Christmas Appeal

Ramen Noodles - college students - studying abroad

A cheeky request…

I feel a little bit guilty making an appeal this year, given that I have managed to output a mere 67 articles over the course of 2018 (down from 162 in 2017) – but such have been the challenges of trying to keep the blog going while traveling around Southeast Asia, emigrating from Britain to the United States and commencing what turns out to be a very demanding legal education in Washington, D.C.

In fact, were I still in London and ours a two-income household, I most likely would not be asking. But since the vicissitudes of life find me in the position of being an impoverished student once again (living in one of the more expensive cities in the world) I am emboldened to repeat my annual pledge drive.

Therefore: If you have enjoyed or derived value from my writing and commentary over the course of the year – whether you primarily read it here or over at Country Squire Magazine, The Daily Globe or Guerrilla Politics – and have the means to do so, please consider using the PayPal donate button to make a small contribution.



Your contribution will not only enable me to keep writing the content that you love (or love to hate), but also save me from the potentially lethal effects of excessive instant ramen noodle consumption. If that’s not a win-win, I don’t know what is.

I am very grateful to all those who have generously donated through the course of the year, including several of my long-time regular contributors, without whom I may well have hung up the keyboard by this point. Your support means more than words can express, particularly at a time when the prestige or mainstream media is in no hurry to acknowledge the work done by the independent blogosphere.

The year ahead promises to be eventful, or quite possibly the fulfillment of the curse “may you live in interesting times”. Given all that is happening in the world I would love nothing more than to resume a daily blogging schedule, but sadly this is likely to remain incompatible with the demands of the first year of law school.

2019 is therefore likely to see a similar posting frequency to the past year, but as usual I shall try to provide commentary or perspectives which are under-provided elsewhere (rather than simply repeating what you can read from the people who get paid to do this for a living).

Thank you as always for reading, and to my donors for your ongoing generosity. In this festive season I wish all my readers a very Merry Christmas, a Happy 2019 and a blessed, peaceful holiday season.

College student starter pack - instant ramen noodles

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A Semi-Partisan Christmas Appeal – Spare Change, Please

Santa - Father Christmas - blog pledge drive donations

It’s that time of year again…

As another busy year approaches its close, the time has come for me to pass around the begging bowl and ask that if you have read and enjoyed my writing and commentary in recent months, you kindly consider making a small contribution to the upkeep of this blog and to help support my work as a writer.

It gives me no pleasure to write these emails – with Christmas bearing down on us I know that everybody has their own priorities and distractions, and that money is often tight. However, I write this blog entirely as a labour of love, and the only income I ever receive for my writing comes through your generosity.

This has been another busy year for Semi-Partisan Politics. Overall output was slightly down on last year now that the excitement of the EU referendum is behind us, and there was a dip in overall pageviews too – though since many of my articles are now being regularly republished on other excellent sites (notably Country Squire Magazine, The Daily Globe and The Participator) I know that my words are reaching more people than ever before.

As always, it has been nearly impossible to get any kind of traction or recognition from the Westminster media, who apparently have all the time in the world to lavish you with attention if you dress up in a superhero costume and prance around in Brussels praising the EU, but then become incredibly imsular and myopic when it comes to acknowledging anyone who offers a perspective which differs from the traditional and expected Tory/Labour or Leave/Remain dichotomy.

As in past years, this blog has received far more attention from the American political media – much thanks, National Review! – than from anybody in the incestuous, back-slapping world of Westminster journalism. And given the likely future focus of this blog, that is potentially no bad thing.

I have had two overriding missions this year when it comes to my writing – firstly to publish a book about the intellectual and ideological decline of British conservatism, which is still very much in progress, and secondly to do something in my own small way to arrest that decline. The latter has manifested in my Stepping Stones 2022 project, still very much on the drawing board, but which I hope might eventually provide a useful framework for analysing the challenges facing modern Britain in order to arrive at set of coherent, mutually-supporting and politically feasible policies. Obviously this is not something that I can do on my own, and so I am seeking partners and have been in discussions with a few people – if you are interested in getting involved then please do let me know.

