Twitter Facebook RSS Feed
No Sacred Cows  
Toby Young
Friday 15th February 2019

If children want to protest against climate change, why not do it at the weekend?

Thousands of schoolchildren are planning to go on ‘strike’ on Friday to protest about government inaction on climate change. Called the ‘Youth Strike 4 Climate’, it has been inspired by a 16-year-old Swedish schoolgirl called Greta Thunberg who has spent every Friday since August protesting outside the Swedish parliament and has encouraged others to follow her lead. To date, there have been strikes in Australia, Belgium and the Netherlands, among other countries, with up to 70,000 children taking part each week.

From a school’s point of view, this kind of thing is a nightmare. Teachers are usually working to a detailed plan in which a syllabus is being taught in a particular sequence. If a student misses a day, they’re going to have difficulty understanding the next lessons in the classes they’ve missed because they’ll have skipped a step.

The teachers will either have to ‘catch up’ the students who were absent — at lunchtime or after school, which means extra work for them — or differentiate what they’re teaching in the next lesson, so some children are being taught the latest step and some the previous step. Plenty of schools will be forced to close because they won’t be able to cope with the logistical fall-out. (To read more, click here.)

COMMENT | COMMENTS SO FAR: 0 [ FIXED LINK ] Bookmark and Share

Wednesday 13th February 2019

Esquire falls foul of hashtag activism

You have to admire the inexhaustible capacity of the social justice left for taking offense. This week, the straight white male in the stocks is Jay Fielden, the editor-in-chief of Esquire. His sin? To put a white teenager called Ryan Morgan on the front of the March issue, accompanied by the line: ‘What it’s like to grow up white, middle class and male in the era of social media, school shootings, toxic masculinity and a divided country.’ Turns out, it’s a lot harder if you appear on the cover of Esquire.

‘Really @esquire?’ tweeted Karamo Brown, a television presenter in Los Angeles. ‘“What’s it like growing up white, middle class and male…” How idiotic! It’s the same as it’s always been… full of privilege that women, people of color, lgbtq people & immigrants don’t have! I’m done.’ Another outraged tweeter, Leslie Mac, who runs ‘anti-racism boot camps’ in North Carolina, was even angrier: ‘Y’all – this Cover Story in @esquire is thee WHITEST SHIT I’ve come across all… well all week at least. I’m so fucking tired of press stories about poor white boys while marginalized people are actually dying because the current “era”.’

It goes without saying that both those commentators have blue ticks, Twitter’s imprimatur of approval. You’d have thought the blue-tick chorus would have learned its lesson after prematurely shaming Nick Sandmann, the 16-year-old Catholic schoolboy who was falsely accused of harassing a Native American protester at the Lincoln Memorial last month. But apparently this was not a ‘teachable moment’ for the Wokerati. After Esquire posted its March issue online, an author called Sarah Weinman – also the proud bearer a blue tick – compared its 17-year-old cover star to Dylann Roof, the white supremacist who shot and killed nine black worshippers at a church in 2015. (To read more, click here.)

COMMENT | COMMENTS SO FAR: 0 [ FIXED LINK ] Bookmark and Share

Thursday 7th February 2019

The hypocrisy of Ken Loach's Eurovision boycott

The Guardian last week published a ‘we, the undersigned’ letter from 50 ‘artists of conscience’ urging the BBC to boycott this year’s Eurovision Song Contest because it’s taking place in Israel. ‘Eurovision may be light entertainment,’ they wrote, ‘but it is not exempt from human rights considerations — and we cannot ignore Israel’s systematic violations of Palestinian human rights.’ The signatories included such luminaries as Julie Christie, Peter Gabriel, Roger Waters, Vivienne Westwood and Ken Loach.

Ken’s inclusion will have come as a surprise to those Israelis who saw his film I, Daniel Blake in Tel Aviv a couple of years ago. Ken’s hypocrisy was pointed out when he chastised Radiohead for ignoring the cultural boycott of Israel. ‘Radiohead need to decide whether they stand with the oppressed or the oppressor,’ he thundered in the Independent. Asked why Ken hadn’t observed the boycott, his producer Rebecca O’Brien said she’d done the deal ‘accidentally’ and without Ken’s knowledge, a claim pooh-poohed by his Israeli distributor Guy Shani. ‘I can’t tell you how absurd this is,’ he said. ‘We’ve been showing his movies for years. I have been paying him money every year.’ Still, let’s give the old booby the benefit of the doubt. Maybe Ken genuinely isn’t aware that nearly all his films have been distributed in Israel. (To read more, click here.)

