Tag: Britain

How did Britain become a global superpower? Historian and classicist Ian Morris thinks geography has a lot to do with it. Prof. Morris discusses his latest book, Geography is Destiny: Britain and the World: A 10,000 Year History, which traces the long history of Britain’s complex relationship with the European continent. He draws surprising parallels between characters ranging from the Roman Britons and Nigel Farage, to the Papacy and the European Union.

Prof. Ian Morris is the Jean and Rebecca Willard Professor of Classics and Professor in History at Stanford University, as well as the author of the critically acclaimed Why the West Rules—for Now. His latest book, Geography is Destiny, may be purchased here.

This week on “The Learning Curve,” Cara Candal and Gerard Robinson talk with Dr. Niall Ferguson, the Milbank Family Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, and a senior faculty fellow of the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard. He is the author of 16 books, including Doom: The Politics of Catastrophe. Dr. Ferguson comments publicly for the first time on the recent passing of Queen Elizabeth II, the longest-reigning British monarch, and how we should teach about Britain’s wide impact – positive and negative – on the world in her era and over the last several hundred years, from the Magna Carta to Winston Churchill. Dr. Ferguson shares findings from his most recent book, which charts the history of disasters, from the 1346–1353 Black Death to COVID; whether our handling of these catastrophes – from both public health and economic standpoints – has improved; and how we can learn from mistakes to better prepare for the future. He describes the kind of education he imparts to his own children to help ensure they have the wisdom and resilience to live in a turbulent world. The interview concludes with Dr. Ferguson reading from his latest book.

Stories of the Week: Are schools of education helping future teachers develop content expertise, or are they too focused on pedagogy and ideology? In Philadelphia, the Martin Luther King High School is the city’s first school with Black faculty for all core freshmen subjects, a step forward in the effort to ensure students can benefit from diverse role models.

Join Jim and Greg as they discuss major news from three different spots around the globe. First, they are cautiously optimistic as new British Prime Minister Liz Truss promises to govern as a conservative and that means cutting taxes to grow the economy. They also cheer the people of Chile for overwhelmingly rejecting a new far left constitution that looks an awful like the goals of Democrats in the U.S. And they brace for a very rough winter in Europe as Russia says it will restrict energy exports until “the collective west” backs off its sanctions towards Moscow.

This week on “The Learning Curve,” co-hosts Cara Candal and Gerard Robinson talk with Charles Moore, a columnist for The Daily Telegraph and The Spectator, and the authorized, three-volume biographer of Lady Margaret Thatcher. Lord Moore explains why Lady Thatcher is considered the most important female political figure of the 20th century, and reviews the challenges she faced at home and abroad, from trade union strikes to high inflation rates and political discord. They talk about Prime Minister Thatcher partnering with American President Ronald Reagan and standing in solidarity with Poland’s Lech Walesa to face down Soviet communism. Lord Moore describes her middle-class background and a leadership style that led to her 12-year tenure as prime minister in the male-dominated arena of British politics (including nearly 700 sessions of the world-renowned Prime Minister’s Questions in the House of Commons). They also discuss “Thatcherism,” her foundational economic principles and their applicability to other domestic policy topics, as well as lessons for today’s world. The interview concludes with Lord Moore reading from his biography of Lady Thatcher.

Stories of the Week: Attorneys general from 14 states are suing the Biden administration over the Department of Justice’s calls to monitor parental protests at school board meetings. In Alabama, a group is seeking to address the teacher shortage by suspending the requirement to pass a Praxis content mastery exam.

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I’m amazed at how little has been made of the Islamist angle to the David Amess murder.  I don’t scan the British publications regularly, but here in the United States I have seen very little, either in direct news or in commentary, even commentary from conservative circles.  Have we become so accustomed to jihadist attacks […]

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Join Jim and Greg as they’re not only frustrated by President Biden’s terrible interview performance with ABC News but Jim concludes Biden’s odd conduct over the past week suggests there is something significantly wrong with him. They also shake their heads as lefties try to compare the Taliban to pro-life activists and the people who stormed the U.S. Capitol in January. And they shudder as the Brits formally denounce the U.S. for the disastrous collapse of Afghanistan.

Too Little Too Late, or Turning Tide?

 

Peter Robinson called British actor Laurence Fox to our attention in a recent episode of “Uncommon Knowledge,” prompting a bit of research. I was encouraged to find a Telegraph interview from last fall that was quite fair, not a BBC/CNN-style harangue. This all started with Laurence Fox recording an original protest song “The Distance.” That got him an appearance on BBCs Question Time where he dared push back on a woman of color‘s smear of “racism.” Fox’s defiance unleashed the wokist mob and attempted cancellation of his career. The heart of the outrage was his daring to push back on an assertion that Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex, was the victim of racism. He dared insist “We are the most lovely, tolerant country in Europe.” Is Laurence Fox an outlier, destined for erasure, or is he a harbinger of change?

Poking a little further, the Telegraph now has a permanent cancel culture section on its website. The Reclaim Party has a functioning website, including the complete results of the freedom of expression poll of 2,119 UK adults aged 18+ online from 5-7 February 2021. Searching for that information unearthed results of two U.S. polls, a Harvard CAPS / Harris Poll of the general public, finding a majority of Americans say they believe cancel culture is a threat to their freedom, and a Zogby Poll of 500 business leaders that found “Most business leaders think certain progressive ideas about society and the ”cancel culture” are a threat to the country and are unnecessary.”

