The one where millennials don’t get Friends

All progress is war on the past and millennials are particularly merciless combatants. The arrival of Friends on Netflix UK has had this neo-Victorian generation reaching for its fainting couch. Through woke eyes, the hit NBC sitcom isn’t a diverting entertainment but an artefact of racism, sexism and homophobia. If you were a twentysomething during…

Why I love Australia

Right, so I have this random love for all things Australia. I’ve never actually been but I’m sort of obsessed with the country, the people, the politics, the culture, the idiosyncratic ways. I’m not saying I’m stalking the Commonwealth or anything but it should probably have some Vegemite handy to keep me at bay. (It’s…

It was worse than chucking out time at the Queen Vic

WILLIE: You lied! NICOLA: You’re a pathetic attention seeker! KEN: Leave it out, the pair of you! Bit early for EastEnders, I thought, checking my watch. No, this was First Minister’s Questions, from the hallowed chamber of the nation’s parliament, and Nicola Sturgeon was in the middle of a slanging match that would get her…

There’s been a murder… of open government

‘You have the right to remain silent,’ intones the detective when he finally gets his man. It’s a familiar scene from US cop shows and, from the end of the month, police in Scotland will mimic the procedure when placing suspects under arrest. If Nicola Sturgeon ever decided to pursue a criminal record — beyond…

Why has the SNP inflicted this video on us?

I don’t know where people get the idea the SNP is intolerant of criticism. Scotland’s most open-minded party has released a new video that appears to be an attack on one of its critics dressed up as a party political broadcast. The video depicts a group of thirtysomethings gathered for a house party. They are Scottish but…

Labour’s beleaguered moderates must act now before it’s too late

When is left-wing not left-wing enough? Veteran Labour organiser Ann Black is finding out the hard way. Yesterday morning, she was the respected chair of the disputes panel, the party’s internal disciplinary committee, and responsible for investigating anti-Semitism and other accusations against members. Now, she is the respected former chair, ousted in a Momentum-led coup…

Hugs and puppies? Not a chance in Nicola’s bleak Brexit forecast

The threat of another independence vote is becoming an annual tradition in the SNP calendar. It seems to come round earlier every year, bringing joy to the world of nationalism and a bleak midwinter to the rest of us. Nicola Sturgeon has again raised the spectre of Indyref2, telling Andrew Marr that she will decide…

A digital toolkit for young Tories

OMG. New Conservative chairman Brandon Lewis has announced a ‘digital toolkit’ to help young right-wingers battle the Left on social media. Lewis wants ‘more of our activists and people who support some of the principles we’re outlining… getting out there in the digital world saying so and spreading that message with us’. To that end,…

Donald Trump is the least American president in US history

As a schoolboy, George Washington transcribed 110 Jesuitical maxims later published as Rules of Civility and Decent Behaviour in Company and Conversation.  In this pamphlet he counsels a regimen of behaviour so meticulous it forbids blowing on a spoonful of soup to cool it and specifies the proper method for dipping bread in sauce. Presidential…

Poorly? Just be grateful you’re not in Wales…

MSPs returned for the inaugural First Minister’s Questions of 2018, rested and refreshed over the New Year and sporting the finest in Christmas-gift fashion.  Johann Lamont snuggled under a fetching ivory woollen scarf while a radioactive tangerine tie threatened to ignite around Jackson Carlaw’s neck. Angela Constance essayed a cranberry painter’s smock that suggested a…

Facts are talking down Scotland again

The problem with exceptionalism is that sooner or later everyone wants in on it. The Romans claimed to be exceptional and none but the most contrarian observer of history would seek to refute that. The British at the height of the Empire considered themselves a uniquely bold and industrious force, settler of far-off lands, world…

Israel’s revival of the death penalty would be a grave mistake

One of the many problems with the effort to bring back the death penalty in Israel is that it never went away in the first place. Israel is only a partial abolitionist, banning the death penalty for ordinary crimes in 1954 but retaining it for war crimes and offences against the state. The last execution…

Two deaths and why lawless social media must now be brought to heel

A two-hour drive from Tokyo, just north-west of Mount Fuji, lurks the sombre sprawl of Aokigahara forest. The Japanese call it Jukai, the ‘Sea of Trees’, for it is dense with softly swaying thickets and devouring tides of silence and solitude. Across 12 square miles of lava rock, Mongolian oaks and hinoki cypresses loom over…

Iran’s uprising exposes the left’s shameful double standards

Why is Jeremy Corbyn silent on the protests in Iran? A cynic might say that the Labour leader could hardly be expected to bite the hand that fed him £20,000 for appearing on the state’s propaganda channel. But Corbyn’s motivations are not financial. He and those who share his worldview simply cannot stomach being on the same…

In defence of Toby Young

Turmoil in the Middle East, a reshuffle rumoured at Westminster, and Toby Young is offending the liberal establishment. So far, 2018 doesn’t seem all that different from 2017. The occasion for the latest sputtering is the Speccie columnist’s appointment to the board of the Office for Students. The OfS is the new regulator of Britain’s…