« William Norton recommends some DVD classics... | Main | The Shadow Secretary of State for The And Theory »


Wow. I've just spent some time thinking and I can't come up with a single example of a film, artistic TV programme or writer of literature who's work is right wing. I have no idea what the Christian Art you mentioned constitutes. Jeffrey Archer? Andy McNab? Anne Widdecomb?

Perhaps Dalrymple? His stuff always seems cultured.

In the US there's South Park, thank you for Smoking, the crazy Rapture stuff etc.

Would seem a shame for this to be an award for a watchdog like the Biased BBC. The blog is absolutely superb but that would seem to be accepting that we have no real contributions to celebrate.

Like the technology award I think that this exposes, very clearly, an area for improvement.

I apologise Matthew because Biased-BBC was my first thought for the nomination. We should have privatised that monstrosity when we were in power, and I hope we do after the next election.

I agree though that we should be postive rather than negative, so I nominate Ann Coulter.

This is not a politically slanted nomination but because she is an attractive articulate intelligent conservative who understands how to get us back into the media - basically by being attractive articulate and intelligent. We need to find an equivalent on this side of the Pond.

Whilst I would never describe the mainstream media as 'culture' as I understand the word, news is an enormous part of our identity and society and the longer that people such as Andrew Marr are given free airtime and permitted to present themselves as impartial the longer our path back to power will be.

I don't know if this'll be seen as conservative but I think Nicholas Hytner, Artistic Director of the National Theatre, was absolutely superb in his tour of the studios and lecture theatres in opposition to the Religious Hatred Bill.

Shaun, that is an interesting nomination. I'm not familiar with Mr Hytner but he also sounds like a candidate for the "Unlikely Ally" category. What do you think?

I'd definitely nominate Dalrymple again for this one. As an example of his cultural criticism, I'd suggest his essay that explores why he believes that Terrence Rattigan is a better playwright than Harold Pinter, and so going completely against fashionable opinion.

The reason why "right-wing" authors are not more to be found is because literary criticism is so dominated by the left. At University, students are taught that "breaking conventions" is the only standard for judging a good piece of literature. Dalrymple totally exposes this shallow thinking, and in so doing completely challenges the conventional wisdom as to what is or is not good literature.

The CH Movie Reviews are the clear winner here, but as that is void perhaps Mark Steyn's?

Saw a good quote this morning: "No opera plot can be sensible, for people do not sing when they are feeling sensible." - WH Auden

Not sure if this fits in but I would nominate the BBC (shock!) for either Dragon's Den or The Apprentice for the culture category on the basis that these are both examples of mainstream entertainment that focus on initiative and entrepreneurial activity. Yes, I know they are essentially both 'Big Brother' but with companies but when was the last time you heard people discussing business formation as a result of a programme?

Not sure about Ann Coulter - she writes well but is essentially just the right's Michael Moore - both being a little shrill and selective of sources for my taste.

I would support South Park though.

There were the Deathwish films directed and produced by Michael Winner which it has to be said rejected the Post War Liberal Consensus regarding how the system deals with crime.

The other obvious nominee could be Prince Charles - not sure what he's up to re architecture and planning at the moment but, if he's up to something, I'm guessing that it will be quite conservative!

Not sure he would attend the award ceremony though...

Oh I don't know, I think he might Stephen B if he had enough notice.

I wonder whether the problem is that since the 50's - John Osborne etc: - it has always seemed much more daring, progressive and innovative to push the boundaries in culture, so that now we have reached a stage when breaking the boundaries per se is more important than the quality of the output!! And where does that leave us? Well I suppose late night Channel 4, quite often if you care to watch it.

Sir Tom Stoppard

If not a playwright of the right, Stoppard is certainly a antidote to Pinter, Hare et al on the left. A few of his plays are overtly political (eg Professional Foul), but many others contain political ideas that can be broadly classified as to the right (eg Jumpers, Night and Day).

My own favourites are the two short pays, Dogg’s Hamlet and Cahoot’s Macbeth, which are usually played together. Both deal with (political) manipulation of language. Every time I hear Gordon Brown talk about public expenditure as “investment”, I think of Stoppard.

I also support the nomination of South Park.

Surely "Yes Minister" and "The Prisoner" deserve nominations - still repeated on TV and available on DVD.

Ann Coulter is, IMO, a bigot and should not be considered.

I agree with Selsdon Man and disagree with Geoff. Her attitude to Muslims is beyond the pale.

Also Michael Warton (a.k.a Peter Simple from the Telegraph) should be considered. Britain's finest satirist and sadly missed. Not sure if this is more of a writer than a culture nomination though.

Yes Minister is indeed a very Conservative series, and the books which were produced to go with it even more so (the authors include a number of very acid comments on the bureaucratic/left-wing mindset).

"I agree with Selsdon Man and disagree with Geoff. Her attitude to Muslims is beyond the pale."

