Blog

Wonkhe: In Defence of Academic Freedon

Wonkhe: In Defence of Academic Freedon

In my latest piece for Wonkhe I defend academic freedom and the importance of allowing those who would challenge orthodoxy to speak out without being silenced. I also set out some simple steps which university leaders could take to defend this freedom against those who would suppress any dissent. You can read the full article below: https://wonkhe.com/blogs/in-defence-of-academic-freedom/

Harvard descends to new lows in the war on academic freedom

Harvard descends to new lows in the war on academic freedom

It’s a fundamental of our system of justice that anyone accused of a crime, however vile, deserves a fair trial and the right to a defence. This applies to everyone: murderers, rapists, terrorists, racists, paedophiles – and even Harvey Weinstein. Defence lawyers who take on these unpalatable cases are understood to be fulfilling an essential role in the justice system, not to be personally supporting murder or terrorism. The students and authorities at Harvard University clearly think otherwise. This weekend,…

Read More Read More

Review: Stories of Your Life and Others by Ted Chiang

Review: Stories of Your Life and Others by Ted Chiang

Minimal spoilers only – no major twists, but does reveal headline content and comments on characterisation, quality of endings and so forth. A brilliant collection of science-fiction short stories. Includes three Nebula Award winners and one Hugo Award winner; the title story, Story of Your Life, was the basis for the major 2016 film, Arrival. The stories are a little longer than most short-stories, typically 40-60 pages and are well plotted, deeply imaginative and have excellent characterisation. Most are set…

Read More Read More

It would be folly for either side to count on victory in a second referendum

It would be folly for either side to count on victory in a second referendum

In my latest piece for Conservative Home, I argue that the febrile politic climate makes the result of a second Brexit referendum inherently unpredictable. This was actually written two weeks ago, but due to local elections and other matters, I’ve only just got round to linking to it. Read the full piece below. https://www.conservativehome.com/platform/2019/05/iain-mansfield-neither-remain-nor-leave-could-assume-victory-in-a-second-referendum.html

Thoughts on the Local Elections

Thoughts on the Local Elections

This may have been the election in which the Lib Dems finally put tuition fees and the Coalition years behind them. Despite their success, it’s worth noting they still won fewer councillors than in any local election between 1993 and 2010 – but they made big gains from a very low base, and won a national equivalent vote-share of 19%, all of which points to them being back as a significant player. It was a terrible night for the Conservatives….

Read More Read More

My local election result

My local election result

Unfortunately I was unsuccessful in my attempt to be elected as a Conservative Councillor for my local ward of Panshanger in the Borough of Welwyn Hatfield. Last year the Conservatives lost this ward to the Liberal Democrats by 37 votes. After a very hard-fought campaign I actually managed to secure more votes than the previous Conservative candidate. Unfortunately, the winning candidate, Liberal Democrat Jane Quinton, did even better, extending the Liberal Democrat lead to nearly 200. National issues clearly played…

Read More Read More

Jurassic Park/World Films: the Definitive Ranking

Jurassic Park/World Films: the Definitive Ranking

Having at long last watched Jurassic Park III and been pleasantly surprised, I now feel able to give an informed opinion about their relative quality, from best to worst. 1. Jurassic Park. The original and still the best. The special effects have aged tremendously well for a film that’s nearly 30 years old, the characters are brilliant and the combination of wonder, terror and pacing is still unmatched. 2. Jurassic World. A surprisingly effect restart to the series, hitting all…

Read More Read More

Twelve posts from my first year of blogging

Twelve posts from my first year of blogging

A year after this blog (re)started, I thought I’d share a dozen of my favourite posts. A mixture of those that were most read and most commented on at the time (on here or on Facebook/Twitter) as well as a few of my personal favourites. In chronological order: “Have had enough of experts…”: An attempt to find common ground A look at why Leave voters may legitimately share a sceptisism in some cases of experts who have very different backgrounds…

Read More Read More

Book Review: The Fantastic Dinosaur Adventure by Gerald Durrell

Book Review: The Fantastic Dinosaur Adventure by Gerald Durrell

One of Gerald Durrell’s less well-known books, I first read this myself as a child and have recently read it to my own son, aged five. It was an amazing hit – we read the whole book (95 pages) in under 24 hours – and deservedly so: it’s full of Durrell’s trade-mark charm, description and humour, with added adventure. The plot follows three children who accompany their great-uncle back to the Mezozoic era to track a pair of villains who…

Read More Read More

How Identity Politics Divides Us

How Identity Politics Divides Us

Those of us who oppose to identity politics often do so because we believe that it is a worldview that increases societal division, by encouraging people to divide themselves into groups within society and then pitting those groups against each other. This would be in contrast to worldviews that strengthen society by seeking to focus on what unites and brings people together, perhaps as citizens of a nation, members of a community or even employees of a company. There have…

Read More Read More

%d bloggers like this: