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‘i was called human scum just for criticising #metoo’ | feminism | free speech | podcasts

on the latest spiked podcast, we talk to katie roiphe, the author, essayist and free-thinker, about #metoo, feminism a...




the problem with kendrick lamar winning the pulitzer | arts & culture | music

what do michael gilbertson, ted hearne and kendrick lamar have in common? all three were finalists for this year’s pulitzer prize for music. but only one of them is someone most of us will have heard of – and, spoiler alert, he’s the one who won. the decision by the pulitzer board to give hip-hop star lamar the award for his blockbuster album damn., beating gilbertson’s string quartet and hearne’s cantata for chamber choir, has riled some in the classical-music world. but it has been met with almost uniform celebration elsewhere. in fact, the feather-spitting protests from composers and critics, disgusted that this award, which has only recently started to recognise jazz, should celebrate mainstream rap, have been conspicuous by th...




the square: a vicious satire on the new elite | arts & culture | film

beneath a veneer of virtue-signalling, the characters are self-regarding and filled with contempt for the rest of the public. those outside of their class are only ever experienced as a nuisance, usually as beggars or criminals. when christian’s pockets are picked in a confidence trick, he tracks down his phone to a council block and hatches a plan to retrieve it. he drives across town in his electric car, which he calls the ‘tesla of justice’, and distributes threatening letters to every apartment, accusing all the residents indiscriminately of being thieves. the letters end up making one boy’s life hell.at one point, christian has a one-night stand with an american journalist, anne (elisabeth moss). afterwards, she offers to throw ...




amnesty for the windrush children | immigration

the home secretary, amber rudd, today apologised and announced a new task force to help those affected. but this isn’t good enough. the government is presenting this as a simple bureaucratic process, which kindly officials will help applicants through. in reality, people have been sent threatening letters, detained, and, as happened in the case of anthony brian, paid a visit by immigration officers with a battering ram and a one-way ticket ‘home’. that the pm has only just agreed to meet with commonwealth leaders to discuss this issue speaks volumes.while press coverage has helped some of the targets of may’s ‘hostile climate’ settle their cases, there are thousands more who have been left in limbo. the migration observatory at o...




annihilation: a shimmering sci-fi fairytale | arts & culture | film

following a spaced-out, circuitous conversation with lena, he sips a glass of water, nearly dies and is rushed to hospital. soldiers intercept the ambulance and bring it to the base on the perimeter of the shimmer. kane is put on life support and lena is questioned by a psychologist, ventress (jennifer jason leigh). lena learns that kane was sent into the shimmer, and she volunteers to join the next, incidentally all-female, expedition into the magical swamp. once we’re inside, the grimm influences come to the fore. there are repeated fairytale visual motifs, in the form of colours, numbers and the landscape, drawing out the central themes of mutation, refraction and fidelity. these subjects are explicit...




annihilation: a shimmering sci-fi fairytale | arts & culture | film

once we’re inside, the grimm influences come to the fore. there are repeated fairytale visual motifs, in the form of colours, numbers and the landscape, drawing out the central themes of mutation, refraction and fidelity. these subjects are explicitly brought up and discussed by the characters. everything in the shimmer is subject to these forces. human dna mutates, compasses go haywire, radios fail to work, trees turn into crystal, alligator hide becomes bullet proof, people ...




the real scandal of the ulster rugby rape trial | crime and the law

we will never know for sure what happened on the night in question. but the point, the very serious point, is that these men were unanimously found not guilty by a jury of their peers. yet today, it seems that believing in a fair trial and the delivery of justice by juries has gone out of fashion.‘an act can fall short of criminal and still be a deep and awful wrong’, writes sarah ditum in the guardian. yes, olding and jackson may be unpleasant men. but where ditum and other feminists cross the line is when they hint, or openly say, that the verdict should be ignored and the men punished in some way despite their acquittal. ‘the jury settled the legal formality of their guilt, but, as with myriad other men, the case to answer doesn’t...




syria, the times and free speech | free speech | syria

as a point of interest, two senior british military figures have been interviewed on the bbc and sky questioning if it was indeed the syrian government that carried out the chemical attacks. i am eagerly awaiting the times’ double page spread on those ‘assad apologists’, admiral lord west and lord shaw.it is entirely legitimate to ask questions about what has happened in a war, what the government tells us has happened, and on what basis it is making its decisions. indeed, surely a newspaper should be asking those same questions rather than diving into academics’ social-media posts. the times even followed up its ‘exposé’, with a piece during the week in which it revealed that i had tweeted that the syria strikes were against in...




the lords’ vote for a customs union is a vile assault on democracy | british politics | for europe, against the eu

in voting to stay in a customs union after brexit, against the wishes of the elected government and its brexit bill, the house of lords has ‘inflicted an embarrassing defeat’ on theresa may, says the independent. actually, the lords has inflicted a defeat on democracy. on the public will. on the 17.4million people who voted for brexit. on us, the people. in 2018, unelected lords, these appointed experts and holy men and ageing, failed politicians whom not a single ordinary briton ever voted on to the red benches of the second chamber, have defied a government voted for by 13.6million people and a course of action voted for by 17.4million people. this is an act of true elitism, an insult to democracy, an archaic abomination that has no pl...




the lords’ vote for a customs union is a vile assault on democracy | british politics | for europe, against the eu

in voting to stay in a customs union after brexit, against the wishes of the elected government and its brexit bill, the house of lords has ‘inflicted an embarrassing defeat’ on theresa may, says the independent.  actually, the lords has inflicted a defeat on democracy. on the public will. on the 17.4million people who voted for brexit. on us, the people. in 2018, unelected lords, these appointed experts and holy men and ageing, failed politicians whom not a single ordinary briton ever voted on to the red benches of the second chamber, have defied a government voted for by 13.6million people and a course of action voted for by 17.4million people. this is an act of true elitism, an insult to democracy, an archaic abomination that has no ...




we need to talk about muslim anti-semitism | anti-semitism | religion and atheism

of course, it would be ridiculous to suggest isis sympathisers in the west discriminate when targeting various types of kafirs or ‘non-believers’. their hatred embraces many faiths. in 2016, isis-inspired teenagers firebombed a sikh temple in germany; and in france, later that same year, isis supporters murdered a catholic priest.still, islamists do seem to loathe jews in particular. last year, amber rudd, the uk home secretary, confirmed isis had specifically identified british jewry as a ‘desirable and legitimate target’. no doubt it was this specific threat that contributed to the government’s decision to renew the £13.4million worth of security funding provided to the community security trust for the protection of the jewish c...




another boozy scare story | drink and drugs | health

by comparison, the increased risk of lung cancer from smoking a pack per day is orders of magnitude riskier than drinking – not 10 per cent or 100 per cent, but around 1,000 per cent, maybe more. it’s clear that smoking causes lung cancer. it is far less clear that drinking alcohol is especially bad for us unless we drink a lot – at least three times the uk’s current guidelines. source: lancetmoreover, according to the graph above taken from the lancet report’s appendix, never-drinkers have the same risk of an early death as those who drink around 40 units per week. why there is such a big difference between never-drinkers and very light drinkers is something that would be worth investigating. are there other things about never-dri...




the people’s vote: a parody of democracy | british politics | for europe, against the eu

last sunday, the rearguard remain campaign launched its latest initiative to derail the democratic vote for brexit: the people’s vote. parliamentarians, celebrities and businesspeople came together at an event in camden, north london, to call for what they insist is definitely not a second eu referendum.alongside the usual suspects – chuka umunna, anna soubry and caroline lucas – was the actor sir patrick stewart, who was first to address the faithful. he claimed to loud cheers that jean-luc picard and charles xavier, the characters he played in the star trek and x-men franchises respectively, would have voted remain. but rather than ‘boldly go’ to the brexit heartlands with its message, the group decided to host its launch event i...




