Postmodern Tories

Prospect Magazine - February 2013

The mid-term of a government is a time of reflection, in which the parties can revive their attachments and reformulate their message. Two recent volumes, Britannia Unchained,co-authored by a group of young Conservative MPs, and Tory Modernisation 2.0,issued by Bright Blue, an organisation that campaigns for reform within the Conservative party, give us some indication of the forces now at work in shaping Tory thinking.

The Meaning of Margaret Thatcher

The Times - 18.4.2013

For many people of conservative temperament, it looked in the late 1970s as though Britain were ready to surrender all that it stood for: its pride, its enterprise, its ideals of freedom and citizenship, even its borders and its national defence. The country seemed to be wallowing in collective guilt feelings, reinforced by a growing culture of dependency.

Baroness Thatcher

Baroness Thatcher:  piece from 1990, LA Times:

LONDON — When the Athenians sent Themistocles into exile in 470 BC, they conveniently forgot everything he had done for them. It was he who had created the Athenian navy, held the Persians at Artemisium and finally defeated them at Salamis. It was he who had fortified Athens and made it the most prosperous city of the Aegean.

Pleasure vs Happiness

A version of this paper appeared in The Spectator magazine - 28.3.2013

 You don't have to be a philosopher, given to abstruse reflection on concepts, to recognise that pleasure and happiness are not the same. There are wicked pleasures, destructive pleasures, addictive pleasures, despicable pleasures: but there is no such thing as wicked, destructive, addictive or despicable happiness.

My Intellectual Identity

I have worked in many fields, and I think it might help my readers to explain how this came about. At school I studied the natural sciences and went on a Science scholarship to Cambridge. But before arriving in Cambridge I had discovered music, art and literature, and had formed the intention to be a writer – not knowing whether I had either the talent or the opportunities to pursue such a career.

Confessions of a Sceptical Francophile

When I first became interested in philosophy, in the early 1960s, it was because I had discovered books, and books had taught me that there are mysteries concealed in human society, in consciousness, in being itself, which are the legitimate concern and inspiration of every thinking person. Reading Kafka, Rilke and T.S. Eliot, I came, as a teenager, to think that literature had no other task than to explore and decipher these mysteries, and that beautiful writing is another name for the kind of revelation that those authors promise.

Marriage: Union for the Future or Contract for the Present

ResPublica Green Paper by Roger Scruton & Phillip Blond - 3.2.2013

To coincide with the Parliamentary debate on the Government's Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill, the latest publication from ResPublica, Marriage: Union for the future or contract for the present, criticises the Bill for compromising the meaning of both traditional heterosexual marriage and homosexual partnership.

Border control must be at the heart of an EU renegotiations

Conservative Home - 24.1.2013

The greatest difference between being governed by a national Parliament and being governed by a treaty is that, in the former case, law can be made immediately, in response to every change in the situation of those affected by it, and mistakes can be rectified before their full toll of destruction has been reaped.

The Conservative Neglect of Culture

Thinkers' Corner at Conservative Home - 22.12.2012

Nobody knows what a cultural policy should aim at, what means it should use, or how it could lead to legislation or other political initiatives. Hence, in Conservative Party thinking, considerations of culture remain on the margins. Worse, as in so many areas of political life, the Conservatives seem to have abandoned this fertile territory to the Left.

Tally ho! Let the hunt remind us who we are

Daily Telegraph - 26.12.2012

This morning hundreds of hunts across the Kingdom will be assembling for the Boxing Day meet. My family and I will appear in our polished uniforms on polished horses to stand ceremonially among our neighbours in Cirencester Park.