Category: UK

About politics and economics in the UK

What does this Sun/Women’s Own email really show us? And what can we do about it?

Dear reader, It’s been an interesting 24 hours since my friend Kate Evans (@iamkateevans) showed me an email by a contributing editor to The Sun newspaper and Women’s Own magazine asking charities for a very particular request… I subsequently posted this email and a few observations on Agent of History here… Since then, Kate’s been…

This is what our ‘news’papers do every day…

I have just read an email sent by a ‘contributing editor’ of The Sun newspaper who is looking for a particular someone. This person’s words speak for themselves so I’ll say no more. Here’s the email (anonymised, of course)… “Hi I’m looking for a woman aged 35+ who used to be overweight and on disability…

A Statement of Belief and Intent – What’s the point of Oxford Democracy-Builders?

A number of people have, quite naturally, asked me to tell them my objectives for starting the Oxford Democracy-Builders (ODB) group. My responses have been hesitant and unclear primarily because, as I emphasise, it’s for the group itself to define its own form and objectives. However, after some reflection, I am able to offer a…

The Pint’s Half-Full! On knowledge, freedom, and unravelling hegemony, Part Two: Unravelling Hegemony

From the psychology of pint-buying to a political theory of hegemony In the previous post, my curious discovery that I couldn’t say with certainty why I acted the way I did regarding buying drinks in pubs led me to question the nature and limits of knowledge and how that relates to our freedom. I suggested…

Shattering the Spectacle

I‘m recently back from a two-day workshop for social scientists in Edinburgh. On day one, I gave a talk with the title of ‘Emancipatory Social Science: from monological to dialogical communication’. I spoke about French philosopher Guy Debord who, in 1967, wrote a book called ‘Society of the Spectacle’. Debord argued that we now live…

Deconstructing and (Re?)constructing Democracy Part Two

Post Two: The wider power inequalities undermining democratic politics in the UK This is the second of a three-part blog about deconstructing and (re?)constructing democracy in the UK. In my previous post, I set out to deconstruct UK democracy by showing just how undemocratic our political system. I tried to show how undemocratic our electoral…

Audioboom of session on housing with Prof Danny Dorling and My Life My Choice

Dear all, Just a quick one. I run a political economy (power & money!) learning group alongside my friend Luisa with the wonderful people at My Life My Choice (MLMC). MLMC is a self-advocacy organisation run for and by people with learning disabilities. A really inspiring group! We’ve been working together over the past couple…

Deconstructing and (re?)constructing democracy

So, it’s election time again here in the UK; that solitary period every half-decade during which this country’s political elite has to actually somewhat engage directly with ordinary people and we, for our part, are asked to actually participate directly in the political process. Though it must be noted that many individual MPs do work…

The ‘FIMO’ Phenomenon

Serendipity in plasticine I was at my friend and neighbour’s house one afternoon after school recently. I have three kids, she has four. It was lively. They were all playing with this nice plasticine called ‘Fimo’. I’d never heard of it, but apparently it’s what the Aardman people use to create Shaun the Sheep and…