Monday, October 31, 2011

Charlie Brown and the Great Pumpkin



Happy Halloween!

David Blunkett on immigration policy

A timely op-ed from the former Home Secretary. Blunkett's essay can be found here - an excerpt:

"[. . .] It is not simply that Maurice (now Lord) Glasman has made remarks that he then sought to clarify. We all do that. No, it is the underlying message that is now emerging. It is exactly the accusation that was made by some on the left against the Labour government between 1997 and 2010. Namely, that you can't outdo the Conservatives in relation to immigration.


That is exactly how I feel now about the trend that extends beyond the awful phrase "Blue Labour" to talk as though any influx from abroad is both dangerous politically and unwise socially. This is not racism. That is why I use the term xenophobia. It has moved from a perfectly reasonable desire to ensure that we have tough border controls – sensible and rigorous policies that don't allow individuals or families to exploit immigration rules – into a situation where some people seem to be saying that Britain is full.
The government's policy is frankly bonkers. It seeks to reduce net migration below 100,000 by 2015. Net migration, of course, is about outflows as well as inflows. The best way of achieving their policy (and they are going about it in terms of the austerity programme) is to encourage people, including those born in Britain, to leave. [. . .]"

It is hardly surprising that some have argued that fewer immigrants should be permitted into the UK so that there is less competition for what few jobs have been available. But this is bad economics and bad policy. A key factor in reviving the British economy is to make it more competitive - and the new skills and international connections of new immigrants can further this goal. Moreover, we as a country are more greatly enriched economically and culturally.

It is high time politicians began to make a robust counterargument to the scare tactics of tabloid newspapers on immigration. This is not a call for open borders, but for the economic and social benefits of immigration. There is a strong case to make. I hope this is the beginning of a new - long overdue - debate.

Prince Charles offered opportunities to veto legislation

. . . according to this report from The Guardian. It is alleged that Prince Charles was offered this opportunity on 12 different bills. The Guardian reports:

"[. . .] Unlike royal assent to bills, which is exercised by the Queen as a matter of constitutional law, the prince's power applies when a new bill might affect his own interests, in particular the Duchy of Cornwall, a private £700m property empire that last year provided him with an £18m income. Neither the government nor Clarence House will reveal what, if any, alterations to legislation Charles has requested, or exactly why he was asked to grant consent to such a wide range of laws. [. . .]"

So much for "we're all in it together". . . .

New books in October

Christopher Bartley, An Introduction to Indian Philosophy. London: Continuum, 2011.

Charles R. Beitz and Robert E. Goodin (eds), Global Basic Rights. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009.

Adam J. Berinsky (ed.), New Directions in Public Opinion. London: Routledge, 2012.

Kevin M. Cahill, The Fate of Wonder: Wittgenstein's Critique of Metaphysics and Modernity. New York: Columbia University Press, 2011.

David Cowan, Housing Law & Policy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011.

David Dunning (ed.), Social Motivation. London: Psychology Press, 2011.

David M. Farrell and Rudiger Schmitt-Beck (eds), Do Political Campaigns Matter? Campaign Effects in Elections and Referendums. London: Routledge, 2002.

Anthony Giddens, The Politics of Climate Change, 2nd ed. Cambridge: Polity, 2011.

Dieter Helm and Cameron Hepburn (eds), The Economics and Politics of Climate Change. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009.

Catriona McKinnon, Climate Change and Future Justice: Precaution, Compensation, and Triage. London: Routledge, 2012.

Jason Stanley, Know How. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011.

Robert B. Talisse, Pluralism and Liberal Politics. London: Routledge, 2012.

Nancy Whittier, The Politics of Child Sexual Abuse: Emotion, Social Movements, and the State. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009.

Authors and publishers - many thanks for sending me many of the above books. I will continue to post new titles received each month indefinitely. My contact details can be found here.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Margaret Thatcher claims £500,000 from public purse, or "we're all in it together, part II"

That champion of trying to reduce the nanny state and its benefits system . . . . has now been revealed to have received £535,000 for "ex-Prime Minister duties" over the past five years according to the BBC in news that will shock anyone familiar with her political career. This compares with £490,000 over five years received by John Major and £273,000 received by Tony Blair since he left office.