Anyhow, all of this activity takes time and effort. And if you are able to spare a small amount – either on a one-off or recurring basis – to support this blog and my ranting in general, then I would be most grateful if you could avail yourself of my PayPal tip jar:

There is much more work to do in 2018, when the battle for Brexit will reach a truly decisive phase – and as the battle for the soul of the Conservative Party looks set to begin in earnest. There will be much more to write and debate, and your generosity will help me to keep playing my part.

Many thanks to all of my readers and contributors, and to those who are celebrating I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Sam Hooper

Nativity - Christmas - Mary and Baby Jesus - J Kirk Richards

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A Semi-Partisan Pledge Drive – Thank You

Semi Partisan Politics Pledge Drive - political blogging - writing - donations

Thank you for your support

Since starting my first pledge drive of the year last week, I have been both heartened and humbled by the response. I have been most fortunate to receive a number of donations, some from long-time readers whom I know well through the Comments section and social media, and others whom I did not previously know but have been reading Semi-Partisan Politics and finding value in it for some time. I am most incredibly grateful to everybody who has donated so far.

Political blogging can be quite a lonely affair at times – awake at 2AM, typing furiously into the insatiable cursor, trying to get a hot take or a more reflective piece out the door and published before the rapidly moving news cycle makes it completely irrelevant. And aside from some basic stats on WordPress it can be hard to get a realistic sense of how many people find their way to this site, like it and then keep coming back as regular readers.

Lord knows that the British political media does not make the job any easier. Most British political journalists and commentators for “prestige” outlets would sooner poke knitting needles in their eyes than link to an independent blog or news outlet, even if it has something unique or valuable to contribute. The EU referendum campaign taught us that much. But the growing pageviews for this blog suggest to me that a number of you are not happy with what the prestige Westminster political news media have to offer – or at least that you take their pronouncements with a pinch of salt, and like to seek alternative commentary and research to get a fuller picture.

It is those people – people like you – for whom I will keep on writing. Well, and also for myself. As my wife will readily attest, I do tend to become quite irritable quite quickly if I don’t get enough “fighting on the internet” time under my belt each week.

And in case you were wondering, no it is not too late to make a contribution! All donations – large and small, one-off or recurring subscriptions – are most gratefully received, and help to make it possible for me to continue doing what I do (and hopefully getting better at it as time goes on!).

If you find value in this blog and have not already done so, please do consider making a donation to my work using the PayPal link below:



Any donation, large or small, will help to ensure that this blog continues to provide independent commentary on British and American politics and current affairs, as well as advocating for the causes I have been dedicated to from the start – including Brexit, strengthening the nation state, constitutional reform, a federal United Kingdom, separation of church and state, free speech, civil liberties, healthcare reform, exposing the NHS Industrial Complex and opposing the insidious Cult of Social Justice and Identity Politics.

Oh, and defending capitalism against the slings, arrows and sanctimonious internet memes of a new generation – my generation – who increasingly seem to believe that they can keep all of the good material things in their lives while undermining the economic system which made them possible in the first place.

And if you disagree with one or more of these positions, that’s fine too, let’s have a debate. A grown-up debate where we argue based on principles and facts, without pulling rank based on our marginalised identities or retreating to our safe spaces.

Thank you again to all of my wonderful readers and kind contributors. Each generous donation this past week has brought a smile to my face, and made me more determined than ever to keep on fighting the good fight here on Semi-Partisan Politics.


Political Blogging

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The Problem With Hillary Clinton


One of the most politically damning charges against Hillary Clinton is the accusation that she has no guiding ideology or core beliefs, that she picks up and discards her positions based purely on political expediency. But don’t expect defensiveness or contrition – behind closed doors, Hillary Clinton is defiantly and unrepentantly proud of her constant triangulation

Outside the home, politicians are generally at their most candid when addressing wealthy donors at private events, safely sequestered from the general public and the media.

We know of Barack Obama’s high-handed “bitter clingers” put-down of people who cling to guns and religion having supposedly failed at life thanks to unguarded comments made to donors. Mitt Romney’s infamous “47 percent” remark, in which he was deemed to have effectively written off nearly half of the country from voting for him because they do not pay federal income tax, and which did more than anything to sink his presidential dreams, came from remarks at a fundraiser. So too did Hillary Clinton’s recent “deplorables” debacle, in which she suggested that half of all Donald Trump supporters are essentially abhorrent and unacceptable human beings with whom there can be no meaningful dialogue or compromise.

