Niall Gooch

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

The triumph of Labour’s centrists

Barring an extraordinary electoral turnaround, Sir Keir Starmer is about to join an elite club, which is even more pale, male and stale than the Garrick: Labour leaders who have won a majority in a general election. He will be only the fourth since the party first fielded candidates in a general election, after Clement

Count Binface just isn’t funny

On British general election nights, I like to watch Dish and Dishonesty, the first episode of the third series of Blackadder. It pokes some gentle fun at the conventions of election night TV, including the tradition of ‘silly’ candidates. In the episode, Ivor ‘Jest Ye Not, Madam’ Biggun of the Standing at the Back Dressed Stupidly and

Does Channel 4 think this counts as balanced?

We are now just nine months out from the latest possible general election, which means that in a year’s time the House of Commons is going to look very different. Absent a remarkable revival in Tory fortunes – which there is no earthly reason to expect – their current seat total will be at least

Ian Hislop’s elite blindspot

A common argument against populist politicians such as Nigel Farage or Donald Trump is that their attacks on elites are in some sense inauthentic because they themselves are members of those same elites. Trump is, after all, a billionaire who has been prominent in New York corporate circles for almost half a century. His social

We can’t eliminate all risk for children

The classic book The Railway Children contains several episodes that must seem almost incomprehensible to modern children. None perhaps are more shocking to the modern mind than the incident where some public schoolboys on a cross country run are directed through a tunnel on a working public railway. Unsurprisingly, this does not end well, with

Lee Anderson is a convenient distraction

If some great challenge or difficulty is looming in the near future, it is human nature to want to change the subject, to busy ourselves with displacement activity to avoid the confrontation. This is perhaps even more true of groups than individuals. Everybody might be aware on some level that a crisis is brewing, but

Why is the New Scientist defending cannibalism?

Most law students in the English-speaking world will have come across R v Dudley and Stephens, from 1884, which established the precedent that necessity is not a defence for murder. The case has a particular grisly attraction, as the defendants were sailors who had resorted to cannibalism after being cast adrift on a lifeboat for

Say no to Labour’s citizens’ assembly

A spectre is haunting Westminster – the spectre of the citizens’ assembly. This unkillable bad idea is making the headlines again because of the suggestion that, when Labour comes to power, citizens’ assemblies could be used to develop new policy proposals to put before Parliament. Fittingly, given its essentially anti-political and anti-democratic nature, this idea

Rewild the churchyards

In the village where we used to live, the churchyard was just over the road from our cul-de-sac. I often used to potter around on my lunchbreaks, or pass through on walks. The oldest gravestone I managed to find, if I remember correctly, was for a local chap who had died in his seventies around

The problem with Kneecap – and the arts blob

When I was about 14 or 15, someone sent me a birthday card with the words: ‘Teenagers – tired of being harassed by your stupid parents? Act now! Move out, get a job, pay your own bills, while you still know everything.’ I don’t think it was personal, not least because I was fairly strait-laced,

Who will oppose Labour’s racial dystopia?

Britain’s ruling class are currently conducting an enormous experiment – perhaps not consciously or intentionally, but with great enthusiasm – to discover the effects of extremely high levels of immigration on British society. We will not be sure of the result for some time yet. In the meantime, we need to be doing all we

The importance of marshland mindset

We have in our kitchen a mug purporting to belong to ‘Romney Marsh Mountain Rescue’. There is, of course, no such organisation – the mug is a reference to a long-standing family joke, about how my brothers and I love mountaineering despite having grown up in one of the lowest, flattest parts of England. The

The Turner prize doesn’t make sense anymore

In 1950 the American critic Lionel Trilling suggested, in his book The Liberal Imagination, that there was no meaningful right-wing philosophy in the US. ‘The conservative impulse and the reactionary impulse do not… express themselves in ideas but only in action or in irritable mental gestures which seek to resemble ideas.’ He was giving voice

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