The BBC reports:

"[. . .] The system was set up by John Major in 1991, after one year in office, to reward former prime ministers for work including answering letters and attending public events. In the past five years, the three former number 10 incumbents have cost the taxpayer in total more than £1.7m in public duty allowances. [. . .]"

It will be interesting to see the government's response to this news. While a case can be made for expenses for former PM's to attend public events, etc., I would expect there to be some review: £1,700,000 could make a big difference in reducing the scale of cuts, an argument we can expect to see from critics of government policy soon.

We're all in it together - director's pay rose 50% last year

The UK government has repeatedly told the British public that "we're all in it together" as austerity measures are brought in under the auspices of addressing UK debt. The government says that big cuts are necessary in order to retain confidence in our market and bring down debts for longterm financial health. The critics say that the cuts are too much and too fast: the aim isn't to balance the books, but line pockets of the few instead of the many in an ideological attack on 'the state'.

Thus far, the scorecard is roughly 1-2. While the government has still managed to convince the public that cuts are necessary, the market hasn't been acting any more favourably and for all intents and purposes can be described as limping along at best with renewed fears of a double dip recession on the near horizon.

So a draw? Hardly. The public may agree on need for reigning in public spending, but they disagree on how cuts have been imposed. More fuel for the fire today as we learn that the pay of directors shot up 50% last year. While the great majority are enduring real reductions in working and pay conditions, the bosses are back to their inflation busting income rises.

I will expect the government to argue that this shows there is 'life in the economy' and that this is a sign of 'recovery', but it will be hard to make the case for public benefit unless they can link these rises in pay with improved employment figures. For the moment, the latter is elusive - but a connection the government will strive to make if it is to continue this narrative that "we're all in it together" as a possible double dip recession approaches. Time will tell.

Admitting Greece into the Euro was a mistake

. . . or so French President Nicholas Sarkozy is reported to have said yesterday. Of course, such things might be expected now from political leaders trying to resolve the financial situation, but after many years of silence.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Two strikes...and you're out

The Justice Secretary, Ken Clarke, is to reveal plans that anyone convicted twice for a serious sexual or violent crime will receive an automatic life sentence. Other changes reported by the BBC include:

"[. . .] 1. Extending the category of the most serious sexual and violent offences to include child sex offences, terrorism offences and "causing or allowing the death of a child" so that the new provisions will apply to them.


2. The Extended Determinate Sentence (EDS) - all dangerous criminals convicted of serious sexual and violent crimes will be imprisoned for at least two-thirds of their sentence, ending the regime which allowed the release of these offenders at the halfway stage.

3. Offenders convicted of the most serious sexual and violent crimes in this category will not be released before the end of their sentence without parole board approval.

4. Extended licence period - criminals who complete an EDS must then serve extended licence periods where they will be closely monitored and returned to prison if necessary.

5. Courts have the power to give up to an extra five years of licence for violent offenders and eight years for sexual offenders on top of their prison sentence. [. . .]"

It's unclear what the biggest effect will be on the criminal justice beyond the following:

a. Criminal justice will cost much more.
At a time where the government tells us about the need to tighten belts (and the Chancellor tells government departments to make big cuts), these proposals are certain to increase costs. This is for two reasons. The first reason is that there will be more persons serving life sentences. So there will be higher costs for their maintenance, etc. The second reason is that there will be likely higher costs pertaining to trials. If a second offence did not lead to a mandatory life sentence, then some criminals might continue to enter plea bargaining. The overwhelming majority of criminal cases are settled through plea bargaining. However, if a second offence did lead to a mandatory life sentence, then more criminals would be more likely to contest the charge(s) to avoid a mandatory life sentence. So expect court costs -- and imprisonment costs -- to rise.

b. Perhaps not much else will change.
Law-abiding citizens may look at these proposals and believe the government is getting "tough" on crime -- and the measures include the headlines grabbing "mandatory life sentence" tag. However, it is unclear to me what big difference the other changes will have on reducing crime.

