something redeeming in being able to notice such things in others and in oneself. This uniqueness ought to extend beyond the intimately personal and into other areas of life; the right to act individually, without coercion of compulsion, is a vital one. And the ability to go about one’s business uninterrupted and unmolested is a fundamental aspect of living in a free society. The same can be said for the ability to think individually, to harbour different thoughts, some of which will be entirely unique. Even if they are incorrect or offensive to the current orthodoxy, the right to do so must be protected; and it follows that the same rights should be extended to speech. Continue reading