Is this the beginning of the end for our toxic woke culture?

Ricky Gervais and Laurence Fox have won plaudits for challenging the prevailing progressive ideology. Expect other celebrities to follow suit

In April 2006, American comedian Stephen Colbert was asked to perform at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, an occasion historically used to mock the sitting president, the media and celebrities in attendance. 

Colbert used this opportunity to skewer then-president George W. Bush while standing a few feet away from him and his entourage. It was a moment of extraordinary courage in which a comic spoke truth to power that sent an important message which reverberated around the globe: in a free country, no one is exempt from criticism and even those…

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…

Boris should only back Trump over Iran if it’s in the UK’s interests

Anyone who spent Christmas catching up on The Crown on Netflix will have marvelled at the portrayal of Harold Wilson by Jason Watkins. For my generation, Wilson was the towering political figure during our most formative years, becoming prime minister in 1964, winning a landslide bigger than Boris’s in 1966, being ousted in 1970 only to return in 1974 before resigning unexpectedly in 1976.

Growing up, Wilson was the first Prime Minister I remember and that is in no small part to do with the way he was caricatured by the mimic Mike Yarwood, a regular on TV in the days when there were just three channels to watch. Watkins captures the voice and mannerisms brilliantly.

Wilson’s reputation is not…

Letters: Inept forest management laid the ground for the fires in Australia

SIR – The root cause of the bush fires in Australia is its government’s abysmal record on forest management.

In 1999 this was taken over by the state authorities, which made any private involvement in preventing the spread of fire virtually impossible. They did not prioritise personal safety or the protection of property, or carry out the traditional spring burning to create the necessary fire-control lines.

Those who feared for trees or birds were allowed to impede the burning programmes. Last spring, although it was clear that an exceptional effort would be required, the outcome was poor. Weather conditions meant that the burning season was short, and protesters further hampered efforts. In…

Team Corbyn will stop at nothing to derail Sir Keir Starmer’s campaign to replace their Dear Leader

Sir Keir Starmer was not yet a Member of Parliament when the current framework for electing a Labour leader was introduced.

Back in 2014, Ed Miliband oversaw a review which opened the party up to more or less anyone with £3 in their pocket, a move which at the time seemed refreshingly modern, akin to the open primary systems in the United States or France.

We don’t know Sir Keir’s thoughts at the time, but like the vast majority of centrists he presumably welcomed the outcome of the review, triggered by a vote-rigging scandal in the Scottish constituency of Falkirk.

The new system was supposed to weaken the influence of the Left and trade unions, accused of meddling in the selection process to…

The Conservative Party has always been the real reforming force in British politics

There is now less than a month to go until our departure from the EU and a new beginning to our history as an independent, self-governing state. A couple of weeks ago I wrote that I was looking forward to seeing the word "Brexit" leaving the world of current political discourse and entering the pages of history, so that Boris Johnson and his colleagues can get on with meeting the challenges of 2020 and beyond.

At its best the Conservative Party has been a party of change, daring to do what self-styled progressives and reformists would never attempt. The great reformer Disraeli was our first Jewish Prime Minister, Thatcher was our first woman Prime Minister and today the Cabinet which will oversee…

Until Labour learns the lessons of history it is doomed to irrelevance

Jess Phillips, one of the contenders for the Labour leadership, yesterday said the problem for the party at the recent election was no one trusted it to deliver on its promises. It does not seem to have occurred to her or any of the other potential candidates that the country thought the precise opposite.

Sir Keir Starmer, who has also announced his candidacy, said his aim was also to restore “trust” in Labour. The manifesto, he conceded, was “overloaded”, yet he did not resile from its ambitions.

But voters did not reject Labour because they felt Jeremy Corbyn could not implement a full-blooded socialist programme; they did so because they feared he would. The internal analysis of Labour’s worst…

Letters: The culture of the civil service must evolve to foster long-term planning

SIR – The reforms to the civil service proposed by the Prime Minister’s chief adviser, Dominic Cummings (Leading Article, January 3), are long overdue.

When I was a member of the Home Office’s advisory council on the misuse of drugs, I attended meetings for 15 years. In that time there was the usual high turnover of senior officials. It was remarkable how often suggestions from officials for council business would be greeted with the response from members: “We looked at that several years ago.”

There are, as you report (January 2), many problems with the rapid rotation of staff – including, I would add, the loss of long-term memory.

Leslie A King
Basingstoke, Hampshire

Dominic Cummings has called for 'weirdos' to shake up Whitehall Credit: Chris J Ratcliffe /Getty

SIR – I recognised the experiences…

Mr Trump was right to take on Iran – it has given him power over the situation

‘One type of paradise that men imagine is about streams, beautiful maidens, and lush landscape. But there is another kind of paradise – the battlefield,” once said General Qassim Soleimani, in a speech to fellow veterans of the Iran/Iraq war.

If you include commanding acts of terrorism as well as taking part in direct combat, Soleimani must have experienced his idea of paradise more often than almost anyone else on Earth. From the beginning of Ayatollah Khomeini’s revolution more than 40 years ago, he had been a soldier. Wherever Iran preached and exported its violent, imperial Shi’ism, he was there or thereabouts, undermining local sovereignties, destabilising Lebanon, helping Hizbollah, assisting…

My 60-something husband is an Airfix-obsessed man child, and there is nothing wrong with that

You’d have to have a heart of granite not to feel a swell of tenderness towards David Beckham after he was snapped by wife Victoria making a Land Rover Defender out of Lego. Few things shout “man child” as effectively as the sight of a furrow-browed adult male engaged in scale modelling.

I should know. One of the first things my husband confessed when I met him was that his favourite relaxation activity was making Airfix models – which turned out to be shorthand for a whole range of manfacturers (like Tamiya and Czech Mater Kits) spread over the warmongering globe. It was just as well I was primed when I first saw the giant stack of WWII planes, tanks and battleships in my beloved’s bedroom –…