Saturday, May 30th, 2020
The editor of Spiked castigates the media for misreporting facts on Dominic Cummings’ lockdown behavior. But Brendan O’Neill’s disingenuous focus on disingenuous facts misses the larger disreputable truth.
Which is that a senior head needs to roll for the UK Government’s humiliating and deadly botching of its initial response to the pandemic (that many of the leaders themselves contracted the disease is emblematic of this failure).
Since elections will not be held for years, the next best thing to the PM’s head is that of his high-profile advisor. And this is fitting: as the great visionary and strategist, Cummings should have been the one who got the PM to take the pandemic seriously in good time.
So the details of Cummings’ hypocritical behaviours under lockdown are merely the pretext for the humiliation that the public is just for him and this Government. His firing would be the catharsis that marks entry into the next phase of this pandemic; indeed these are political norms. Instead we slouch deeper into uncharted political as well as medical and economic territory.
Sunday, April 19th, 2020
The eleven days in question are 12th–23rd March. Eleven days in which the [UK] government decided to give up with contact tracing and do, well, nothing. Mass gatherings were still allowed (because “science”). Concerts and racing and Champions’ League football. Pubs. Public transport. Everything. The over-70s, it must be conceded, were advised to avoid cruises.
Friday, April 3rd, 2020
Once Upon a Country: A Palestinian Life
Nusseibeh’s central thesis (well, secondary thesis, the primary implicit one being that the Palestinian people should all along have appointed both his Dad and then him their oh-so-reluctant leaders) I too have felt almost in my bones: that Israelis and Palestinians are natural allies. Or, more accurately, that there’s a natural affinity which will enable us to be powerful allies if and when we ever get over our admittedly fundamental conflict.
Wednesday, April 1st, 2020
Devi Sridha, Chair of Global Public Health at the University of Edinburgh, had been trying to sound the alarm about the British herd-immunity approach with pieces such as “Britain had a head start on Covid-19, but our leaders squandered it”.
Saturday, March 28th, 2020
Sunday, January 26th, 2020
Wednesday, December 18th, 2019
Counterintuitive arguments from the redoubtable Ambrose Evans-Pritchard that Boris’s ascension reduces the plausibility of Scottish secession from the UK.
Saturday, December 14th, 2019
“Rising Inequality and the Changing Structure of Political Conflict” — the inaugural James M. and Cathleen D. Stone Lecture in Economic Inequality at the Harvard Kennedy School’s Institute of Politics by Thomas Piketty (March 30th, 2018).
Labour is now populism for the lightly-educated middle-classes, argues John Gray with stonking cogency — and, it turns out a month later at the December 2019 election, accuracy. Until 2008 the Professor of European Thought at the London School of Economics, Gray has been referred to by one Nassim Nicholas Taleb as “prophetic”.
Tuesday, October 29th, 2019
The Tube Ronnies complete with transcript, thanks to the invaluable IanVisits.
Sunday, October 20th, 2019
Dr Alex Joffe notes that while the West’s working classes are still relatively sensible, “in Western social and information environments saturated with virtue-signaling, [grafting BDS onto contemporary concerns and movements is] having some success with members of the image-conscious, predominantly white middle class.
Sunday, October 13th, 2019
George Friedman on Brexit: it is very likely to happen, as is the painful shift to increased ties with the Anglosphere.
Wednesday, October 9th, 2019
I wish there were something to disagree with in this piece reviewing the fiasco that is Brexit. We see now that due to the United Kingdom’s very make-up — a dominant England, a smaller Scotland, and a Northern Ireland with inherent connections to the Republic of Ireland — Britain needs to be in the EU arguably more than many other European countries do. Surely some game theory simulations would have borne out the current impasse.
