Niall Gooch

Niall Gooch is a writer who has appeared in the Catholic Herald and UnHerd.

In defence of a ‘British culture’

From time to time, a would-be edgy Tweeter or columnist will shock us all by stating or suggesting that the boring white people who until the last third of the twentieth century made up almost the entire population of the United Kingdom, have no real culture to speak of. There is a twofold implication to

Can Remembrance survive?

This week the BBC interviewed the last of the Few. Group Captain John Hemingway, 104, is apparently the only remaining RAF pilot who fought in the Battle of Britain. This brings home how long ago the second world war was. The year the war broke out, 1939, is closer to the battle of Gettysburg than

The Tories’ biggest missed opportunity

In about a year’s time, maybe less, the British people will collectively hand the Tory government their P45s. Rishi Sunak will be mildly disappointed for about five minutes and then move on to a cushy billet in a Silicon Valley tech firm. The Cabinet members will mostly return to the backbenches. Some of them will be able to wangle regular gigs in the newspapers or

The night my friends went missing on a Spanish train

Twenty years ago, the Spanish railway company RENFE stole my girlfriend’s father. There were four of us – my girlfriend, her dad, and a university friend of ours. We had been in Spain for more than a month, walking the Camino de Santiago. Now it was time to head home, first by train to Bilbao

The rise and rise of the centrist bore podcast

It doesn’t seem like 13 years since I strolled down to the Cabinet Office after work on a May evening to enjoy a bit of protest tourism. A largeish crowd of the usual malcontents – students, crusties and the Socialist Workers’ party – had gathered to harangue the Tory and Lib Dem representatives who were

The terribleness of a progressive Bond

The latest Bond villain is Nigel Farage. Not literally, of course. But he was clearly a major inspiration for the chief antagonist in the most recent James Bond book, On His Majesty’s Secret Service. This master of international skulduggery is known as Athelstan; a former City trader with a Kentish accent, he espouses a boisterous,

Michael Parkinson and the lost art of the interview

Two or three years ago, the Tory MP Jonathan Gullis was ridiculed for describing himself as ‘someone who grew up on Dad’s Army and Porridge and loves those traditional programmes of the past’, even though he was born in 1990. The suggestion was that if you weren’t old enough to vote when Tony Blair left

Walthamstow FC and the contradiction of William Morris

In 1884, William Morris gave a lecture to the Hampstead Liberal Club with the title of ‘Useful Work Versus Useless Toil’. His remarks were typically damning of what he saw as the crude philistinism of Victorian capitalism with its mass production of fripperies and of what Marxists call the alienation of labour – the psychological

Does cricket suffer from ‘institutional racism’?

What a strange document the Independent Commission on Equity in Cricket (ICEC) has produced, in its ‘Holding up a mirror to cricket’ report. Rambling, explicitly political, antagonistic and poorly-argued, it ignores some obvious explanations for the ills it discusses, and fixates on irrelevancies. The authors situate their conclusions within the world of intersectionality and other

Can the spiritual element of the coronation survive?

Almost as soon as Charles III acceded to the throne last September, we began to hear whispers and speculation about what exactly his coronation would look like. Many of these stories were alarming to traditionally-minded people. The King wants a slimmed-down ceremony, with less flummery and fewer fancy costumes, insisted those ever-available knowledgeable insiders. Others

The problem with holding Iftar in Manchester Cathedral

During Ramadan, which began last week, sunset finds observant Muslims taking their iftar, a ceremonial breaking of the rigorous fast, involving specific prayers. Often this is done as a community. Pictures of mosques hosting iftar bring to mind the parish festivities which were a common feature of pre-Reformation England, before the Protestants decided that attendees

The tragic decline of political rhetoric

After the first regular BBC TV broadcasts in 1930, it took the House of Commons 60 years to agree to televise its proceedings. Proposals to do so were discussed on a regular basis from the 1960s onwards, but repeatedly rejected; as late as 1985 the idea was voted down by 275 to 263. Not until

Boris is no conservative

The current Tory breakdown is all the more remarkable given how quickly it has happened. As recently as last September they led comfortably in the polls. Keir Starmer was widely derided as an ineffectual centrist bumbler with no charisma. At the start of this parliament, in early 2020, the Tories looked invincible, holding an 80-seat

How to waste an 80-seat majority

Cast your mind back to Channel 4’s election night programme. The 2019 exit poll results flash up on screen. Realising the size of the Tory majority, hosts Krishnan Guru-Murthy and comedian Katherine Ryan, along with pundits Amber Rudd and Tom Watson, all look crestfallen: the Conservatives had won and Brexit was secured.  However, nearly two