Of all the places: in praise of Northamptonshire, the middle of everywhere

Love this!

Alex Grant

Aldwincle and Titchmarsh Across the Nene Valley towards Aldwincle and Titchmarsh

German has a good word – unheimlich – for this eerie feeling: when something mysterious or unfamiliar somehow makes uncanny sense. Over the last year I’ve felt it in the most unlikely of places: Northamptonshire. Let me explain why.

Nearly 18 months ago my partner and I moved out of London. We had grown tired of city life – not an active dislike, but itchy feet. After 35 years living in the capital – sixteen of them as a Labour councillor, the last two years much less happy than the others – I had hit 40 and  stepped down at the elections of May 2014, no longer legally required to live in the borough of Greenwich. My partner Liz had enjoyed teaching in London for five years but wanted a fresh challenge. With our daughter approaching her ninth birthday, we knew that…

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So recently I have been focusing on school work, family time and politics. Haven’t had much time for writing, really.

Last Wednesday, a couple of friends and I went to neighbouring Rugby High School for a debate. Unfortunately, two schools had dropped out of the competition, but that did not stop us from expressing our arguments.

Rather than bore with this blog-talk, I shall share the speeches. Please take into consideration that these were only a third of the overall team presentation so there are important aspects of both motions missing. I was the second speaker.

We were for the motion “It is wrong to offer tax incentives to attract business”

Businesses are extremely important to the functioning of free nation states. Their commerce brings prosperity, their activities bring employment and their presence brings development and innovation. We celebrate the contributions that businesses make to the state in every manner. However, we allow the free market to exist providing on balance it has a net benefit to the society in which it operates. The great idea behind it is that, except for public utilities, competition between firms should force firms to become more efficient, force down prices for the consumer and increase choice and output.

However, firms need employees to be publicly well-educated and they benefit from taxpayer-funded flood defences, police protection and street lights. Equally, they transport their goods on roads, which are quasi-public goods. Therefore, as they operate in this society and benefit from public goods and infrastructure, it is only fair that they contribute too. Unfortunately, with the rise of international corporations and with the free movement of capital in some areas, multinational companies with millions of profit have been able to register their profits in the country with the lowest tax.  “The mobility of capital in an environment of deregulated markets allows capital owners to extricate themselves from the social contract.”

One example of the flaws of the resultant tax competitiveness was seen with the dispute between the EU and Apple and the Irish Government, who have a mere 12.5% corporation tax, one of the lowest in the Western developed world. For comparison, the EU average is 22.09%. So Governments are encouraged to lower tax rates to attract firms to register their profits in their country, effectively creating inter-Governmental competition or a competitive tax system. Governments should not be forced onto the back foot as they provide the healthy educated workforce that firms need. So the narrow focus on tax incentives to attract investment is completely misplaced.

The other side will no doubt mention the supposed welfare gain because of the incentive offered. Tax incentives are ineffective and harmful, and have only a minor effect on Foreign Direct Investment decisions (FDI). Its implementation may not bring all the promised business investment and will cut the existing contributions firms make into society, the cost in forgone revenue exceeds any benefits, according to a non-partisan report by the OECD in 2013. That does not work for society, consumers or the Government. The truth is, the other side are selling tax incentives on a lie. They offer quick, short-term solutions. Tax incentives are in no way a means of substituting an attractive investment environment.  These compensations for corruption, political instability or lack of infrastructure fail to address these very problems directly and do nothing to encourage the holistic development of the nation.


When it takes American business magnate Warren Buffett (worth 74.4 billion US dollars) to admit that he has “yet to see anybody shy away from a sensible investment because of a tax rate”, and that  “Above all, investors want good roads, a healthy and educated workforce, and the rule of law.”, the arguments for offering tax incentives to attract investment are completely undermined. Factors of much more importance in consideration of location for investments relate to this healthy, highly-skilled and educated workforce,  consumer market size, infrastructure, trade policies and political and macroeconomic stability.

