05/10/2019
5 Oct 2019

The death of debate

5 Oct 2019

The death of debate

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Douglas MurrayDouglas Murray
The death of civilised debate

Today nearly all real public discussion has become impossible. Which is why nearly all public thinking has become impossible. Which is why the thinking has gone bad on nearly every major issue now facing us. It isn’t just politics that is finding it hard to operate. It is also the media and every other piece of sense-making apparatus we used to possess. The negatives accrued to any individual or institution for thinking or saying anything remotely controversial now means that they don’t bother any more.

The death of civilised debate
Owen Matthews
‘It wasn’t the Russian people who poisoned Skripal, it was just a few guys’: Alexander Lebedev interviewed

Who wants to be a billionaire? Not, apparently, Alexander Lebedev, the self-described ‘Russian ex-oligarch’ who has tried billionaredom and found it not to his liking. Lebedev opens his new book, Hunt the Banker, with a nostalgic riff on his happy youth in a tiny Moscow apartment and the observation that ‘the ideal menu consists of buckwheat (60 cents a kilo), extra virgin flaxseed oil, vegetables and a little fish’.

‘It wasn’t the Russian people who poisoned Skripal, it was just a few guys’: Alexander Lebedev interviewed
Sam Leith
For political discourse to survive, we must be more honest about language

When I was an English literature undergraduate, we were all very careful to avoid what used to be called the ‘intentional fallacy’. This is the idea that you can use a text to get at what the author ‘really meant’. The so-called New Critics said, quite reasonably, that the text is all you’ve got to go on and, what’s more, it’s impertinent and irrelevant for a critic to start trying to figure out, say, whether Shakespeare is a racist from the evidence in ‘My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun’.

For political discourse to survive, we must be more honest about language
Laurie Graham
Young recycling zealots are talking rubbish

Church attendances may be falling, but there’s a new religion in town: recycling. Its followers are devout and full of missionary zeal. They follow the collection day rubrics to the letter and if you ask them what evidence they have that sorting their polyethylenes from their PVCs is any more effective than lighting a penny candle, they say: ‘But I believe.’ The road to a greener future seems paved with rinsed yoghurt pots that no one knows what to do with and I grow weary of being guilted, particularly by people who only recently learned to tie their own shoelaces.

Young recycling zealots are talking rubbish
Mary Killen
The men I’ve groped (including Boris)

Charlotte Edwardes reports that Boris put his hand on her leg during lunch 20 years ago. Full disclosure, I put my hand on Boris’s leg 20 years ago during lunch. It wasn’t that I was making a pass at him. I just wanted to hold his attention while I was telling him something I wanted him to listen to. Now I am worrying. What if Boris and/or a cohort of other males come forward? ‘Mary assaulted me in a historic sex abuse incident.

The men I’ve groped (including Boris)
Matthew Lynn
Brexit grifters are making a killing selling useless advice

Over the past three years, as we have torturously debated our departure from the European Union, we have heard a lot from the Brexiteers about the industries that might benefit from leaving the EU. Some of these predictions may materialise, others may not. There is one industry, however, that is already doing very well as a result of the referendum. Lots of consultants are making a shedload of money.

Brexit grifters are making a killing selling useless advice
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