Derek Turner

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Supernova
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Supernova

“Nobility is the symbol of mind.”

—Walter Bagehot

In times of texting and sexting, Twittering and wittering, there is something positively antediluvian about epistolary collections—a whiff of fountain pens and headed notepaper, morocco-topped escritoires in long-windowed drawing rooms looking out

A Tsunami of Towers
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A Tsunami of Towers

Here, you can see almost forever.  It is a great green plain bounded by low wolds to the west and the North Sea to the east, by the River Humber to the north and the shining mudflats of the Wash

A Living Past
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A Living Past

It is a small town in Bavaria, and it is at least 32 degrees C.  The camera weighs heavy in my hands, and I can feel speckles of sweat accumulating beneath my black rucksack, as it soaks up the sun

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What Civilization Remains

We once had a book about Eastern Europe at home, in between the encyclopedias and Robinson Crusoe.  I do not remember its title nor the author’s name, but it contained highly atmospheric black and white photographs of Rumanian scenes. 

The Skeptical Mind
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The Skeptical Mind

“Skepticism is less reprehensible in inquiring years, and no crime in juvenile exercitation.”

—Joseph Glanville

In an intellectual climate characterized by conformity and wishful thinking, John Gray is among the most interesting and consequential thinkers contemporary Britain has to show. 

Epicene Europa
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Epicene Europa

“Roll up the map of Europe; it will not be wanted these ten years.”

—William Pitt (1806)

“Nothing,” goes the Johnsonian cliché, “concentrates a man’s mind more wonderfully than the prospect of being hanged.”  This very natural reaction may explain

A Humble Love
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A Humble Love

“Not only England, but every Englishman is an island.”

—Friedrich von Hardenberg

John Betjeman’s evocative and educative television programs and his uniquely readable poetry have left an indelible image in the British public mind—of a jolly, witty, and eccentric man,

The Decivilizing Century
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The Decivilizing Century

When I contacted Transaction to request a review copy of the paperback edition of The Strange Death of Moral Britain (the hardback appeared in 2004), I was told I would have to wait for a few weeks, because they were

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A Great Tradition Renewed

Literary feuds, like ideas, have consequences.  After Sir Walter Scott read a disparaging review of his Marmion in the Edinburgh Review, the bard of the Borders decided that what British life needed above all was a journal that would

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Le Pen’s Loose Langue

In late February, the presidential candidate of France’s Front National (FN), Jean-Marie Le Pen, received widespread press coverage for saying, in an interview with La Croix, that the September 11, 2001, terrorist attack on the World Trade Center

Theseus in the Moral Maze
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Theseus in the Moral Maze

Roger Scruton has had a long and paradoxical career as a kind of intellectual outlaw—a sage of the badlands that hem in the p.c. pale.  Aesthete, philosopher, author, journalist, lecturer, broadcaster, farmer, fox hunter, even musician—he has been all of

Our Special Relationship
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Our Special Relationship

Con Coughlin is the defense and security editor of London’s Daily Telegraph and the author of several books on Middle Eastern themes: Hostage, about Lebanon in the 1980’s; A Golden Basin Full of Scorpions: The Quest for Modern Jerusalem

Fictional Muslims, Nonfictional Muslims
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Fictional Muslims, Nonfictional Muslims

Ninety-two years ago, at the apex of England’s Edwardian ease, Gilbert Keith Chesterton published a curious little novel, written in his inimitable light-but-serious style.  In the context of a literary ambience that had recently produced The Wind in the Willows

The Reign of Grantham
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The Reign of Grantham

“The results of political changes are hardly ever those

which their friends hope or their foes fear.”

—T.H. Huxley

Media commentators covering David Cameron’s incumbency as Tory leader have remarked—often gleefully—on how unpopular Cameron’s Labour-like policies are with the “traditional

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Anti-Colonist Ally

India, during the Cold War, was officially nonaligned.  She was closer to the Soviet Union, which saw her as a natural “anti-colonialist” ally and also wanted a regional counterbalance for China—and accordingly assisted India militarily and politically, especially during U.N.