Rather than encouraging a regressive tax system to attract investment that only benefits those with existing ‘accounting trickery’ (tax evasion) whilst simultaneously reducing the social security net for domestic citizens, we should be focussing on improving investment attractiveness through education, healthcare and sustainable infrastructure, which will attract investment themselves without the need for such detrimental policies to society and the public purse.

Thank you.


We were against the final motion ‘Statues to controversial figures should remain’

Budapest, 1956. Let us remember oppressed Hungarians knocking down statues of Vladimir Lenin. When we look back 60 years ago, do we see such events as actions of short-sighted subjective morality, or as symbols of defiance against air-brushed characters, idolised by monuments as if they were God-like. These monuments had represented Soviet oppression and by removing them, they sent the message that they were not prepared to be ruled from afar by someone who did not represent them. To have a monument which clearly celebrates the figure, was insulting to the Hungarian people.  As I will come to establish, monuments to controversial figures often perpetuate the systematic oppression that they represent, and therefore have no place in society and so should not remain.

Firstly, it is important to recognise that history is not solely available through the medium of monuments – by maintaining monuments to figures that are widely known to have held deeply racist views, for example, we would be celebrating these views as well as their achievements. The academic study of history is fantastic, and by no means would removing such monuments be “rewriting” or “forgetting” history, rather leaving such monuments would be a suggestion that the figures should be universally recognised as good and that one particular approach is clearly right. In fact, by airbrushing such figures, would that not be overlooking important parts of history that we really should be debating?

As tributes, memorials are selective, affirmative representations. We have seen the situation at Oriel College, Oxford regarding the statue of Cecil Rhodes. When a world-leading academic institution erects a statue to a person, it is an ultimate bestowal of honour and legitimacy. We argue that controversial figures should not have the privilege to have their persona modified to be holistically celebrated in history; we are not trying to shut down discussion, but instead to challenge the one side of the figure that is being chosen to be represented and celebrated. They are ultimate manifestations of respect, and whether it be Lenin, Rhodes or Churchill, we argue that erecting monuments in recognition of them shuts down honest discussion.

Several monuments to Gandhi exist around the world from South Africa to the USA. These are ultimate bestowals of respect, honour and legitimacy for a man who described Africans as “savages” and based much of his claim for Indian independence on racism (against Africans). Monuments to such a man, however his peaceful means, surely should not stand in the way of academic discussion? We should not be content with the one simple view that Gandhi was good. Completely. Which is the conclusion that simply erecting monuments, or allowing them to remain, would lead us towards.

Surely we have come so far that to blindlessly support a controversial figure would be unthinkable? It is not a matter of whether one accepts one side of an argument, or merely disagrees with the actions that a figure has taken. It is a matter of open discussion, free debate and historical reconsideration, which is the essence of historical practice. This is denied when a monument to a divisive controversial figure is allowed to remain. As if the actions and views held by the figure continue to be legitimate and honoured by everyone.

Thank you.


Is It Fair to Draw Parallels between Brexit and Donald Trump’s Election?

2016 has been a nightmare for centrist and left-leaning voters. First, the unpredicted vote to leave the European Union, by 51.9% to 48.1% and secondly, the unexpected rise of Donald Trump from media mogul to President-elect of the United States. However, many commentators are listing these two occurrences alongside each other as if they were demonstrative of the same if not a similar voting pattern – a rise in right-wing anti-immigration populism, but is this strong parallel justified?

The vote to leave the European Union centred on three main issues; firstly, immigration control secondly, sovereignty and finally, membership fees. Yes, within the European Union the UK is unable to have full control over its immigration policy from within the EU and has to abide by common regulations. Although leaving the European Union would most likely mean leaving the single market, hence the volume of support in Westminster and London for Remain.

I strongly argued the case for the UK to remain and whilst I maintain this point of view, I completely accept the democratic result. People prioritised immigration control over a strong economy and a co-operative country that compromised and pooled its sovereignty.

