Patrick West

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

When will firms like Ben & Jerry’s stop lecturing us?

Is anyone else fed up of corporate virtue-signalling? From banks boasting of their commitment to diversity and equality, to train companies changing their liveries to the rainbow flag, or supermarket chains proclaiming they are fighting racism, enough is enough. Thankfully, the moneymen who matter to big businesses – and whom they might actually listen to

It’s too late to save comedy from ‘cancel culture’

Will comedy become the latest victim of ‘cancel culture’? Dame Maureen Lipman fears as much.  ‘Cancel culture, this cancelling, this punishment, it’s everywhere,’ she told the BBC yesterday. She says that the world of comedy is in danger of being ‘wiped out’ because comedians are scared that audiences will take offence, and that they self-censor

The BBC is right to ditch the ‘Bame’ label

Broadcasters in the UK have declared they will no longer use the acronym BAME to refer to black, Asian and minority ethnic people. Following a report by the Sir Lenny Henry Centre for Media Diversity, the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5 have committed themselves to avoiding this catch-all term ‘wherever possible’, in favour

Mispronouncing names isn’t a ‘microaggression’

People can make a bewildering number of offensive transgressions these days: from using the wrong pronoun when addressing people to saying that only a woman has a cervix. The latest eggshell to avoid now is mispronouncing people’s names. #MyNameIs is a new initiative calling on people to add phonetic spellings to their email signatures. Race Equality

Does social media really make us unhappy?

It’s a well-known fact that social media makes you miserable. While Facebook forever abounds with people apparently having a marvellous time, in exotic climes, never without ubiquitous smiles and exclamations of delight, Twitter seems too often awash with malicious imbeciles, who even when they are right, still get on your nerves. At their worst, Facebook

Curry, colonialism and the problem with ‘cultural appropriation’

The latest casualty in the culture wars is an innocent-sounding word: ‘curry’. Apparently it’s inappropriate to use it, and incorrect to use it to refer to all spicy Indian food. It’s far too broad as to be misleading, doesn’t even have pan-Indian usage, and it remains tainted by its colonial origins. This is the widely reported opinion

Why wealth matters in the free speech debate

The divide between the rich and the poor is obvious in Britain today. Whether in terms of income, geography or political outlook, the cleavage between the haves and have-nots widens conspicuously. It has become a source of much snobbery and resentment. But there is another field in which this division can be witnessed, yet all too often

Was what I said on Facebook really ‘hate speech’?

Facebook has been accused of failing to combat extremism and hate-speech among its users. But as I found out this week, sometimes it does far too much to take down controversial opinions. Coffee House recently published an article by me with the headline ‘Michael Parkinson is right: men are funnier than women’. In the piece, I argued

Who’s laughing now? Cancel culture is killing comedy

The BBC and Channel 4 are self-censoring their comedy output because they are so terrified of offending people. So says Jimmy Mulville, the producer of Have I Got News For You, who claims ‘cancel culture’ has resulted in a fearful atmosphere in these institutions:  ‘People who cause offence now can be cancelled. And the BBC are

Barnardo’s should know better about ‘white privilege’

Corporations and charities virtue signalling has become a familiar spectacle in everyday life. Sainsbury’s, Virgin West Coast, HSBC, Ben & Jerry’s, Gillette and Nike have all pronounced their various anti-racist, anti-sexist and pro-gay, pro-trans principles. The latest to join in this festival of conspicuous compassion is Barnardo’s, which yesterday pronounced on the matter of ‘white privilege’.

Michael Parkinson is right: men are funnier than women

As befitting his public persona of a plain-speaking Yorkshireman, and making the kind of devil-may-care social transgression that is the privilege of the very old, Sir Michael Parkinson has declared that men have a better sense of humour than women. In a interview with the Australian Daily Telegraph, the veteran broadcaster, 85, was asked whether

Bruce Gilley and the ‘problems of anti-colonialism’ saga

Most of us are familiar with the climate of censure and censorship we now live in. People are ‘cancelled’ and ‘no-platformed’ for having inappropriate opinions on matters of race and gender, and reprimanded for using the wrong pronoun when referring to transgender men and women. But there are worrying signs that this tendency to shut

How closely linked are lockdown and Brexit?

Once upon a time, a long time ago, this country was consumed by the matter of Brexit. Everywhere you turned, in every medium, even among friends and colleagues, you couldn’t get away from the subject: everyone was talking about Brexit. We were obsessed by it. From 2016 to 2019 there was no escape. All of

An independent Kent isn’t as ridiculous as it sounds

The news that a Brexit border will be introduced for lorry drivers entering Kent has aroused hilarity and derision among some Remainers. These critics see in Kent the personification of all that is parochial and plebeian. Horrible old Kent, with its proles who epitomise Little England at its most execrable and risible. The truth is that we people

The BBC’s bid to axe left-wing comedy will fail

People of a conservative or Eurosceptic disposition should be thankful that the BBC’s new director general, Tim Davie, is to address the widely-held perception that its comedy output is disproportionately left-wing. For years, listeners and viewers of the likes of The News Quiz, The Now Show, Mock The Week and Have I Got News For

Vegans, your soya milk is killing the planet

In the popular imagination, veganism and environmentalism go hand-in-hand. Both are championed – often in one voice – by ultra-progressive types who protest that we should live more ethically and responsibly in order to save the planet. Both types argue that eating less methane-emitting cattle and consuming more agriculturally-efficient crops is the first step we

Boris’s misguided war on obesity

Boris Johnson has declared the government’s latest war on obesity. It’s a continuation of the war on ‘junk food’. It’s a timely move, as in lockdown we’ve all been snacking and munching straight from the fridge, during the most ghastly yet boring year in known living memory. Most of us have got fatter as a

The rise of Britain’s new class system

Television chef Prue Leith believes that snobbery is still rife in Britain, and that it’s keeping working-class people in their place. Speaking to the Radio Times this week, Leith described Britain as ‘the most unbelievably class-ridden country’. She is right, but not for old-fashioned reasons we associate with that Frost Report sketch with John Cleese

British theatre needs to re-examine its politics

Dame Helen Mirren has called for a ‘huge investment’ in the arts, warning that the UK’s theatres are only weeks from collapse. The theatre, she said on the Today programme, is central to the ‘identity of our nation’ and ’embedded in what it means to be British.’ With live performances banned since lockdown, most people