|You gotta spin it to win it|
|Stop the presses!|
|We want pictures|
The Critic is a British right-wing culture war magazine, dedicated to offering self-described "critical voices" to the mainstream "consensus of virtue" that it claims rules the UK. It was launched in 2019, funded by wealthy financier Jeremy Hosking, who afterwards established the Reclaim Party with Laurence Fox. While it claims to be non-partisan, it has close links to the British right, with its editor Christopher Montgomery formerly working for a Conservative Party fringe group and the Democratic Unionist Party.
Supposedly its purpose is to challenge closed minds in universities, the civil service, the BBC, and other public bodies. Its chief method is to publish the same sort of boring, petty articles found in every other right-wing newspaper, magazine, and blog.
It arose from another right-wing magazine, Standpoint, which was funded via the Social Affairs Unit (an offshoot of the Institute of Economic Affairs), and took a neoconservative and anti-Muslim line. When one of its major backers stopped giving money, it looked to other sources and found Jeremy Hosking, despite the fact that he was more interested in Brexit than the Middle East. However by that point Standpoint was in decline and riven by factionalism, made worse by debates over its change of direction, and Hosking and most of its staff gave up and decided to found a new magazine instead.
So the key backer behind The Critic is Jeremy Hosking, also a big donor to Laurence Fox and Fox's Reclaim Party. Hosking had previously had donated £1.5 million to Vote Leave for the 2016 Brexit referendum, £350,000 to Conservative Party candidates in 2017, and £200,000 to Nigel Farage's Brexit Party.
Montgomery had previously worked for the European Research Group, a right-wing and eurosceptic group of Conservative MPs (whose most prominent member was probably Jacob Rees-Mogg), and before that he was Chief of Staff for the Democratic Unionist Party, the more insane and theocratic of Northern Ireland's main Unionist parties. Not a CV that immediately says "iconoclastic free thinker".
Michael Mosbacher was originally co-editor but is no longer listed on the masthead. Mosbacher was formerly editor of Standpoint, another magazine that staked out similar territory to The Critic. Contributing editor Daniel Johnson was the founder of Standpoint, so The Critic at least initially was seen as something of a continuation of the earlier magazine.
Roger Kimball, another contributing editor, is a well-known American conservative writer, editor of The New Criterion, author of Tenured Radicals: How Politics Has Corrupted Higher Education, and also involved with various international versions of The Spectator.
It features articles by many familiar faces:
- Maya Forstater, a TERF who became famous after circumstances of her not being hired by an NGO were twisted by TERFs and right-wingers into an example of liberal intolerance.
- Peter Hitchens
- Jeremy Hosking, the owner, who has written about his fun times setting up the Reclaim Party.
- Graham Linehan, TERF campaigner, who wrote an entire article complaining about Neil Gaiman mentioning people's preferred pronouns. This is despite Gaiman having a history of supporting trans rights since the 1980s, so his support for the issue is a complete non-story.
- Titania McGrath, a parody of young people with their crazy ways of talking and politically liberal positions who has written for various publications but has a column here called Woke World.
- Douglas Murray
- David Starkey, a historian who has been widely criticised and lost several positions for his views on race and slavery, including denying slavery constituted genocide because there are "so many damn blacks" around; this included condemnation by former Conservative Party Chancellor Sajid Javid who called his comments "racist". Naturally this made him the ideal candidate for a magazine dedicated to challenging cancel culture and trolling libtards.
- Toby Young
It is very fond of Roger Scruton, the deceased conservative philosopher known for racist and homophobic views, particularly in his capacity as editor of the Salisbury Review. It has published numerous articles on Scruton covering everything from his views on Wagner to his taste in wine.
Most of its content is published under the section title "Artillery Row", because they like shooting things.
Prospect editor David Goodhart commented "Does the world need another magazine of tastefully written… conservatively inclined thinking? Probably not." Peter Wilby of the New Stateman replied: "I would say probably yes, so why do we never get one?". Miao!
Claire Alleaume on Medium noted that the "under-represented" it claimed to stand up for were actually the privileged likes of Toby Young and Dominic Green, and she defended centrism against the glib cries of the extremes such as the Critic, saying:
Being sensationalist and polarising is easy, as a decade of social media pushing opinions to the extremes has shown us. The real hard work lies with those brave enough to sometimes sit on the fence – painful backsides notwithstanding.
Regardless of whether centrism is really a dangerous position, Alleaume is certainly correct about the laziness of the Critic's project.
- Introducing the Critic, The Critic, November 2019
- First Thoughts: The FT’s first female editor, the launch of the Critic, and the tuneless Welsh, Peter Wilby, New Statesman, 13 Nov 2019
- Top ERG Strategist Christopher Montgomery Leaves Group to Co-edit New Magazine Full Time, Guido Fawkes, 24 Oct 2019
- Standpoint, the Critic and UnHerd: who’s their daddies?, The Morning Star
- Londoner’s Diary: Laurence Fox’s Reclaim party didn’t bank on rule that prevents donations, Evening Standard, 19 Apr 2021
- Former Conservative backer Jeremy Hosking named as £200,000 donor to Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party, Politics Home
- About The Critic, The Critic, accessed 2 June 2021
- Author: Maya Forstater, The Critic website, accessed 2 June 2021
- Banking Party Poopers, Jeremy Hosking, The Critic, April 2021
- Spare us the pronouns, Sandman, Graham Linehan, The Critic, 2 June 2021
- untitled post, Neil Gaiman, The official Neil Gaiman Tumblr, 29 July 2014
- No babies, no more Nazis, The Critic, June 2021
- David Starkey: Historian apologises for 'clumsy' slavery comments, BBC News, 6 July 2020
- David Starkey splits with Cambridge over 'so many damn blacks' comment, Sky News, 3 July 2020
- The uncomfortable truths about Roger Scruton’s conservatism, Kenan Malik, The Observer, 18 Jan 2020
- Category: Roger Scruton, The Critic website
- What wine meant to Roger Scruton, Bruce Newsome, The Critic, 12 January, 2021
- A critique of The Critic, the UK’s new political and cultural magazine, Claire Alleaume, Medium, 25 Nov 2019