I was pleased to be asked recently to address the Economist’s Society at University College London. My subject was “Humanitarian Economics” and this blog post is based on that talk. This was not an attempt to deal with the economic aspects of humanitarian aid, but rather a broader effort to imagine a new approach to… Continue reading Humanitarian Economics
Baquer Namazi is an 80 year old US/Iranian citizen who has spent a lifetime in the service of humanitarian causes and especially as a defender of children’s rights. He was detained when he landed in Iran in February and has now been sentenced to 10 years in prison. Baquer is unwell and this sentence is… Continue reading The case of Baquer Namazi, jailed humanitarian
On 15th July, I wrote an open letter to our Prime Minister, who took office on 11th. Theresa May has now been PM for 99 days. It is customary to hold leaders to account after 100 days on the basis that they have had enough time to at least set out their agenda, assemble their… Continue reading Mrs May’s first 100 days
More than 2 million people watch the popular BBC show Escape to the Country. In 2012 there was a net migration of 40,000 people from urban to rural areas in the UK. Yet, the population of our towns and cities continues to grow more quickly and one estimate predicts that the UK population could be… Continue reading Rural development in an age of urbanisation
Recent political events in the UK have highlighted fundamental questions about the nature of democracy. Our Prime Minister assumed that role without anyone voting for her to be PM. Is that democratic? We are in the process of withdrawing from the European Union – perhaps the biggest political decision in decades – based on a… Continue reading Reflections on Democracy
I have been maddened by the debate over grammar schools in the last few days. So far we are hearing a lot of words and few clear details. There is talk of “inclusive selection” (a logical absurdity) and quotas for the poor (however they may be defined). There are attempts to reassure people that there… Continue reading The grammar school debate
The human brain seems to like to make sense of things through simple categorisation. In politics, the categories are usually on a spectrum from right to left. But what do these terms really mean and is there another way to look at it? One way is to ask whether an ideology is authoritarian or libertarian… Continue reading A new third way in politics?