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Fascists of the world, unite (in St Petersburg)

The first Russian International Conservative Forum took place in the country’s imperial capital two days ago, and let me tell you: conservatism ain’t what it used to be.

I’ll give you a clue: the British delegation was led by Nick Griffin, who denies the Holocaust ever happened but hopes it will.

Nick led the BNP for a number of years, and I don’t mean my French bank. Then last year he was expelled from the party for racist and anti-Semitic extremism. That’s like being drummed out of Isis for excessive cruelty.

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Lee Kuan Yew: the triumph of intelligence over democracy

The death of one of the greatest modern statesmen didn’t touch me emotionally. I’ve never been to Singapore, have no desire to go there and have little sympathy for the kind of money-obsessed, sterile, excruciatingly modern country Lee created.

Yet Lee’s death made me think about Britain, the country that does touch me emotionally – even though most Brits now subscribe to the same philistine values Lee championed with such thundering success.

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Is Finland next? Or Denmark? With Putin, one never knows

Countries ruled by law are rather dull, wouldn’t you say? Before they do anything interesting they have to go through a slow legislative process, which takes all the fun out.

Not so tyrannies ruled by the will of one man. They never lose the ability to surprise because no man, including one in power, is ever entirely predictable.

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Conservatism vs. libertarianism

Opening remarks in a debate at The Freedom Festival, Bournemouth, 2015:

 

“O liberty, what crimes are committed in thy name!” cried Marie-Antoinette on her way to the guillotine.

Indeed the Enlightenment shifted liberty to the fore of political desiderata. Since that shift, and largely because of it, the world has suffered the most oppressive tyrannies in history.

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Perfect time to remove sanctions on Putin

I, along no doubt with Peter Hitchens, have heaved a sigh of relief. For a while there I was genuinely concerned about Vlad's continued good health, what with his having taken 10 days out of his public life.

That disappearance act gave rise to all sorts of rumours, ranging from a fatal disease to a palace coup to a sort of paternity leave, with Vlad attending the birth of his illegitimate child.

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Freedom vs. privacy – speech delivered at the Freedom Festival, Bournemouth, 2015

“Those who surrender freedom for security will not have, nor do they deserve, either one,” wrote Benjamin Franklin.

In common with most pronouncements by Enlightenment thinkers, this is a pithy, epigrammatic phrase. There’s only one problem. It’s not true.

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Shall I compare thee to Oswald Mosley or Enoch Powell, Nigel?

Two months before the general election an open season on Nigel Farage is in full swing, with Tories especially firing at will from the lip.

To be fair, Farage presents an inviting target, what with his tendency to say things that may be correct, but not politically correct.

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Allahu (and Jesus) akbar!

The Reverend Giles Goddard, vicar at St John's in Waterloo, came into some unfair criticism for holding an 'inclusive mosque' service at his church, at the end of which he invited the congregation to praise "the god that we love, Allah".

All those reactionary sticklers for the letter of canon law are up in arms, which only goes to show how far the spirit of reconciliation is away from their hearts. Some even felt that such a hybrid service pushed ecumenism too far.

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Lord Curzon, teaching Muslims (and us) a lesson

The Islamic State has just blown up a 10th century Chaldean Catholic church in Iraq and bulldozed a nearby graveyard.

Of course, multi-culti rectitude demands that we, well, if not exactly applaud such cultural self-expression, then at least acknowledge its validity.

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Attempt on the life of President ‘Oh bummer!’

Only what’s left of Obama’s political life is under attack, I hasten to reassure his fans, though one can detect a distinct longing in some quarters to jeopardise his physical existence as well.

Given that the Republicans control both Houses of Congress, Obama is a lame duck. Still, as he still possesses presidential powers, there’s no shortage of volunteers to cook the bird in orange sauce.

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