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Irreducible India

When Vasco da Gama’s three battered little ships dropped anchor off Calicut on May 20, 1498, after a voyage of over ten months, they had finally found the sea route between Europe and India so long sought by Portugal’s kings

Tremendous Twaddle
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Tremendous Twaddle

There was a time, not long ago, when Britons just laughed at political correctness, seeing it as a Californian cult that no one with any common sense could ever take seriously. Even now, one comes across Conservative politicians who will

Britain’s Liberal Legacy
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Britain’s Liberal Legacy

One can easily imagine meeting David Conway in the company of Adam Smith or David Hume—an historical conceit that would please him.  A quietly spoken, formidably intelligent philosophy professor, he is a senior research fellow at Civitas, the think tank

The Party Pooper
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The Party Pooper

Keith Sutherland is a respected British publisher of such works as History of Political Thought and Polis: The Journal of Greek Political Thought, as well as the executive editor of the Journal of Consciousness Studies.  He has also

I’m Just a Travelin’ Man
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I’m Just a Travelin’ Man

“Education begins with life,” said Benjamin Franklin somewhere.  That was how it always seemed to me when I was growing up in Southern Ireland in the 1970’s and 80’s.

I enjoyed some things about school, especially my secondary school—an experimental

An Afternoon Man
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An Afternoon Man

Anthony Powell has been variously called “the English Proust” and “a master of wit, paradox and social delineation”; Kingsley Amis said, “I would rather read Mr. Powell than any English novelist now writing.”  He was an admired contemporary, friend, or

Themselves Alone
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Themselves Alone

“Our sympathy,” said Gibbon with his usual acuity, “is cold to the relation of distant misery.”  You do not need to know very much about human nature to agree with the great historiographer that it is often very difficult, or

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Postwar Immigration

The British National Party (BNP), founded in 1982 by John Tyndall, a former chairman of the National Front, has consistently campaigned to reverse postwar immigration, to withdraw Britain from the European Union, to reintroduce the death penalty for serious

Ghosts on the Stairs
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Ghosts on the Stairs

“F–k socialism!”

—Evelyn Waugh

Octogenarian knight Sir Peregrine Worsthorne is famous in Britain for several things.  He was the editor of the Sunday Telegraph and a political columnist for that paper for 30 years.  He is married to the jolly

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The New White Moors

On February 22, an article in London’s Sunday Times reported on a survey of white British converts to Islam.  The survey was conducted by Yahya (formerly Jonathan) Birt, the son of former BBC director-general Sir John Birt.  Having examined the

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The End of the Affair?

At 6:07 A.M. on May 29, 2003, in a BBC Radio broadcast, reporter Andrew Gilligan commented on mounting criticism of the Blair government’s rationale for going to war against Iraq.  Citing an anonymous “official” involved in the preparation of the

Voyage to Albion
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Voyage to Albion

Englishness may be coming back into fashion.  After the union of the English and Scottish crowns and the foundation of modern Britain in 1603, the idea of Englishness was increasingly submerged in, and confused with, the idea of Britishness.  It

The Great All-in-Agreement Debate
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The Great All-in-Agreement Debate

“Debate is masculine; conversation is feminine.”

—A. Bronson Alcott

For decades, a massive problem has been aborning in all Western countries: the increasingly difficult-to-ignore presence of ever-growing and restive ethnic minority groups alienated from the majority communities surrounding them.  These

Style in History
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Style in History

“An institution is the lengthened shadow of one man.”

—Ralph Waldo Emerson 

Hitler & Churchill—Secrets of Leadership is made from Andrew Roberts’ recent BBC television series, Secrets of Leadership, in which he sought to tease out the management secrets

The Fate of Britain
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The Fate of Britain

“The day of small nations has passed away; the day of empires has come.”

—Joseph Chamberlain

Simon Schama is university professor of art history and history at Columbia University and the author of histories and art histories, such as his

Politics and Power
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Politics and Power

“A bastard kind of Christianity, but a living kind; with a heart-life in it;
not dead, chopping barren logic merely.”