Join Jim and Greg as they detail the lengths China went to in its efforts to manipulate media coverage of the early days of the coronavirus outbreak. They also try to beat back the global freak out over a new strain of COVID seen in Britain. And they react to young healthy members of Congress getting vaccinated before some medical personnel and more vulnerable people.

‘It Was Worth It’: A Personal Tribute to Sir Roger Scruton

 

Sir Roger Scruton

At a certain age on the path to adulthood, we begin to realize not just that our heroes are human, but that they are mortal. In the last five years, we have said goodbye to Harry Jaffa, Kenneth Minogue, Rene Girard, Bernard Lewis, Gertrude Himmelfarb, and Forrest McDonald, among brilliant others, and I have watched each go with an increasing sense that I was seeing my pantheon of intellectual greats fade rapidly.

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Today marks the 246th anniversary of the Boston Tea Party when American patriots, frustrated and angry at Britain for imposing “taxation without representation,” dumped 342 chests of tea into the harbor in protest. You’re probably somewhat familiar with this seminal event but you may not be with the story of those behind it. The “Sons Of Liberty” […]

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The Eternal Game of Knifey-Spoony: British Knife Control

 

Recently, a British police force tweeted out a picture of a set of knives given to them for safe disposal. The astute among you have no doubt already noticed the spoon in that picture. ‘Safely disposing of’ kitchen knives is stupid, the fencing foil is just sad, but the spoon? Thank heavens we have these dangerous instruments off the streets! Okay, maybe this is a charity (from a casual internet glance they’re St. Vincent’s but woke) is just trying to get rid of things which might be illegal and some joker dumped extra bits into the pile. Then a couple of days later the same police outfit (and I caution you that this is, in fact, a police force and not actually a Twitter parody account) tweets out this.

Yeah. You just raided someone’s toolbox. No mistaking here; that Phillips screwdriver is a threat to life and limb! I can imagine why you’d want to ban knives to prevent knife crime, but why would you ban bastard files? Tired of the cheap jokes? At this point I can see three possibilities:

  1. It is in fact a parody and I missed on my BS detector. But nothing false has ever been posted to the internet before, so why worry?
  2. The cops are overzealous and foolish enough to post evidence of same to Twitter; a sober platform where mistakes are never roundly castigated.
  3. or most likely, the law was written foolishly such that somehow snub-nosed pliers count as a knife. Cop’s just doin’ his job, and perhaps publicly pointing out the foolishness of this law as a means of provoking change.

A quick search and I turn up this gov.uk page explaining the law. It’s in human-readable words, which means whatever it says doesn’t actually count. The only thing that counts in court is lawyer-ese words; relying on anything else is walking on thin ice. The site helpfully fails to quote the actual act being referenced, or offer any evidence for its statements other than the appeal to authority of having a gov.uk address.

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The story of the persecuted Christian woman, Asia Bibi, is so depressing in so many ways… let’s hope that she can be winkled out of Pakistan, come to a safe country (America ?) and be healed of her injuries and trauma. But oh, England! What has become of you? In todays NRO, Douglas Murray writes: […]

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Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America commend House Republicans for planning a vote on “Abolish ICE” legislation that Democrats have already begun to step away from. They also criticize tactics of some House Republicans during the Peter Strzok testimony, in which members seemed more interested in scoring a dazzling soundbite than effectively questioning the witness. And they question President Trump’s negative remarks about British Prime Minister Theresa May, noting the alternative to her government could be far worse.

Welcome to the Special Bonus Euro-edition of the Harvard Lunch Club Political Podcast for May 26, 2017, introducing our European correspondent William Campbell.

We’ve decided that we don’t sound sophisticated enough (why did it take so long to reach *that* conclusion??) and we have attempted to remedy that situation by finding a new HLC contributor who has an Irish accent (although he sounds British to me). Mr. William Campbell is an author, podcaster and entrepreneur. Although he has spent most of his life in Ireland, he was also educated in the UK and the US and has lived in Italy, Germany and Thailand. He is the host of his own podcast: Challenging Opinions on which Todd has appeared (although I haven’t been invited yet).

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The British PM, Mrs. Theresa May, has given a long speech on Brexit (full text of the 40min+ speech here). Her object is to show the relation between Brexit & Britain’s future, why Brexit is necessary for the preservation of Britain’s political character & economic thriving, & how it should be achieved. The means necessary […]

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One motivation for Brexit which I hadn’t read before: the UK had recently overtaken France as the fifth-largest economy in the world, and is expected to surpass Germany within the next two decades.: But until Brexit, Canada [and other non-EU nations] was shut off from this economic powerhouse, our only path to profitable U.K. trade wending […]

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Boris Johnson Drops Out

 

BorisTo audible gasps, Boris Johnson has abandoned his bid to be prime minister. He dropped out after Justice Secretary Michael Gove, Johnson’s ally in the Brexit campaign, betrayed him by announcing that he would be running to succeed Cameron. Why did Gove stab him in the back? Not clear yet, but perhaps he’s channeling the ambient sense that Boris is just too much of a clown:

Some in Westminster think Cameron’s decision to announce his resignation last Friday was, in part, designed to finally checkmate his rival. “He who wields the knife never wears the crown,” has become a mantra of U.K. politics ever since Michael Heseltine’s failed attempt to succeed Margaret Thatcher after helping to oust her. By quitting Number 10, MPs wonder if the prime minister has thrust the knife into his rival’s hands.

“We need a grown up not a comedian,” one Conservative MP from a Midlands marginal seat said, echoing concerns among many of his colleagues. “We need a safe pair of hands. Boris is like chewing gum, he goes stale quickly and we can’t afford that.”