Peter hitchens

The Covid dissidents who’ve made my Christmas merrier

A few years back, a hackneyed journalistic come-hither led me to a sober reckoning: would I write about someone alive today whom I especially admire? I couldn’t think of anyone I held in high esteem who wasn’t dead. Either I was surrounded by mediocrities, or I was an ungenerous, withholding jerk. I’m pleased to discover that these days I admire a host of folks who aren’t dead. Some are colleagues or acquaintances; others I’ve never met. While they don’t all embrace the same catechism, they’ve one thing in common: they depart from establishment orthodoxy on Covid-19. What they share, then, is an anti-catechism. I’ve been vocal about my dismay over

The highlights of history: a Spectator Christmas survey

Emily Maitlis Six years ago I took my son, Milo, to Bucharest for his birthday. In the baking July sun, seeking shade, we crouched on the kerb in front of the presidential palace. And I played him the footage of the crowds on that bitter December morning of 1989 as Nicolae Ceausescu and his wife Elena emerged on to the balcony. The speech Ceausescu gave, or tried to give, on 21 December was his last. And it was extraordinary. Ceausescu used his balcony address to reassure, cajole, bribe the crowd. But it turned against him as he stood there. This footage — state TV rolling live at the time —

I love my fellow hacks – even when I disagree with them

It’s one way to keep in touch with people. Each morning, somewhere between the first coffee of the day and the first drink, I open my computer, log on to social media and see which of my friends or colleagues is ‘trending’ today. ‘Ooh,’ I think as I see their names flash up, ‘I wonder what Julie/Charles/Allison/James/Rod (usually Rod) has done now’. Then I click and read all about their crimes, usually through a filter of people labouring under the impression that a writer’s job is to say what everyone else has already agreed on. The howls, incidentally, mostly emanating from people who in no sense subscribe to the organ

Letters | 12 November 2015

The C of E should apologise Sir: Peter Hitchens’s article on the allegations against the late Bishop Bell is a welcome intervention in a sorry affair (‘Justice for Bishop Bell’, 7 November). If the best evidence against Bishop Bell was sufficient only to merit his arrest (were he alive), then the recent statements concerning him issued by the church authorities should be withdrawn; if they have better evidence, then that should be published. It should not be forgotten that this is not the first time this year that senior figures in the Church of England have made dubious accusations of child abuse against the dead. Earlier this year the Bishop

The Spectator’s notes | 5 November 2015

It is good to learn that the current management of the V&A want to reverse their predecessors’ lack of interest in Margaret Thatcher’s clothes. The museum’s original refusal showed a lack of imagination about how women have tried to gain greater power in a man’s world, and how clothes tell this story. Museums love to have suits of medieval armour. They reveal the amazing combination of defensive utility and elegant display which the age required. Even better if the armour was worn by a great warrior on a great occasion, like the Black Prince at Crecy. Mrs Thatcher’s clothes were her armour on her fields of battle — in Parliament,

Peter Hitchens proves to be Russell Brand’s Achilles heel

Although Russell Brand has stopped producing his YouTube series The Trews after tiring of being in the spotlight, fans of the comedian-turned-revolutionary can now get their fill in the new documentary Brand: A Second Coming. While the film, which is directed by Ondi Timoner, was originally supported by Brand, he later got cold feet on viewing a first cut. After asking for changes — and saying that he would try and prevent the film’s release — he went on to distance himself from the project by boycotting the film’s premiere. So what was it in the film that caused Brand to perform a U-turn? Well aside from disclosures about his colourful love life, it appears to be none

Louise Mensch adds yet another Twitter gaffe to her list

Louise Mensch has once again become the subject of much ridicule online over something she has tweeted. The incident occurred last night after the former Tory MP claimed Jeremy Corbyn’s supporters — who have recently been accused of being anti-semitic — were insulting Corbyn’s Labour leadership rival Liz Kendall. Mensch claimed that Twitter’s autocomplete function showed that the most common search words to appear by Liz Kendall’s name were ‘Nazi’, ‘Zionist’ and ‘Jews’. To prove this Mensch even offered a photo of the ‘auto searches’ to demonstrate the ‘sewer that is Jeremy Corbyn’s support’. Alas there was a catch. As each suggestion appeared next to an ‘x’, this means that the words were her own search history rather than the work

War of words: Louise Mensch vs Peter Hitchens (or could it be Steerpike?)