—Thomas Carlyle

Since September 11, 2001, there have been many articles and several books purporting to explain what led up

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On Being a Pariah

In summer and autumn 2001, as Iain Duncan Smith, Michael Portillo, Kenneth Clarke, Michael Ancram, and David Davis slugged it out to see who would become the new leader of Britain’s Conservative Party, colorful stories began circulating about Duncan Smith,

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A London Political Bestiary

From the West End, to the Square Mile, out into the most featureless South London suburbs, London is full of political resonances and the memories of old controversies.  From all kinds of streets, roads, avenues, broadways, high streets, rises, hills,

Clark’s Tale
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Clark’s Tale

Alan Clark, who died in 1999 at the age of 71, was one of the Conservative Party’s most iconoclastic, amusing, and controversial—yet thoughtful—figures. In a party top-heavy with temporizers and economic reductionists, in an age full of angst, his cheerful

Waking Up to Dumbing Down
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Waking Up to Dumbing Down

Chronicles readers may be rather tired of hearing about “dumbing down,” but the ugly term is just now starting to attain cliché status in Britain. Conservative newspapers like the Daily Telegraph and Daily Mail have begun to talk about dumbing

English Tracts
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English Tracts

        “England, with all thy faults, I love thee still.”
—William Cowper, The Task, II

For the last 300 years, “England” and “Britain” have been largely synonymous. When Glasgow-born General Sir John Moore lay dying at Corunna, his last words were

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Letter From London

Tony Blair’s regime manages to be simultaneously comic and tragic, with a slight tilt toward tragedy. The government is made up of chinless Christian Socialists, Anglophobe Scots, aggrieved proletarians, shrewish women, and militant homosexuals—most of whom seem to detest each

Simple Pleasures
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Simple Pleasures

From 1957 to 1990, Michael Wharton, under the pen name of “Peter Simple,” was partly or solely responsible for writing the Daily Telegraph‘s famous “Way of the World” column. Now well into his 80’s, he continues to write in

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New Gaybour

In 1988, the Conservative government passed the Local Government Act. The most controversial part of the Act was Section 28, Subsection 1 stated:

A local authority should not (a) intentionally promote homosexuality or publish material with the intention of promoting

Best of British Conservatism
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Best of British Conservatism

        “Hail, happy Britain! Highly favored isle, And Heaven’s peculiar care!”—William Somerville

British conservative circles are awash with books at the moment. Apart from the usual think-tank reports and surveys, we have seen recently John Major’s and Norman Lamont’s memoirs, John

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Drawing the Blairite Battle Lines

Speaking to a Labour Party conference in October, British Prime Minister Tony Blair made a vainglorious speech he may live to regret. His words heartened some of his more enthusiastic supporters, but shocked the shires and clarified the ideological battle

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Lawrencemania and Anglophobia

“Into hell” read the headline in the tabloid Daily Mirror on February 24, 1999. The Mirror‘s reporter had “walked the streets where racism is a way of life—and death.” He had found “racism seeping from every pore,” and his

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A Valediction for Enoch Powell

Enoch Powell is dead, and it is as if a hill has suddenly vanished from the horizon. British life, conservative life, political philosophy, economic philosophy, classicism, Biblical studies, and learning generally are all the poorer for the death of this

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In Trouble Again

Jean-Marie Le Pen is in trouble again. Imagine if Pat Buchanan had just scored a major political success, which had put him within reach of real political power—and then, just as he was reaching out to taste the fruits of

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Picking Up the Conservative Pieces

Conservatives, with and without an upper case “c,” have still not recovered from last year’s electoral disaster. Even the drama of the Conservative Party leadership election, and the surprisingly comfortable Conservative victory at the subsequent Uxbridge by-election, have not removed

The Gascon of Europe
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The Gascon of Europe

Now that communism is dead, a new specter is haunting much of Europe—the specter of nationalism. In several countries, for the first time since World War II, what may be conveniently termed nationalist, right-wing, populist parties are on the verge

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Allah in Piccadilly

        “The retrogressive tendencies of the masses were invariably reinforced by the periodic invasions of aliens who had no respect for official deities or temple creeds.”
—Donald A. McKenzie, Myths of Babylonia and Assyria

Just over a year after the opening

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Saving the Irish From Civilization

Despite Dublin’s busy streets, Dublin still has a country-town atmosphere, and the visitor has a definite sense of being just a little behind the times. Part of the reason for this ambiance is that Dublin is a very small capital