Politics, philosophy and public finance

I have a keen interest in politics, political philosophy, public policy, public finance and the delivery of public services. And I write about issues that concern, frustrate or quite simply outrage me. Here are some of the things that I have written to date.

We must protect our universities’ freedom. An opinion piece arguing that changes to the funding and regulatory regime are threatening the freedom of our universities at a time when we are most in need of their ability to stand up for reason and reasonableness. Published in March 2018 on Liberal Democrat Voice. Read it here.

Efficiency in a student-focused world. An op-ed piece exploring the issue of efficiency in a more student-focused higher education sector, in which I argue that universities need to take a much more strategic approach to what it is they want to be good at. Published in October 2017 on the Efficiency Exchange website. Read it here.

Dear Theresa, You’re either hopelessly out of touch or not being straight with us. A response to the Prime Minister’s letter to EU nationals living in the UK, outlining what she is doing to secure their rights after Brexit. Written in conjunction with Natalie, my (German) wife. Published in October 2017 in Liberal Democrat Voice. Read it here.

VFM: It’s about the value, not the money. A comment piece arguing that, given the growing focus on value for money in the higher education sector, universities need to raise their game when talking about what they do and how well they do it. Published in January 2017 on the Efficiency Exchange website. Read it online here.

The Tories’ populist agenda seeks to silence the voices of reason. A short comment piece arguing that Prime Minister Theresa May is using the fear of ‘otherness’ to unite the two sides of the traditional class divide and to silence the voices of tolerance and reason. Published in October 2016 in Liberal Democrat Voice. Read it online here.

Grammar schools are not the answer. An opinion piece explaining why I think we should make our schools better for all young people, not just those who have already had a decent education and who turn out to be good at passing exams when they are eleven years old. Published in September 2016 in Liberal Democrat Voice. Read it online here.

The EU debate needs more focus. A comment piece arguing that the slanging match that is currently passing for the EU referendum campaign is not worthy of the choice that faces us and requesting that we give this decision the respect and consideration that it deserves. Published in March 2016 on Left Foot Forward. Read it online here.

George Osborne’s master plan for higher education misses the point. An analysis and comment piece in which I take issue with the Government’s approach to funding teaching in higher education and argue that a more nuanced approach is required. Published in August 2015 on Left Foot Forward. Read it online here.

We must stop this brutal attack on local government. A comment piece arguing that the Government’s new education bill forcing all schools rated by Ofsted as ‘inadequate’ to become academies is the latest step in its drive to emasculate local government and to turn our local authorities into little more than toothless providers of centrally-controlled services. Published in June 2015 on Labour List. Read it online here.

Osborne’s new budget law is about politics, not economics. An article arguing that the Chancellor’s plans to enshrine in law the requirement to generate a budget surplus are about political ambition rather than economic and fiscal responsibility. Published in June 2015 on Left Foot Forward. Read in online here.

Labour needs more signposts, not weathervanes. A comment piece arguing that we need courageous political leaders with a vision for our society and for our place in the world, rather than focus-group addicts struggling desperately for a positive headline or a fleeting bump in the polls. Published in July 2014 on Labour List. Read it online here.

The two body problem: Trials and tribulations of a trailing spouse. A personal exploration of the difficulties faced by academic researchers and their families, when the geographical flexibility required for an academic career sits unhappily with the needs of the spouse and the desire to have a normal life. Published in August 2012 by the Guardian Higher Education Network. Read it online here.