Hopelessly out of date and ruinously expensive: Tory knives are out for HS2

Will there ever be a better time for Boris Johnson to take unpopular decisions? The Labour Party lies in ruins, seemingly determined not to learn the lessons of its election defeat. The Conservatives are at his feet, unable to believe the size of the majority he won.

His Cabinet meetings have become a chorus of sycophancy, with even the Prime Minister looking bored by the various declarations of admiration. He will perhaps never have as much personal political power as he has now. The question facing No 10 is what he intends to do with it.

His stated mission is to get Brexit done, which will keep him busy this year – but now is the time to kill off expensive bad ideas. He has started to draw…

Prince Harry was devoted to the Armed Forces. His departure is a terrible shame

Prince Harry earned huge respect among the Armed Forces for his 10 years of military service. One of the most privileged men in the land, there were many people who did not want him to put his life on the line in the battle zone of Afghanistan where so many British troops were killed and maimed. Unlike most soldiers, he had to personally fight the system to get himself into action. But in the face of opposition from a government worried by the risk to national prestige if he was killed, wounded or captured, he eventually arrived in Afghanistan “with butterflies in my stomach”.

Soldiers who served alongside him during his two tours in Afghanistan, on the ground and in the air, have spoken of Harry’s…

Intolerant Labour can’t afford to become the anti-Catholic party

Fifty-nine years ago today, the first (and so far, only) Roman Catholic president of the United States was inaugurated. It was an easier journey for John F Kennedy than for many other presidents of less privileged origins, but in at least one regard, he found the going extremely tough: the question of his faith almost ended his campaign.

The issue of who President Kennedy would be taking orders from – the country or the Vatican – was raised continuously by political opponents, even before he won his party’s nomination. Only when he made his famous address to a gathering of Protestant ministers in Texas on September 6, 1960, that he believed “in an America where separation of church and state…

Appeasement has failed to curb Iran’s malign Middle Eastern ambitions

As the mortars and rockets crashed in on British soldiers defending Basra Palace in early 2007, it became apparent that much of the ammunition in the hands of the Iraqi Shia militias that were attacking our troops originated from Iran – supplied by the late Major General Qassim Soleimani’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) Quds Force. 

Boris Johnson was therefore quite right to say at the weekend that we should not lament his death. Soleimani had British blood on his hands, in addition to much American and even more Muslim blood. More widely, the expansion of the IRGC’s malign influence under his leadership has become a major destabilising factor across a wide swathe of the Middle East…

Why does Labour have such a problem with patriotism?

Patriotism is a prerequisite for electoral success. A party needs to show that it is committed to the country it aspires to run, that it feels a connection with its own people that goes beyond its vague benignity toward the human race.

Jeremy Corbyn’s distaste for British institutions and symbols was the single biggest cause of his defeat. It set the context in which voters interpreted Labour’s Brexit U-turn.

In different circumstances, Labour might have been able to shift its position on the EU without losing so many supporters. But Corbyn had established the tone at the start of his leadership when he refused to sing the national anthem at a Battle of Britain memorial service.

His readiness…

One Nation Toryism rests on patriotism, a concept the Left struggles to understand

Britain’s elites have not reacted well to Boris Johnson’s victory. Here are some of the responses to his triumph, all voiced by members of what we might reasonably call the Establishment: “The Arch-Mountebank has shown himself a supreme cad.” “Bloated with ego and over-feeding, punctuated by heroics and hot air; I can’t tell you how depressed I feel about it.” “It is incredible that a man in his position should make such gaffes.” “I am terrified of Boris, the only thing to be said is, he is preferable to Corbyn”.

Actually, I just played a little trick on you. That last quote should have read: “I am terrified of Winston, the only thing to be said is, he is preferable to L[loyd] G[eorge]”. Its…

Boris Johnson is getting Brexit done, and there is nothing his opposition can do to stop him

Boris Johnson has shown what he can do with his massive majority by passing his Brexit deal through the House of Commons at second reading without a sweat.

That 358-238 win, marking a thumping majority in favour of the deal in principle of 124, was a welcome departure from the previous parliament, which was dogged by agonisingly constant stasis as the Government staggered on to survive through endless knife-edge votes. While Mr Johnson managed to persuade MPs in the tail-end of that hung parliament to back his deal at second reading by a majority of 30, that was only by coaxing Labour MPs with a bevy of baubles. Even then, those Labourites only backed it in the hope of softening the terms even…

Of course the PM was right to ditch Davos – this corporatist charade has nothing to do with prosperity

So Boris and his ministers will not be attending Davos, next month’s annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in the Swiss Alps. This is one contribution to reducing carbon emissions that is to be welcomed. No doubt we will be told by the Left that the fact that he does not want to fly to an expensive ski resort to hob-knob with the global elite is because he is insular and narrow-minded. In reality, this decision fits perfectly with a more complex political strategy.

The first group that will be enthused by his decision is composed of the people David Goodhart called “Somewheres”. "Somewheres" in the main, connect strongly with “place”. They are not especially mobile, have strong geographical…

Boris Johnson’s 2020 deadline shows he is laying down the law on Brexit

Boris Johnson’s move to recognise the legal status quo – that the United Kingdom is set to fully leave the European Union after 31 December 2020 – has certainly caused a stir.

The same pundits who excitably argued that the Prime Minister would use his majority to defy his Brexiteer colleagues and pursue a softer Brexit, despite winning his mandate on a promise to pass that "oven-ready" deal, are now adamant that outlawing an extension to the transition is an unfathomable act of self-constraint.

Despite the froth from some about the Prime Minister apparently not needing to make this move, anyone who paid attention during the election campaign will find this is only to be expected. The Tories ruled…

There is no way back now for the pulverised, pig-headed Labour Party

Corbyn’s virtue signalling London club is biologically incapable of representing the working-class

In the harsh light of this brilliant new dawn, the Labour Party has never looked more ugly. Jeremy Corbyn is writhing defiance made flesh. Despite leading his party into the worst defeat since 1935, he growled in his final speech that his manifesto policies had “huge popular support”.

His frontbench henchmen are out in force on the BBC, whining nasally about the difficulties of “cutting through the noise of Brexit” and conspiracy theorising the power of “the Murdoch Press”. Meanwhile Momentum is squirming stupidly like a snake that has been drained of its venom. Its leader Laura Parker can only…