Nick Cohen

Nick Cohen

Nick Cohen is the author of What's Left and You Can't Read This Book.

Why the far left sides with Hamas

The great fault of the global left is not that it supports Hamas. For how could western left-wing movements or left-inclining charities or academic bodies truly support Hamas if they were serious about their politics? No one outside the most reactionary quarters of Islam shares Hamas’s aim of forcing the people of the world to accept ‘the

Nick Cohen

Labour’s disturbing attitude to press freedom

Once in every generation the Labour party gets tired of losing elections and prepares for power by neutralising potential sources of opposition.   Today’s Labour’s offensive is advancing on all fronts. Rachel Reeves nurses glasses of warm white wine through dozens of receptions for finance and business leaders. Keir Starmer withdraws the whip from Jeremy Corbyn

Vivian Silver and the collapse of the Israeli left

The well-lived life and foul murder of Vivian Silver encapsulate the hopelessness of Israel-Hamas war and the bad faith that drives the world’s reactions to it. You could see the bad faith on display in the hours after her death. It inspired a gruesome social media pile-on. Maybe it was just a mistake by an

What the ceasefire vote means for the future of the Labour party

It’s a little too easy to dismiss the huge Labour rebellion on the Israel-Hamas war last night as ‘virtue signalling’. No one can deny that politicians were striking poses. A party, not in government, tearing itself apart about a conflict that does not involve the UK, over policy recommendations which all the combatants will ignore,

Benjamin Netanyahu is a dangerous ally for the left

There is no better example of modern pseudo-sophistication than the dismissal of the argument in the Labour party about a ceasefire in Gaza as self-indulgence. No debate in the UK will influence the Israeli government or Hamas, commentators say, and then sit back as if expecting to hear applause.   Of course, it won’t. But the

Why the far left ignores the crimes of Hamas

It’s not often that Brits can say that the US is behind the UK. But in understanding the dynamic between the successors to the old socialist left and radical Islam, US thinkers have years of catching up to do. It is not as if American commentators are wrong or uninteresting, it is just that, unlike their

The Tory war on woke won’t work

Visibly desperate Conservatives are counting on their opposition to the left’s cultural revolution to save them, if not from defeat, then at least from annihilation.  The party’s deputy chair Lee Anderson forecasts that a ‘mix of culture wars and trans debate’ would be ‘at the heart’ of the party’s coming election campaign. You only need to listen

British anti-Semites are delighted by the attack on Israel

You might think the massacre of Jewish civilians will stop anti-Jewish hatred in Britain. Or, if that is too much to ask, you might think that the atrocities would at least merit a decent period of silence before normal service resumed.  Not a bit of it. This morning, Dave Rich of the Community Security Trust

Why ‘wokeness’ is doomed to fail

There are two dishonest conversations about wokeness, or identity politics if you prefer the less contentious term. The first from conservatives is wearily familiar. For some on the right, ‘woke’ is now a synonym for ‘anything I can’t abide’. Overuse has made the insult meaningless. On the left, the dishonesty lies in the denial that a new ideology

A woke witch hunt has taken over the arts

Remove the preconceptions that stop you seeing clearly, and it is hard to tell the difference between how the arts are treated in the UK versus a dictatorship. In Russia and China, the authoritarian state is the oppressive force. In the West, the state won’t arrest you for breaking taboos, and for that we must

Would Biden punish Sunak for pulling out of the ECHR?

The US government has warned British security officials that the ‘five eyes’ intelligence-sharing agreement may be at risk if the UK imperils the Good Friday Agreement by pulling out of the European Convention of Human Rights (ECHR). I understand that this point has been made recently, and fairly clearly, in talks between the UK and

The conservative war on free speech

The hopeful life and wretched death of Claudia Gavrilovna Popova during a previous age of extremes should speak to us now. Popova lived in Siberia in the years before the Russian revolution. She was a liberal who opposed the Tsarist empire – then, as now, was the world’s great fortress of reactionary power. Popova was a wealthy landowner in Krasnoyarsk on the Yenisei River, who thought any enemy of the regime couldn’t be wholly bad. She gave

Who will dare stand against Jeremy Corbyn in Islington?

Labour has announced whether its sitting MPs will step down or fight again at the next election in nearly every single constituency. By a weird coincidence, it stays silent about the one constituency Labour party members and the wider public are most interested in: Jeremy Corbyn’s Islington North. Sir Keir Starmer withdrew the whip from

Why Labour think they’ve rumbled Rishi

Labour’s leaders do not rate Rishi Sunak. I don’t mean by this that they think his policies range from the wrongheaded to the disastrous – we can take these opposition criticisms as a given. I mean that as professional politicians they look at the Prime Minister and see a rank amateur. ‘He’s rubbish,’ a member of

A culture of fear has taken over academia and the arts

At the end of the second world war, George Orwell went to an event organised by PEN, a campaign dedicated to defending freedom of expression. He walked into a scene we encounter everywhere in 2022. The meeting was meant to celebrate the tercentenary of John Milton’s Areopagitica, one of the earliest and still one of the

Labour can’t believe they are heading for victory

Last night, Labour politicians wondered how to respond to the challenges the Chancellor was sending their way. Do you accept the Conservatives’ real-term spending cuts and tax rises? How would you revive the economy? The best answer came from a shadow minister who told me ‘We should just say “imagine how good this country could

The silence that reveals everything about Liz Truss

The moorings that tie the rulers to the ruled are breaking in the UK. You can hear them snapping during the Prime Minister’s silences. On Sunday morning, the BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg asked Liz Truss a question any democratic leader should be able to answer. Truss and her Chancellor’s folly had sent yields on ten-year guilts

Truss can’t hide from the crisis she created

For a politician who only a few days ago was bravely mocking Vladimir Putin as a ‘sabre-rattling’ loudmouth ‘desperately trying to justify his catastrophic failures,’ Liz Truss has turned out to be the greatest coward ever to be prime minister. At least Putin feels the need to justify the catastrophe he has inflicted. Truss and

Nick Cohen

The City still runs on nepotism

When Liz Truss says she wants to give tax cuts to the wealthiest, she thinks she is making a moral argument. The rich deserve to keep their money because they are the best and brightest among us. They have succeeded on their own merit and not because of their class, sex or ethnicity. This, she