breaking news from the world of ideas

by Will Lloyd
Sunday, 25
September 2022

Angela Rayner: the class warrior Labour doesn’t need

Her undiluted hatred for the Tories may cause problems for Keir Starmer

ACC Liverpool

Angela Rayner hates Tories. The deputy leader opened Labour Conference with her speech yesterday, and told us what we already know. Angela Rayner hates Tories.

How much? Convert her hatred into pure wattage and you could end the energy crisis with a flicked switch. Listen to the language. The Tories are “sleaze merchants”. Tory donors are “cronies”. Their record in government is a “catalogue of sleaze, waste, and lies”. They turned Downing Street into a “crime scene”. They watch “tractor porn”. And now Liz Truss is “enriching bankers while families are starving”. ...  Continue reading

by Aris Roussinos
Friday, 23
September 2022

Hard times call for flat beer

Real ale may be the solution to Britain's CO2 shortage

If there’s an overall theme to the events of the past few years, it’s the proof that the increasingly interconnected global economy has embedded within it new vulnerabilities to sudden unexpected shocks. A crisis at one end of the world may have unpredictable results at the other, leading to shortages in completely unexpected areas. And among the unintended costs of the rising energy prices brought about by Putin’s invasion of Ukraine is a threat to Britain’s millennia-old social lubricant: beer.

In bad news for drinkers of commercial lagers, brewers have warned this week that the country is facing a beer shortage, as supplies of CO2 needed to give lager its gaseous fizz have suddenly dwindled. Why? Because commercial CO2 production is a byproduct of the fertiliser industry, and industrial producers of ammonia are shutting down their production due to rising wholesale gas prices. ...  Continue reading

by Guy Dampier
Friday, 23
September 2022

Islamist YouTubers take to Leicester’s streets

Online personalities are causing trouble in the Midlands

In the digital age, conflict travels quickly. Last weekend’s Muslim-Hindu violence in Leicester later spilled into Birmingham, driven on by social media rumours, and amid claims that an incendiary Hindu preacher, Sadhvi Rithambara, was due to appear at a temple there. As it happened, Rithambara was too ill to attend, but the temple in question had already moved to cancel her appearance once local Muslims informed them about her record. But the rapid spread of violence through social media shows how sectarianism has evolved with technology.

Among those in the Leicester crowds were activists of the new generation such as Mohammed Hijab, who was filmed calling Hindus a “pathetic, weak, cowardly people” and saying that he would rather be reincarnated as an animal than as a Hindu. He is a well known figure at protests, having appeared at anti-Israel marches where he said, to chants of “Allahu Akbar”, that they would “get their vengeance” and “we love death”. Hijab is not your run-of-the-mill hate preacher, however, but an internet celebrity. His YouTube channel has 598,000 subscribers, with videos like “Dr. Jordan Peterson’s Inner Struggle” or “The Downfall of Andrew Tate and His Muslim Male Impersonators”.  ...  Continue reading

by Peter Franklin
Friday, 23
September 2022

Kwasi Kwarteng bets the house on old ideas

Despite the hype, the mini-budget isn't all that radical

If you believe George Monbiot in The Guardian today, then Liz Truss and her Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng are about to turn Britain into a turbo-capitalist dystopia. Goodbye green and pleasant land, hello Blade Runner nightmare.

His evidence is that the government is stuffed full of free market liberals who used to work for think tanks like the Institute of Economic Affairs and the Adam Smith Institute. And he’s right: many of their alumni are now employed in Downing Street. Furthermore, Monbiot points out that these outfits are opaquely funded, that they coordinate their activities in private meetings, and hold ideological positions that fall outside of the mainstream.  ...  Continue reading

by Gerry Lynch
Friday, 23
September 2022

On current trends, Northern Ireland will leave the Union

Demographics as well as politics are against the Unionists

Demography isn’t destiny but it contributes powerfully to it. This week’s Northern Ireland 2021 Census release, showing Catholics outnumbering Protestants for the first time, does not in itself doom the Union. It should, however, represent a major warning to Unionists on both sides of the Irish Sea.

That is because the Union now depends on the votes of Catholics and liberal-Left Protestants who backed Remain in overwhelming numbers. These people do not have a strong British identity, but it is coming under more strain in a region where the Northern Ireland Protocol means Brexit is still a live issue. ...  Continue reading

by Elizabeth Oldfield
Friday, 23
September 2022

‘Eureka Day’ gives anti-vaxxers a voice

A new play sensitively probes one of society's biggest fault lines

Eureka Day, a play written by Jonathan Spector and transferred from the US, opens at the Old Vic today. It tackles our vaccine moment with surprising sensitivity and painful humour, leaving audiences, as all good ‘issue’ plays should, perhaps less sure of their accepted beliefs.

The title refers to the name of a progressive private school in California that is so aggressively inclusive that staff are encouraged to use gender neutral pronouns for all children. It borders on a parody, with polyamorous affairs and teachers agonising over the lengthy choice of options for racial self-identification. But this is all brought to a halt by an outbreak of mumps, and the subsequent revelation that many parents have not vaccinated their children. ...  Continue reading

by UnHerd Staff
Thursday, 22
September 2022

Street artist cancelled for a pro-peace mural

Flo Read spoke to Peter Seaton about his controversial artwork

Earlier this month, a mural of two soldiers embracing — one Ukrainian and one Russian — appeared on the side of a building in Melbourne. It was the work of Peter Seaton, an Australian street artist known for large-scale graffiti. The title he gave the work was ‘Peace before Pieces’, which he describes as a ‘meditation on the dehumanisation of war’.

Seaton’s intention, he explained to UnHerd’s Florence Read, was simple: to show that “beyond all of these physical fear layers, there is an aspect of us which exists in a higher plane […] even though these two soldiers are literally blowing the hell out of each other, they are actually coming from the same source on a deep, deep level.” ...  Continue reading

by Philip Pilkington
Thursday, 22
September 2022

EU unveils new emergency powers

A new tool will allow the bloc to seize control over key parts of the economy

This week, to little fanfare, the European Commission set out an ‘emergency tool’ called the ‘Single Market Emergency Instrument’, by which it could seize control over key parts of the European economy. Effectively, this tool would allow the commission to invoke executive powers to force firms to engage in economic activities that they would not do were they left alone.

“This instrument is the opposite of a planned economy,” the Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton said — presumably because the plan looks very much like the first step to a planned economy. In a system of free enterprise, while government bodies can regulate companies, they cannot tell them how to undertake their business operations. The Single Market Emergency Instrument crosses that line and allows the European Commission to directly insert itself in the business operations of private companies. ...  Continue reading