Social conservatism

If Britain has a culture war, it’s the euro-enthusiasts who started it, not Ukip

Following last week’s Purple Revolution in which the pro-democracy Faragist rebels liberated Britain from the hated pro-EUSSR LibLabCon stooges (at least this is the version I’m telling my kids to repeat to their teachers), a number of people have written about what appears to be the opening of a ‘culture war’ in Britain. Andrew Sullivan talks about ‘blue Europe and red Europe’ in the sense of America’s blue and red states, and sees Ukip as representing the latter just as the Republican Party does conservative, left-behind America. I think there’s some truth in that. Dan Hannan, in true conservative style, clutching doom from victory, has suggested that the rise of

When it comes to diversity, most of us vote with our feet

Liberals are almost as likely to flee diversity as conservatives, according to new research by Prof Eric Kaufmann for Demos. Some 61 per cent of white people who were ‘very comfortable’ with mixed marriages (the best indicator of views on race) moved to whiter areas during the period, compared to 64 per cent of those who were ‘fairly uncomfortable’. The Sunday Times called it ‘polite white flight’. The tendency of white liberals not to practise the diversity they preach dates back to the 1960s at least, and offends people who rightly point out that their reasons for moving are to do with space, schools, housing and a number of other

Melanie McDonagh

Is the permissive society causing pain and harm?

It was a curious coincidence, don’t you think, that the sexual conduct findings that the Lancet published today coincided with the publication of a report from the Deputy Children’s Commissioner, Sue Berelowitz, about child-on-child sexual violence? The two stories were juxtaposed uncomfortably in the news. In the case of the Lancet survey, which is conducted every decade, it was comically hard for broadcasters to know how to play the findings, which were a bit of a mixed bag. On the one hand women are becoming more like men and admitting to significantly more sexual partners – ‘of both sexes!’ marvelled John Humphrys, on the Today programme – than before. So

Yes, let’s have a debate about teenage sex and the age of consent

Whenever a public figure says ‘we need a debate here’, as Professor John Ashton, president of the Faculty of Public Health, has done, it doesn’t need much in the way of translation to interpret this as ‘let’s change the law to my way of thinking’. Alas, the debate he started so promisingly about lowering the age of consent to 15, with the pundits all nicely worked up, has been nipped cruelly in the bud by Downing Street. David Cameron, possibly taking the view that he has upset social conservatives quite enough with the gay marriage issue, has said the government isn’t going there. And given that Labour policy is getting quite

Can we expect more social conservatism from the Tories?

The Telegraph reports that the Relationships Alliance, which is to launch in the House of Commons, warns that the ‘disintegration of romantic, social and family relationships costs the average taxpayer around £1,500 a year’. Apparently this amounts to £50 billion a year. The story is of course familiar, even if the figures involved are new. Broken relationships can cause immense social and economic damage to the wider community. The Relationships Alliance, which is a union of charities, actions groups, politicians and individuals, has come into being to convince the government to adopt a national strategy to counter these costly ills. Relationships do break down, and some relationships should be dissolved. The question is how to limit the

Crispin Blunt and Reigate are fighting for the future of the Conservative Party

Senior Reigate Conservatives are trying to de-select Crispin Blunt as their MP, who lost a re-selection ballot of just 22 Executive Council members. Blunt came out as gay in 2010, which didn’t seem to bother his local electorate one jot. However, it seems that his own Association’s elite was disconcerted that he was coming to terms with his sexuality. Former Reigate Association Chairman, Tony Collinson, said that Blunt would not necessarily have been selected as a candidate if he come out before, and he was not alone. One of Blunt’s supporters, Dr Ben Mearns, has resigned from his local Conservative branch over the issue of the executive council’s treatment of Mr Blunt. Blunt now

A serious political party would defend traditional marriage

What is the point of a Conservative party that does not see practical value, perhaps wisdom, in traditional institutions such as marriage? There are some less worthy reasons for preserving prevailing structures, such as sheer self-interest, but the overwhelming reason for valuing established institutions is intellectual modesty. We should be aware of our own intellectual and moral limitations and take seriously the possibility that there may be wisdom in institutions that have been valued by people who came before us. The mere reactionary would give no such reason for respecting the past, but a thinking Conservative in the tradition of Burke and Hayek (neither of whom called themselves conservatives) can

Cameron tackles internet porn with more government

David Cameron is taking his woman trouble seriously. He will unveil plans to curb internet pornography at a meeting with the Mothers’ Union later today. The government will force internet users to opt in to view pornographic websites when they initially chose their internet providers. The government will also clamp down on sexualized advertising and a new website, Parentport, will be established to allow parents to report inappropriate images, articles of clothing, TV programmes etc. This is a fairly blatant pitch for the wandering female vote, which is exercising Cameroon minds at present. It’s a clear attempt to say: We’re going to help you to protect your children. The policy

In defence of Liam Fox

The feeding frenzy over Liam Fox tells us a great deal more about what is wrong with the Conservative Party than it does about Dr. Fox. The Defence Secretary has been an ass. He admits that he allowed “distinctions to be blurred” between his “professional responsibilities and [his] personal loyalties to a friend”. But if someone has known you and counselled you and worked for you over the years it is all but impossible to maintain such distinctions when you are in power. You just have to cut them off, brutally. Fox’s biggest weakness, and one which was well known before this, is that he is too kind. You might

Why conservatives should welcome gay marriage

David Cameron just told the Tory conference that he supported gay marriage “because I am a Conservative”. In last week’s issue of the Spectator, Douglas Murray said that the best arguments in favour of gay marriage are conservative ones. For the benefit of CoffeeHousers, here is Douglas’s piece. In America a new generation of Republicans is challenging the traditional consensus of their party on gay marriage. They — as well as some of the GOP old guard like Dick Cheney — are coming out in favour. In Britain the subject is also back on the agenda with the coalition government, at the insistence of the Prime Minister apparently, planning a ‘public consultation’

Sex gangs and the triumph of ignorance

As Rod Liddle notes, there’s a hell of a media storm raging over sexual abuse committed by men of Pakistani origin. Certain of the media’s more craven elements have capitulated to the politically correct mantra that it’s wrong to judge at all; and certain of the media’s more reactionary outlets are entertaining blanket condemnations of the entire Pakistani community. Jack Straw has it about right. He told Sky News: ‘There is a specific problem about a very small minority of normally Pakistani heritage men who are targeting young, vulnerable white girls. It is somethingt which is abhorred by the Pakistani heritage community as much as anybody else, but it is an

David Aaronovitch and the social conservative consensus

David Aaronovitch is one of the preeminent voices of the liberal-left in this country. He is no social conservative and has been dismissive of those who want a lower time-limit for abortion. But today he wrote something that reminded me of that famous Peggy Noonan column about the Columbine massacre and ‘the ocean in which our children swim.’ Aaronovitch writing about the Times’ investigation into sex gangs says: ‘Sometimes I look at what the surrounding culture says to our kids and wonder whether we are mad. On the one hand we can be persuaded only with difficulty to give them decent sex education, so terrified are we by their latent