On Wednesday 27th February 2013 at Corpus Christi College, Oxford, the University’s Student Union voted overwhelmingly against the anti-Israel motion to support ‘Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions’ (BDS) – a Palestinian movement which seeks to isolate Israel on the world stage by severing all diplomatic and economic links with the country, and placing embargos on trade, aid and military cooperation. Israel’s actions are, in short, devoid of all reason and lack any moral justification.
As far as the BDS campaign is concerned, the Israeli Government is guilty of ethnic cleansing, colonisation, racial discrimination, and military occupation. The motion was to have remained in force until such time as Israel ‘ends the occupation and complies with international law’. Continue reading →
You usually get everything represented at the Edinburgh International Festival: it caters for all self-indulgent tastes in the postmodern world of moral relativism – from binge-drinking and bigamy to buggery and blasphemy. Gradually, over the decades, the arts have aided the rehabilitation of medieval notions of sin and human vice: lust has become love; wrath is free expression; greed is a work ethic; envy is a spur to social mobility; pride is aspiration; sloth is simply genetic; and gluttony has become a human right.
We’ve come (or gone) a long way since the Lord Chancellor’s censoriousness was curtailed. Our theatres may indeed still be monuments to our prodigality and folly, as the Puritan preacher the Rev’d Thomas White declaimed at St Paul’s in London during the plague. But one wonders about the contemporary equivalent of his evangelical apocalyptic observation that ‘the cause of plagues is sin…the cause of sin is plays; therefore the cause of plagues is plays.’ Continue reading →
The very mention of the name of Enoch Powell still divides the firmaments. There is no nuanced via media of opinion on the man: either you love him as the rightest of minds, or loathe him as a deranged bigot. Either he was a prophet of God and enlightened philosopher, or the spawn of Satan and reactionary extremist. For many – if not most – his premature demise was the salvation of the Queen’s multicultural peace. For others – the undoubted minority – it was the greatest philosophical injustice since the execution of Socrates.
John Enoch Powell was born 100 years ago this year, and this collection of commemorative essays, speeches (in their entirety) and poems (some quite touching) is edited by Lord Howard of Rising with a Foreword by Iain Duncan Smith. It is published by Biteback and will set you back £25. Continue reading →