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Simon James Heffer (born 18 July 1960) is a Britishmarker journalist, columnist and writer, noted for his conservative political views. He was educated at King Edward VI Grammar Schoolmarker in Chelmsfordmarker and Corpus Christi Collegemarker, Cambridgemarker.

Heffer rejoined The Daily Telegraph in October 2005 as a columnist and associate editor, having served as a columnist for the Daily Mail from 1995. Martin Newland, the Telegraph's editor at the time, described the newspaper as Heffer's "natural journalistic home." On 23 May 2007 it was announced that he is to cease being the editor of the newspaper's comment pages, though his position on the title otherwise remains as before.

Heffer has written biographies of the historian and essayist Thomas Carlyle, the composer Ralph Vaughan Williams, and the politician Enoch Powell.

Politics

Heffer is politically conservative, being very critical of the European Union and New Labour, while being supportive of the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Heffer supports a free-market economy, and the abolition of the national minimum wage. Heffer believes benefits should be withdrawn from people who refuse jobs, and is in favour of the expansion of grammar schools. Heffer also is in favour of private firms running many aspects of the NHS, though unlike some right-wing commentators, he agrees with the retention of the NHS.

Heffer also supports the reintroduction of the death penalty and is socially conservative, having opposed the liberalisation of laws on abortion and divorce. He has also written about the decline of tie-wearing among British men. In August 2002 Heffer blamed "liberal society" for the murders of Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman.

Perhaps surprisingly, in the mid-1990s he was generally supportive of New Labour, due to his dissatisfaction with John Major and the Conservative Party at the time. In July 1995 he threatened to resign from the Daily Mail if it supported Major in the leadership contest. Like the Sun newspaper and many right-wing Tory MPs, Heffer backed John Redwood, though he preferred Michael Portillo to be party leader.

In 1999 Heffer financially contributed to Neil Hamilton's unsuccessful libel action against Mohammed Al-Fayed.

Heffer believes that Christianity should have a strong role in shaping both the moral foundation of society and public policy, although he is personally an atheist.

When the Home Office put Heffer on its Law and Order Task Force, left-wing politicians were concerned about the direction that criminal law reform might take, with human rights lawyer Baroness Kennedy saying that the government "had not just lost the plot but was handing the plotting over to their most feared critics."

In 2004, Heffer wrote the unsigned editorial in The Spectator critical of Liverpudlianmarker "vicarious victimhood", for which Boris Johnson was forced to apologise to the city.

In 2006, Heffer sharply criticised the film The Wind That Shakes The Barley, a movie by director Ken Loach about the Irish War of Independence [101990] despite not having watched it, comparing the film to Hitler's Mein Kampf. Heffer has written sympathetically of the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) and Nigel Farage.

In 2008, Heffer called for the United Nations to be strengthened, stating that: "If the UN ceases to be regarded by the larger powers as a institution to secure the peace of the world and justice therein, then that holds out all sorts of potential dangers." On 27 May 2009, Heffer threatened to stand as an independent against Sir Alan Haselhurst, his local Conservative MP and a deputy speaker, unless Haselhurst paid back the £12,000 he claimed for work on his garden, as revealed in the Parliamentary expenses scandal.

Quotations

  • "Portugal has revealed itself to be little more than a banana republic through the handling of this case. Whether you have small children or not, you would be mad even to think of having a holiday there." Simon Heffer writing in The Daily Telegraph about the Case McCann, January 2008.


  • "The evil that drug dealers do cannot be adequately punished under our present law; I would take a leaf out of China's book, and have them taken out and shot in the back of the head. That isn't going to happen. But using the laws we do have more effectively, applying them with zero tolerance, and making junkies pay - literally - for the damage they do to society would be a start. I fear, though, that it is already too late." Simon Heffer writing in The Daily Telegraph about drug policy, January 2008.


  • "If the Government wishes to prime the economy, it should bulldoze the Norris Greenmarker estate in Liverpool, where the murderer and his gang live, and split up the gang by redistributing them around the country, preferably to remote islands. Until we stop paying people to be an underclass, we'll have an underclass." Simon Heffer writing in The Daily Telegraph about the case of the murder of Rhys Jones, February 2009.


Publications

  • Heffer, Simon, & Charles Moore (editors), A Tory Seer: The Selected Journalism of T.E. Utley, London, 1989, ISBN 0-241-12728-9


  • Heffer, Simon, Moral Desperado: A Life of Thomas Carlyle, London, 1995.


  • Heffer, Simon, Power and Place: The Political Consequences of King Edward VII, London, 1998.


  • Heffer, Simon, Like the Roman: The Life of Enoch Powell, London, 1998. ISBN 0-297-84286-2


  • Heffer, Simon, "Nor Shall My Sword: The Reinvention of England", London, 1999.


  • Heffer, Simon, Vaughan Williams, London, 2000. ISBN 0-297-64398-3


References




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