BY DOMINIC WIGHTMAN According to the later versions of the Brothers Grimm tales, when Rumpelstiltskin – the imp who spun straw into gold in exchange for a girl’s firstborn – was rebuffed: “He in his rage drove his right foot so far into the ground that it sank in up to his waist; then in a passion he seized the left foot with both hands … Continue reading Social Currency – Fool’s Gold
BY DOMINIC WIGHTMAN It’s not unreasonable to imagine a future where AI foxes are hunted by packs of hounds, where the meat and fish markets depend to a substantial degree on cultured meat produced in bioreactors. Why not? Let’s open our minds. A century ago, few would have thought credible the technological advances that have been made since. So why should any of us be … Continue reading Shoddy Messiahs
BY IAN MITCHELL Some years ago when I lived in Moscow, I remember being startled by a comment a friend of mine made about Russian chauvinism. I was—and still am—good friends with a youngish, smart and very self-possessed Russian lady, who had spent a long time in the United States and understood both Russian and Western ways of managing interpersonal relationships. I was sitting one … Continue reading Vladimir Putin as a ‘Real Russian Man’
BY DOMINIC WIGHTMAN Around this time of year some time ago I was sitting outside a café in snowy but sunny Prague overlooking the rather nondescript building of the Ministry of Industry, also known as Petschek’s Palace, near the top of the city’s Wenceslas Square. I remember happily puffing on a cigar being talked to by a superfluously chatty yet elegant Spanish acquaintance who thought … Continue reading Reforming Petschek
BY JIM WEBSTER You load sixteen tons, what do you get Another day older and deeper in debt Saint Peter don’t you call me ’cause I can’t go I owe my soul to the company store It’s a funny old world. You really have to be careful what you read. As it was I picked up a book on the Dark Ages and medieval agriculture … Continue reading Whose Serfdom?
BY ALEX STORY The bell tolled for western civilisation on the 1st of July 2007. Some people will point to financiers. After all, they sold competence and instead delivered the Great Financial Disaster of 2008. The last was followed by a never ending tidal wave of Governmental incontinence, destroying trust and value in the process. Others will finger politicians across the decades for mistaking personal for … Continue reading The Key to Everything
BY JAMES BEMBRIDGE The past two years have seen so-called ‘green’ and ‘egalitarian’ politicians attempt to ward off that most green and egalitarian thing: death. The pitiless debt collector for whom our every heart murmur, every latent lump, and every shadow-ridden scan serves as a reminder of our outstanding balance. When it came to Covid, politicians thought they could write this debt off, but in … Continue reading Proscribing Death
BY DOMINIC WIGHTMAN We are told that: ‘good uncles take an active part in their nieces and nephews’ lives. They spend time with them, offer valuable perspective on the family, and help resolve conflicts. They’re people who children and parents can both trust with difficult subjects and to advocate for their interests.’ By this definition an uncle who cannot even recognise most of his nephews … Continue reading Silos & Narrow Definitions
BY JAMES BEMBRIDGE “You’ve never watched an episode of EastEnders?” my Editor asked. “Never,” I replied. As he supped his lobster bisque, all the time his mouth could not help but form into a schoolboy smirk. “What are you writing about this week, Bembers?” he asked. I need not have answered… * Though technically not a form of torture, EastEnders is as like it as … Continue reading Soapdodger
BY EFFIE DEANS Whenever there is a terrorist attack in somewhere like Israel, we are told by the BBC that it carried out by militants. It gives the impression that the far left from the 1980s stopped handing out newspapers to blow himself up. Only when a terrorist attack happens here in Britain will the BBC allow itself to describe it as such. IRA militants … Continue reading Only the Terrorist is Guilty
BY TARQUIN SUTHERLAND Is the fact that we appear to be staggering blindly into a two-tier society worth crying about? It should be. Tears of remorse, maybe? Or as in ‘for crying out loud’? The comedian Geoff Norcott recently cracked a gag about the position we have found ourselves in, it goes: Person 1: “Do you regret voting for a Conservative government?” Person 2: “I … Continue reading Tiers Before Bedtime
BY CAPEL LOFFT It increasingly occurs to me how utterly pointless most of what passes for political debate is. While contemporary politics is conducted within the parameters of a certain set of debased spiritual, moral and cultural norms, engaging in the transitory arguments of this or that ‘debate’ makes no more sense than arguing about the architectural plans while the ground you are preparing to … Continue reading Honour, Virtue & Life
BY DOMINIC WIGHTMAN In 2018 Mark Carney, then Governor of the Bank of England, warned that inescapable automation and AI are to blame for wage stagnation that is like that of the nineteenth century, which helped give birth to Communism in the twentieth: “If you substitute platforms for textile mills, machine learning for steam engines, Twitter for the telegraph, you have exactly the same dynamics as … Continue reading Doom on the Horizon?
BY JOHN NASH Civilisation, as I wrote earlier in the Folly of Animal Rights, is the cave and behaviour with which we humans nurture our kind and reproduce, safe from the deadly competition of nature outside. It has carried us successfully through the hundreds of thousands of years since we were small ape-like creatures in a green and unpleasant world full of large carnivores with huge … Continue reading Civilisation Can Go Too Far
BY DOMINIC WIGHTMAN The cradle used in cricket to train us to catch in the slips was somewhat useful. When, at speed, a cricket ball was fired into it, you had to be on your toes in case you needed to adjust your body position to meet unusual catching angles. You had to be alert for those ‘uncatchable’ balls which sometimes curved high or low, … Continue reading The Cradle
BY JOHN NASH A cat tortures a mouse for half an hour until death stills a tiny heart, then it walks away unconcerned, leaving the sorry little corpse. A sparrow hawk, spectacular, fierce-eyed gunship of the bird world, swoops upon a tiny bird and plucks it alive while it struggles, skewered in agony upon the hawk’s scimitar talons. These are daily events, but neither cruel nor … Continue reading The Folly of Animal Rights
BY DOMINIC WIGHTMAN There’s a homeless fellow some of the locals and I have been helping out during this year of lockdowns. He’s in his forties and inhabits a tent in some woodland not far from our village. The owner of the woods was happy for him to stay there as long as he didn’t set off any fires. The local homeless charities worked alongside … Continue reading Stig
BY PAUL NEWALL Recently I got called a fascist on social media. I had to chuckle despite the insult. As a former Trotskyite I must have gone full circle! Then someone mentioned on the thread that the name caller didn’t know what the term meant. When I thought about this, I visited some home truths. The word fascist is the second most overused in the … Continue reading Trot! Fascist!
BY EFFIE DEANS How does civilisation begin? It begins with agriculture. Prior to the development of agriculture all we have is hunter gatherers in small bands living from moment to moment intent only on the bare necessities of life such as obtaining food and shelter. What enabled the transition to agriculture? It was the division of labour. In order for people to settle down and … Continue reading Casting Hume into the Flames
BY ARTHUR KAUFMAN This article grew out of my being tired of listening to “he … uh … and … uh … she” or “men … uh … and … uh … women” and all the variations emphasising the neutrality of gender. As a Radio 4 junkie, not a day goes by without hearing a few utterances from a range of voices, especially politicians, who, … Continue reading Towards Truly Non-Sexist Language