The election of Donald Trump is a different matter. The USA is part of NAFTA, which does not require free movement of people, and has complete control of its immigration policy. It even gets away with not abiding with international law, although in recent years Obama has made steps in the right direction. So when Trump made the case for making America “Great Again” he was referring to an America that does not take ‘no’ for an answer, an America that is ruthless not respected, an America of hatred and intolerance towards minorities, not an America that values the input of foreign-born Americans. Trump is somewhat protectionist and has alienated much of the GOP (the Republican establishment) with his anti-free trade stance. By tearing up TPP and NAFTA and slapping huge tariffs on Chinese goods, Trump marks a step into the post-truth society of populism.

Compare this to Brexit, and whilst an exit from the European single market is certainly neither favourable nor preferable in the eyes of economists on the left and right, Brexit proponents have certainly used the exit as an opportunity to make Britain the greatest trading nation again. It is almost as if Brexit is being used optimistically to wrestle free from chains and flourish, whereas Trump’s election victory is about re-chaining America – a pessimistic view that America can only be great again by the work of a demagogue who has thrown away the political rulebook. Trump has repeatedly treated women with disrespect using obscene language not appropriate for this article to repeat. Just as shocking is his Vice-President Mike Pence, who openly advocates electrocution as a cure for homosexuals. The politically correct culture which had come to be common-place in the Western world was really a culture with linguistic racism, sexism and homophobia weeded out. It helped those who did not fit the cis-gendered heterosexual mould feel valid and identified in a world where narrow-minded consciousness has made them feel invalid and invisible for so long. By electing a man who represents turning the back the clock on this, many American voters directly gave a mandate for such a backwards political figure to pursue the demise of social etiquette. Brexit is not so simple – even Theresa May’s Cabinet are still debating what options there are. This summarises the difference: Trump’s election was the normalisation of intolerance, racism and division, whereas Brexit was the vote for controlled immigration and a thriving global Britain, and there were so many options open regardless.

The difference could not be clearer. Yes, a significant proportion of the working class voted for both, hence the analogy. But one is entirely rational – to have control of borders and to shape one’s own destiny, whilst the other was heavily carried by irrational emotion and anger.

Therefore, when discussing the year of political upsets, yes mention Brexit and Trump’s victory, but by no means suggest they are equivalents either side of the Atlantic. By ‘taking back control’, the United Kingdom has a chance to take on a new leading role in the world and to shape its own future. With Trump, America is going to turn back the clock, reverse decades of progress on social issues and have an unmeasured, temperamental battering ram as their leader.

I’m back! (So is Jezza though)


What a fantastically unenthusiastic three months it has been. What do we have? A new Prime Minister, the same old ineffective opposition and May’s meaningless mantra “Brexit means Brexit”

Whilst I have been following these events, I have spent the past few months in Burma, Scotland and in year 13 at school. (I use the term ‘Burma’ despite its colonial connotations because ‘Myanmar’ is the military-imposed name and is viewed more negatively by most of the Burmese people I met – also Suu Kyi prefers it).

Grammar schools – the social mobility ladder for working class children or the hold of the middle class? Attending a grammar school myself, I often feel hypocritical for my viewpoint on this – decided upon after much deliberation and hearing concerns from both sides. Rather than “pulling up the ladder” behind me, I recognise the arbitrary nature of the 11+ exam. It is hardly a measure of academic capability. I know the other 5 children who applied from my primary school all had private tutoring for longer than me (I had one hour a week from the May before the October examinations). And in my school, the whole system feeds into an academically elitist social hierarchy – all based on how people fared on an exam at the age of 11.

My initial hesitation came in the form of catering teaching for the most academically able (who show it repeatedly in school tests and exams). Why not maintain grammar schools because they get student better grades? And those who are more focused on their studies deserve teaching that caters for the high A*/9 grades as opposed to teaching which ensures everyone gets the basics (Cs). Unfortunately, this is an overly simplistic view-point and is one that is uncontested. Theresa May claims to be the champion of working people and wants to make Britain a meritocracy, but it shadows the progress made holistically in the education system. David Cameron and for all their unpopularity, Gove and Morgan, all made a positive impact on children’s education. The focus should be on providing outstanding education to EVERYONE and not just group “outstanding” teachers in select institutions that people get into based off the results of one exam.