The only real exception to this roll call of dishonour is Donald Trump himself, a man utterly without shame who is happy airing his most vulgar and ignorant thoughts direct into a live television camera, even during a presidential debate, and who consequently has no need to use donor meetings as a pressure release valve to vent his real feelings.

But for those of us who like our politics with a bit of conviction, principle or even (dare I say it) ideology, then the latest leaked recording of Hillary Clinton candidly addressing a group of starry-eyed donors really takes the biscuit.

From Politico:

Hacked audio of a conversation between Hillary Clinton and donors during a February fundraising event shows the Democrat nominee describing Bernie Sanders supporters as “children of the Great Recession” who are “living in their parents’ basement.”

Speaking at a Virginia fundraiser hosted by former U.S. ambassador Beatrice Welters, Clinton says in a clip released by the Free Beacon that many of her former primary opponent’s supporters sought things like “free college, free health care,” saying that she preferred to occupy the space “from the center-left to the center-right” on the political spectrum.

During the conversation, also reported in the Intercept, Clinton confesses to feeling “bewildered” by those to her far-left and far-right in the election.

“There is a strain of, on the one hand, the kind of populist, nationalist, xenophobic, discriminatory kind of approach that we hear too much of from the Republican candidates,” she said. “And on the other side, there’s just a deep desire to believe that we can have free college, free healthcare, that what we’ve done hasn’t gone far enough, and that we just need to, you know, go as far as, you know, Scandinavia, whatever that means, and half the people don’t know what that means, but it’s something that they deeply feel.”

I don’t doubt Clinton for a moment – I am sure that she does indeed feel bewildered by people who actually have political convictions and principles which they are reluctant to bargain away in the pursuit of power. And doesn’t that speak volumes about the type of president she would be?

Here is the precise transcript of her comments.

CLINTON: It is important to recognize what’s going on in this election. Everybody who’s ever been in an election that I’m aware of is quite bewildered because there is a strain of, on the one hand, the kind of populist, nationalist, xenophobic, discriminatory kind of approach that we hear too much of from the Republican candidates. And on the other side, there’s just a deep desire to believe that we can have free college, free healthcare, that what we’ve done hasn’t gone far enough, and that we just need to, you know,  go as far as, you know, Scandinavia, whatever that means, and half the people don’t know what that means, but it’s something that they deeply feel. So as a friend of mine said the other day, I am occupying from the center-left to the center-right. And I don’t have much company there. Because it is difficult when you’re running to be president, and you understand how hard the job is —  I don’t want to overpromise. I don’t want to tell people things that I know we cannot do.

Some are new to politics completely. They’re children of the Great Recession. And they are living in their parents’ basement. They feel they got their education and the jobs that are available to them are not at all what they envisioned for themselves. And they don’t see much of a future. I met with a group of young black millennials today and you know one of the young women said, “You know, none of us feel that we have the job that we should have gotten out of college. And we don’t believe the job market is going to give us much of a chance.” So that is a mindset that is really affecting their politics. And so if you’re feeling like you’re consigned to, you know, being a barista, or you know, some other job that doesn’t pay a lot, and doesn’t have some other ladder of opportunity attached to it, then the idea that maybe, just maybe, you could be part of a political revolution is pretty appealing. So I think we should all be really understanding of that and should try to do the best we can not to be, you know, a wet blanket on idealism. We want people to be idealistic. We want them to set big goals. But to take what we can achieve now and try to present them as bigger goals.

My emphasis in bold.

The centre-left to the centre-right. That is, Hillary Clinton seeks to be the Alpha and the Omega of American politics, oscillating between two non extremes of bland opportunism guided by nothing other than her finely-honed ear for what is politically feasible without upsetting donors or special interests. And this is supposed to be inspiring? This is 21st century leadership?

Let us not be naive: all of politics is a game of compromise – or an unseemly sausage making process, as it is often described. But is Hillary Clinton really surprised that people are having trouble motivating themselves to vote for her when she openly brands herself as an out-and-proud offal grinder? Uninspiring, incremental progress laced with self-interest is what we expect at the end of the political love affair, not the seductive note inspiring us to take a leap of faith in the first place.

