breaking news from the world of ideas

by Freddie Sayers
Friday, 9
April 2021
Video
17:32

Sir Nicholas Soames: Philip’s values now seem far away

There are few families in Britain closer to the royal family than the family of wartime leader Sir Winston Churchill. His grandson, Sir Nicholas Soames, knew Prince Philip very well over a 60-year period and shared his thoughts on his passing in a special edition of LockdownTV.

“It’s a strange day, a day of reflection, and I hope people get him right,” he told me. “The press, with that attention span for which they are famous, always talks about his ‘gaffes’ — his gaffes were that what you saw was what you got. He was an absolutely ram rod straight former naval officer, who didn’t have much time for sycophancy or bloody fools or anyone else, and spoke as he found. But he was essentially a man of great humour, he had tremendous wit and charm … and he held very strong views. This is not a mere figure.” ...  Continue reading

by Freddie Sayers
Tuesday, 6
April 2021
Video
16:00

Dave Rubin: why the ‘Intellectual Dark Web’ split up


The group of thinkers now known as the “Intellectual Dark Web” — Jordan Peterson, Sam Harris, Bret and Eric Weinstein, Ben Shapiro — were convened in Dave Rubin’s garage and on his YouTube channel, The Rubin Report. And yet he has always suffered the accusation that he wasn’t a ‘real’ intellectual.

“What I thought and believe now that I am good at is that I can sit with these people and take a lot of that stuff and distil it into something that the average person can understand enough of. I love that space,” he tells me in a wide-ranging and philosophical discussion on LockdownTV. ...  Continue reading

by Freddie Sayers
Monday, 5
April 2021
Video
16:05

Dave Rubin: the next Governor of California?

At one moment during our fascinating conversation (interview out tomorrow 4pm UK time), I had a sudden realisation that YouTube star and interviewer Dave Rubin was sounding like a man with political ambitions. So I asked him outright. His comments don’t quite add up to a declaration that he is going to run for Governor of California, but there’s clearly some thinking going on in that direction. We’ve pasted the exchange below so you can make your own mind up.

Thanks to Dave for a great chat — don’t miss the full LockdownTV episode tomorrow…

TRANSCRIPT: IS HE GOING TO RUN? ...  Continue reading

by Freddie Sayers
Wednesday, 24
March 2021
Idea
22:50

Libertarians have lost their way over vaccine passports

When we published our interview with Lord Sumption a couple of weeks ago, we thought it was the former Supreme Court Justice’s open discussion of breaking the law that would attract most attention. Nearly 250,000 YouTube views later, it’s clear that in fact it was his comments accepting the inevitability of domestic vaccine passports that most surprised and shocked his fans. Scroll down the nearly 6,000 comments and you’ll witness nothing short of a feeling of betrayal from those who had felt he was fighting for liberty and had given in on a crucial point.

Today it was Boris Johnson’s turn to shrug his shoulders at the concept that pubs might demand proof of vaccination before allowing customers entry. Number Ten later clarified that a negative test result should also suffice, but the Covid Research Group of MPs is already upset. Steve Baker describes it as a “ghastly trap.” ...  Continue reading

by Freddie Sayers
Thursday, 11
March 2021
HerdWatch
11:30

Effect of the pandemic or lockdown? FT gets into a twist

“Covid pandemic delivers falling birth rates in heart of Europe” runs the headline in today’s Financial Times. How much difference a word makes. In the strange politics of this past year, whether you ascribe a negative effect to the “pandemic” or “lockdowns” has become a sign of your position on the policy, a whole worldview. If the headline was “Lockdowns deliver falling birth rates,” what a different atmosphere that story would have.

The article goes through the shocking birth statistics coming out of European countries (reported on UnHerd three days ago) showing a dramatic drop in pregnancies from the beginning of the lockdowns. It begins: “It is not just that many more people are dying as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. In several countries, considerably fewer are being born.” ...  Continue reading

by Freddie Sayers
Sunday, 28
February 2021
Video
19:18

Headmaster: I refuse to make pupils wear masks in class

David Perks is the founder and headteacher at the East London Science School, built on the principle of offering a strong foundation in science and maths and encouraging critical thinking.

When they come back on March 8th, he will not be following government guidance and requiring his pupils to wear facemasks in class.

“I just felt it was completely upside down,” he tells me on LockdownTV. “If you’re going to bring the kids back, we want face to face teaching. Unless you do that, what are we actually doing?”

“We’ve just been doing months of Zoom lessons where the big problem you have with children is they won’t turn their cameras on. To then bring them into school, and instead of getting on with what you normally do, you put a face mask on — it’s like being back at home in a Zoom lesson. It’s just completely antithetical to what we’re trying to do.” ...  Continue reading

by Freddie Sayers
Thursday, 11
February 2021
Reaction
10:55

Facebook censors award-winning journalist for criticising the WHO

It looks like something plucked straight out of another age, a foreign culture where freedom of expression is always subject to a censor’s whims. Not only is it labelled ‘False Information’ but the accompanying image is greyed out, a design no doubt honed by the ‘user response experts’ at Facebook to dissuade users from clicking on it.

But this is the UK in 2021 and the post is an UnHerd article from yesterday that has now been labelled as misinformation by Facebook.

First, the article itself. Ian Birrell, a multi-award-winning investigative reporter and former deputy editor of the Independent, has been closely following the question of the origins of the Covid-19 virus within Wuhan for much of the past year. He was unimpressed with the hastily concluded World Health Organisation investigation, and the way in which some potential explanations were thrown out with the encouragement of the Chinese regime. Considering the WHO’s recent history in this regard, this kind of journalistic scrutiny is vital. ...  Continue reading

by Freddie Sayers
Monday, 18
January 2021
Video
10:04

Adam Wagner: are lockdowns a threat to human rights?

Adam Wagner is one of the UK’s highest-profile legal experts on human rights, citing Shami Chakrabati as one of his main influences in the field. He strongly distances himself from “covid deniers” whose attempt to minimise the threat of the virus he describes as “dangerous nonsense”, and expressed dismay at Lord Sumption’s insensitive phrasing about the value of lives on television yesterday. In other words, he’s about as far from an ideological Right-winger as you’ll find in the British media.

So it was especially sobering to hear him set out some of the things he is worried about from a legal and human rights perspective since the pandemic started around 12 months ago. He wondered aloud on Twitter whether, had the virus not originated in China and had the response not been set by their invention of lockdowns, this approach would ever have become the accepted sensible response in liberal Western democracies? ...  Continue reading

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