It is not logically incoherent to believe in catering teaching to differing abilities whilst not believing in segregating children and labelling those who do not pass as “failures”. The set system exists in comprehensives and is a fine example of how these two beliefs can be brought together. Completely different institutions that socially segregate children are not necessary just for putting those of “similar abilities” together. Not all children peak at the age of 11 and sets, in an inclusive education system, offer flexibility and the opportunity to move sets if a student peaks academically at the age of 14, for example.

Otherwise, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton dominate the news. I continue to be horrified by the lack of basic human decency from Trump and I make my views clear on my Twitter account @euphoricmediums so follow that for more views on the Presidential race.

Recently, I read the Prince and whilst it was somewhat unspectacular like much political philosophy, some key ideas were quite thought-provoking (I often pondered the underlying messages rather than reading some of the useless waffle that Machiavelli wrote). I have broadened my political horizons though, for I held my own view of made a perfect leader (compassionate, respectful and conscientious) but I do understand the argument for a ruthless leader in terms of efficiency.

“It’s better to be feared than loved”

This really does make philosophical sense. To have power on a basis of fear leaves the door open for increasing popularity to be loved if socio-economic conditions better, but if they happen to worsen, power is still guaranteed. However, a leadership with foundations of love are easily broken as people are fickle. If socio-economic conditions for the people worsen, or unpopular policies are brought forward, the relationship of love collapses and so the mutual consent for leadership from love equally collapses and power is vanquished.

Always food for thought though!



Conservative Leader

In any normal political climate, a huge debate would be required for a decision such as this. However the quote ‘there are decades where nothing happens; and there are weeks where decades happen’ holds value in this context. So much has happened that for me to discuss each individual matter in its entirety would be impossible, considering writing is not my full time profession.

Originally I had supported Stephen Crabb. A fresh blue-collar Conservative with a background that described an alternative route to Conservative membership (and not the Etonian image it is dogged with). Born in Inverness and brought up in Wales, I felt Crabb to be a strong ‘one-nation’ candidate, vital with the upcoming SNP threat of a second (yes another!) independence referendum.

However with publicity came some revelations and Crabb’s history on LGBTQ+ rights has been far from liberal. For a Tory cabinet minister trying to continue Cameron’s ‘compassionate conservatism’ project, his attitudes towards homosexuals are major obstacles. It is when this came to light that I pledged to support Theresa May instead. Even minor associations of homophobia with a Prime Minister would be unacceptable for our liberal, accepting nation.

So now I turn to Theresa May, or as Ken Clarke called her, the “bloody difficult woman”. Whilst making no attempt to be a publicity star, May has kept her head down and got on with her job during the six, rather impressive it must be said, year tenure in the Home Office, rumoured to be somewhat of a poisoned chalice. Originally I felt little excitement from the May campaign – just another figure at the top who is not offering anything different.

This cynicism was misguided, however, as May is exactly what the United Kingdom needs right now. A “safe pair of hands”, an experienced competent politician and an appeal to more than just the Tory grassroots. We need  a “bloody difficult woman” to stand up for us, to make sure our position in the Brexit negotiations is clear and firm. I hardly see Theresa May willing to compromise on what she sets her mind on. She may not be much of a people-person, but she excels in the qualities necessary for her position. May is not a therapeutic counsellor, nor is she a teacher with a duty of immediate care – she is our leader and will use her ‘stubborn’ personality to our advantage. Her Draft Investigatory Powers Bill is absolutely necessary given our current national security threat level and with the move to online discussions.

Leadsom represents South Northamptonshire, which borders my constituency and indeed was a loud voice on the Leave side during the EU referendum. However, why should she be parachuted into the highest position of responsibility on the basis of her “amazing background in business and finance” (even though Leadsom has since been forced to modify her CV) and her involvement in advocating Brexit? Personally I do not feel jumping on a band-wagon merits the leadership of the Conservative party, never mind of the whole country. Theresa May, on the other hand, put across her points firmly but allowed others to take a more upfront role, so as to not become a divisive character as Leadsom has. May is also more LGBTQ+ friendly than Leadsom, so the socially-liberal conservatism project can continue, although May is not afraid to make her position clear, as she so bravely criticised police corruption in front of the POLICE conference. That takes courage. A Prime Minister who is strong willed, as May is, is likely to succeed and be respected for holding their ground.

