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Niall Ferguson

Niall Ferguson17 posts

Niall Ferguson is a Scottish historian and political commentator.

18 Oct, 2015

Joins Hoover Institution


After more than a decade of visiting as an adjunct senior fellow, Ferguson will leave Harvard University to work full time at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University from July 2016. He says he is attracted by Stanford’s prestige and its proximity to Silicon Valley.

I have always loved that it straddles what can sometimes seem like a chasm between academic research and policy debate…A key point is that there is nothing like the Hoover Institution at Harvard…Sometimes I wish there were Hoover Institutions in all the Ivy League schools…The notion that it is a conservative institution is misleading…It only looks conservative because it is a broad church located in a wider academic diocese that is, in some respects, rather narrow.


[Ferguson is] a first-rate scholar of history and economic history, and a great fit for our mission.

3 Jul, 2015

Financial Times Greek crisis op-ed

Writes Article

Ferguson writes an editorial about the Greek financial crisis in The Financial Times.

Yes, it is quite possible that, in this weekend’s theatre-of-the-absurd referendum, the Greek people may vote “No” to a programme that is no longer available, and that this (despite their prime minister’s protestations to the contrary) may ultimately lead to their departure from the European monetary union. But as recently as the 1970s we would have had to worry about much nastier scenarios. There would have been a real communist left, poised to proclaim the dictatorship of the proletariat. And there would have been a real military right, ready to crush the left by imposing martial law. Neither of these things is now conceivable.

Politically, most of the world has never been more boring. Instead of the alarms and excursions of the past, we now have technocrats versus populists. Any violence is verbal and the technocrats nearly always win. Even in the US, despite what you might glean from television news, the real story of our time is the decline of violence. With their cities far safer than they were in the 1970s and 1980s, Americans can peacefully ponder such questions as: “Can a man become a woman?” (Yes.) And “Can a white woman become a black woman?” (No.) Will a civil war ever be fought over same-sex marriage? It seems unlikely. Does a president risk assassination by reforming healthcare? I think not.

17 Sep, 2014

Ferguson: ‘Failed state’

Ferguson says the Yes movement disregards history:

Scottish history offers proof that even the most failed state can be fixed – by uniting with a richer and more tranquil neighbour.

He says the Union of the Parliaments in 1707 turned it into the Silicon Valley of the 18th century with Glasgow University as Stanford, by sublimating internal divisions in the UK. But leaving the union could reopen old divisions, and some new ones:

The reality is that, as an independent country, Scotland would be far more likely to revert to its pre-1707 bad habits than to morph magically into “Scandland”. For this debate on independence has opened some old rifts and created some new ones, too.

20 Aug, 2012

Ferguson: Krugman Is Wrong

Ferguson responds to Krugman saying he did read the CBO report and that it supports his argument. He also notes that the ACA’s will add $400 billion in taxes, violating Obama’s “no new taxes on middle class” pledge, and that the CBO uses assumptions about cost projections that are not realistic.

28 Nov, 2011

Endorses Romney for President

Political Endorsement

In an article for the Daily Beast written in the form of a letter to Ted Forstmann, Ferguson endorses Mitt Romney for President:

In Europe these days, the answer to fiscal crisis is to put a technocrat in charge. But I think you’d agree with me, dear Ted, that what the U.S. government really needs is a private-equity guy in the White House.

18 Sep, 2011

Ferguson, Hirsi Ali marry


HirsiAli-NaillFergussonFerguson and Hirsi Ali marry in Boston, Massachusetts. The wedding is attended by Henry Kissinger, who was the subject of a biography by Ferguson. None of Ferguson’s three children are understood to have been at the ceremony.  Hirsi Ali is due to give birth to the couple’s first child in the next few months.

