Category Archives: British Politics

Art, Identity Politics, and Unmaking the West

By Kyle Orton (@KyleWOrton) on November 2, 2016

1

Sohrab Ahmari’s The New Philistines is a crisp and concise polemic. While the book’s focus is “a crisis in the art world,” Ahmari’s dissection of modern art’s failure has implications for the trajectory of the entire liberal Western project.

As Ahmari notes, the complaint that bad art is being considered good is as old as civilization. Ahmari argues persuasively, however, that what is going wrong now is “qualitatively worse than all that came before” because the custodians of our heritage have not redefined the standards of objective beauty and at least a search for truth but have discarded them.

In place of the old standards is a cult of identity politics—a mix of “radical feminism, racial grievance, anti-capitalism, and queer theory”—that has no need for truth-seeking; “truth” is only a means of inflicting upon people an order that is racist, sexist, and homophobic by design, according to the identitarians, which is why their pre-set answers and simply inept art is acceptable, because it advances the cause of challenging this unjust system.

Identity politicization is “one calamity among many” in the art world, yet it has implications far and wide. The identitarians’ own relativistic logic divides the human species into competing tribes whose only interest should be a search for power. With this, the identitarians lay bare their illiberal heart and the danger they pose well beyond the art world.

Ahmari has three chapters. The first covers the reopening of Shakespeare’s Globe and its takeover by the identitarians. The second examines Artforum, the leading contemporary arts magazine in the United States. And in the third Ahmari gives a tour of the London arts scene. Continue reading

More Police Are No Substitute for Tackling Islamist Ideology

By Kyle Orton (@KyleWOrton) on August 5, 2016

Published at Newsweek

In the past two years, and especially over the last month, the Islamic State militant group has launched a coordinated campaign of terrorism in Europe. Among these recent attacks was the murder of 84 people in Nice by a man who ploughed a truck into Bastille Day crowds, and the brutal killing of a priest in Normandy when two young men stormed a church.

Now, the number of armed police in London, and ultimately across the U.K., is set to increase significantly. These additional forces will patrol landmarks and other areas where large numbers of people congregate. An attack in Britain is “highly likely … a case of when, not if,” according to the commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe. A stabbing in the British capital Wednesday is not currently being treated as an extremist act but has underlined the perceived need for an increased police presence. Continue reading

Brexit: Some Thoughts

By Kyle Orton (@KyleWOrton) on July 2, 2016

1

In the immediate aftermath of the 23 June referendum vote in which the United Kingdom chose to leave the European Union there was a good deal of chaos in British politics. The Prime Minister resigned, a full-scale revolt erupted against the Leader of the Opposition, the pound plunged to its lowest level since 1985, and a nasty spate of racist incidents were recorded across the country. At a week’s remove, some order has begun to re-assert itself. Continue reading

Why I Can’t Bring Myself To Vote On May 7

By Kyle Orton (@KyleWOrton) on April 20, 2015

Cross-posted from Agora

1

There are few people in British public life more destructive, especially among the young, than Russell Brand, not least because of his poisonous advice that people should not vote. When I first saw him proffer this advice on Newsnight—where I could not believe he had been invited and then taken seriously—it seemed to me a form of vandalism, using his prominent and comfortable position to urge those less comfortable to throw away one of the few levers they had to make their lot better.

But now I find the only way I could cast a ballot in the upcoming Election is if there was an option for “None of the Above”. I can only differentiate myself by noting both the very considerable gulf in our audiences, and thus responsibilities, and that I do not seek to advise anybody, only explain my own personal decision. Continue reading

Film Review: The Paedophile Hunter (2014) by Stinson Hunter

By Kyle Orton (@KyleWOrton) on October 3, 2014

“The Paedophile Hunter,” which aired on Wednesday (October 1), is still trending on Twitter. The heart of the program is the moral dilemma over vigilantism—think Dexter, but in this case the crime it is the foulest of all: child rape.

Having pre-judged it by the response on social media, I have to concede that the methods of the “hunters” are fairer than I had imagined. Continue reading

Good Riddance To Sayeeda Warsi

By Kyle Orton (@KyleWOrton) on August 5, 2014

Sayeeda Warsi, gone at last

Sayeeda Warsi, gone at last

Sayeeda Warsi should long ago have been ejected from the British Cabinet. It is to David Cameron’s eternal shame that he has allowed Ms. Warsi to pick the timing of this, announcing her resignation this morning over the government’s stand on the Israel-HAMAS war. Continue reading

What Would Islamic Theocracy Look Like If It Came To The West? Quite A Lot Like Tower Hamlets.

By Kyle Orton (@KyleWOrton) on May 23, 2014

Lutfur Rahman

With attention presently focused on the London borough of Tower Hamlets over allegations of massive voting fraud and other corruptions in yesterday’s Mayoral Election and the scenes of policemen having to guard British Election booths because of the high likelihood that the State authorities in this area will falsify the result, it seems like a good moment to have a look how it got to this. Continue reading