Drinking champagne at the Wallace Collection does not constitute the whole of that Western civilisation which Standpoint exists to celebrate and defend, but it feels like a good start, and the first number of the magazine goes some way to indicate other areas of interest. However I want to confine myself to celebrating the magazine and its editor.
I have known Daniel since he was a schoolboy and his father was a socialist. I applauded on the sidelines when he got a place at Oxford from Langley Grammar School, and applauded again when he got a First in History. I read his leaders for the Telegraph, his dispatches from Bonn and Eastern Europe, and later his leaders for the Times. After that his by-line was all over the better journals on both sides of the Atlantic, and more recently he wrote a very good book on chess as the conduct of the Cold War by other means.
If the ending of the Cold War had truly brought about the end of history there would perhaps be no need or purpose for a magazine like Standpoint. But we all know what happened. The world is in spasm.
When societies are in spasm people let go of some of their habits and assumptions. This can be a mark of maturity and progress in certain instances but in others we are letting go of something hard won, and something we ought not to let go of. It has never been more important that we should recognise the difference between cases. There is a role to be played by thoughtful writers and thoughtful readers – and therefore this is an important moment not just for Standpoint but for you all.