James Forsyth on the latest Spectator / Intelligence Squared debate
There was a particular buzz of anticipation before the latest Spectator / Intelligence2 debate - perhaps because the motion would materially affect the audience. Judging by appearances, I’d wager that almost all of them paid the top rate of tax and that north of 90 percent of them earned £100,000 a year, putting them in the sights of all those who think that the rich should pay more.
Dominic Grieve, the new shadow home secretary, tells James Forsyth that he won’t ‘resort to soundbites’. But is this a sensible approach for a modern-day politician?Dominic Grieve’s office answerphone is struggling to keep up with events - the caller has reached ‘the office of the shadow attorney general and the Conservative spokesman on community cohesion,’ it says. No mention of his new role as shadow home secretary.
Daniel Hannan, who predicted the Irish ‘No’ vote in this magazine, now says that the EU will simply implement the Lisbon Treaty and never risk a referendum againBy ten o’clock on Friday morning, it was clear that the ‘No’s had it. Ireland’s Europhiles were struggling even in their affluent strongholds within the Pale. In the rest of the country, they were being pulverised.A jubilant ‘No’ campaigner rang me from Galway, his words tumbling over each other.
Ten years ago the UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan set out a new international doctrine. Annan declared that the world was looking forward to what he called ‘a new century of human rights’.For the United Nations, declared Annan, this meant an entirely new way of doing things. ‘No government,’ he declared, ‘has the right to hide behind national sovereignty in order to violate the human rights or fundamental freedoms of its peoples.
In late May, New York magazine noted a highly unusual advertisement that appeared on Craigslist. A young Brooklyn couple had decided to sell virtually everything they owned, from electronics to furniture to designer shoes, for $8,500. As it turns out, the couple was planning on taking their two young children and setting out for the open road. Two weeks earlier, the New York Times profiled several other couples who had made a similar choice — to surrender their accumulated possessions and, with toddlers in tow, to leave a dreary, consumption-driven urban existence behind for something nobler and more environmentally sound.
Damian Thompson on the bitter feud between the new young defenders of the recently reinstated Latin Mass, and Britain’s ‘magic circle’ of liberal bishopsWhile Church of England bishops recoil from the prospect of gay ‘weddings’ with no precedent in Christian history, their Catholic counterparts are wringing their hands at the growing popularity of services that are too traditional for their tastes.
David Green responds to the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families:Ed Balls claims that the Tories want excellence for the few, whereas he wants excellence for everyone. Worse still, the Tories want schools to select parents, while he wants parents to select schools. And the Tories are complacent. Balls will ‘intervene and drive change in the system’ while the Tories will merely ‘stand back and hope for the best’.
Rod Liddle on the case of Bushra Noah, the headscarf-wearing Muslim who has just won £4,000 from the Wedge hair salonI used to dye my hair — Midnight Auburn, from Clairol. Yes, because I’m worth it. I did it myself, once every three or four months or so, always ruining several perfectly good towels in the process. I don’t dye it any more because my girlfriend says that if I do, she’ll bin me.