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Around the traps
Publication round-up from yours truly (feat. abortion, trans, Northern Ireland Protocol). All the good stuff.
June was a very busy month for me, with July showcasing the work in terms of appearances in different publications. My holiday in Malta was meant to be a nice break from consulting and writing like a mad thing, but it was such a break I caught covid!
This always happens to me: I stop working and get sick. Such is life.
The BA.5 variant I got wasn’t as bad as flu, but it was still pretty unpleasant, so I missed seeing part of Valletta and all of Mdina. I also got stung by a jellyfish (a purple stinger, Pelagia noctiluca, while swimming in the Blue Lagoon on the way to Gozo). Not pleasant but, like covid, not the end of the world, either.
I can confirm that Valletta Cathedral is completely insane when it comes to over-the-top decoration. It’s the most decorated cathedral I’ve ever seen, outdoing competition from others I’ve seen in Krakow (Poland), Lisbon (Portugal), Syracuse (Sicily) and L’viv (Ukraine).
This is no mean feat.
Yes there are more famous and imposing cathedrals (St Peter’s; Canterbury), but in both those cases, any decoration is considerably more restrained.
When my final piece for July comes out this Friday (29th), I’ll also do a Malta photographic highlights reel on here.
Now, the writing. On July first, what Law & Liberty calls a “Forum Lead” I’d written in June came out.
This is where one person writes a longread on a topical issue (in my case, on the possibility that devolution may lead to the crack-up of the United Kingdom) and three other people then respond during the course of the month, creating a dialogue of sorts. My respondents were philosopher Samuel Gregg, psychiatrist Theodore Dalrymple, and historian-cum-journalist Daniel Johnson.
My piece on Friday (much shorter than the initial one) will be a round-up and response — Law & Liberty calls these “Forum Conclusions” — to those three interlocutors. When reading the responses to me, I suggest doing so in the order I’ve listed (and linked) them.
Closer to home, for wonkish magazine CapX, I broke my own rule and once again offered public commentary on what is now being called “the trans debate”, a topic I find deranging.
That said, not a huge amount of the piece was directly on the trans issue. It was largely a defence of why Conservatives think and argue the way they do, and why (on this topic) they differ so much from Labour and even the LibDems (traditionally the summer house for annoyed Home Counties and Shire Tories, as we’ve seen in several recent by-elections).
Also in June, I spent a month consulting for the Centre for Independent Studies, an Australian think-tank. The product (published in July, like everything else) was a commentary both on the overturning of Roe v Wade in the US, and why I think letting courts and judges “do politics” is incredibly dangerous. It’s actually a proper piece of legal scholarship, of a sort lawyers do both in practice and when working as academics.
It’s probably closer to the practitioner end (5,000 words rather than 10,000, and written in a popular style), but I completely understand if people find the thought of reading that much law daunting. To that end, The Australian (my “home” newspaper, for which I’ve been writing since 1993) published a 1,400-word extract as a taster. If you like that, you may be interested in the full paper.
Right, that’s me out. See you all Friday.