c. The Justice Secretary is weakened.
Only yesterday, Ken Clarke argued that mandatory sentences were essentially un-British and that judges should have wide powers of discretion. Anyone who knows anything at all about criminal justice and punishment knows that the fairly categorical judgements members of the public might have about punishment (e.g., "all criminals who do x should . . .") significantly change their position the more they learn about the particulars of a specific case. In the effort to "look" tough on crime (by viewing crimes as monolithic), the measures may contribute to problems elsewhere including the failure to get right the crucial "fit" between a specific crime and its punishment. Proportionality is necessary to getting fit right -- and it is an imprecise art. Clarke does not seem in full control of policies coming from his own department in light of remarks made only about 24 hours ago. This is a pity because -- however better it could have been sold -- he had been instrumental in helping to make the important case for restorative justice, a case that now looks on the way out almost as fast as it was on the way in.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Time for a "Research Council Satisfaction Survey"?

We previously mentioned this here, but I think it may be worth returning to:

"In the UK, there is the National Student Survey (or NSS). The NSS is a questionnaire that all undergraduates take during their final year. They are asked a wide range of set questions and invariably these are used to compile various league tables (often based around the scores given for "overall satisfaction").

There has been several controversies surrounding the relationship between research councils and the wider acacdemic community. Perhaps now is the time to introduce a similar survey that measures the satisfaction of academics regarding the research councils.

Oh, but wait (I can almost hear you say). Won't this give a platform for colleagues to vent anger over unsuccessful funding bids? Our reply: yes, but no more than the NSS gives a similar platform for students to vent over their marks and overall experience. If the NSS can still be an important tool in one area, then why shouldn't a similar survey of academics about research councils be important as well?

The NSS has led to some problems, but it has also done much good. I similarly believe that a survey of academic satisfaction with research councils -- that is anonymous and annual -- would do much similar good. The positive possibilities are obvious. Besides, we keep hearing about how we should justify public expenditures, etc. and extending democracy. This move would make good sense.

So why don't we have such a survey then? It's time to start."

Public spending on education "falling fastest since 1950s"

. . . from the Institute of Fiscal Studies. The BBC reports:

"[. . .] The independent financial researchers say spending will fall by 13% in real terms between 2010-11 and 2014-15. In England, the deepest cuts are in school buildings, higher education, 16-to-19 provision and early years. A Department for Education spokesman said: "The government had to take tough decisions to reduce the deficit." [. . .]"

Monday, October 24, 2011

Phillip Blond's Big Society


Phillip Blond is a self-styled "internationally recognised political thinker and social and economic commentator" who rose to prominence with PM David Cameron calling Blond one of his favourite thinkers. Blond leads the pro-"Big Society" think tank Res Publica and he has taken a lead at trying to popularize "Big Society" thinking far and wide in the UK and abroad. Blond was previously a lecturer in theology and philosophy at the University of Cumbria.

Today, it has been alleged that money raised by Res Publica has been used to fund a lavish lifestyle:

"[. . .] David Cameron’s former Big Society mentor was facing embarrassment yesterday over claims he ‘raided’ the coffers of his own think tank to pursue a jet-set lifestyle.

Phillip Blond, stepbrother of James Bond actor Daniel Craig, was revealed to have withdrawn £40,000 to cover personal ‘expenses’. These included exotic trips abroad to meet women and £165 on a garish Regency-style chair decorated with pictures of women in bikinis and high heels sitting astride motorbikes. The payments came at a time when his fledgling think tank ResPublica was struggling to pay its rent and staff wages. It also that emerged Mr Blond once ‘treated’ Cabinet Office minister Oliver Letwin and his wife to tickets for a performance of The Magic Flute without mentioning they had been paid for by the company which owns the Canary Wharf complex.

A friend of Mr Blond last night acknowledged that the 45-year-old academic theologian, who is not married, ‘enjoys the good life’ but insisted he had ‘done nothing wrong’. [. . .]"

Many have critised the Big Society as a euphemism for cuts. We have seen countless relaunches (not that its failure to capture the public's imagination has prevented the UK's Arts and Humanities Research Council from including several mentions of the "Big Society" within its current delivery plan spelling out the AHRC's strategic research funding priorities which we have noted before).

The latest allegations will do little to improve the difficult public reception of the "Big Society" -- but will it spell the end? I suspect so.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Post of the week: what can politicians do about immigration?

This post can be found here.

