Showing posts from May, 2018

The power of identity politics

“The strong cannot help confronting; the less strong cannot help evading.”                                                               Julian Barnes, The Noise of Time One of the core themes of my forthcoming book The Tribe is the remarkable power that certain kinds of identity politics have attained in our public life. The knowledge base of this politics is the universal victimhood of its favoured identity groups. As the United Nations’ ‘ Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance ’ Tendayi Achiume put it in her report on how awful and racist Britain is, “The harsh reality is that race, ethnicity, religion, gender, disability status and related categories all continue to determine the life chances and well-being of people in Britain in ways that are unacceptable and in many cases unlawful.” For this interpretation, which is appearing in our public life daily and prominently, the life chances and

The end of Britain/the end of democracy?

In 1999, the conservative commentator Peter Hitchens published a book called ' The Abolition of Britain ' that described the constitutional changes taking place under Tony Blair's first government as a 'slow motion coup d'état'.  I haven't read the book myself, but the theme and title come to mind now that it seems clear that Brexit will only happen in name only, if at all. The Establishment forces have been organising for two years now, and they have just about made it. When the Irish government and the EU in concert work to exercise a veto over British constitutional arrangements and the British Establishment shrugs its shoulders or eggs them on as they have been, the game would seem to be up.  The idea that a 'hard border' on the island of Ireland as a result of Brexit will somehow 'cause' violence to break out is a political device invented by politicians and spin doctors. It is an assertion which serves a crucial political purpose