Welcome to Angus Take House – a weekly column in which I will be pitting two of the wildest takes the world's great thinkers have rustled up against each other. This is your one-stop shop for the meatiest verdicts and saltiest angles on the world's happenings. Go and grab a napkin – these juicy hot takes are fresh from the griddle.
What’s the story? Kensington Palace announced Prince Harry was engaged to American actor Meghan Markle.
Reasonable take: I don’t know. Somewhere between an acerbic groan and buying a commemorative plate.
Garlic Mushrooms, Chips, Onion Rings and Ribeye Take: Meghan Markle? More Meghan Markedly different to my quaint ideas of what the royal family is supposed to look like.
Is there such a thing as an interesting take about a royal wedding? The Guardian led with “They’re engaged. That’s nice.” Your mum opted for a classic 3-like fb status: “Congrats Harry!” And that “Dank Corbyn Memes” page you follow shared something cloyingly woke about how many schools could be built for the same amount it cost to make season seven of Suits. None of them are likely to fill you with indignation, but just the same, they’re not likely to have you pounding the table in agreement either.
Then along comes Melanie McDonagh, a writer who sports a pretty reliable “now that’s a malbec” smugness in every byline photo, with her take that Meghan Markle is an unsuitable wife for the prince because… well a few reasons. Firstly she’s American, secondly she’s divorced, and thirdly she’s a celebrity, and fourthly, have you seen Suits? It’s a bit crap, isn’t it? Her totally uncalled for hit-piece has no real ammunition and ends up making a tenuous archaic point about Meghan Markle’s divorce making her an unsuitable bride.
You can’t actually read the original version of her take unless you are a Spectator subscriber – see if your jag-driving, straight-smoking Uncle Lionel will lend you his – but Melanie has since posted a version for the whole world to see. It omits the slightly more egregious lines about Meghan Markle being the sort of woman “the Prince would have had as a mistress” seventy-years ago, but sticks to her basic hunch that this divorced, mixed-race American woman is… well she’s no Princess Anne is she?!
You can always tell a take is rotten if it starts with “somebody had to say it”. Yes, if nobody is saying it then maybe that’s because you’re the only one brave enough. Or, maybe it’s because you’re genuinely the only one thinking it. Honestly mate, nobody is forcing you.
What’s the story? The profile of far-right group Britain First was this week raised by about 4.6 million percent when Donald Trump retweeted some of their anti-Muslim propaganda.
Reasonable take: Who knew rock bottom would look so absurd.
Spicy Wings With Cajun Wedges and Beans: Oh so you don’t like racist people, huh? Well you might be surprised to find out YOU CREATED THEM.
I know this is Spiked, I know this is Brendan O’Neill, I know the whole point of his existence is to make me spit out my Lucozade and launch into an EPIC THREAD rebuking this wild take, but come on. Proper chef’s kiss for this one. That is gorgeous. The textures. The layers. The depth. Mmmmmm.
O’Neill, that most radical of libertarians, reckons that political correctness has driven good, honest, God-fearing people to the fringes of fascist organisations. Which is obviously pretty patronising to these abstracted ordinary people at best, and at worst offers easy excuses to the far-right. Britain First are an offshoot of the BNP, established in 1982, which itself emerged from the National Front (founded in 1967). They are not a product of virtue-signalling snowflakes on Twitter. They are the latest incarnation of an ugly, ethno-nationalist impulse that has bubbled under the surface of Britain’s skin since Empire.
There are a pool of shock-hacks like O’Neill, who preface everything they say with “Look Trump is an idiot…” before launching into extensive sets of reasons why either a) he’s not as bad as Corbyn supporters or b) is actually a complete fucking legend. They make a point of distancing themselves from people who say racist things, only to lay into anyone who tells racist people to shut up. And it’s all done under the guise of protecting free speech – because the left have “chilled the debate” and frozen so many people out of the conversation.
Like Britain First, for example, who have been silenced so effectively that now only the most powerful person in the entire world retweets their videos to millions and millions of people.
Prime cut: Brendan O’Neill, for a take so juicy it is still dribbling down my chin. Hellfire!