Society and Culture
I recently interviewed Sir Anthony Seldon, on the 15th anniversary of his father Arthur Seldon’s death, and I have consequently been thinking quite a bit about the early days of the Institute of Economic Affairs.   Many people who were involved with the IEA in the 1950s and 1960s are no longer with us, of course: this ... Continue reading
Do you know who Owen Jones is? You probably find this question bemusing. Jones is the UK’s bestselling political writer, he has a million Twitter followers, and he is almost constantly on TV. If you live in Britain, and you take at least some interest in current affairs, it is impossible not to know who he is (more’s ... Continue reading
Society and Culture
“There is two kinds of music, the good and the bad. I play the good kind”, Louis Armstrong once said. Like with music, facial recognition technology has good and bad applications. Consider this example: it is early on a Sunday morning when you hear a loud banging on your front door. It is FBI agents, ... Continue reading
Markets and Morality
According to much of the journalistic commentary, Pope Francis has recently issued an encyclical on economics. Reuters, the New York Post, MSN…, the list goes on. All have similar headlines along the lines of: “Pope says trickle-down policies fail society” or “Pope says free market has failed in the pandemic”. Some of the headlines are ... Continue reading
Society and Culture

With Julian Knight MP, Sir Robbie Gibb, and more

Should the BBC continue to be funded by the licence fee or other form of tax, or has this become an outmoded way of financing broadcasting in the modern world? Some argue that changes in technology mean that the current approach to financing, owning and regulating the BBC is no longer tenable. Others suggest the ... Continue reading
Society and Culture
A common misunderstanding about “wokeness” is that it is not about censorship, or silencing unfashionable opinions, but merely about good manners. The “woke”, in this naïve interpretation, are not trying force a particular ideology on anyone; they are not trying to “cancel” people they disagree with. They just want to stop us from making disparaging, ... Continue reading
Society and Culture
The coronavirus lockdown has brought to the fore a socio-economic divide that in normal times goes often unnoticed. It is not the obvious one between the rich and the poor. Rather it reflects by analogy John Stuart Mill saying that not only should there be no taxation without representation, there should also be no representation ... Continue reading
Society and Culture
YES - says Dr Stephen Davies There is a big debate right now about statues of famous people with much argument as to who should be commemorated in this way and campaigns for many statues to be taken down because of things the people memorialised did. I have a simple solution. We should take down ... Continue reading
Society and Culture
In the early stages of the lockdown, James Kirkup of the Social Market Foundation wrote an article posing the question: “Will the pandemic kill off libertarianism?”. The need for a lockdown, he argued, refuted – or at least seriously undermined – the libertarian view of human nature as benign and reasonable: “[L]ibertarianism […] suggests that ... Continue reading
I normally do not pay attention to implicit political messages in movies or TV series. I blank out a movie’s politics deliberately, because I already know in advance that I’ll disagree with it, that I’ll find it silly, and that concentrating on it would just ruin the movie for me. In recent weeks, however, lockdown-induced ... Continue reading