Since the vote for Brexit, the media has fallen over itself to cover the apparently large upswing in the number of ‘hate crimes’ being reported. One of the trends noted is a particularly high occurrence of such incidents in areas that voted 'Leave'. In his Spectator cover piece, Brendan O’Neill argues that there is an ‘unhinged subjectivity’ to hate crime reporting, which has skewed statistics in favour of self-critical moralisation. So, has there really been a post-Brexit surge in hostility towards minority groups or is our metric for recording these crimes simply off-kilter? Brendan O’Neill joins Kevin O’Sullivan, who was recently cleared after spending 20 months defending himself from a hate crime allegation, and Lara Prendergast to discuss. On the podcast, Brendan says:
'A hate crime is pretty much anything - it's entirely subjective. And the thing that really amazes me is how everyone always moans about living in this 'post-truth world' and everything is supposed to be evidence-based. But when it comes to hate crime, that all goes out of the window.'
Meanwhile, despite headline-grabbing violence in Europe distracting attention away from the Middle East, the war in Syria shows no signs of abating. In his piece this week, Paul Wood says the situation in Syria is ‘the world’s most complicated cat’s cradle’, with President Assad, Syrian rebel groups, and Western forces often working at cross-purposes. So, with Isis’s territorial gains in the country slowing, is there a chance for military forces in the area to wrestle back control? And should the West be worried? Lara is joined on the podcast from Washington by Paul Wood, who tells Lara:
'The death throes of the Caliphate, drawn out as they may be, mean that I think you're going to see a lot of very, very motivated young fighters - some of whom originally came from Western countries - returning to those countries intent on taking lives.'
And finally on The Spectator podcast this week, the long-awaited Night Tube rolls into London’s sleepy stations this month. The project was conceived back in the halcyon days of 2014 and was originally scheduled to open this time last year, but widespread industrial opposition saw it delayed indefinitely. So, with the public now finally able to step aboard the project, could nocturnal transport change the capital’s nightlife for ever? Lara is joined by George Hull, Mark Wilding and Kevin Dunning. George tells Lara he is optimistic the all-night tube could be the start of big things - but he also says more needs to be done to help London's ailing nightlife:
'I think it's a fantastic development for anyone planning to go anywhere after hours. I fear though, that whilst I applaud the policy, it's not entirely consistent with some of the policies enacted by local authorities over the enforcement of licence and planning law. Certainly the transport operating after hours is a good thing; it's just a question of whether it can be joined up with policies in other areas.'
If you enjoyed the podcast, why not try the magazine? Reward yourself this weekend and pick up a copy of the most provocative magazine in Britain. Podcast listeners can get 12 issues for just £12 by visiting spectator.co.uk/12