Future Events

NCF Book launch


Self-denigration in British Culture

Edited by Peter Whittle

Foreword by Michael Burleigh

Thursday 25th November 2010 6.30pm- 8.30pm

at 55 Tufton Street, Westminster, London SW1P 3AY

If you would like to attend RSVP to prwhittle@btinternet.com or 0207 340 6059

Self-loathing permeates our culture to such an extent that we no longer even see it for what it is. For many of us, it has come to be the natural way of looking at the world. We have become used to living in a permanent state of cultural cringe, of apology, of guilt for real or imagined acts; where our opinion formers appear to agree that western culture is an indefensible horror.

The aim of this collection of essays is to illustrate how self-denigration operates in both specific and general areas of contemporary life. So, along with Helen Szamuely’s essay on history teaching in schools, Emma French’s exploration of the effects of cultural self-laceration in higher education and Marc Sidwell’s analysis of the big state as an expression of self-distrust, we have Gulliver Ralston examining the effects of self-hatred on music education, Paul Seaman on corporate image-building, Juliet Samuel on the environmentalist movement and Douglas Murray on how our response to radical Islam is being compromised. Tony Wells describes the minefield of a simple dinner party among the middle-class intelligentsia, Guy Stagg makes an argument for religion as an expression of self-hate, and Richard D. North describes how so-called ‘anti-elitism’ is another facet of the same phenomenon.

We have aimed to be constructive in this collection, to offer up ways out of self-hatred. Leadership is not just about economics, and the sooner our own elected representatives acknowledge that the burning issues of our time are cultural ones, the better. In the words of countless demonstrators over the years, it is time to ‘Stop the Hate’.

Table manners by Tony Wells

Over the rainbow: How radical environmentalists thwarted Copenhagen by Juliet Samuel

There’s no such thing as the state  by Marc Sidwell

Cultural self-effacement in music education by Gulliver Ralston

How public relations sells western firms short by Paul Seaman

‘Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe’: Cultural self-laceration in British universities by Emma French

Mea maxima culpa: Religion and the sanctity of self-hatred by Guy Stagg

How do self-hatred and self-blame shape our response to radical Islam? by Douglas Murray

History came to a . by Helen Szamuely

The country that hates itself: Why curing anti-elitism can sort things out by Richard D. North

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Submitted by peterwhittle on Fri, 2010-11-05 17:35.

X-Factor: Singing In The Name of Quality?

NCF Director - Peter Whittle - To speak At Battle Of Ideas Festival Event

X-Factor: Singing In The Name of Quality?


The Royal College of Music, Prince Consort Road, South Kensington, London SW7 2BS

Thursday 14th October  - 7pm - 8.30pm

The purpose of this event is to "look in depth at the value of great singing and what goes into creating great singers, so the programme primarily serves as a useful metaphor to discuss the position of the high arts to popular culture today."

Along with Peter, other speakers include - Mark Frith, the Editor of Time Out London and former Editor of Smash Hits and Heat Magazine, Michael Rosewell, Director of Opera at the Royal College of Music, Norman Lebrecht, writer and Cultural commentator and others. The event is Chaired by the Co-ordinator for the Battle Satellites David Bowden.

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Submitted by valentinerossetti on Thu, 2010-10-07 21:02.

Forthcoming Event: Melanie Phillips

You are invited to hear

Melanie Phillips


The World Turned Upside Down

on Thursday 21st October at 7pm

at 55 Tufton Street, Westminster, London SW1P 3QL

RSVP to prwhittle@btinternet.com or on 020 7340 6059

In what we tell ourselves is an age of reason, we are behaving increasingly irrationally. An astonishing number of people subscribe to celebrity endorsed cults, Mayan armageddon prophecies, scientism, and other varieties of new age, anti-enlightenment philosophies. Millions more advance popular conspiracy theories: AIDS was created in a CIA laboratory, Princess Diana was assassinated, and the 9/11 attacks were an inside job.

In her new book The World Turned Upside Down, Melanie Phillips explains that the basic cause of all this unreason is the erosion of the building blocks of western civilization. We tell ourselves that faith and reason are incompatible, but the opposite is the case.

It was Christianity and the Hebrew Bible, Phillips asserts, that gave us our concepts of reason, progress, and an orderly world on which science and modernity are based. Without its religious traditions, the West has drifted into mass derangement where truth and lies, right and wrong, victim and aggressor are all turned upside down. Scientists skeptical of global warming are hounded from their posts, Israel is demonized, and the US is vilified over the war on terror—all on the basis of blatant falsehoods and obscene propaganda.

