Born in London in 1974, he graduated from Manchester University in 1997 with an MA in Cultural History. He has written for The Times, the New Statesman, The Spectator, the Times Literary Supplement, The Irish Times, The Daily Telegraph, the Sunday Independent (Ireland), The Irish Post, Living Marxism and The Catholic Herald. He is author of the books Conspicuous Compassion (Civitas, 2004), The Poverty of Multiculturalism (Civitas, 2005), Beating Them At Their Own Game, How The Irish Conquered English Soccer (Liberties Press, 2006), and editor of The Times Questions Answered (HarperCollins, 2004). In Conspicuous Compassion West has advanced the argument that an "emerging culture of ostentatious caring" has arisen in Western societies and that it is really "about feeling good, not doing good". He contrasts practical compassion with what he sees as the "mawkish sentimentality" and selfishness of conspicuous compassion.