Saturday, September 28th, 2019
Thursday, August 8th, 2019
Past and immediate future: two gangbusters op-eds in The Spectator on Britain and Brexit, one by Dominic Green, Life & Arts Editor of Spectator USA, “Donald Trump is the best prime minister Britain never had”, which races through almost a century of pandering fecklessness by Britain’s mandarins; and one by Robert Peston, ITV’s Political Editor, ”Why a no-deal Brexit is now overwhelmingly likely“, reasoning that Brexiteers would be unified under a general election whereas Remainers would be unified under a second Brexit referendum, hence we will get the former.
Thursday, July 25th, 2019
Firecracking and bursting with spunk, BoJo addresses Parliament for the first time as PM.
Tuesday, July 23rd, 2019
What a dreamteam of Übermenschen now leading my three countries: Trump, BoJo and Bibi. Not since Reagan, Thatcher and Begin have we seen the like. It demonstrates that these societies still function in that the leader is found.
Sunday, May 26th, 2019
Goodbye, Judith Kerr, goodbye!
Monday, May 13th, 2019
We must be facing this: David Gelertner on giving up Darwin. Like Smith’s invisible hand and even Newton’s laws of physics, these glorious, newly-algorithmic cosmologies — the precursors to our wonder-world of bitty digitalism — aren’t the full explanation.
Tuesday, April 30th, 2019
This detailed account of how The Guardian changed its tech stack provides an excellent peek into the workings of a large digital media outfit.
Friday, March 15th, 2019
Trends in International Arms Transfers, 2018 [PDF] by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.
Sunday, December 16th, 2018
The nine totally must-read lessons of Brexit by Ivan Rogers, who was fired as Permanent Representative of the United Kingdom to the European Union for stating some of these truths. Abject.
Friday, December 14th, 2018
Saturday, November 17th, 2018
“Respected journalist” Joel Golby has pulled off a rather spectacular series of mini-essays for Vice in Choose Your Own Adventure: Friday Night Edition!. More relevant perhaps for people say a quarter of a century younger than me, but one can appreciate.
Saturday, November 10th, 2018
According to The Secret Anglo-French War in the Middle East by Prof. Meir Zamir, British Intelligence provoked the Arabs to invade Israel in 1948. The link is to an episode of the Tel Aviv Review podcast featuring Zamir.
Thursday, October 25th, 2018
British influence in the EU has been far greater than recognised, this piece argues. If this was better understood in Britain — and if, say, the BBC had devoted a couple of hours a week to pure Europe news — I’m guessing Britons would be much more pro-Europe today and the Brexit own-goal would not have occurred.
Sunday, August 19th, 2018
On nationalism old and new. In Tablet, the prophetic columnist David P. Goldman discusses Yoram Hazony’s new book The Virtue of Nationalism.
Wednesday, August 15th, 2018
Clips from the great British documentary The Great British Year. No need for a BBC license; this is the programme’s web page. Just great stuff.
Tuesday, July 10th, 2018
Saturday, May 26th, 2018
Prince William will make the first ever official tour of Israel by a member of the British royal family (Jordan first though).
I think this is quite a big deal; Britain has complicated feelings towards Israel — to wit, the country’s non-appearance to date in 25 James Bond movies.
Tuesday, April 3rd, 2018
Twice entranced: Finlay of Arabia. These guys seems to be the Banksy Neturei Karta.
Friday, March 23rd, 2018
If you’re worried about Facebook, just take a look at WeWork.
Thursday, March 15th, 2018
The Bloomsbury set thought about work and leisure, with ideas for today as we wrestle more universally with these issues.
Wednesday, March 7th, 2018
Jordan Peterson and Camille Paglia light up a brightly-lit room for 1 hour 43 minutes.
Wednesday, January 10th, 2018
Jony Ive: The Genius Behind Apple’s Greatest Products
In what seems a common pattern, Jony Ive started early, eschewing the liberal education of say Oxbridge, instead selecting the most renowned college in the field in which he was already winning prizes: industrial design. And this great achiever of our times grew up under the happy and mighty influence of his father, an educator who rose to prominence due to character and a drive to bring design literacy to British education.