Whilst Leadsom may be fit for a Cabinet role, the top job is beyond her reach and May’s clout and work ethic puts her far out of reach in this competition. I by no means disrespect Leadsom, I feel she is campaigning for a job well out of her depth. Good intentions but let this contest bring out the very best of Theresa May.

As for the Labour party – I have no idea what is happening. I doubt anyone does. Not Corbyn, not Abbott, nor even Eagle who is supposed to be challenging Corbyn. Hence, I cannot comment on their affairs too much at the moment but as in the previous post, I would prefer to see a centrist candidate ie. Kendall or Umunna.



Turmoil in British Politics

There is so much disarray in Westminster. But I shall keep this brief.

Theresa May is the only candidate I can see winning. Leadsom, whose South Northamptonshire seat borders mine, is too inexperienced and does not have the clout to handle being Tory leader. Gove is extremely unpopular and would not be a wise choice at all. Crabb seemed a perfect choice until his homophobic comments became publicly known – it would be a backwards step for the compassionate conservatism I have come to admire.

As for Labour, Corbyn needs to leave, or it needs to split. I fancy a SDP-style split and an alliance with the Liberals personally. If not, Kendall or Umunna perhaps? Eagle is alright but then that is in comparison with Corbyn but a more centre-ground candidate would be better.

It is annoying to see people protesting the Brexit vote. People were misled by Leave but Remain pointed out the lies. Just accept the result and work for the best possible deal now. The “48%” lost.

The UK has voted to leave the EU – My Reflection

This second referendum stuff is nonsense (that is for the UK, not for Scotland, who unfortunately have legitimate reason to undertake another). Simply accept the result and move on.

People are now so divided right now – Brexiters are not all racists and Remainers are not all voting as scared sheep.

I am disappointed as I had hoped to see the UK remain in the EU. Many of the Remain campaign’s statements, dismissed as “scaremongering” have actually started to unravel and Farage, Johnson and Gove must confess that they have misled the public with their claims (about the £350 million a week lie for example). Nonetheless, it was the British people who voted and 51.9% voted to leave the EU and not just the Vote Leave campaign officials. Therefore it is imperative that we accept the result, move on and ensure that the UK makes the best possible deals for the position we have been put in.

I genuinely believed we were stronger, safer and better off in the EU. Much worse than the market reaction this morning is the worrying lack of serious thinking in this country that this referendum has revealed (world-leading non-partisan economic experts dismissed and equated to the economic insight of Nigel Farage, four British Prime Ministers’ pleas ignored, immigrants unfairly blamed for problems and the magnitude of this historic vote’s holistic importance discarded for the sole issue of immigration). Immigration is a concern for so many of us but leaving the EU and trying to crash the economy is not a sensible way of doing so. The anti-establishment vote has gone too far when it votes against business, workers, trade, students, British relations, the strength of the West against a growing Russia and the economy of the UK.

However, this may just be my own view and others have arrived at their own conclusions with their own priorities so to dismiss them as racists would be off the mark. There are problems with the EU and it would be silly to deny that. Despite this, I am not going to denounce my Britishness just because I am unhappy with the vote, as I have seen some do. You want to move to Ireland? Go ahead and do it. That is not the British spirit anyway. We hold our stiff upper lip, we move on and we seek to do the best deals possible in the wake of this seismic moment.

This Brexit is by no means an “independence day” as we are a sovereign nation anyway but we have to work with that which we have. We have to open more doors than those of which we have slammed shut and it is necessary to create more opportunities than those which the youth has lost at the hands of the British electorate.

Overall, a disappointing result for myself and many my age but I could stay here crying or I could support the UK Government as much as possible during this difficult period, by not derailing them through online petitions. My support for a certain political party has rested heavily on the importance of a strong British economy and with the economy threatened, supporting the emergency budget is a priority and comes before party politics (do not be surprised when it turns out that Osborne’s “scaremongering” was not just a political tool).