Thom Brooks on Publishing

I recently spoke at the British Postgraduate Philosophy Association (BPPA) at the University of Reading on the topic of publishing advice for graduate students. A link to audio of my talk and the Q&A can be found here.

Climate change is happening

The latest evidence is here.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Everyone seems to agree with me on the UK citizenship test

Readers will be aware of my previous criticisms of the UK's citizenship test and my recent BBC interview (go to 23 mins 20 seconds). My primary criticisms:

1. The citizenship test must be updated and revised. There are questions about departments that no longer exist, programmes that no longer run, and demographic figures about 10 years out of date.

2. The citizenship test should include new questions, especially on British history. The problems with the test are not merely out of date answers, but the range of questions on offer.

First, the Prime Minister confirmed -- within two hours of my interview's broadcast -- that the Life in the UK citizenship test will be updated and it will include questions on British history.

Secondly, I see that on 14th October the writer Ian Jack also argues for the inclusion of British history and culture (in his essay "Sadly I don't know enough about life in Britain to be allowed to remain here").

So it seems unanimous. I'll get a better sense of the potential unanimity after my talk tomorrow on this subject -- with local MP Chi Onwurah -- at a migration and immigration in Tyneside conference.

UPDATE: Greatly enjoyed the conference on migration hosted by the Tyneside Irish Centre. Excellent papers and discussion on an important topic of high interest.

Is American independence "lawful"? The Debate

An excellent piece can be found here on the BBC website on the arguments in favour (and opposed to) American Independence.

T. M. Scanlon on "Libertarianism and Liberty"

. . . the subtitle is "How Not to Argue for Limited Government and Lower Taxes" and found here in the Boston Review. Mandatory reading for anyone with an interest in the subject. A taster:

"Libertarianism presents itself as a simple, clear, and principled view. It appears to provide a moral basis, in the value of individual liberty, for a specific political program of limited government and low taxes. The moral significance of liberty seems obvious even to those who believe it is not the only thing that matters. But the claim of the libertarian political program to be founded on this value is illusory. Three lines of thought lead to conclusions that might be seen as libertarian. But none of these shows that respect for the value of individual liberty should lead one to support the political program of low taxes and limited government that libertarians are supposed to favor."

Brilliant.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The House of Lords discusses the economic, political and cultural relations between the United Kingdom and India

Outstanding discussions can be found here on a question raised by Bhikhu Parekh. Mandatory reading for anyone interested in the topic.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Special Issue on “Global Justice & Practice-Dependence” in Raisons Politiques

Deadline for submissions: April 1st, 2012

Tentative publication date: Fall 2012

About the Journal

Raisons Politiques is a well-established journal of political thought currently building an international reputation with the support of Sciences Po, the French renowned research institute for social sciences. The journal endeavors to provide a forum where scholars from various backgrounds and traditions can fruitfully engage with contemporary social and political issues. By contrast with publications intended to a particular discipline, Raisons Politiques adopts a thematic approach and welcome contributions from all branches of social sciences. It encourages submissions in English or French, from both established academics and aspiring members of the scientific community.

Among notable contributors are Pierre Bourdieu, Judith Butler, G. A. Cohen, Joshua Cohen, Mitchell Cohen, Ronald Dworkin, Norman Daniels, Clifford Geertz, Robert E. Goodin, J├╝rgen Habermas, Martha Nussbaum, Thomas Nagel, Philip Pettit, Ian Shapiro, Quentin Skinner, Judith Jarvis Thomson, Michael Walzer and Iris Marion Young.

Raisons Politiques is available online through CAIRN, the French portal for social sciences. For more information about Raison Politiques, please visit the editor’s website.
• Special Issue on “Global Justice & Practice-Dependence”

Over the last few years, a new generation of political theorists working in the field of global justice has come to endorse a practice-dependent view about justice. In this view, the content of a given conception of justice depends on the nature of the practices it is intended to regulate, where “practices” refer to existing institutions and every system of formal or informal rules defining the rights and duties of agents involved. Global social and political practices would thus not be governed by the same conception of justice that applies to domestic practices, dramatically different in nature, and that would help to account for the normative discontinuity between the domain of nation-states, where strong egalitarian standards of justice prevail, and the world beyond national borders, where requirements of justice seem closer to a humanitarian moral minimum.