The bulk of this book about Ive constitutes one of the stronger, more detailed histories we have of Apple itself, told mainly from the perspective of the IDg, the internal design group he leads. We learn for instance that in order to meet Steve Jobs’ deadline for creating the iMac — the first product upon Jobs’ return and which revived the company — they needed to streamline the product process by making the files of the design software interoperable with those of the manufacturing software.
Someone says Ive is even less replaceable at Apple than Jobs. This isn’t quite fair because Jobs worked to make himself replaceable. Let’s hope Ive does as well.
Saturday, December 30th, 2017
In Mosaic, Martin Kramer tells the tale, set over lunch in Ein Kerem, of the closest Jerusalem ever got to internationalization. (At one point I found the internationalization of Jerusalem a heady and exciting notion—providing of course that the UN move its HQ there.) A most vivid history op-ed piece.
Thursday, December 28th, 2017
Read “Antisemitism in contemporary
Great Britain: A study of attitudes towards Jews and Israel“ [PDF] by the Institute for Jewish Policy Research, published September 2017. The study demonstrates a correlation between anti-Jewish and anti-Israel attitudes.
Monday, December 11th, 2017
There has never been a West European post-Second World War policy in [the Middle East] except to await the American position and then stake out something more favourable to the Arabs.
Saturday, December 2nd, 2017
Ivan Rogers, the UK’s Permanent Representative to the EU during David Cameron’s tenure as Prime Minister, speaks to the events leading up to the Brexit referendum. There’s so much detail, and we see where Cameron was succeeding, but nonetheless a failure happened here.
Tuesday, October 24th, 2017
On the crippling ambivalence throughout the British Government as it feels compelled to implement Brexit. Something’s got to give.
Sunday, August 20th, 2017
Peggy Noonan opens and shuts the case on statues. To me it’s all very Taliban.
Tuesday, July 4th, 2017
Robots don’t eat chocolate. James Meek weaves a rich tale of Cadbury’s moving its chocolate factory from Bristol in England to Skarbimierz in Poland. We get EU politics, British commercial history and contemporary Polish politics. It’s a microcosm of the economic game of musical chairs happening in our era. [via Tyler Cowen’s marginalrevolution.com]
Thursday, June 1st, 2017
Thank you, earthhandsandhouses.org. May the movement flourish…
Sunday, May 7th, 2017
Saturday, April 22nd, 2017
This is fascinating: Turks residing in liberal Europe voted far more heavily for Erdogan’s authoritarian referendum — about 70/30 — than did Turks at home, about 50/50. Far less still did Turks in the USA and the UK vote for it — about 84% and 80% against respectively. A measure of ideological/cultural integration?
Monday, January 30th, 2017
It seems to be a deceptively hard song to cover, but here’s a good one with a man, a woman and a ukulele on a living-room sofa, deceptively casual, deceptively perfect. Nobody’s done it better, not even Radiohead. And for something completely different: a great ‘Nobody Does it Better’ series montage by Rik Moran.
Wednesday, January 25th, 2017
Albeit behind Iran, Israel squeaks onto Walter Russell Mead’s list of the Great Eight Powers of 2017. It’s amazing that only one European country makes it here.
Friday, January 13th, 2017
At Den of Geek is Max Williams’ revisit of all 24 James Bond movies.
Tuesday, January 10th, 2017
David Cripps, the London Symphony Orchestra’s horn soloist, on playing the Star Wars music, and particularly “Leia’s Theme”. Seems clear from this and an interview I read on “Rey’s Theme” that John Williams is inspired by charismatic actors.
Wednesday, November 9th, 2016
“The press takes [Trump] literally, but not seriously; his supporters take him seriously, but not literally.’ Salena Zito in this September 23 article in The Atlantic. What a thing.
Also Democrats, Trump, and the Ongoing, Dangerous Refusal to Learn the Lesson of Brexit by Glenn Greenwald in The Intercept.
And What I learned after 100,000 miles on the road talking to Trump supporters by Chris Arnade in The Guardian.