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Tag: Culture Wars

‘Don’t know they’re born’

‘Don’t know they’re born’

A major reason why young social progressives are turning against free speech is that they can’t imagine being in a situation where the authorities don’t share their values. This comes across very clearly in conversations about the limits of free speech, academic freedom, freedom of association and similar. Many are thoughtful, considered, reasonable people, willing to contemplate that maybe some ‘dangerous’ or ‘offensive’ ideas should be allowed to discussed, within certain limits. But as the conversation continues, you realise the…

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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,…

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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…

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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…

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On Leaving the Civil Service

On Leaving the Civil Service

Almost a year ago today I formally left the civil service. Handing in my notice was one of the hardest things I’ve voluntarily done. I’d joined the civil service immediately after leaving university and loved it. I’d done incredibly exciting things, from meeting ministers, working on policy as it was formed, going to No. 10 and to the House of Commons and even working overseas in the Philippines. The work was meaningful, enjoyable and interesting; I’d worked with some of…

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Endless surrenders?

Endless surrenders?

There’s a situation I observe that has a strange symmetry. Very often I’ll read someone on the left lamenting a series of endless surrenders to the right, such that officially left wing parties now embrace policies that once were considered right wing. They point to privatisation, immigration laws and casualisation of labour and say that forty years ago Jeremy Corbyn’s policies would be considered fairly moderate. And at the same time, I’ll often read someone on the right lamenting a…

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Why don’t Remain supporters talk about UK citizens in Europe?

Why don’t Remain supporters talk about UK citizens in Europe?

One of the starkest aspects of how divided our society is currently, is in the way language can differ so greatly even on matters where people are in agreement. I follow many active Remain supporters on various social media platforms, most of whom are people I greatly respect, despite disagreeing on whether we should leave the EU. Every week I see dozens of tweets and posts expressing concern about the situation of EU citizens in the UK post-Brexit. I struggle…

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Some Thoughts on the Culture Wars

Some Thoughts on the Culture Wars

It’s hard to imagine now just how controversial and offensive Monty Python’s Life of Brian was when it first came out. BBC and ITV refused to show it, it was banned by a number of town councils and cinemas were picketed by angry people who felt it shouldn’t have been made. For someone like me, who grew up seeing it as irreverent, slightly rude humour, not particularly different to Fawlty Towers, it can be hard to see it this way….

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