While Mr S is used to reporting from the sideline on Twitter wars, he tends to refrain from taking part in them. So Steerpike was amused to find himself in Louise Mensch’s firing line this morning. His sin? Being Peter Hitchens, apparently. Mensch accused the Mail on Sunday columnist of being the author of this very column. She said that unlike Hitchens, she didn’t write stories about him. When Hitchens pointed out that he hadn’t written about Mensch for seven years, the former Tory MP suggested that he was in fact… Mr Steerpike: While Mr S is sorry to break the news that he is not, in fact, Hitchens, happily, this

Letters | 18 June 2015

Growing congregations Sir: I would like to take issue with Damian Thompson (‘Crisis of faith’, 13 June) and his assertions that England’s churches are in deep trouble. Last Saturday 250 Christians ranging in age from zero to 80, from two independent and orthodox local churches in Lancaster and Morecambe, met in a school to sing, pray, and hear preaching about Jesus Christ — this as well as our normal Sunday services. We believe we are doing what the Bible tells us to: preaching the good news of Christ from the pages of the Bible — and our churches are growing. Indeed, we can testify to growth in many local churches

Peter Hitchens lets his election thoughts be known

Given that Peter Hitchens’ weekly column was absent from the Mail on Sunday the week before the general election, Mr S was glad to have the opportunity to hear his thoughts on the election at the Hay festival. Taking to the Telegraph stage this morning, Hitchens joined Johann Hari, David Aaronovitch and Bronwen Maddox for a panel discussion titled ‘Election 2015: How was it for you?’. True to form, he began by criticising the Conservative government, claiming the Tories’ majority win was down to ‘lies and money’. He then went on to suggest that those who ‘fell’ for the Conservatives’ spin over the state of the economy had lost the plot: ‘You have to wonder whether the people who

Why was Peter Hitchens’ column missing from the Mail on Sunday?

Today’s front pages have received criticism across the board for being too party political with the election only a day away. Now questions are also being asked as to why Peter Hitchens’ weekly column was missing from the Mail on Sunday at the weekend. Instead, the columnist, who has been vocal about his disdain for David Cameron, tweeted his pre-election column from five years ago on Monday. The article asks readers ‘not to fall for the shimmering, greasy, cynical fraud which is the Cameron project’: So far no explanation has been offered and Hitchens has said that he is unable to comment on why his column was missing from the paper: However, the writer is

I know I shouldn’t ask this, but is cocaine really that addictive?

Cocaine addiction is a dreadful thing. I’ve seen it so many times: bright, once-pretty people with washed-out grey faces who can’t think about anything else. Children, partners, careers – they can all go hang so long as the restaurant has a loo where you can do a quick line between courses, or you can nip outside to suck on a crack pipe. This how frantic it can get: If anyone has stopped to watch me go to the cash machine and withdraw stacks of bills, several times because of the $200 transaction limit, then head out to an idling van with tinted windows, and return minutes later with bulging pockets, it wouldn’t take much

Spectator letters: John Major on James Goldsmith

The Goldsmith effect Sir: Much as I admire filial loyalty, I cannot allow Zac Goldsmith’s article about his father to go uncorrected (‘My dad saved the pound’, 28 February). Sir James Goldsmith was a formidable campaigner against the European Union and the euro currency, but at no point did he alter government policy. Zac Goldsmith suggests that I did not offer a referendum on membership of the euro currency out of conviction. This is wrong. I believed that any decision to abandon sterling — which I myself did not favour — was so fundamental that it would need national endorsement. On constitutional grounds some Cabinet members dissented, but many will

Spectator letters: the Rowntree legacy, and a suggestion for the Met police

Betrayal of Trust Sir: Rod Liddle has traduced the Quaker values of the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust that include non-violence, equality and truth in his piece, ‘Jihadi John, Cage and the fools who give it money’, 7 March. Mr Liddle identified three recipients of JRCT grants: Jawaab UK, Cage, and Teach na Fáilte. Jawaab UK was not set up by an extremist Islamic maniac. On the contrary, it works to help young Muslims play their part in a democratic society. Cage, which JRCT ceased funding in January 2014, has in the past played an important role in defending the right to fair trial and due legal process. Finally, JRCT has

