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

Madaya

The Sieges of Syria and History

Earlier this month in Syria, a siege was broken. Rebels in Aleppo, aided by more religiously extreme elements and passively supported by humanitarians the world over, succeeded in meeting – ceremoniously shaking hands, like the Allies during the Second World War at the river Elbe in 1945 – by breaking the lines of those troops loyal to the Assad regime and its foreign backers. Continue reading

Still from 'Weiner'

Shame and the Information Age

The information age has, of course, brought innumerable benefits. The benisons of technology are immediately apparent and therefore do not need explaining. You know what they represent, and these benefits are a reality in many millions of lives, bringing advances and improvements almost unforeseen a generation ago into wide circulation. Continue reading

Donald Trump campaigning

The Trump Phenomenon and Idiocy

The Republican nominee for the office of President of the United States is a man who spends time in his speeches talking about all the various products which bear his name. This is the same man who is seemingly unable to resist being baited into petty feuds, online and in the real world, with personalities great and small, and whose taste in personal décor is rather closer to that favoured by Saddam Hussein (a man he frequently professes to admire) than any of the latter French kings. He also likes to talk about the size of his hands, and to boast of his poll numbers (something which may become increasingly difficult if the events of this week are widely replicated), but this sort of thing is of less immediate importance. Continue reading

Jeremy Corbyn

The Foolishness of Crowds

There’s a popular fallacy doing the rounds which is particularly insidious. It states that, as long as insurgent types such as Jeremy Corbyn and Bernie Sanders (and any other radicals with sufficient detachment from ‘the Establishment’) keep travelling the country and attracting sufficient numbers of people to gatherings of supporters, they will win. Not only will they win internal party squabbles; they will win power when those parties go to the country, too. In the case of Sanders, this adage has already been discredited. But it persists in other countries, most notably this one, where yet more extreme politicians (of the extreme Left and of the extreme Right) think power is achievable by replicating this method. Continue reading