Surely it is her contribution and not her personal opinions that matter? Although if her contribution is based solely around Muslim-bashing then I accept she's probably not suitable.

What about Ian Curtess not sure if that's the corrected spelling~apologies if wrong~who wrote "The Falklands Play" which the BBC pulled as it showed Mrs Thatcher in too sympathetic a light.

Something that always intrigues me is why so many luvvies are Left leaning even after they become rich and famous. Has anyone any ideas as to why this shouild be?

I think we need some clarification. Are we going to allow entries from the US (e.g. South Park) or entries from older items still hanging around (Yes Minister etc.)?

I presumed both were disallowed.


It would be backward-looking to the 'golden era' of Thatcher if this were awarded to 'Yes Minister'. It would be a damning indictment of our failure to engage in contemporary culture, which we clearly do.

Instead of individual journalists, what about The Spectator magazine?

It is recognised globally as the Conservative 'in-house' journal, it is not afraid of being critical of the Party when necessary, and is increasingly perceived as the guardian of Conservative principles when the Party has ceased to be so. It also portrays being 'on the right' as an intelligent and respectable position.

How about Armando Iannucci for bis worryingly accurate portrayal of the government in "The Thick of It"?

"Tinseltown is no longer home to the likes of Frank Capra, Jimmy Stewart, John Wayne and Ronald Reagan."

What about the Governator?

Nomination-wise, I second James's suggestion for 'The Thick Of It'.

How about Vicky Pollard, as an example of the results of the death of Conservatism. ;)

Jeremy Clarkson

(I would slso recomend Clarkson for presenting future Tory party political broadcasts, a la the BT ads - if you're listening Central Office!)

Also suport the Apprentice and Dragons Den.

I think Matthew Sinclair is 100% right on it needing to be reasonably contemporary. Awarding Yes Minister would be a damning indictment of 'our' failure to produce owt since.

I also think MS is 50% right on ideally we should award something British but given the dominance of US culture I think we could - if necessary - award a significant import...

How about Wired Magazine as pushing forward a pragmatic progressivist IT based culture as inevitably new technology is the future of the earth without which the earth is doomed so modern culture has to adapt.

At the turn of the 20th century of course there was the Vorticist Movement that attempted to blend politics and culture into one emphasising the importance of technological development and human beings as being part of the Universe and not in control of it, humanity being a swirl of ideas like a vortex constantly changing turning in on itself, a flow like the weather - a dynamic positive movement lead by Wyndham Lewis with the magazine Blast.

Jeremy Clarkson

(I would slso recomend Clarkson for presenting future Tory party political broadcasts, a la the BT ads - if you're listening Central Office!)

Is he a Tory though? Strikes me as a Peter Hitchins like character who supports no one.

>>>>Jeremy Clarkson

(I would slso recomend Clarkson for presenting future Tory party political broadcasts, a la the BT ads - if you're listening Central Office!)

Is he a Tory though? Strikes me as a Peter Hitchins like character who supports no one.<<<<
A culture though is never partisan, political movements can produce good culture - political parties and governments never produce good culture, this is why state involvement in art, music and literature is inevitably a failure.

"Is he a Tory though? Strikes me as a Peter Hitchins like character who supports no one."

I don't believe we talking about party political contributions.

"I think Matthew Sinclair is 100% right on it needing to be reasonably contemporary. Awarding Yes Minister would be a damning indictment of 'our' failure to produce owt since"

Actually, this was my observation, Editor, not Matthew Sinclair's, but I'm used to being ignored.

If entries from the US work then I nominate South Park. Walking through central London to the LSE today I was reminded of the wonder that was "Die Hippies, Die".

Yes Nadim you did make one of the points that the Ed reiterated, Matthew Sinclair brought up the issue however.

Nicholas Hytner touring the studios speaking against the Govt's religious hatred nonsense. He wouldn't even understand HOW a Tory group could be aligned with what he said - even though he was eloquently articulating an anti-socialist, pro-Conservative point of view - which is a rather neat demonstration of the mountain Cameron is trying to help us climb.

There aren't any Tory cultural gurus. That's the whole point of being a Tory. Who would you rather read? George Orwell or Jane Austen (first Tory novellist that jumps to my mind).

Of course there's Iris Murdoch. I believe I remember her being interviewed by A N Wilson (another possible contender) in the 1980s/90s about how she started out a socialist but ended up thinking that la Thatch was what the country needed. Philosophy that obsesses me and obsessively I believe should obsess everyone and can be viewed as obsessing this website: which is better - to be nice or to be good? That was Iris' dilemma. She also wrote beautifully. And I'm willing to bet that a significant percentage of a significant minority group on this website was deeply influenced by The Bell.

What about her mentee, A S Byatt? She also speaks up for sound Tory sense on left wing cultural outposts like the Late Show. The Virgin In the Garden sequence is a beautiful reflection on how socialism got Britain wrong (I think, I could have totally missed their point of course, since I'm usually wrong about most things that's not impossible).

Finally PD James. If I could write a novel I would have my characters speak with the focussed hatred of her Tory-motivated characters - one that sticks in my mind recently was the sex-mad sister in The Murder Room, viciously attacking her brother and through him the entire apparatus of Freudian psycho"therapeutics".

Support Stoppard & Clarkson.

What about Julian "Gosford Park" Fellows?

If pop culture extends to thrillers - Freddie Forsyth?

Probably won't qualify, but "The Incredibles" was a fine conservative film.

Michael Dobbs?

Frederick Forsyth.

And I'd agree with Graeme to an extent on Iris Murdoch if it weren't for the fact that she's dead.

"I agree with Selsdon Man and disagree with Geoff. Her attitude to Muslims is beyond the pale."

Surely it is her contribution and not her personal opinions that matter?

Exactly Richard, you saw my point. I could equally well have nominated Rush Limbaugh. Outspoken? Yes. Mainstream? No. Controversial? Hugely. Outrageous? Often. Issues with prescription painkillers? Yes.

However in one of his books he says:

"I love being a conservative. We conservatives are proud of our philosophy. Unlike our liberal friends, who are constantly looking for new words to conceal their true beliefs and are in a perpetual state of reinvention, we conservatives are unapologetic about our ideals.

We are confident in our principles and energetic about openly advancing them. We believe in individual liberty, limited government, capitalism, the rule of law, faith, a colour-blind society and national security.

We support school choice, enterprise zones, tax cuts, welfare reform, faith-based initiatives, political speech, homeowner rights and the war on terrorism.

We conservatives are never stronger than when we are advancing our principles."

I recognise those themes.

My point about Ann Coulter is that she reaches hundreds of thousands of people who would otherwise not hear or respond to a right wing message. She does it by courting controversy. Rush Limbaugh has 15-20 million listeners each week. So does he.

Where is our media-savvy equivalent over here? I considered nominating Jeremy Clarkson too as I am a big fan of his, but didn't because I hope that is not the best we can do.

My apologies - in a bad mood because I am in the office after midnight and all of my friends have driven up the coast to Puerto Banus for the weekend.

I disagree that Ann Coulter is a 'bigot' just because she refers to Arabs as ragheads. Her defence of McCarthy in Treason is an excellent defence of a man vilified, often wrongly, by the left. And her books sell!

I think Britain badly needs a Rush Limbaugh or a Sean Hannity; someone who will popularise conservative ideas to the masses to make them understand what conservativism means. We need people who will talk over the heads of the chattering classes to the ordinary man and woman. We don't have anyone like that.

If we did, perhaps we wouldn't be trying to pretend we're something we're not to try and get elected.

The Harry Potter books are Conservative to the core. They uphold traditional educational methods, they depict the Ministry of Magic as a bunch of interfering, incompetent and malign bureaucrats, they extol the entrpreneurship of Fred and George in the magical sweet business and they nostalgically evoke the age of steam trains and pre-decimal currency with galleons, sickels and knuts (or something similar).

"If we did, perhaps we wouldn't be trying to pretend we're something we're not to try and get elected."
The trouble is that Limbaugh and Hannity wouldn't just spread the message of a form of conservatism to those who were receptive, but to everyone who could hear them. I think that style of conservatism would put as many people off as it would recruit.

Also my understanding of the demographics of the last few elections is that the Tories have lost the ABC1s and women voters most. I don't think those are the sort of people a Limbuagh or a Hannity would be able to recruit. Honestly I think the Conservatives need more people like Michael Gove in the media.

Finally I'm not wholly convinced that Britain doesn't have a Hannity or someone like him. I'm always struck, when visiting America, by how some of those opinion and talk radio shows behave in ways that seem rather similar to our print media.

"Harry Potter books are Conservative to the core"
But J.K. Rowling is a Labour and Gordon Brown supporter.

I would second Frederick Forsyth's nomination.

Jeremy Clarkson is probably the most famous libertarian celebrity in Britain - don't know if he's a Tory voter though.

The problem with some of these suggestions - Jeremy Clarkson, Frederick Forsyth, Michael Dobbs, Ann Coulter - is that they will make us look like what our enemies already see us at, philistines. What this category should be for are serious conservative art critics. The clear nominee in that category is one person - Brian Sewell.

On the eidtor's suggestion of Michael Gove for his appearances on Newsnight's Late Review, Gove may be a conservative, but there is nothing conservative about his art criticism.

Alternatively, I would nominate The New Criterion and Roger Kimball - or the blog of the think tank Social Affairs Unit which has much excellent conservative art criticism.

Everyone involved with the Channel 4 show "That'll teach them". It's a perfect example of promoting small c conservative values in education.

(And a good show)

The comments to this entry are closed.



ConHome on Twitter

    follow me on Twitter

    Conservative blogs

    Today's public spending saving

    New on other blogs

    • Receive our daily email
      Enter your details below:

    • Tracker 2
    • Extreme Tracker