Podcast: Iraq War III, the cult of Richard Dawkins and the moaning middle class

[audioplayer src=”″ title=”Iraq War III, the cult of Richard Dawkins and the moaning middle class” fullwidth=”yes”] The View from 22 podcast [/audioplayer]The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria has extended its hold from eastern Syria into western and northern Iraq, massacring Shi’ites, Christians and Yazidis wherever it can. But can we afford to let Isis run wild, asks Max Boot in this week’s Spectator. Peter Hitchens, a columnist for the Mail on Sunday, discusses this on our podcast, and argues that we have made the most tremendous mess in Iraq, and it’s high time we realised this. The Spectator’s Douglas Murray suggests that we need to be more strategic about

Game of Thrones: lucky we just get to watch this programme – the North Koreans are living it

Spoiler alert: this is a review of last night’s episode Anyone watching Game of Thrones for the first time last night would not have been dissuaded of Peter Hitchens’ argument that the show is cruel and will promote cruelty. It opened with Lord Bolton’s bastard Ramsay Snow, who in the last series did that thing with Theon Greyjoy we shall not talk about, chasing and torturing some poor woman before showing off his new eunuch – now called Reek – to his sinister father. Then there was the wedding of the appalling Prince Joffrey, which didn’t go entirely according to plan; flanked by his grandfather Tywin, the king at first shows some

Peter Hitchens is wrong (on the internet!). There really is a War on Drugs.

Before I headed off on honeymoon I took a pop at Peter Hitchens’ rather odd assertion that there was no such thing in this country as the War on Drugs. Mr Hitchens duly responded on his Mail on Sunday blog and this in turn deserves a response. Even a belated one. First, an apology: I rather regret suggesting Mr Hitchens is a nitwit. That was unnecessary. I do think his argument – impeccably sincere as it may be – runs towards nincompoopery but since we all hold beliefs other people consider idiotic we might do well, at least occasionally, to recall the usefulness of treating the man and the ball as separate

Yes, of course the War on Drugs exists (but it shouldn’t)

There is something contemptible about Nick Clegg’s latest piece of handwringing. the Deputy Prime Minister – a position that, at least notionally, carries some clout – complains that he’d very much like to do something about Britain’s antiquated drug laws but, well, he can’t because it’s hard and, besides, the Tories are such rotters. Clegg could have made this a cause. He could have done something about this before now. He could, at the very least, have talked about the War on Drugs rather more than he has. He could even have noted, frequently, that David Cameron has changed his own tune on these matters, abandoning the sensible attitude he once had. He has, instead,

The View from 22: Peter Hitchens and Alan Mendoza debate British intervention in Syria

Is David Cameron pushing Britain into a war without a purpose? On the latest View from 22 podcast, the Mail on Sunday’s Peter Hitchens vigorously debates Alan Mendoza from the Henry Jackson Society on this week’s developments in Syria. Why should Britain increase its involvement in Syria? What benefit would it bring to our nation? And how has the Prime Minister evolved from a leader who once said ‘democracy should not be dropped from 40,000ft’ into a foreign policy hawk? Fraser Nelson and Isabel Hardman also discuss how this week’s parliamentary business on Syria will play out between the coalition partners. Are the Tories and Lib Dems united? We also

The next Spectator Debate: too much immigration, too little integration?

When David Cameron announced ‘state multiculturalism has failed’, the chattering classes gasped in disbelief. Here was a Prime Minister, bull dozing his way into  the tricky area of immigration — one his predecessors had shied away from. The speech was praised by the right, and lambasted by those on the left — including his coalition partners. David Goodhart received a similar reaction with the publication of his book  The British Dream. In it, he examines the success and failures of post-war immigration in Britain. On the right, the book was welcomed as a thorough examination into multiculturalism. When the former Tory leader Michael Howard reviewed Goodhart’s book in the Spectator, he explained why he backs