thou shalt not question the good friday agreement | british politics | for europe, against the eu | ireland

shadow international trade secretary barry gardiner came under fire last week for ‘trashing the good friday deal’, after letting slip that a customs border between the republic of ireland and northern ireland would not prompt an automatic return to paramilitary violence. secretly recorded at a supposedly off-the-record discussion, organised by the rosa luxemburg stiftung, a left-wing think-tank, gardiner said there was no reason to fear a post-brexit ‘hard’ border.the labour frontbencher drew a distinction between the old militarised border, with its ‘watchtowers, security paraphernalia and soldiers… with guns’, and the kind of checks and controls that operate on ‘normal borders’ between independent states. acknowledging th...




enoch powell was wrong – so were his critics | british politics | immigration | race

as for the labour government, it shared the tory view that a proper debate on race, racism and integration was not desirable. after nearly three weeks of silence on powell’s speech, the prime minister harold wilson said: ‘i am not prepared to stand aside and see this country engulfed by the racial conflict which calculating orators or ignorant prejudice can create.’ wilson went further when he declared, ‘there is a clear duty on the parliamentary leadership of government and of opposition parties to do all in our combined power to take these inflammatory issues out of politics’. after powell’s brief interlude, race regained its status as an issue that was deemed unsuitable for a political debate involving the people.it is true th...




the problem with ‘representation’ | arts & culture | race | tv and radio

there is an inherent problem with this idea of representation in entertainment. representation is not the same as depiction or portrayal – it is defined as ‘the action of speaking or acting on behalf of someone’. therefore, in the pursuit of better representation, creators and writers are effectively being asked to presume what a particular community ‘wants’. while it is often dressed up in the trendy language of empowerment and confronting ‘white privilege’, representation is, in truth, a euphemism for tokenism.we should celebrate the broadening of opportunities for entertainers of all backgrounds in television, film and music, and we should relish the fact that different kinds of stories and characters are coming to the fore....




thou shalt not question the good friday agreement | british politics | for europe, against the eu | ireland

trashing the good friday agreement used to be rather fashionable among politicians, commentators and academics on the left. but fears of brexit suspended their critical judgement. many thousands of papers have been published about the obfuscations and evasions in the agreement’s text. northern irish politicians used to rail against its legacy of unaccountable power-sharing structures, political cronyism and the way it has fuelled mistrust and entrenched communal division. while critical voices remain, it is a brave few who are still willing to state in public what many privately think – that the agreement has failed to deliver peace and stability. the power-sharing government has been inactive for over a year, following a scandal over a ...




enoch powell was wrong – so were his critics | british politics | immigration | race

as for the labour government, it shared the tory view that a proper debate on race, racism and integration was not desirable. after nearly three weeks of silence on powell’s speech, the prime minister harold wilson said: ‘i am not prepared to stand aside and see this country engulfed by the racial conflict which calculating orators or ignorant prejudice can create.’ wilson went further when he declared, ‘there is a clear duty on the parliamentary leadership of government and of opposition parties to do all in our combined power to take these inflammatory issues out of politics’. after powell’s brief interlude, race regained its status as an issue that was deemed unsuitable for a political debate involving the people.it is true th...




amnesty for the windrush children | immigration

the home secretary, amber rudd, today apologised and announced a new task force to help those affected. but this isn’t good enough. the government is presenting this as a simple bureaucratic process, which kindly officials will help applicants through. in reality, people have been sent threatening letters, detained, and, as happened in the case of anthony brian, paid a visit by immigration officers with a battering ram and a one-way ticket ‘home’. that the pm has only just agreed to meet with commonwealth leaders to discuss this issue speaks volumes.while press coverage has helped some of the targets of may’s ‘hostile climate’ settle their cases, there are thousands more who have been left in limbo. the migration observatory at o...




the west’s virtue-bombing of syria is a disastrous mistake | middle east | syria

of course this isn’t the first time western governments have taken military or diplomatic action that has either created the space for the rise of islamist militancy or has directly benefited such militancy. from afghanistan in the 1980s to bosnia in the 1990s, where western arms went to certain mujahideen forces fighting against russia or the serbs respectively, and from the military attacks on iraq in 2003 and libya in 2011 to the various injections of money and weapons into the syrian vortex over the past eight years, which allowed for the growth and spread of barbaric new movements in the middle east and north africa, western interventionism has continually exacerbated islamist extremism. our leaders wring their hands over the rise of ...