July 8, 2024 - 6:40pm

→ Confidence in US universities continues to nosedive

Universities’ role as the nerve centre of the country’s culture wars has not helped with their popularity. According to Gallup, only a third of Americans have a “great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence in higher education, down from 57% in 2015. Amid disruptive campus protests and numerous high-profile antisemitism scandals and plagiarism accusations — one resulting in the resignation of Harvard’s president — it’s no wonder they’re struggling with their image.

Source: Gallup

The decline in confidence has been driven by Republicans, among whom support for higher education fell from 56% in 2015 to 20% in the present. Respondents’ leading concern was higher education’s political agenda. Will the kids be alright?

→ Over-65s keeping Tories alive

“Zero seats!” was the call from young Right-wingers who wanted the Tories to suffer for their incompetence. As the post-mortem of last week’s general election continues, polling data shows that, if you exclude over-65s, the Conservative Party may have been close to a total wipeout.

Polling from Lord Ashcroft shows that the Tories only beat Labour in the pensioner age group (with 38%), mustering well below a third of the vote in every other category. Rishi Sunak’s party did particularly poorly among 25-36-year-olds, claiming just 10% of the vote.

Labour beat the Tories among both men and women by a 10-point margin while Reform did slightly better among men, with 16% compared to 12% for women. But for an ageing population, zero seats might well have come true. The Tories should be grateful for the miracle of modern medicine

→ The Patriot Front: feds in disguise?

A neo-Nazi hate group went viral over the weekend after marching in Nashville, but many on the American Right suspect that the march was a sting operation run by federal agents.

Patriot Front members, who wear matching khakis, polo shirts and identity-obscuring masks, are too uniform to be an organic far-Right hate group, some have argued. Republican Senator Mike Lee suggested the group was part of a false flag operation, an argument Right-wingers on X have been making years. Indeed, last year podcast host Joe Rogan raised similar concerns, asking: “Where’s the fat people? [sic]”

A viral clip of such an incident highlights the stark difference in appearance between the Patriot Front and other American far-Right groups: the Proud Boys wore jeans, t-shirts with sleeves cut off, and the occasional mullet, while several were noticeably overweight. Patriot Front members, on the other hand, were uniformly slim. Can’t a far-Right group be in good shape?