This special issue of Raison Politiques aims to assess the legitimacy of the practice-dependent approach as well as to explore the conclusions that might be drawn from it in the debate on global justice. Authors are thus invited to submit:
- Articles arguing in favor of the practice-dependent approach from a Rawlsian perspective or within a wider constructivist framework;
- Articles offering a non-constructivist foundation for the practice-dependent approach;
- Articles discussing different types of practice-dependence, such as conventionalism, institutionalism and functionalism;
- Articles exploring whether the practice-dependent approach is supported by a particular view about the nature of justice;
- Articles rejecting the methodological commitment to practice-dependence and offering reasons to favor an alternative approach to global justice;
- Articles endorsing the practice-dependent view to develop a substantial account of global justice.

• Submission Process:

Manuscripts must be 1.5-spaced and no longer than 7,000 words, including footnotes and a 150-word summary. All bibliographical references must come in footnotes, formatted as follows:
- David Miller, National Responsibility and Global Justice (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007).
- Thomas Hylland Eriksen, “Formal and Informal Nationalism”, Ethnic and Racial Studies (16/1), 1993, 1-25.
- Kok-Chor Tan, “The Problem of Decent Peoples”, in David Reidy and Martin Rex (eds.), Rawls’s Law of People. A Realistic Utopia (Oxford: Blackwell, 2006), 76-94.

To facilitate blind review, please remove author-identifying information from the text and provide in a separate file a short biographical note (up to 80 words) specifying your title, current affiliation, research interests and relevant publications within the last three years. Send your manuscript and the file containing your personal information in Microsoft Word or Rich Text Format to hugo.elkholi@sciences-po.org.

All manuscripts are anonymously peer-reviewed by two referees within a two months– typically, one member of the editorial board and one external expert. Note that works under simultaneous consideration for publication elsewhere and works that have already been published in any form will not be considered

Call for Editor: Public Affairs Quarterly

I share the following announcement:

"After years of excellent service, Bob Talisse is stepping down as the editor-in-chief of Public Affairs Quarterly on January 1, 2012; I'll be taking over then, with the unenviable job of doing as well as Bob has done. This email is meant to invite applications for the position of managing editor, which will fill something like the following tasks: acknowledgement of submissions, preparation of submissions for blind review, coordinating with editor-in-chief regarding appropriate referees, tracking submitted papers, and submitting manuscripts to the publisher.


While this is an unpaid position, I'm optimistic that it might be of interest to those who want to: gain experience in the publishing realm, interact with a wide range of the philosophical profession, and develop the associated areas of their CVs. I expect that this position would be most appropriate to a Ph.D. student working in the areas of the journal, but would be willing to consider applications from other demographics, including M.A. students or junior faculty.

To receive consideration, please send a CV and a statement of interest--both in .pdf format--to fritz.allhoff@wmich.edu no later than Friday, October 28. As this is a virtual position, geography of applicants is not important."

Talisse will leave big shoes to fill, but this is also a wonderful opportunity at a terrific journal. I strongly recommend interested readers to contact Fritz and indicate your interest in the position asap.

The government policy on bringing down energy bills

. . . appears little more than a call for citizens to negotiate on their own individually with the various energy giants to find the best deals. The government is correct that many people might have lower energy bills if (a) they spent more time comparing their current energy package against competitors and (b) they invested in improved insulation for their homes. However, neither idea is novel - both have been proposed before - and neither idea seems to make much difference. It is notoriously difficult to compare diffierent packages across different companies and the government has done little by way of either legislation or "nudges" to improve the situation. Moreover, the government could provide clearer "nudges" (note: the government claims to support "nudges" and has a Behavioral Insight Team in the Cabinet Office to work out potentially effective nudges on public policy albeit with limited success thus far) to motivate the public to improve insulating their properties ahead of winter.

So not an inspiring "policy" of leaving it to individuals to sort out their own bills without assistance by the state. While this may cohere with the government's idea of the "Big Society," this ideological belief is not evidence-based and it is highly unlikely to make any substantive difference all things equal.

