by Tom McTague
Thursday, 7
December 2023

A small boats election is Rishi Sunak’s best chance

Immigration is the only issue where the Tories and Labour truly differ

Tetchy. Stressed. A little bit desperate. Rishi Sunak was all of these things in this morning’s hastily-convened press conference in Downing Street. But at least there was a spark, a sense of purpose — and, importantly, a flash of determination and authenticity. At the moment, that’s just about all he has to cling on to.

Sunak finds himself in the worst polling position a year out from a general election since John Major in 1991. This should be no surprise. Living standards have never before been so squeezed for so long, taxes so high for so little, the sense of elemental Government failure so profound. The Government’s total inability to control immigration — legal and illegal — only compounds the problem. ...  Continue reading

by Joan Smith
Thursday, 7
December 2023

Why are people still denying Hamas’s rapes?

Graphic reports this week continue to be ignored

There’s never been a better moment to be a rapist. Almost 200 women report a rape to the police every day in England and Wales, yet fewer than four will see their attackers punished. Rape denial is commonplace, not just in relation to what victims say but whether it happened in the first place. Endless excuses are made for defendants: the victim had been drinking, didn’t say “no” loudly enough, or didn’t have visible injuries.

Disbelief permeates the criminal justice system, reflecting strikingly lenient public attitudes towards men accused of sexual offences. None of this is unique to the UK, but I don’t think any of us ever expected to see rape denial on the scale that’s been exposed following the horrific events in Israel on 7 October. ...  Continue reading

by David Goodhart
Thursday, 7
December 2023

If anyone can save the BBC, it’s Samir Shah

The new chair understands the difference between reporting and campaigning

If anyone can save the BBC, it is probably Samir Shah. He is a media entrepreneur and the first BBC chair to have built his own private sector business. He was once a journalist, then a programme-maker, and understands the distinction between reporting and campaigning, which many young journalists at the corporation seem to struggle with. He is a clear and rigorous thinker who knows how to run a meeting, according to those who have sat in many of them.

Perhaps most importantly, in these over-politicised times, he is a leading member of the counter-establishment establishment, among whom people of colour feature prominently, including his fellow secular Muslim Kishwer Falkner at the EHRC.  ...  Continue reading

by Eric Kaufmann
Wednesday, 6
December 2023
Campus Wars

The rise of campus antisemitism should come as no surprise

The loss of viewpoint diversity in higher education has played a major role

Antisemitism on campus is intimately tied to the loss of viewpoint diversity which has occurred in the US, Britain and other parts of the Anglosphere since the mid-1960s.

Congressional hearings on antisemitism at elite US universities revealed that the presidents of Harvard, MIT and the University of Pennsylvania were unwilling to answer in the affirmative to the question: “Does calling for the genocide of Jews violate [your university’s] code of conduct or rules regarding bullying or harassment?” As it happens, I agree with the Washington Post’s Jason Willick, who remarked that these leaders were correct, under First Amendment jurisprudence, to reject the idea that talk of genocide should automatically lead to punishment. The problem, of course, is that these colleges are extremely hypocritical, clamping down on any speech which might offend totemic minorities (BIPOC, LGBTQ) while clinging to a First Amendment justification for tolerating antisemitism. ...  Continue reading

by Louis-Vincent Gave
Wednesday, 6
December 2023

Saudi Arabia is turning away from the West

Vladimir Putin's visit shows that the world order might be changing

Russian President Vladimir Putin is in Saudi Arabia this week, in only his third trip outside the former Soviet Union since the 2022 invasion of Ukraine, following visits to Iran and China. This choice emphasises the Saudis’ pivotal role over the coming years in determining the global currency landscape. 

If Russia wants to de-dollarise the global energy trade, and America obviously does not, then Saudi Arabia, the world’s biggest oil exporter, will likely hold the key to whether the US dollar retains its primacy over the global energy markets. As Charles Gave and I pondered in our 2019 book Clash of Empires: ...  Continue reading

by David Swift
Wednesday, 6
December 2023

Should we welcome a ‘cure’ for autism?

Breakthrough research has led to a divide in the medical community

According to a paper recently published in the science journal Nature, Chinese researchers have successfully used gene editing on mice with a mutation associated with autism. These mice displaced repetitive actions and unusual social traits, but the gene editing changed their behaviour, suggesting that these kinds of behavioural abnormalities can be reversed.  

If this could be successfully applied to humans, it would have massive implications for the understanding and treatment of autism — but would cause a huge conflict among autistic advocates, parents, and medical practitioners. 

We can see this already with cochlear implants to treat deafness: some deaf people resent the implication that it is a deficiency to be cured, rather than an identity to be celebrated and respected. The comments below reaction videos of deaf kids having cochlear implants switched on are often full of angry remarks about how deaf people do not need to be “fixed”. Some deaf activists have even described cochlear implants as “child abuse” and argued that they are “genocidal” (in the sense that they would “wipe out” deafness).  ...  Continue reading

by Joel Kotkin
Wednesday, 6
December 2023

Joe Biden should listen to Republicans on the border crisis

The President is passing up a political victory

Perhaps no issue has damaged the Biden presidency more than the massive incursions of undocumented migrants across the border. Barely a quarter approve of his handling of the issue — a lower figure than those pertaining to the economy, foreign policy, crime or climate. 

Biden might wish to familiarise himself with how the pushback against uncontrolled immigration has contributed to Right-wing victories in the Netherlands, Italy, Denmark, Germany and, perhaps soon, France as well. The stunning victory of anti-Islam Dutch politician Geert Wilders, whose election may have benefitted from pro-Palestine protests after 7 October, was seen as validation. Recent riots in Dublin suggest a similar sentiment emerging in Ireland too. ...  Continue reading

by Yuan Yi Zhu
Wednesday, 6
December 2023

James Cleverly’s migrant proposal is not conservative

The scheme is cruel and wholly ineffective

“Three quarters of Brits now too poor to marry a foreigner,” is how one political journalist put it. A bit blunt perhaps, but this is essentially the right description for James Cleverly’s newly-announced policy that British citizens would be forbidden from bringing over their foreign spouses unless they made £37,800 per year.

Spousal migration represents something like 5% of all net UK migration, so the new financial threshold is unlikely to make much difference to the record-breaking headline immigration numbers. It will, however, lead to families being broken up, couples being separated, British citizens being forced to live far from home, and British grandparents not seeing their grandchildren. It is, in short, as unconservative a policy as it is possible to conceive. ...  Continue reading