COMMENT | COMMENTS SO FAR: 0 [ FIXED LINK ] Bookmark and Share

Thursday 31st January 2019

An inconvenient truth: white children are underperforming everyone else in UK schools

The Department for Education (DfE) published its finalised data on the 2018 GCSE results last week, revealing that, for the second year running, white pupils are doing worse in English secondary schools than any other ethnic group. According to the new Progress 8 measure, which assigns a score to GCSE entrants based on how much progress they’ve made between the ages of 11 and 16 relative to children of similar abilities, Chinese pupils do the best, with a score of 1.08, Asians are second (0.45), then blacks (0.12), mixed race (-0.02) and, bringing up the rear, whites (-0.10). What that score means is that on average white children are behind by a tenth of a grade in each of their best eight GCSEs compared to all English schoolchildren with the same grades at the age of 11.

Needless to say, the data has already been dismissed by heads of schools that have been labelled as ‘underperforming’ thanks to their poor scores (about 10 per cent of English secondaries are below the DfE’s ‘floor’ standard). They argue that Progress 8 penalises pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds because it treats how children perform in the tests they take at the end of Year 6 in primary school as the only relevant data point and ignores parental socio-economic status. A fairer measure, they say, would be for the DfE to assign progress scores to pupils based on their GCSE performance compared to children from similar backgrounds with the same results at the age of 11. By that metric, their schools would be about average — in some cases, above average. Incidentally, the reason non-white children from disadvantaged backgrounds aren’t penalised by Progress 8 is because a much higher percentage of them speak English as an additional language, which means their test scores at the end of primary school, when they may not be fluent in English, underestimate their academic ability. As they go through secondary their English improves, they get better at taking tests and, as a result, they appear to make more progress than white children. (To read more, click here.)

COMMENT | COMMENTS SO FAR: 0 [ FIXED LINK ] Bookmark and Share

Wednesday 30th January 2019

The Tricky Business of Gender Identity

Last November, a school in Brighton called Dorothy Stringer made the news when it was revealed that 76 of its pupils are either transgender or gender-non-conforming (TGNC). This isn’t as unusual as you might think. At another school, which also hit the headlines last year, 17 pupils are in the process of changing gender and many schools now have policies in place to support pupils who identify as TGNC, including more than 80 with “gender neutral” uniforms. Referrals to the Tavistock, Britain’s only NHS clinic specialising in children and young people who are TGNC, jumped from 697 in 2014-15 to 2,016 in 2016-17, an increase of 289 per cent.

In some cases, these patients will be prescribed “puberty blockers”, drugs that delay the onset of puberty. If they’re over 16, they may be offered hormone therapy so they develop the secondary sexual characteristics associated with the gender they identify with — breasts for those transitioning to female and facial hair for those transitioning to male. Older patients may even be given the option of gender reassignment surgery, provided their psychotherapist is satisfied they are genuinely suffering from “gender dysphoria” (see below).

Should we be alarmed by this trend? And make no mistake, it is a growing phenomenon. The Sunday Times reported in January that a record number of children are applying to change their gender by deed poll — seven to 10 a week. (To read more, click here.)

COMMENT | COMMENTS SO FAR: 0 [ FIXED LINK ] Bookmark and Share

Thursday 24th January 2019

The media were guilty of their own ‘fake news’ when it came to protesting schoolchildren

Donald Trump is often criticised by liberal news organisations like CNN and the New York Times for resorting to the phrase ‘fake news’ whenever he’s asked an awkward question. This is evidence of his slipperiness, we’re told, as well as his arms-length relationship with the truth. What’s more, it’s irresponsible to repeat this charge endlessly because it undermines public trust in journalism. That’s not just bad for the fourth estate; it’s bad for democracy.

There’s some truth to that, which is why it was so disheartening to see the liberal media go out of its way last weekend to confirm Trump’s cynicism. I’m thinking of the coverage given to an incident that occurred at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington on Friday when a group of Catholic schoolboys from Kentucky came face to face with an elderly Native American called Nathan Phillips. Video footage surfaced on Twitter of one of the schoolboys standing inches away from Phillips, seeming to smirk as the indigenous man banged a drum and chanted, and hundreds of journalists immediately expressed their disgust. It didn’t help that the boy was wearing a ‘Make America Great Again’ hat and he and his friends had just been on a pro-life march. Anne Helen Petersen, a ‘senior culture writer’ for BuzzFeed News, described the boy’s expression as ‘the look of white patriarchy’, while Kara Swisher, an opinion writer for the New York Times, compared him and his friends to ‘Nazis’. CNN’s Bakari Sellers suggested he should be ‘punched in the face’. To read more, click here.)

