Category Real politics

Out of business? The rise (and fall?) of public service marketisation

I’ve written a piece for the IPPR Progressive Review charting the waxing and waning of choice and competition in English public services. Here’s the introduction: For around 30 years, from the early 1980s to the early 2010s, the marketisation of public services was perhaps the most prominent and significant domestic policy trend in British politics. It […]

Justice Everywhere: coronavirus rundown and Rebecca Lowe interview

Just sharing a couple of pieces I’ve been working on for Justice Everywhere. The first is a collection I’ve edited of brief reflections from ten different philosophers on the ethical and political issues raised by the coronavirus crisis: What does coronavirus mean for the feasibility of social justice? What does coronavirus mean for the adoption […]

Beyond the ivory tower

In the last couple of weeks, over at Justice Everywhere, I’ve launched a series of interviews that I am editing, exploring the role of political philosophers in ‘real politics’. Here’s an excerpt from my introduction to the series: The purpose of Beyond the Ivory Tower is to speak to prominent philosophers that have, in different […]

Is gender the next party dividing line?

A few days before the recent UK General Election, I read Colin Crouch’s essay ‘Post-Democracy and Populism’. Crouch ends the piece by considering whether the political centre and left have any social identities that can support their movements in the way that populists of the right have appealed to national identity. The one he suggests […]

Does it matter whether rich people really like money?

Responding to the ongoing debate among economists about Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s proposal of a 70% tax rate on the very richest Americans, Chris Dillow  says: “I’ve never been comfortable with the marginal utility argument for high top tax rates. One reason why the rich are rich is that they value an additional dollar highly”. I […]

Review of Dreamers

I’ve written a review of Dreamers by Snigdha Poonam for the LSE Review of Books. It’s a fascinating and important book, so I’ve had a go at drawing out some of its political implications in the review: Each chapter in Dreamers profiles a different segment of India’s youth: behind the scenes at a Buzzfeed-style website […]

Why I am not a Liberal

Sam Bowman has written a good piece arguing that many people who self-identify as ‘centrists’ are actually liberals, and as such should more assertively defend liberal values. At a time when ideological labels are regularly thrown around in a loose and confused manner, it is refreshing to see someone draw the political dividing lines so […]

On the ‘moral’ objection to a basic income: are humans ‘hard wired’ to work?

The Conservative MP Nick Boles generated some headlines before Christmas for his denunciation of a universal basic income: the increasingly fashionable proposal that all citizens should receive a fixed cash benefit from the government. His argument is fairly glib (I have to wonder if he genuinely believes he’s satisfactorily dealt with the issue in just […]

Why calling out ‘post-truth’ might be a bad idea

Of all the habits I developed in five years studying philosophy, internalising the principle of charity is among the most important. Few other ideas are as valuable and relevant outside the seminar room. The principle is simple: when considering an argument, we should try to construct it in its strongest and most persuasive form. Indeed, […]

Trump, Brexit and the Imp of the Perverse

I grew up in a period when politics was boring: the era of the ‘great moderation’ and the ‘end of history’. A time when all the politicians looked and sounded the same, and had a similar acceptance of capitalism, globalisation and the welfare state. With Donald Trump settling into the White House and the UK […]