Patrick West

Patrick West is a columnist for Spiked and author of Get Over Yourself: Nietzsche For Our Times (Societas, 2017)

Why do the French struggle to speak English?

Why are the French so bad at learning foreign languages? Yes, you read that right. This isn’t a lament as to how the British are so terrible at learning foreign languages, a theme so beloved by stand-up comedians, who insinuate that it reflects our outdated superiority complex and ingrained xenophobia. I meant the French. For

Why are local councils calling for a Gaza ceasefire?

Foreign wars have the unfortunate side-effect of bringing out the self-regarding narcissist in people. This is made all the more pronounced in our era of social media, in which some types appear to think that mere tweets can stop wars, and that an appropriately-altered Facebook profile might bring about world peace. The latest casualty in

Is the business world sane again?

There are signs that woke capitalism is on the way out. Unilever, purveyor of the most right-on brand of the moment, Ben & Jerry’s ice-cream, will no longer ‘force fit’ all of its brand with a social purpose, following a backlash over the company’s ‘virtue-signalling’. Hein Schumacher, who became Unilever’s chief executive in July, has

The problem with the word ‘problematic’

There have been groans of derision following the proclamation by the Archbishop of York, Stephen Cotterell, that the opening lines to the Lord’s Prayer – ‘Our Father’ – might be ‘problematic’, owing to their ‘patriarchal’ connotations. Yet the cries of mockery and exasperation on social media, though justified, have also been mostly predictable. After all,

Trans ideology and the triumph of feelings over fact

Most people who have been following the controversy over Kathleen Stock’s speech at the Oxford Union, and who have been observing this debate that combines transgender rights, the rights of women and free speech, might be tempted to conclude that the dispute has its origins in a sole ideology. That is, the transgender ideology which

Let’s stop pretending the culture wars aren’t real

Are the culture wars real? Some assume that they’re an imaginary affair, or, at best, a distraction from the real, pressing bread-and-butter concerns of today. As Matthew Syed put it in the Sunday Times yesterday: ‘The culture wars…may be seen not as genuine debates but as a form of Freudian displacement. The woke and anti-woke

Tale of the tape: how cassettes made a comeback

Move over vinyl: the cassette tape is back. According to the British Phonographic Industry, sales of this retro piece of technology last year came close to a two-decade peak. Having been the top-selling format for albums in the UK from 1985 to 1992 and then seemingly disappearing (selling only 4,000 units in 2012), last year

Can under-25s be trusted?

The government’s proposal to overhaul and tighten betting laws, ostensibly to target problem gamblers, has understandably raised concerns about government interference and nanny-state overreach. Yet viewed from a wider perspective, we should welcome these initiatives and for the precedent they could set: they could be the final recognition that young adults do not reach maturity

A split within the radical green movement was inevitable

Ever since Monty Python created their internecine, bickering and ridiculous groups of freedom fighters – the People’s Front of Judea and the Judean People’s Front – for their 1979 film The Life of Brian, it’s always been easy and tempting to mock and deride the fissiparous nature of ideologues and tin-pot revolutionaries. Those who believe in the

The BBC is axing its panel shows. It only has itself to blame

The veteran BBC show Have I Got News for You is ‘due to become BBC television’s only satirical comedy show’. This is the likely result of The Ranganation – also a panel show which dissects the week’s news – reportedly being cancelled. Satire at the BBC has been vanishing alarmingly quickly. Only last week the corporation announced the end of

What the PayPal saga tells us about free speech

The veteran comedian Jack Dee has been applauded and condemned for announcing that he is cancelling his PayPal account. As he tweeted yesterday: ‘Big Tech companies that feel they can bully people for questioning mainstream groupthink don’t deserve anyone’s business.’ PayPal has been in the news for cancelling the account of the Free Speech Union,

Michael Palin isn’t a ‘national treasure’

It’s a well-known fact that Michael Palin is a ‘national treasure’. Or so you are told just about every single time the travel presenter and writer appears on television or features in a newspaper interview. So it was with grim inevitably that a few days before the first instalment of his latest expedition, Michael Palin: Into

Mock the Week deserved to be cancelled

After seventeen years and more than 200 episodes, the cackling and sniggering is finally over for the panel show Mock the Week. As the BBC announced yesterday: ‘The next series of Mock the Week will be the last, we are really proud of the show but after 21 series we have taken the difficult decision

The BBC’s gender equality project has come unstuck

The BBC’s 50:50 project is designed to empower women. One of its targets is to ensure that half of the contributors are female. But while this aim might have been questionable from the outset – is this really something the BBC should be focusing on? – its mission has been undermined: the BBC has admitted it does

A cultural boycott of Russia plays into Putin’s hands

Has the cultural boycott of Russia gone too far? Events at an Italian university this week, where writer Paolo Nori claimed that a course on Dostoevsky was suspended following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, suggests so.  ‘Dear professor, the vice rector for didactics has informed me of a decision taken…to postpone the course on Dostoevsky,’ an email

The war in Ukraine is not about you

In times of war and strife it’s only natural to feel anxious and worried. It’s a normal, primal reaction. What’s not normal, however, is to conspicuously advertise that fact, and to use a calamity to let the world know what a deeply concerned and conspicuously compassionate person you are. Not for the first time in

Teach kids to code? They’re better off learning languages

A leading artificial intelligence professor has said that children should learn to write software. According to professor Michael Bronstein of Oxford University, this would make children more logical. ‘I think coding is an extension of language – it’s a way of disciplining your mind for formal, logical thinking.’ Indeed it is. But so is learning

James Treadwell and the true meaning of ‘cancel culture’

There’s an inherent contradiction at the heart of liberal thinking that perpetually raises its head. It’s one which has become ever-more pronounced in our age of ultra-progressive politics: the tension between equality and liberty. Many progressives think you can have both. Alas not. You can only have either, or a greater emphasis upon one at