Jeremy Hugh Baron trained as a physician and scientist in Oxford, London and New York and lives in the latter two cities with honorary posts in the medical schools of Imperial College and Mount Sinai. His latest book is Anglo-American Biomedical Antecedents of Nazi Crimes Michael Burleigh has recently been lecturing to the Sri Lankan Defence Services Command Staff College in Sri Lanka. His latest book, Moral Combat: A History of WW2, will be published in May. Matthew Carr is a portrait artist working in monochrome charcoal and conté pencil. He is working towards an exhibition next year at Marlborough Fine Art. Nick Cohen is a columnist for the Observer. His latest book is Waiting for the Etonians, and he blogs on current affairs for Standpoint at www.standpointmag.co.uk/nick-cohen Tim Congdon is a former adviser to the Treasury and the founder of Lombard Street Research. His most recent book is Keynes, the Keynesians and Monetarism (Edward Elgar). Anthony Daniels worked for many years as a prison doctor. His latest book, as Theodore Dalrymple, is In Praise of Prejudice: The Necessity of Preconceived Ideas. Jessica Duchen is a music journalist and the author of the novel Songs of Triumphant Love. She blogs on music at standpointmag. co.uk/jessica-duchen Myron Ebell is director of energy and global warming policy at the Competitive Enterprise Institute and chairman of the Cooler Heads Coalition, which aims to dispel myths about global warming. Richard Godwin is a columnist for the London Evening Standard, where he is also deputy arts editor. Nigel Hawkes has been Science Editor for the Observer and The Times. He is director of the pressure group Straight Statistics (straightstatistics.org), which campaigns for the honest collection, use and presentation of statistics. Dan Jacobson is Professor Emeritus of English Literature at University College London. His most recent novel is All For Love. Robert Low is a former Spanish correspondent of the Observer and author of La Pasionaria, The Spanish Firebrand. Caroline Moorehead is the biographer of Bertrand Russell, Freya Stark, Iris Origo and Martha Gellhorn. She has also published a history of the Red Cross and a book about refugees,
Ferdinand Mount’s most recent book is Cold Cream. He is a former editor of the TLS. Douglas Murray is Director of the Centre for Social Cohesion.
Vanessa Neumann has a PhD in political philosophy from Columbia University and is a former lecturer at Hunter College, New York.
She is Editor-at-Large of Diplomat magazine. Eric Ormsby is the author of Ghazali: The Revival of Islam. His latest volume of poetry is Time’s Covenant. Julia Pettengill is an associate fellow at the Henry Jackson Society. Michael Prodger is literary editor of the Sunday Telegraph. Hamish Robinson is the author of The Gift Returned. The poems in Text II have been extracted from the libretto of a short “operatic entertainment” on wine, entitled The Lovely Ladies, set to Peter Cowdrey’s music, which will be premièred in London in May. Mark Ronan is Honorary Professor of Mathematics at University College London, and author of Symmetry and the Monster. Joshua Rozenberg is a former legal correspondent for the BBC and the Daily Telegraph. He writes a legal blog at standpointmag.co.uk/law Lionel Shriver is the author of We Need to Talk About Kevin, which won the 2005 Orange Prize. Her new novel, So Much for That, will be published in March next year. Lord Skidelsky, the biographer of Keynes, is Emeritus Professor of Political Economy at the University of Warwick. His book While Thinking about Britain in the 20th Century will be published in January. Gina Thomas is the UK cultural correspondent of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. Alexander Waugh’s most recent book is The House of Wittgenstein. Frances Weaver is Standpoint’s web editor and Web Sightings columnist. Jamie Whyte, a former lecturer in philosophy at Cambridge, is Head of Research and Publishing at Oliver Wyman, an international management consulting firm. Special thanks to Isaac Bate
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Standpoint December 2009 Issue 18
Manchester Square 3
Counterpoints Podgy predictions; Research rot; Sentimental justice; Obama and Iran; Act on sovereignty; Wind of climate change 10 Columns Jurisprudence Joshua Rozenberg condemns the misuse of “lawfare” against Israel 18
Marketplace Tim Congdon explains how the UK was saved from financial ruin 19 Living History Michael Burleigh wonders whether history is repeating itself in Afghanistan 20 The Outsider Douglas Murray attacks Nick Clegg’s evasions on anti-Semitism 21 Points East & West Emanuele Ottolenghi says we’re wrong to pin our hopes on Russia over Iran 22 European Eye Mara Delius recalls how she fell in love with England 23 The Mole Our insider reveals why he won’t miss working in academia 24 Letters Dignity of death; Silence is golden; Transgender bias; Boulez isn’t so bad; Helping your local; Mistaken identities 26 Dispatches Vanessa Neumann rides tall down on the ranch in deepest Montana 28 Feature A bold voice at a miserable time Gina Thomas highlights the bravery of Adam von Trott 50
Coverlines The price of Cameron’s compassion Daniel Johnson considers the origins, aims and costs of the Conservative leader’s “Big Society” 36
Dialogue What would Keynes say? Tim Congdon and Robert Skidelsky go head to head on the great economist’s message for today 30
On the contrary Lionel Shriver worries about a weighty family problem 17
Web Sightings In her new column about the internet, Frances Weaver examines Twitter 25
Features Is the internet a tool of tyranny? Nick Cohen warns against censorship on the Web 40
When humans are just pieces of cargo Caroline Moorehead reports on the rise in global trafficking 44
COVER ILLUSTRATION byandrécariliho
Civilisation Critique Dan Jacobson: Eliot versus Hardy 54 Books Eric Ormsby on A History of Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years by Diarmaid MacCulloch and A New History of Early Christianity by Charles Freeman; Ferdinand Mount on the Oxford Dictionary of Quotations, seventh edition, edited by Elizabeth Knowles and the Oxford Companion to English Literature, seventh edition, edited by Dinah Birch; Alexander Waugh on Harmony and Discord: The Real Life of Johann Sebastian Bach by Julian Shuckburgh; Robert Low on Papa Spy by Jimmy Burns; Louis Amis on The Humbling by Philip Roth; and Richard Godwin on The Original of Laura by Vladimir Nabokov 56 Film Peter Whittle celebrates the conservatism behind vigilante movies 66 Television Nick Cohen admires the liberalism of Garrow’s Law 67 Music Jessica Duchen applauds a new staging of Handel’s Messiah 69 Art Michael Prodger examines a very British sub-genre: the conversation piece 70 Theatre Minette Marrin compares three plays about identity and angst 71 Text Jeremy Hugh Baron How much should we know about our leaders’ health? 72 Hamish Robinson New Verse 76 Imagination Party Lines Daisy Waugh overhears parents’ worry about sex education; Whatever by Peter Blegvad The Saga of Smit & Smule continues 77 Drawing Board Matthew Carr portraits and studies 78 Overrated/Underrated Al Gore/Vaclav Klaus by Myron Ebell 80 Chess Dominic Lawson pays tribute to a modest master 82