Robert Talisse on Pragmatist Politics





I most highly recommend Talisse's new article in Metaphilosophy (which is part of a larger symposium on his outstanding book A Pragmatist Philosophy of Democracy) found here. An abstract:

"In A Pragmatist Philosophy of Democracy, I launched a pragmatist critique of Deweyan democracy and a pragmatist defense of an alternative view of democracy, one based in C. S. Peirce's social epistemology. In this article, I develop a more precise version of the criticism of Deweyan democracy I proposed in A Pragmatist Philosophy of Democracy, and provide further details of the Peircean alternative. Along the way, some recent critics are addressed."

Monday, October 17, 2011

Michael Sandel on "What is philosophy's place in modern life?"

Yet another fantastic lecture by Michael Sandel here. Highly recommended.

What can politicians do about immigration?

A recently published study has claimed that politicians can do relatively little. An excerpt:

"[. . .] The study of 1,000 found people were most concerned about immigrant groups politicians could do little to cut. The research by the university's Migration Observatory found broad overall support for cutting immigration to the UK, although less in Scotland. [. . .] The Migration Observatory said it wanted answers to two questions that do not feature in standard opinion polls on immigration. It asked respondents whom they referred to as immigrants and whether they wanted cuts to specific categories, such as asylum seekers, workers or students.

The report found approximately 70% of people want a cut in immigrants, broadly supporting previous surveys. A fifth said they thought immigration should stay at current levels. Six out of 10 people thought the most likely reason someone came to the UK was for asylum, followed by just over half saying migrants mainly arrived to work. This contrasted sharply with official statistics that show students make up the largest group of immigrants, followed by workers. Approximately 4% of all migrants in 2009 were asylum seekers.[. . .]" (see here for the report).

One important part of any government's immigration policy is to help clarify the situation for the public. It is unhelpful to plan policies around deep misperceptions about immigration, such as the numbers arriving as asylum seekers. While the government may not be able to reduce the numbers of asylum seekers and EU citizens, the government can control non-EU student visas and these have faced a substantial reduction. The wider concern many have is that this effort to show action on immigration may be harmful to the UK's economic recovery and very unwelcome by the higher education sector.

Of course, a second part is revising - and updating - the UK's Life in the UK citizenship test which we have noted before. There also appears to be action on this as well by the government, which is a welcome development which I will be following closely and providing updates where possible.

UPDATE: I recommend Matt Cavanaugh's piece here with analysis of the above mentioned report.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Government policy on obesity: eat less, exercise more, and you're on your own

Details here of the government policy which has rejected so-called "fat taxes". Interestingly, there appears no interest in even providing some form of "nudge", an approach that has been popular with ministers across parties. The government argues that obesity is largely a problem of personal responsibility. Critics say that, if true, people aren't doing enough about it and so policy needs to be tailored to bring about change.

There is much to be said for looking more carefully at diet. I lost about 5 stone in about 9 months by changing my diet (largely without much additional exercise). Nevertheless, the government "policy" appears little more than a policy to do not much, if anything. An opportunity wasted. This is not to say I'd recommend any heavy handed approach, but I'm surprised there has been no engagement with at least nudges. These nudges may not bring big changes, but something is better than nothing -- and nothing is proving to become more costly every year.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Liam Fox resigns

Some thought it was inevitable despite strong pressure on the Prime Minister by Fox's supporters in the House of Commons to keep him in post. The inevitable has happened and the BBC reports that Fox has now resigned. So much for my earlier advice. My money is that -- in the reshuffle we will see shortly -- Fox will be replaced by Transport Secretary Philip Hammond.

I'd also be unsurprised to see Kenneth Clarke and David Willetts in different positions.

UPDATE: Hammond has now been confirmed as the new Defence Secretary.

Berlusconi wins vote of confidence: a vote for him or a vote against others?

Italian PM Silvio Berlusconi has won a vote of confidence 316-300 -- just enough to win the vote and remain in office. He argued that there was no alternative...and his colleagues appear to have agreed. The vote might be interpreted not so much as a vote of confidence in his remaining PM, but expressing a lack of confidence in any likely alternative government. It has been surprising to find opposition leaders not making the case for change more clear and attractive. In the face of such opposition, Berlusconi may well serve out a full term in office before the next general election.

