Posts

Black Lives Matter - how should we respond?

This article was posted yesterday, 10th June 2020, on the SDPtalk website.
Black Lives Matter (BLM) is a masterpiece of political marketing.It’s a slogan with a campaign attached, linked to some pretty heavy racial ideology and propaganda.  None of it can be criticised without appearing to oppose the idea that black lives do indeed matter.BLM is a classic and effective piece of rhetorical blackmail. Either get on board or you’re a racist: that is the logic of it - a logic driven by fear.It’s the perfect slogan, as befitting the powerful alignment between progressive liberal-left politics and the PR, media and advertising industries across the Anglophone world. There’s an immediate and powerful social block on even questioning this movement just from its name.One of the great successes of the campaign is how it has got many institutions in our society applying this block themselves, promoting the organisation and even punishing insiders who publicly question and criticise any activities…

A response to David Lammy

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In his recently-published book Tribes, the Labour MP David Lammy, newly-appointed as Keir Starmer's Shadow Secretary of State for Justice, makes a number of accusations against me based on a reading of my book The Tribe.

As you can see from the passage below, Lammy calls my book "conspiratorial", saying that I "chastised" his words in responding to the Grenfell Tower disaster "as an example of identity politics' most flagrant excesses".

However, if you read the passage from my book that he quotes afterwards, I think you will find none of that.

I certainly didn't set out to chastise him or anyone else in the book.

Rather, I was seeking to describe how progressive identity politics (or the identity politics of the 'liberal-left' as I describe it in the book) has become so utterly normal that a senior politician can respond to a deadly fire by putting not just skin colour, but gender, front and centre of how he responds to it and what he …

On race and racism in everyday life – or how the race ideologues are winning

Public, political and institutional discourse can often appear strangely detached from ordinary, everyday life.
On identity politics, now a specialist area for me, there was a time when my own everyday life seemed blessedly free of race antagonism. Race/skin colour and ethnicity appeared as a borderline irrelevance that we seemed at least close to transcending.
I know that hasn’t been so for many non-white people. However I have heard from some who have said the same. Of course, sometimes I have witnessed or been part of incidents in which these things came to the fore – either conventional racism or racism used as an accusation to attack someone else. On other occasions I have smelt it in the air, palpable and unmistakable, while remaining under the surface, just.
However in the last four days race has appeared front and centre in my ordinary life, just being around in London, three times.
The first occasion was in a bus station when a scrawny-looking white man appeared stumbling …

An Announcement

I have some good news.

Some will have already seen it on Twitter and elsewhere, where the response has been gratifying.

The news is that I have been appointed as a Research Fellow by the think tank Civitas to work on a project about the extraordinary power of progressive politics in Britain today.

Some have misunderstood this as a 'job'. Really the role is what seems to be known as a 'berth'. It will entail me being attached to Civitas as a think tank. I will have a desk at their offices in Westminster and an email address.

I will receive a fee for completion of the project. However I will need to raise funds of my own to support it.

If you or someone who know or an institution you are aware of might be interested in providing funding, do let me know.

I will of course put together a more detailed description of the project in due course. However the centre of it is to investigate how progressivism exerts itself in our public life, to explore the consequences of this …

On impartiality in broadcast journalism – follow-up to Spiked piece

I had a short piece published for Spiked a few days ago about the erosion of impartiality in broadcast journalism.
In this piece I only had the space to relay a few thoughts I’d been having in response to various journalists’ tweets. Quoting them in full meant there was little space to develop thoughts and put them in proper context. So I thought I’d write a follow-up piece here on my blog.
Clearly, the erosion of standards is a much wider phenomenon than what broadcast journalists (who are meant to be impartial according to OFCOM rules) say on Twitter. What they say there is important, for it shows us how they think, how this thinking informs their broadcasting and other things like how they tend to act as a pack, enthusiastically running with some stories but not others.
However the real proof is what they do in their broadcasting – and this leaves a lot to be desired. For my part, I have now largely given up on mainstream news, bored by the subjects it focuses on and annoyed by t…

On Personal Failures, Plans and Trying to Make a Living

I’m looking at crowdfunding as a way to help me make a living. Firstly, I’ll explain why and then I’ll consider some of the options briefly, soliciting the thoughts of readers.
Basically, since around October last year, I’ve been pursuing a two-track strategy of:
1)Seeking to make money via freelance work, principally writing; and 2)Applying for proper full-time/part-time jobs to try and get myself a sustainable income, some security and visibility.
The blunt truth is that I’ve failed.
1) The book
Despite doing rather well, so I’m told, and getting excellent reviews and reader responses, the impact of The Tribe sales on my bank account have been negligible for the work put in. Almost all sales proceeds go to Amazon, the publisher and others. This isn’t unexpected. Indeed in some ways the book has done better than I’d hoped. But still – publishing books isn’t of itself a way to make a living unless you are one of the lucky/very good few.
2) Freelance writing
I’ve found it difficult to b…

On misunderstanding politics as philosophy

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the differences between politics and philosophy – and how we confuse the two of them much of the time, treating what are often basic political necessities as matters of theory.
We do that in explaining our own actions, seeking justification after the fact, but also in explaining those of others, criticising them for mistakes in their ‘thinking’ when it is not always evident much thinking has taken place at all.
Politics is a domain of decision-making, in the world, not detached from it. It is relentless, continuing day upon day for as long as we interact with others in society. In it, our primary reference point is not detached philosophical reflection and the theories that come out of it, but the immediate world around us, of other people and institutions and the demands they make of us.
Of course, theory is embedded in this world. But we do not typically relate to it in a detached, individualised manner – that of the ‘thinker’ sitting down an…