Leave or Remain, we have a result and as Jo Cox would have wanted, we have to unite as there is so much more that brings us together than divides us.

Whether another election is called or not, I believe ‪#‎MayforPM‬,‪#‎CorbynOUT‬ and that we must have hope – it certainly looks like we will be needing it for the next decade or so…

EU Referendum

Hi All

What kind of political blog would this be with the absence of anything EU-related, considering the referendum will be one of the biggest questions of our lives? It is an opportunity for everyone to vote on the future of the UK without being able to change the decision after 5 years….

Except not everyone can vote. If one is a citizen of another EU country or under 18, there is no voting slip available… despite this decision being of vital importance for the UK’s place in the world. Therefore I will not have the opportunity to vote, an unfortunate circumstance bearing in mind I am 17. Nonetheless, politics is available for all to participate in, regardless of ability to vote: I have campaigned in Daventry town centre with Emma Reynolds MP and Abigail Campbell (2015 Labour Candidate for Daventry parliamentary constituency) on behalf of the Britain Stronger in Europe campaign. Although this campaign has seen me veering towards contemporary politics over political theory, it has certainly given me practical experience in everyday-politics, invaluable for PPE which I intend to read at university.

How else have I shown an interest in politics? Today, three days before the referendum debate, I (alongside Richard Marshall-Lee) represented the Remain campaign in a school debate. After giving speeches, the floor was opened up for questions from the audience. The voting showed an overwhelming victory for Remain (83 votes to 40) but the demographic suggested that this was to be expected (studies have shown repeatedly that under 25s are one of the most likely groups to vote Remain).

Here is the speech I prepared (please bear in mind that the audience was a Grammar School Sixth Form):

“Mr Speaker, Ladies and Gentlemen of the Floor.
In essence, the question of European Union membership is about how we maximise the United Kingdom’s prosperity, security and influence in the world.
Firstly, our economy is stronger inside the European Union (EU). EU membership ensures that we are members of the single market, which strengthens the UK economy because British businesses can trade in Europe without tariffs. British businesses have access to this market of 508 million people, significantly more than the 64 million population of the UK. To withdraw from this threatens to damage the UK’s economy. 90% of economists and research undertaken by the International Monetary Fund, the Office for National Statistics, Oxford Economics, the Institute for Fiscal Studies, the OECD, and the governor of the Bank of England Mark Carney have all forecast a fall in GDP in the event of a British withdrawal. The IMF has warned of a 5.6% decrease in potential GDP if we leave. Bear in mind that only a 1% fall in GDP would offset the saved £8 (raw) billion membership fees – we will actually have less money because there will be less jobs and less investment – the UK will simply not be as attractive for investors. I believe in a strong economy that facilitates social mobility, increased employment and increased tax revenues. These institutions I mentioned are not EU-funded puppets – these are expert, world-leading economists and when they predict 800,000 job losses in the event of a BREXIT, I say it is NOT worth it. It will not be executives losing their jobs – it will be the ordinary workers on the lowest incomes.
Healthier public finances ensure Government funding for the National Health Service and other vital departments, therefore remaining in the European Union is crucial for the UK and prevents the need for Osborne’s ’emergency budget’ which will become necessary considering the £20-40 billion black hole in the public finances that the IFS predicts.
Throughout the course of history, no empire or country has ever been completely sovereign or had total control of its own destiny. The Roman Empire, Imperial China and the British Empire were not always able to get their own way, even at the height of their empires. Economic crises, military rivals, competing philosophies and emerging technologies have all inflicted hardships and defeats, requiring compromises even for states as powerful as these.
Yes, we pool some sovereignty in a controlled manner, to gain greater influence in shaping the Europe of the future. The European Union has seen economic integration as integral to peace and stability and I believe as a proud; outward-looking nation we should remain in it. While the Leave side cry “we have surrendered sovereignty”, they fail to learn lessons from the international relations – we don’t ensure long term influence by retreating into isolation – we compromise. Anyway, the UK really does have the best of both worlds inside the EU – we have opt outs of the single currency, we are not part of Schengen so do not have complete free movement of people yet we are a member of the single market, with a seat and a voice influencing the terms and conditions on which we trade. That would disappear in the event of a Brexit, so in fact as the negotiators and many arguing for Brexit want tariff-free trade, because EU trade is vital for British business, we would still pay fees to the EU but would have no say over these laws. A Brexit, I believe would therefore lead to an erosion of influence.  
The EU is a powerful community of democracies that promotes ethical business, human rights and co-operation – so what kind of message would the UK, great by history and values alike, be sending in the event of a vote to leave, an isolationist anti-business move that would also jeopardise our future, our opportunities and our political and economic clout?
I am not pretending that the EU is a perfect institution by any means – indeed many inside agree that reform is needed but whatever grumbles and frustrations we may have, I believe we are ultimately far better off staying within it and working to improve it, especially considering we reap so many benefits from EU membership. Frankly to exit it I believe would not be worth it.
The EU has transformed from a Europe for Big Businesses, into a Europe for People, a Europe for Aspiration, a Europe for Workers and a Europe for everyone.
Finally, I urge you to put aside the arguments put forward by the Leave campaign of division, isolationism and self-inflicted economic prohibition and instead vote for a future of security, opportunity and prosperity by voting to remain.”