Worst of all, asserts Phillips, this abandonment of rationality leaves the West vulnerable to its legitimate threats. Faced with the very real challenges of spiraling demographics and violent, confrontational Islamism, the West is no longer willing or able to defend the modernity and rationalism that it once brought into being.

Melanie Phillips is an award-winning columnist for the Daily Mail. Educated at Oxford, she won the Orwell Prize for journalism in 1996. She is the author of Londonistan, All Must Have Prizes, and other books. She appears regularly on the BBC's Question Time, Any Questions and Radio 4's Moral Maze. Her regular blog appears on the Spectator website.

The World Turned Upside Down is published by Encounter Books

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Submitted by peterwhittle on Tue, 2010-09-21 12:16.

Arts Debate next Wednesday

Spectator Debate - It's Time for the Arts to stop sponging off the taxpayer 

The economy is still recovering from deep recession, and government cuts dominate the national debate, so it is time to put the public funding of the arts on trial. Are they an unnecessary indulgence or is it more important than ever that the taxpayer champions culture? This Spectator debate promises to get to the heart of Britain’s love-hate relationship with the public arts in the 21st century.

Speakers for the motion:

Marc Sidwell, Research fellow, New Culture Forum Marc Sidwell is a research fellow at the New Culture Forum. His report for the NCF on the Arts Council, Managed to Death?, was published in 2009. He is currently a research fellow and media director for the International Policy Network, a think tank specialising in market solutions to development, environmental and trade issues. He also recently co-authored a history of liberal education, The School of Freedom, with Professor Anthony O’Hear and his study on the impact of religion on poverty will be published by the Social Affairs Unit in summer 2010.

Antonia Senior, Editor, Eureka and Columnist, The Times Antonia Senior edits Eureka, the monthly magazine from the Times dedicated to science, life and the planet. She is a weekly columnist for the paper, covering a range of topics from drugs to feminism and from science to economics. Antonia has worked at the Times for 12 years, and has held various roles during that time, including leader writer, deputy business editor and personal finance editor. She is an enthusiastic lover of arts, particularly opera and theatre. However, with a young family, Antonia’s cultural calendar is now mostly dominated by Peppa Pig and Bob the Builder.

Nigel Farage, MEP for South East England, UKIP Following his education at Dulwich College, Nigel joined the London Metal Exchange and built a career as a commodity broker. He was locally active in the Conservative party from his schooldays until the overthrow of Margaret Thatcher, and was a founder member of UKIP in 1993. He was party chairman between 1997 and 2000. Since 1999 he has been MEP for South East England. He is currently standing as UKIP’s Parliamentary candidate for Thanet South.

Speakers Against the motion:

Ben Bradshaw MP, Shadow culture spokesman Ben Bradshaw is currently the shadow spokesman for culture, media and sport, having been the Secretary of State at that department for a year until the General Election. Before entering Parliament as MP for Exeter in 1997, Ben was first a newspaper journalist, and then a BBC Radio reporter. In 1989, as a fluent German speaker, he was posted to Berlin and subsequently covered the fall of the Berlin Wall. In 1993, Ben won a Sony Radio Award for radio journalism. His hobbies include hiking in Devon and Cornwall, going to the theatre, and spending time with his godchildren.

Matthew Taylor, Chief Executive, RSA Matthew Taylor became chief executive of the RSA in November 2006. Prior to this appointment, he was chief adviser on political strategy to the Prime Minister. Between 1999 and 2003 he was director of the Institute for Public Policy Research, Britain’s leading centre-left think tank. He has written numerous articles, frequently appears on television and radio, and co-authored a book What are children for? with his father, Laurie Taylor.

Ed Vaizey MP, Minister for Culture, Communications and Creative Industries Born in 1968, Ed Vaizey attended Merton College, Oxford. After university he spent two years working as a political researcher, before training and practising as a barrister. From 1996-2004 he was director of a public relations company. In 2004 he became a political speechwriter. Mr Vaizey was shadow culture and creative industries minister between 2006 and 2010. He married Alex in September 2005. They live in Sparsholt and London with their son Joseph and daughter Martha.

Join The Spectator debate, chaired by Andrew Neil, on Wednesday 15 September 2010 at Church House, Westminster SW1 between 6.45pm and 8.30pm.

Tickets priced at £30 (inc VAT) RESERVE your place by calling The Spectator events team on 0207 961 0044 quoting the reference DEBATE06 or email debate6@pressholdings.com  

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Submitted by peterwhittle on Fri, 2010-09-10 12:34.
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