Machivalli wrote that a combination of virtu and fortuna may help dictate how successful a politician is. A person's natural abilities and talents can count only for so much; there are also the winds of political fortune that are largely uncontrollable. However, there is a third feature, namely, opportunity. Opponents have made little of what opportunities have arisen to make their case for change. Of course, the problem with opportunities is that you can't predict when they arise.

Something for the weekend



Mahavishnu Orchestra - "One Word"

Minister found dumping papers in public bins

The story concerns Oliver Letwin and the details can be found here.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Thomson Reuters to include new book index

One persistent criticism of using bibliometric data is that most databases focus only on journal articles. This becomes a problem in fields where books (especially monographs) are the gold standard. Thomson Reuters has announced that they will soon begin launching a new book index adding thousands new books each year in an ambitious and welcome new venture. Research Research has more on the story here.

Lessons in Political Survival: When All Else Fails, Smile?

These are difficult days for Dr Liam Fox, the Conservative MP and Defence Minister. It has been reported that "senior figures in the Ministry of Defence" think his chances of remaining in post "were 50-50". The difficulties relate to Dr Fox's meetings with his close friend, Adam Werrity, who had allegedly "exaggerated his connections as Fox's advisor". The Prime Minister has since offered his full confidence as he awaits the results of an inquiry led by the cabinet secretary, Sir Gus O'Donnell.

What do you do when acting under such great pressure? The natural advice is to get on with things, to send a message that it's all "business as usual" (rather than "business unusual"), and act as normal as possible. Yet, this leads to a contradiction, namely, that things are far from normal however secure his position given the presently immense media interest and scrutiny. There is then something strained and visibly awkward about the big smile and attempt at commanding a presence of normalcy or even cheerfulness.

While this would have been the usual advice to give him, I'd recommend something different. Instead of the big smiles as the media scrutiny builds and builds, it would also be important to avoid looking too overburdened or strained. This would invite headlines and media narratives about how the pressure has become too much.

My advice would be to drop the "business as usual" approach. This wouldn't be done so that efforts could be focussed on clearing names, etc. because this would invite criticisms that a Defence Secretary should be looking after the nation's defence and not defending himself. However, a more serious, but not depressed, public image might have the effect of not amplifying media speculation beyond the present narratives, but instead perhaps encourage the public to have a bit more empathy. Perhaps it is too late or too much, but I would have thought trying to win over some public sympathy a better strategy than winning public confidence. Public sympathy is fickle, but far more powerful stuff - and far more valuable - than confidence alone.

Machiavelli might have said it's better for a prince to be feared than loved, but it's also easier to command political authority where a prince has won the hearts and minds of the people. Seriousness and determination might perform this trick better than pretending nothing is out of the ordinary. Or so I'd recommend.

UPDATE: They say a day is a long time in politics. The news has now broken that Dr Fox has resigned.

The perfect book for bed time . . .

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Festival of Philosophy

The Festival of Philosophy has launched in Newcastle upon Tyne, UK. Speakers have included local legend Mary Midgley and I'm giving a talk this afternoon "The Community and Me: The Importance of Recognition" which will focus on recognition and the London riots. I hope this idea of philosophy festivals catch on . . . .

Mitt Romney wins Republican nomination

My early prediction for the 2012 Republican presidential candidate is Mitt Romney, who has excelled in recent debates amongst a very poor crowd. I suspect his nomination will be won by a small margin. Rick Perry entered the race in a ball of fire - and this is already beginning to burn out as quickly. I suspect Obama would defeat any of the candidates, but Romney seems best placed to make it a closer election.

Am I right? Time will tell.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Identity and Migration conference

I'm looking forward to speaking at the Tyneside Identity and Migration Conference next week. It will be held from 20-21 October at the Tyneside Irish Centre, Gallowsgate, Newcastle upon Tyne. My paper is "A Yankee in Newcastle: Life as an Immigrant and Citizen" that will be based both on my Times Higher feature article and recent BBC interview. Chi Onwurah MP (Lab) is also speaking on this panel.

The UK citizenship test: the next steps

For those who may have missed it, I have included discussion and links here of my interview yesterday with BBC Radio 4. The discussion centred on the UK's citizenship test (go to 23 min 20 sec). I sat this test in 2009 in order to qualify for an Indefinite Leave to Remain visa (translation: permanent work visa). After earning an ILR visa, you must wait a period of no less than 12 months before applying for UK citizenship. The citizenship application normally takes about six months to process. I became a UK citizen last month.

