Peter Jonathan Hitchens (28 October 1951, Malta) is a British journalist, author and broadcaster. He currently writes for the British weekly newspaper, The Mail on Sunday. He is the younger brother of journalist Christopher Hitchens. Hitchens was a former Trotskyist and member of the International Socialists from 1969 to 1975, later joining the British Labour Party from 1979 to 1983. He left the party when he became a political reporter at the Daily Express, thinking it wrong to carry a party card when directly reporting politics. He also studied politics at York University between 1970 and 1973.
However, in his early 30's he returned to the conservatism and Anglicanism of his upbringing and in 1997 he joined the Conservative Party, believing it to be the democratic resistance to Tony Blair's New Labour. Dissatisfied with the lack of direction of the Conservative Party, he left it in 2003 and now asserts that the only way forward is to completely dismantle and rebuild the party. Politically, Hitchens supports social, moral and cultural conservatism, and classic liberalism, not dissimilar to those of American paleoconservatives. Hitchens describes himself as a Burkean conservative.
He has been a journalist for over 25 years, much of that time writing for the Daily Express, which he left after it was taken over by Richard Desmond, who had generated his wealth as a publisher of pornographic magazines. Hitchens was morally opposed to this, and moved to the Daily Mail's sister publication, The Mail On Sunday. He has also worked as a political reporter, a diplomatic and defence specialist, and as a foreign correspondent in both Moscow and Washington, D.C.
Political and moral stance
He has been described by the left-wing Guardian newspaper as: "The Mail on Sunday's fulminator-in-chief" and his columns as "molten Old Testament fury shot through with visceral wit." Hitchens is uncompromising with his moral and political stance, describing Britain as a land of "burglaries, muggings, swearing, pools of vomit, MRSA, rave parties and traveller encampments"; council estates as "surrounded by the tattooed, with their pit bulls and serial partners, crack dens, joy-riders, open-all-hours pubs," and the police as "wooden, officious twerps in dayglo jackets" who have sided with the lawless and given up on crime. Of single mothers, he wrote: "It cannot be long before Britain has its first 24-year-old granny. When you abolish husbands and fathers that is what you get. As the rules of civilised life are swept away and the only people interested in getting married are lesbian clergywomen, there will soon be thousands of them." Hitchens lays the blame squarely at the door of the liberal left-wing: "Like several governments before it, Labour has actively encouraged promiscuity by undermining marriage, promoting 'alternative lifestyles' and preaching immorality in schools - and, of course, by continuing to subsidise the results." He has also criticised immigration, which is "limitless" and "unmonitored"; Tony Blair's New Labour - "a horrible rabble of fakes, wreckers and frauds" who are "dismantling Britain as a free country"; the Conservative Party - "the Useless party"; the EU - "horrible", "a monster", "anti-British"; and liberal left-wing intellectuals - "hell-bent on turning the UK into a meaningless, history-free and cultureless wilderness".
His outspoken criticism has predictably made him unpopular with many politicians as well as the left-wing press: Gerry Adams, leader of the IRA's political wing (Sinn Féin) called for him to be "decommissioned"; Tony Blair, while Prime Minister, told him to "sit down and stop being bad" for daring to ask him a difficult question; and Conservative Party leader David Cameron refused to allow him an interview, a rebuff Hitchens took as a compliment. Hitchens' book "The Abolition of Britain" has been described as "the most sustained, internally logical and powerful attack on Tony Blair and all his works".
He has made a detailed study of the UK's crime problem and the negative changes in policing and the police force, leading to his book "The Abolition of Liberty". He is strongly critical of the use of drugs to control the behaviour of children, and has vigorously questioned the existence of the disorder ADHD. He has argued that parents who want single vaccinations for their children rather than the controversial triple MMR should be given them on the NHS, and has challenged Tony Blair and Prime Minister Gordon Brown to say openly if their own young sons have been given the MMR they are forcing on others. He has opposed the introduction of identity cards and attacked what he believes is the Labour government's assault on ancient English liberties.
He describes intelligent design as being valuable as a sceptical current critical of Darwinist orthodoxy and intolerance, although not as a free-standing theory, but says: "I am not a scientist... My own view on the controversy...can be summarised in the words 'I have no idea who is right, and nor have they'."
- Silver, James Look forward in anger The Guardian, November 14 2005 (archived)
- Katz, Ian When Christopher met Peter The Guardian, May 31 2005 (Archived)
- Five Minutes With Peter Hitchens. The BBC (10 August 2012). Retrieved on 11 August 2012.
- Peter Hitchens' biog The Mail on Sunday, 28 February 2006 (Archived)
- If MMR is safe, why persecute its critics? The Mail on Sunday, 10 July 2007 Accessed July 19 2007
- Big Brother Watches Britain The American Conservative, May 8 2006 (Archived)
- Intelligence and design The Mail on Sunday, December 5 2006 (Archived)
- "Look forward in anger" Guardian Interview, 14 November 2005
- "Brothers at war over Britain" 15 October 1999.
- "Cool Britannia" 4 November 2002 (Interviewed about The Abolition of Britain).
- "Peter Hitchens on the European Union" December 2002.
- "Raging Bulldog" 20 September 1999.
- Regular features
- Selected articles by Hitchens
- "Iran: Past the Paranoia" in the The American Conservative magazine, 4 June 2007
- "Hitchens vs Hitchens" reviewing Christopher Hitchens' book God Is Not Great in the The Mail on Sunday, 8 June 2007
- "New Labour isn't rightwing at all - it's the left in power" in The Guardian newspaper, 29 May 2007
- "The Great Tory Hope" criticising David Cameron in the The American Conservative magazine, 4 December 2006
- "Big Brother Watches Britain" in the The American Conservative magazine, 8 May 2006
- "Uncritical Champion" reviewing Jean-François Revel's book Anti-Americanism in the The American Conservative magazine, 19 January 2004
- "Zionism: A Defense" in the The American Conservative magazine, October 6 2003
- Book Reviews
- "The victims of liberalism" Review of Hitchens' book A Brief History of Crime in The Sunday Telegraph by Theodore Dalrymple April 13 2003.
- "An end to cant and defeatism" Review of A Brief History of Crime in The Spectator by Neil Clark.
- "The case of the disappearing policeman" Review of A Brief History of Crime in The Daily Telegraph, by Joshua Rozenberg.
- "Goodbye to All That?" Review of The Abolition of Britain by John O'Sullivan.
- Debating Tony Blair's Criminal Justice Stance 7 October 7 2005 on BBC Radio 4's Law in Action
- Debate on The British Monarchy June 6 2007, on National Public Radio
- Criticizing the treatment of Guantanamo Detainees January 21 2002, in a short debate on BBC radio.
- Debating the format of a potential Oath of Allegiance for the UK December 16 2001
- Today Programme
- Should religious people have a privileged position in society? - 19 April 2007
- Should Britain Convert its Road Signs to Metric? - February 23 2006
- Is the Left Wing obsolete in British politics? - February 8 2006
- Were the Victorians as benign and civilised as we assume? - May 26 2005
- What should people applying for British citizenship know about the UK? - December 15 2004
- The Way We Talk about Islam - August 18 2004
- Will ID Cards Mean an End to Our Liberty? - 26 April 26 2004
- The "Compensation Culture" - August 25 2003
- Question Time
- Booknotes: The Abolition of Britain - Broadcast December 31 2000, Hitchens interviewed for the Booknotes series about The Abolition of Britain.
- Watch the Interview Pop-up window with embedded RealPlayer plugin