The trouble with this fixation on the political centre is that it pays large dividends, right up to the moment where it stops working at all. In Britain, the Labour Party discovered a route back to power which involved shedding nearly all association with their traditional socialism and accommodating much of the post-Thatcher orthodoxy, and it won them three successive general election victories from 1997 through 2005. But with a rudderless Conservative Party barely two degrees further right, suddenly all of the main political parties in Britain found themselves dancing on the head of a pin, ideologically speaking. There was nothing to separate them, from their love of an activist, paternalistic nanny state to their agreement that Britain should remain in the European Union at all costs.

And sure enough, the stale centrist political consensus in Britain, which saw the main political parties using wild rhetoric to describe what were effectively miniscule differences in policy, is in the process of crashing down. The Conservatives were destabilised by the rise of UKIP to the extent that they had to offer (and ended up losing) a referendum on Britain’s continued membership of the EU, while the failure of Ed Miliband to win power in 2015 saw Labour’s centrists routed by the left-wing Corbynites and left utterly without support or influence.

By pursuing such a doggedly centrist course, Hillary Clinton is effectively betting that the political earthquake which shook America’s closest ally will not reach American shores until she is safely ensconced in the White House. But that is an awfully dangerous gamble to make, especially when the Trumpian takeover of the Republican Party shows massive popular fury with the status quo.

For decades now, career politicians have assumed that the deciding bloc of voters requiring outreach and outright pandering were those in the centre. But what if this is no longer the case? Hillary Clinton struggled to prevail in the Democratic primary against Bernie Sanders, an ornery old socialist, and some Sanders supporters see the Libertarian/Green third party tickets or even Donald Trump as a preferable fallback to supporting Clinton. And while Clinton remains the favourite, it may be the case that she succeeds in holding the political centre, but ultimately loses the presidential election because the bottom falls out of a left-wing base which believes she has abandoned them.

And who could blame them for abandoning her in turn? This is a Democratic Party nominee who looks down on people who don’t see the appeal of political triangulation and bet-hedging as immature basement-dwellers who are just too stupid to understand how the world works. A nominee who thinks so little of her own party base that she openly muses with donors about ways to dress up the most meagre accomplishments as “bigger goals” in order to trick the proles and keep them in line.

Hillary Clinton remains the only plausible candidate for US president only because her opponent is Donald J. Trump, much as the only reason for a British small-c conservative to vote for a Big Government-supporting Conservative Party which has abandoned any commitment to fiscal responsibility is the fact that the alternative would be Jeremy Corbyn’s reheated 1970s socialism.

But keep asking people who are sick of the status quo to choose between the lesser of two evils and their responses are likely to become less and less predictable. Hillary Clinton may well succeed in slowly grinding her way to the Oval Office. But if disaster strikes, she will have nobody to blame but herself and her soul-crushingly unidealistic campaign.


Hillary Clinton - DNC - Democratic National Convention - Acceptance Speech - 4

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Labour’s Happy Fundraising Emails Turn Paranoid And Authoritarian

Labour Party - Fundraising Email - Ben Nolan - General Election 2015


Ben Nolan, the Labour Party’s Head of Membership, is having a nervous 2015 general election campaign.

Whereas other Labour figures (or their MailChimp newsletter administrators) have been relentlessly upbeat in their messages – “GUESS where our JAWS are this morning, Samuel, after we saw our latest fundraising totals!” – Nolan seems to be paid to be pessimistic. And creepy.

As a political blogger, I make a point of staying on the mailing lists for all the main political parties. Normally they are completely unrevealing missives, simple straightforward requests for cash. Sometimes they direct you to a website where you are invited to enter your postcode to reveal a bespoke list of that party’s achievements in office or future spending bribes, customised for your local area.

But sometimes they look like the one that Ben Nolan sent today, fired out to “supporters” who he has decided are not trying hard enough to propel Ed Miliband into 10 Downing Street:


I know we’ve asked you — more than a few times — in the last couple of weeks for a donation to support the crucial work of our local organisers and volunteers.

It seems from our records that you aren’t yet among our generous group of online donors.*

I’m sure it’s for a good reason, Samuel, and I’d love to know what it is. Do you have one minute to tell me what’s stopped you donating?

Your feedback will help us to build a stronger and more inclusive campaign in these final days.

Thanks so much for taking the time.


Ben Nolan
Head of Membership, Labour Party

Note the undertone of menace in the words “I’m sure it’s for a good reason”.

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