One can only lay hope in the British electorate that they will make the right decision – that is for me a vote to remain within the European Union. I apologise for not having earlier declared my position on this issue but active engagement with the campaign takes priority over publications on this blog, no?

Thank you and remember to #VoteRemain on Thursday 23 June (if you are eligible, of course!)


Three Theories of Justice

Loved this! I certainly refute Rawls’ idea of justice as promoting inequality that favours the poorest though. Increase ease of mobility and ensure ambition is not dampened or a whole nation will suffer.

Nozick’s negative rights concept is fascinating and the foundation is clear but the objections do detract from its standing as it becomes clear some positive rights are necessary as illustrated with the brilliant example of the slaves.

J.S. Mill is interesting and really puts out an argument that to me reminds me of the UK’s current Liberal Democrats. Mill is covered briefly through ‘Rule Utilitarianism’ in the OCR Philosophy and Ethics A level course and this builds on his work distancing his theories from that of Bentham as the right to private property as well as social welfare is not undermined by what else might be conceived of as the greatest good.

His work is fascinating and evokes some economic theory concerning diminishing marginal utility, for every extra unit consumed (take money in this example) the extra satisfaction or utility diminishes than that at a low quantity. Essentially, the poorest can value and obtain more utility from a quantity of money, say ‘x’ than an already rich person would get, who may experience ‘x/2’ utility in comparison to the poorer who may now be able to afford food every day, so it may hold a value of ‘2x’. I am satisfied that Mill does not fall into the trap which comes through denouncing private property, as its importance is clearly stressed.

Thank you for sharing this work!


Ethical Realism

I will discuss three theories of justice: Mill’s Utilitarianism, Rawls’s Justice as Fairness, and Nozick’s libertarianism. Much of my understanding of theories of justice comes from Business Ethics (Third Edition) by Willian H. Shaw. I will expand my discussion of justice by considering objections to each of these theories, but I do not necessarily endorse any of the objections and there could be good counterarguments against them.

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No to PR and an elected second chamber

Found this whilst researching into Karl Popper. A staunch opponent of PR and inevitably Philosophy collides with Politics once again!

The Norton View

Some Conservative colleagues argue vehemently against the introduction of proportional representation for elections to the House of Commons but support an elected second chamber.  I point out to them that there is an inherent inconsistency in their argument.

The fundamental argument against the use of PR for parliamentary elections is that it would destroy the core accountability at the heart of our political system.  Our existing electoral system facilitates, but does not guarantee, the return of a single party to government.  There is thus one body – the party in government – elected through elections to the House of Commons that is responsible for public policy.  It has stood for election on a particular platform, against which it can be judged, and – most importantly of all – it can swept from office at the next election.  Knowing that, it tends to be responsive to public opinion. 

The importance of looking…

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