Sunday, 15 December 2013

A subscription to The Salisbury Review: the perfect conservative Christmas gift, especially as they’ve published an article of mine!

I’ve had quite a few books published, I’ve written several articles for business journals, I’ve had one piece in my old college magazine, and I’ve been doing this blog for the last four years – but until this month I’d never had an article in a general-interest magazine. I sent one to the Spectator about ten years’ ago, when it desperately needed livening up, but received such an unbelievably snotty rejection letter I decided never to repeat the exercise. Luckily, the current editor of the distinguished quarterly magazine The Salisbury Review commissioned me to write “The BBC, dressing to the Left” (which you can read on the magazine’s website, here) after hearing some anecdotes about my time at the corporation.

When I first took out a subscription to The Salisbury Review four years’ ago, it was something I’d been meaning to do for a quarter of a century, but had just never quite got round to. The magazine was founded in 1982 by the Salisbury Group of Tory MPs, who believed in traditional Conservatism rather than Margaret Thatcher’s brand of classical free market liberalism. That was a problem for me, because I’d fallen hook, line and sinker for The Lady’s bracingly right-wing nostrums. While I could appreciate the need for the espousal of traditional Conservative values, trying to apply them to a country in the process of recovering from almost four decades of varying shades of left-wing idiocy struck me as the equivalent of prescribing a cancer patient paracetamol. But I was wrong.

I’ve recently been given a selection of old issues stretching back to 1982, and reading them has made me realise what magnificent writing and brilliant thinking I missed by not subscribing earlier. Contributors have included Enoch Powell, Friedrich Hayek, Vaclav Havel, P.D. James, Vladimir Bukovsky, Anthony Flew, Jeanne Kirkpatrick, Michael Wharton and, yes, Margaret Thatcher. No other publication can possibly have been so consistently right about the future direction of British society: for instance, in 1997 Roger Scruton, a long-time editor of the magazine, wrote an article – “The Blair Legacy” – which was so chillingly prescient that reading it is almost unbearable.

Well, enough of past glories. What surprised me when I began reading the Review regularly in 2009 was how lively it was, how full of stories which go straight to the heart of the cultural war currently being waged between progressivist egalitarians and – well, the rest of us. It is distinctly less academic than it used to be, less overtly political, and marginally less despairing, but no less clear-eyed or combative. Anyone who used to read the Spectator will be delighted to find that Theodore Dalrymple and Roy Kerridge are regular contributors, as is that wonderfully intemperate clergyman Peter Mullen, who used to enliven the Telegraph’s blogs section. Jane Kelly, a consulting editor, produces splendidly honest reports from the cultural front-line. The hefty Arts & Books section is a delight (it has led me to several excellent books I would otherwise have missed) and I’m addicted to the regular Conservative Classic feature (it’s “The Moon and Sixpence” this month) and Reputations (it’s currently Fred Hoyle’s turn). The mouth-watering contents page can be found here.

The Salisbury Review is a non-profit making concern. Like all small magazines these days, it could do with more subscribers. The annual subscription (four issues) costs a mere £25 and includes access to the online archive: an online subscription is an absolute snip at £12. If you subscribe in the next few days you could also send a copy of the latest issue to your leftist acquaintances and annoy the hell out of them for just £2 – let’s face it, £2 to upset a liberal is an absolute bargain!

The Salisbury Review website, where you can find a small selection of the latest articles, can be visited here. Enjoy! 

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