COMMENT | COMMENTS SO FAR: 0 [ FIXED LINK ] Bookmark and Share

Friday 18th January 2019

Claire Lehmann: Warrior princess of the Intellectual Dark Web

I’m writing this on an aeroplane flying back from Toronto, where I was attending a party thrown by Quillette, an online magazine. Canada might seem like a long way to go for a social gathering, but I’ve been working at Quillette for almost a year and hadn’t yet met the editor-in-chief, Claire Lehmann.

Claire is quite something. She was doing a graduate degree in psychology at the University of Adelaide when she became disillusioned by the lack of viewpoint diversity in her field. There’s no hard data on the ratio of left-wing to right-wing academics in Australia, but it’s probably the same as it is in America, where registered Democrats outnumber registered Republicans in psychology departments by 17.4 to one. That’s not an error. In fact, psychology is less one-sided than some other subjects, such as history, where the ratio is 33.5 to one. But instead of bellyaching about this ideological monoculture, Claire decided to do something about it. She dropped out of graduate school and set up Quillette. (To read more, click here.)

COMMENT | COMMENTS SO FAR: 0 [ FIXED LINK ] Bookmark and Share

Friday 18th January 2019

Yes, the Brexit debate is robust – but UK politics is moderate, calm and civil

There’s a scene in Lord of the Flies, William Golding’s masterpiece about the collapse of western civilisation, in which a particularly sadistic boy named Roger starts to throw stones at a weaker, younger lad called Henry. Yet when he tries to hurt the boy, he finds he cannot do it. ‘Roger gathered a handful of stones and began to throw them,’ writes Golding. ‘Yet there was a space round Henry, perhaps six yards in diameter, into which he dare not throw. Here, invisible yet strong, was the taboo of the old life.’

Golding attributes this six-yard forcefield to civilisation. It’s the legacy of the various authorities Roger has been conditioned to respect — parents, school, policemen, the law, etc. And as anyone who’s read the book will know, eventually this protective barrier collapses. The theme of Lord of the Flies is that the savage constrained by the rules of civilised society is never far from the surface. The rule of law and relatively low rates of violence we take for granted in countries like the UK could easily collapse, unleashing a Hobbesian dystopia, a war of all against all. (To read more, click here.)

COMMENT | COMMENTS SO FAR: 0 [ FIXED LINK ] Bookmark and Share

Thursday 10th January 2019

The unending war against masculinity and men

For the first time in its history, the American Psychological Association (APA) has issued guidelines for mental health professionals working with men and boys. That may not sound like a momentous event, but the APA is a powerful body in the US. It has 117,500 members, including the vast majority of practising psychologists, and an annual budget of $115 million. Its guidance documents carry the imprimatur of scientific authority and are hugely influential when it comes to policies and behaviour in public institutions. This edict will be referred to by university administrators when policing sexual interactions on campus, by the courts when deciding who to award custody to in divorce hearings and by HR departments when assessing complaints about male employees. It’s not an exaggeration to say this new guidance will affect the lives of millions of men and boys for years to come.

I cannot claim to have read the entire 30,000-word document, but I’ve got the gist: masculinity is a bad, bad thing. Traditional male qualities like courage, self-reliance, competitiveness, stoicism, personal ambition and a love of adventure are ‘psychologically harmful’. On the face of it, men and boys might appear to benefit from ‘patriarchy’ — after all, 95.2 per cent of the CEOs of Fortune 500 companies are men — but in reality the emotional repression needed to maintain this ‘privilege’ exacts a terrible toll. It is the ethical duty of psychologists, as well as parents, teachers, coaches, religious and community leaders, to root out these masculine pathologies and help men become… well, less manly. (To read more, click here.)

COMMENT | COMMENTS SO FAR: 1 [ FIXED LINK ] Bookmark and Share

Thursday 10th January 2019

Socially segregated Oxbridge colleges are a dreadful idea

The Guardian has published a piece by Andrew Adonis urging Oxford and Cambridge to set up ‘access colleges’ which would only admit applicants from comprehensives.

I’ve long been a fan of Adonis. He did more to drive up standards in state schools as a Labour education minister than most Conservatives do as education secretaries. Unlike his partisan colleagues, he has also been wholly supportive of the free schools programme and gave me some much needed words of encouragement when I was trying to set one up. So I was disappointed to see him resurrect this old idea. The last time it was run up the flagpole, five years ago, I opposed it in an Oxford Union debate and my views haven’t changed. (To read more, click here.)

