Peregrine Worsthorne died not too long ago, at a great age. A former editor of the Sunday Telegraph and an ensign-bearer in retirement not only of the past, but also of long-passed notions. One of those was aristocracy, something Worsthorne adored and advocated. Yesterday I read his offering on the subject, the slight book In Defence of Aristocracy. This essay, taking in his most cherished notions and his most coherent effort at writing, serves both as review and, after a fashion, as obituary.Continue reading
The long-standing row over alleged anti-Semitism in the Labour party continues to rumble on. This weekend deputy leader Tom Watson spoke out and was quickly the subject of an online campaign from Corbynistas calling for him to resign. Today we have a member of Labour’s National Policy Forum, George McManus, suspended over a Facebook post comparing Watson to Judas because he took money from ‘Jewish donors’. Continue reading
British politics, from the outside looking in, appears decorous and bland. Steeped in archaic tradition, it can seem almost quaint, with displays of partisan animosity reserved for the theatre of Prime Minister’s Questions, and everyone in Parliament addressing each other with superficial politeness, never omitting the correct honorifics. Continue reading
The past few days have brought a stark reminder.
Since the start of February, reports have surfaced of several chemical attacks in Syria, apparently undertaken using chlorine gas. Among these, chlorine is said to have been used in Douma, in besieged East Ghouta, and Saraqeb, in Idlib province. Continue reading
The Assad regime has been in peril since the beginning of the Syrian revolution.
Cities, towns and entire governorates have been free of its authority for more than half a decade. It has lost control of great tracts of the country. And many people in areas no longer within its compass would do everything they could to avoid being ruled over by the regime ever again. They would fight back. Their recapture may be impossible, or at the very least inordinately costly. Continue reading
Leaving the European Union (EU) is beginning to get difficult. In recent weeks the prime minister has faced muted opposition in the House of Commons and active defiance in the Lords. Continue reading
It is widely held that 2016 was a depressing year.
Much of this collective feeling can be attributed to less substantial events such as the deaths of many famous people, and the pall this seemed to cast over the year as a whole.
But there are more serious reasons for believing that what happened in 2016 leaves the world darker than it was before, and less optimistic when thinking about the future. Continue reading
Lord William Henry Cavendish-Bentinck was the archetypal second son, being born at Burlington House on September 14, 1774, into that condition, the child of the third Duke of Portland. The family was noble but not rich, and Bentinck was effectively aware of this situation all his life. Continue reading