19 Mar, 2011

‘My Family Values’

In an interview with The Guardian, Ferguson discusses his parents, divorce and fatherhood:

I was a good father for babies and toddlers. I have been a less good father in the mid-years. I read all the Harry Potters with them, I taught them to ride bikes. I did a lot of the bottle-feeding stuff, a real hands-on father. But then from 2002, the combination of making TV programmes and teaching at Harvard took me away from my children too much. You don’t get those years back. You have to ask yourself: “Was it a smart decision to do those things?” I think the success I have enjoyed since then has been bought at a significant price. In hindsight, there would have been a bunch of things that I would have said no to. But I’ve been a good father for teenagers. I take them on great skiing holidays. But I am mindful that my youngest got a raw deal. I was out of his life when he was three or four. There, I would give myself an F. But you have to do a lot wrong to lose your children’s love. It is inbuilt. I hope they understand. So far none of them is in therapy.

2 May, 2010

‘Enormously in love’ with Ferguson


Hirsi Ali speaks about their relationship for the first time in upmarket Dutch women’s magazine Libelle.

Recently I have found new love – Niall Ferguson. He is a British historian and TV presenter. It is a complicated love affair. I am enormously in love with him. It is the best feeling in the world. I would love to become a mum soon. I have turned 40 and I hope it is still possible for me to have a baby. But he is involved in divorce proceedings and there are children involved. We are also both travelling a lot for our jobs. We have to put in a lot of effort to make sure we see each other. I am happier than ever. I feel so much better in my life after all the things I have gone through.

12 Feb, 2010

Leaves wife for Hirsi Ali


Ferguson splits up with Douglas, his wife of 16 years, after a string of adulterous affairs, for his mistress, Hirsi Ali. Ferguson confessed his affair to Douglas last summer. His wife tries to save the marriage, flying to Manhattan to be with Ferguson in November. Douglas has met Hirsi Ali on a number of occasions. Ferguson has consulted lawyers in the U.S., while Douglas plans to file for divorce and has consulted a London-based law firm. According to a source in the Daily Mail, Ferguson has been unfaithful eight times over the past five years.

6 May, 2009

Hirsi Ali, Ferguson meet


Ferguson and Hirsi Ali meet at a party for Time magazine’s ‘100 Most Influential People In The World’ issue in New York in May, 2009. They are introduced by Belinda Luscombe, the magazine’s art editor. Luscombe:

 I think that is where they met for the first time. In all the years I have known Ayaan, she’s never had a boyfriend. She’s gorgeous, but with a fatwa, it’s tricky to find guys.

1 May, 2007

Harvard Magazine profile

Ferguson is featured in Harvard Magazine in an article titled, The Global Empire of Niall Ferguson.  He mentions the strain of separation from home and family, what he calls his transatlantic “trilemma.”

I can testify that it is extraordinarily hard. It’s unfair to the family, and I’d so much rather they were here. But with every passing year, as children get older, they become harder to move. So I feel that I’ve lost this particular argument…Another way to look at it is that historically it’s not that abnormal for husbands and fathers to spend significant time away from their families—seamen, army officers, colonial administrators. Actually, funnily enough, these long separations perhaps do allow me bouts of extreme work, which suits my temperament.


Graduates from Oxford

Graduates from Magdalene College in Oxford, with a first-class honors degree in History. At University he becomes friends with Andrew Sullivan.

18 Apr, 1964

Niall Ferguson born in Glasgow, Scotland


Niall Campbell Douglas Ferguson is born in Glasgow, Scotland to Campbell (a physician) and Molly (a physicist) Ferguson.

Both my grandfathers fought in wars: my father’s father fought in the first world war, where he was shot and gassed and suffered permanentlung damage, while my mother’s father fought the Japanese in Burma and contracted tuberculosis. It was my mother’s father who was the biggest influence. He was a journalist. He was the one who encouraged me to write. I used to write plays and short stories at school, giving him things I had written as Christmas presents. The relationship between us was intense. We were on the same wavelength about so many things. He had three great rules: trust no one, tell them nothing and to thine own self be true. Those were his three great principles. The west of Scotland is a tough place.

My father gave me a very strong sense of self-discipline and the moral value of work. As a doctor who worked long hours and who was dedicated to his job, he signalled to me that work was a noble thing. My mother encouraged my creative side…That combination of my father’s strict discipline and my mother’s sense that if something really valuable was to be had, then you could bend the rules a bit, was really valuable.

What's this? This is an unbiased just-the-facts news timeline ('newsline') about Niall Ferguson, created by Newslines contributors. Make it grow it by finding and summarising news. Learn more