COMMENT | COMMENTS SO FAR: 0 [ FIXED LINK ] Bookmark and Share

 << Older Blog Entries     Blog Archive    

Twitter RT @JonHaidt: Great insight, great political writing, a critique of centrism, and why Schultz's quadrant is devoid of voters. from @nichola…  (1 hour ago)


The shocking truth about Jordan Peterson by Wesley Yang -
The intellectual dark web by Bari Weiss -
How identity politics is harming the sciences by Heather Mac Donald -
The fall of the German Empire by Ross Douthat -
How Tom Wolfe became Tom Wolfe by Michael Lewis - Vanity Fair
The neuro-diversity case for free speech by Geoffrey Miller -
The Age of Outrage by Jonathan Haidt -
The Warlock Hunt by Claire Berlinski -
Is classical liberalism conservative? by Yarom Hazony -
The Implosion of Western Liberalism by Patrick Lee Miller -
The Eton of the East End - Daily Mail
The reactionary temptation by Andrew Sullivan -
The book that scandalised New York intellectuals by Louis Menand -
To understand Britain today, look to the 17th Century by Adrian Wooldridge -
The crisis in France by Christopher Caldwell -
A Visit to Michaela School by Patrick Alexander -
Why parenting may not matter by Brian Boutwell -
Trump Establishment's Cultural Significance Explained by Michael Wolff -
Branching histories of the 2016 referendum by Dominic Cummings -
Putin's Real Long Game by Molly K McKew -
The Flight 93 Election by Publius Decius Mus -
How the education gap is tearing politics apart by David Runciman -
What's wrong with identity politics by Graeme Archer -
Grammars and the grain of truth by Jonathan Porter
Anti-Brexit: Britain's new class war by John O'Sullivan -
The English Revolt by Robert Tombs -
Democracies end when they are too democratic by Andrew Sullivan -
Human beings really are making progress by Steven Pinker -
What ISIS really wants by Graeme Wood -
A society ripe for Submission by Douglas Murray -
Why I'm a Conservative Teacher by Jonathan Porter -
Corbyn's Inconvenient Truth – He wanted the IRA to win -
Why I've become Tory scum by Tony Parsons -
Inside Westminster's free school -
Robert Conquest obit -
Jeremy Corbyn is not an anti-Semite – it's so much worse than that -


Andrew Lilico
Andrew Sullivan
Arts and Letters Daily
Bagehot's Notebook
BBC News
BBC Sport
Benedict Brogan
Brendan O'Neill
Bruce Anderson
Coffee House
Conservative Home
Damian McBride
Damian Thompson
Dan Hodges
Daniel Hannon
Ed West
Frank Furedi
Guido Fawkes
Harry Phibbs
Iain Dale
Iain Martin
James Delingpole
James Wolcott
Joe Murphy
John Rentoul
Labour List
Mark Steyn
Matt Drudge
Mehdi Hasan
Melanie Phillips
Michael Wolff
Nick Cohen
Nick Robinson
Nikki Finke
Paul Waugh
Peter Hitchens
Political Betting
Right Minds
Rob Long
Rod Liddle
Sophy Ridge
Stephen Pollard
The Arts Desk
The Corner
The Daily Beast
The First Post
The Omnivore
The Onion
Tim Shipman
Tim Stanley
Tom Shone


AA Gill
Aidan Hartley
Allison Pearson
Allister Heath
AO Scott
Boris Johnson
Charles Moore
Cosmo Landesman
Daniel Finkelstein
David Brooks
Fraser Nelson
George Monbiot
Giles Coren
Henry Winter
James Delingpole
Jan Moir
Janan Ganesh
Jeremy Clarkson
Jeremy Warner
Jim White
Jonathan Freedland
Lloyd Evans
Manohla Dargis
Martin Samuel
Mary Ann Sieghart
Matthew d'Ancona
Matthew Norman
Maureen Dowd
Michiko Kakutani
Owen Jones
Patrick O'Flynn
Paul Krugman
Peter Bradshaw
Peter Oborne
Philip Collins
Polly Toynbee
Quentin Letts
Rachel Johnson
Rod Liddle
Roy Greenslade
Tim Montgomerie
Trevor Kavanagh
UK Book Cover

  • Buy the book on

  • Buy the book on

  • UK Book Cover

  • Buy the book on

  • Buy the book on

  • Audio Book Cover

  • Buy the audio book from
    Whole Story Audio
  • DVD Cover

  • Buy the DVD from

  • Buy the DVD from

  • IMdb Page on the film