Ideas

Not the end of ideology

Photo Credit This article was originally published in Renewal. The government response to the coronavirus crisis involves an unprecedented level of intervention in the peacetime British economy. But the rhetorical and ideological underpinnings of these new policies reveal that little has really changed in Conservative thinking. On 17 March, Rishi Sunak told Parliament that the ‘national effort’ against Covid-19 would be ‘underpinned…

Rethinking Adam Smith

People tend to have a story about the history of the state. It typically goes that it has grown unevenly, but more or less inexorably, since the end of the Western Roman Empire, only to retreat in recent decades. There is certainly truth to this: High Medieval states were often little more than a series of personal arrangements facilitating warmaking, and the…

Labour’s Legal Turn

Keir Starmer’s arrival as leader of the Labour Party will, of course, shift many of the political co-ordinates. Labour’s institutional setting will look different under a new leadership. But the case Labour has staked out in the last four years – opposing austerity, raising taxes on the richest, supporting a far wider role for the state in the economy – now, under…

In The Bleak Mid-Winter

When I was a teenager, I was – like many – ricocheting from phase to phase. One of these was a truly terrible atheist phase, where I made the following argument in Religious Studies class: ‘If Christians sincerely believed that Heaven was as good as they say, why would they all not just nuke everything, in order to get there more quickly?’ In…

Liminal Time

I don’t know what happens next. We’re in the between time, the fractal time. Anything could happen next. Election day is always strange, I think. A strange quiet after the long loud, the calm before the chaos and Curtice and all the rest. But stranger for me is the campaign itself – after however long a period of waiting, hoping, needing, finally…