breaking news from the world of ideas

by Thomas Fazi
Wednesday, 1
February 2023
Explainer
18:10

The EU officially puts bugs on the menu

Crickets and mealworm larvae have been approved for human consumption

Last week, the European Union ruled that the maggot-like larvae of lesser mealworms — a type of shiny black beetle — and house crickets (in partially defatted powder form) may be used in the production of several foods, including pizza and pasta-based products, bread, crackers and breadsticks, meat preparations and soups, snacks and sauces, biscuits, chocolate confectionery and even beer-like beverages. This means that EU citizens may soon find themselves eating bugs without even knowing it. Sure, the regulation states that foods containing insects must be labelled, but just how flashy those labels turn out to be remains to be seen. More importantly, should we care? ...  Continue reading

by Tom McTague
Wednesday, 1
February 2023
Debate
15:38

The Premier League’s vast wealth is ruining world football

England’s financial dominance is making other European leagues uncompetitive

In 1996, a Big Mac cost £1.79 and Alan Shearer £15 million. Today, the price of a Big Mac has just about doubled to £3.49, but to buy an even half-decent left back will set you back three or four times Shearer’s old world record fee. Chelsea alone now have two left backs who cost more than £50 million. Britain might no longer be a particularly wealthy country, but it is home to an insanely rich football league; a league so rich, in fact, it is in danger of ruining something far more precious: the rolling operatic drama of European club football.

To illustrate the point, take a quick look at the last football transfer window, which closed yesterday. Just an hour before the deadline, Chelsea finally secured their number one target by paying £107 million for the Argentinian midfielder Enzo Fernández. With his signing, the club took their total transfer spending in January above £300 million. To put this in context, that is more than every club in Europe’s other four major leagues (Spain’s La Liga, Italy’s Serie A, Germany’s Bundesliga and France’s Ligue 1) combined ...  Continue reading

by Jorge González-Gallarza
Wednesday, 1
February 2023
Reaction
13:30

The uncomfortable truth about Spain’s latest terror attack

Why is it only the Right talking about the killer's Islamist background?

Last week, on Spain’s southernmost outpost of Algeciras, 25-year-old Moroccan national Yassine Kanjaa left his apartment to head into town. He had been illegally squatting there for three years, but it was clear that he would not be returning any time soon. 

After vandalising artefacts and verbally abusing parishioners at a nearby church, Kanjaa, armed with a machete, stabbed and seriously injured a priest. Later, at another church in the area, he chased down a sexton and slit the man’s throat in a nearby square whilst crying “Allahu Akbar”, all videotaped by shocked onlookers. The church worker, Diego Valencia, died on the spot.  ...  Continue reading

by Oliver Bateman
Wednesday, 1
February 2023
Reaction
11:10

The writing is on the wall for George Santos

The disgraced politician is alienating independents — and his own party

Embattled New York Representative George Santos, now seated in America’s 118th Congress, endured a difficult first month in office. Despite flipping New York’s 3rd congressional district from Democratic to Republican control in the 2022 midterm elections amid a surprisingly poor showing from the GOP, Santos has yet to savour the rewards of his victory. Earlier this week, he asked to be temporarily recused from the two House committees — critical patronage and fundraising opportunities for American legislators — to which he was assigned, pending completion of various ongoing investigations into campaign and personal finance improprieties.  ...  Continue reading

by Peter Franklin
Wednesday, 1
February 2023
Spotted
09:30

Why young people leaving the cities is bad for the Tories

They are moving to so-called 'Benjamin Button areas'

The headline finding of this week’s UnHerd Britain survey is a collapse in support for Brexit, with a particularly steep decline in the strongest Labour areas. The Conservatives — who once had a chance of winning over non-Tory Leave voters — have blown their big opportunity. 

What’s more, they’ve done it in next to no time. Unbelievably, it’s less than two years since the Hartlepool by-election, in which the Tories triumphed in a seat that had been solidly Labour since 1964. It’s an object lesson in not taking the British electorate for granted. Clearly, there was nothing fixed about the political realignment of 2019, which is why the Conservatives now find themselves in the quicksand. ...  Continue reading

by Katherine Dee
Wednesday, 1
February 2023
Analysis
07:30

Why are there so few female mass shooters?

New data shows that 96% of spree killers are men

Men commit the majority of mass shootings in the United States. We know that. But the extent to which male shooters outnumber female perpetrators is nonetheless surprising. The Violence Project, a nonpartisan research group that tracks American mass shooting data as far back as 1966, finds that men are responsible for 98% of all mass shootings. Statistics released last week by the US Secret Service, which cover the more broadly defined ‘mass attack’, 25% of which don’t include a firearm, puts that number at 96%, which is still staggering. 

There have been 55 mass shootings in the US so far this year. Of those, 38 have resulted in at least one fatality. This month, separate shooting sprees in the Californian cities of Monterey Park and Half Moon Bay killed 12 (including the perpetrator) and seven people, respectively. Both shooters were aged over 65, and therefore a deviation from the enduring cultural image, burnished by Columbine and its copycats, of the disaffected young man who turns to violent retribution. ...  Continue reading

by Tom McTague
Tuesday, 31
January 2023
Chart
15:19

Stop blaming Brexit for bad growth

Commentators were quick to leap on the IMF's latest report

Almost seven years on from the EU referendum and our tedious, unending national row over Brexit continues unabated, each side just as bad as they were during the campaign itself. Today’s gloomy report from the IMF is just the latest shot of vodka sustaining this now slurring debate, which has somehow never quite found a way to sober up long after everyone else has got up from the table and gone to bed. 

Britain will have the worst economic growth in the developed world this year, according to the IMF, contracting by 0.9% while much of the rest of Europe pulls away. To many, it’s all Brexit’s fault, of course. Is anything not? ...  Continue reading

by Alan Wager
Tuesday, 31
January 2023
Chart
11:40

Nigel Farage could be the big winner from Bregret

A growing disillusion among Leave voters works in his favour

When Nigel Farage decided to rechristen the Brexit Party as Reform UK in January 2021, many people saw this as a rare error from a canny political strategist and campaigner. In one sweep, his nascent party appeared to lose its branding, its raison d’être and — in March 2021 — its leader, when Farage himself stepped down. 

That decision does not look so foolish today. Polling from Focaldata for UnHerd this week, the most detailed since 2019, shows how most of the country now believes it was wrong to leave the EU. Based on the findings, we see that ‘Bregret’ has risen faster among older voters and in many of the poorer areas that voted to leave in 2016. Perhaps more interesting, though, is the large minority, 29%, of Reform UK supporters now saying that Britain was wrong to leave the EU. ...  Continue reading

1 2 3 428