There are several concerns I raise about the UK citizenship test: questions about demographics use out of date statistics (often from previous census 10 years ago), there are questions about government departments and offices that have been either rebranded or scrapped, and there are questions about programmes that no longer run. The current test was published in April 2007 -- and too many of the questions assume the world hasn't changed much since.

While I raise several concerns, I also make several clear recommendations. The first recommendation -- and something I've argued since 2009 -- is the need for the test to focus more on British history and culture. Curiously, there are questions on UK history on the UK citizenship test. This is a major difference between this test and others, such as the US test. In the US, candidates are asked about the Civil War, Declaration of Independence, and the first US President (e.g., George Washington). When I speak to people about the UK test, everyone seems unanimous on the need for greater inclusion of British history. A second recommendation is the addition of questions concerning basic law, such as your rights under arrest as well as search and seizure. There are no questions about this on the UK citizenship test either.

To my delight, the Prime Minister announced there will be major changes to the UK citizenship test about an hour after my interview was broadcast (which I'm sure was only a coincidence). One specific change will be the inclusion of questions about British history and culture. I'm genuinely excited about this news and looking forward to seeing what further changes might be enacted to not only bring the test up to date, but also much closer to the standards of public expectation on what the test should cover.

With any luck, the Home Office will also have a strong interest in speaking with academics in politics who have sat test and become naturalised British citizens if only to gather constructive feedback . . . .

Egalitariansim workshop in Montreal

Details here.

The government's big gamble: reading the latest poverty statistics

It was not to be this way. After many assurances about the potential impact of austerity measures -- cuts that have only just begun -- we now find a report from the widely respected Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) that confirms a steep rise in poverty figures with incomes for 'middle' families facing their biggest drop since the 1970s. There will be 1.3 million more children in poverty by 2013, or so the IFS predicts.

These figures may surprise -- perhaps even alarm -- some, but they are not entirely surprising. The government is taking a big gamble that must pay off. Here is the trick. They would probably have had some similar "guesstimate" about likely poverty should austerity measures kick in and not much else change. The numbers would have been sobering, but the gamble is that a more frugal state will attract greater investment and financial confidence leading to improved growth. So -- while no one would want to be heard making the argument this crudely -- temporarily pain on this scale might be acceptable given the (hoped for) great benefits that will come down the line.

The problem for the government is that it's unclear what more can be done to improve confidence. Plus, they have a relatively short amount of time to see a reversal in financial fortunes. The gamble is that the poverty to come will be largely eradicated by the time of a general election, but this will entail both that the economy will rebound and that the coalition will stand together long enough to see this parliament out.

If the gamble fails, then this will be a disaster for the government and its attempt to "de-toxify" the Tory brand with some parts of the electorate. Curiously, one wild card in all of this is the Olympics. If they go well, then it may help provide the right boost at the right time for the government and improve consumer spending. If things do not go to plan, then it will make efforts twice as difficult.

So it's everything to play for. There should be little surprise by today's announced numbers. The unknown unknown is whether this is relatively temporary -- or the beginning of a long political headache for the government. Watch this space . . . .

Monday, October 10, 2011

Improving the UK's citizenship test

Readers will know that I have long argued for several reforms of the UK's citizenship test. This is the result of having become a naturalised British citizen who has had to sit the test. One important improvement is updating the questions and answers. The current test is based upon a now out of date textbook. Questions about demographics are problematic because the population has changed (and the test relies on 2001 census data), questions about government departments and services are problematic because many have changed in name and/or function, and questions about support are problematic for this same reason.

But it is about much more than getting the questions up to date, but the content of what is asked. I've been long surprised at the relative absence of British history and basic law from the current test. This has been noted in a recent post and I've spoken about this today in a pre-recorded programme for BBC Radio 4.

I am delighted to report that the Prime Minister agrees and he has today announced major changes to the UK's citizenship test. The new test will be published in 2012 and one major change will be the inclusion of British history. This is a welcome change and I applaud its inclusion. Indeed, I'm very happy to work with colleagues to help enact these improvements (contact details here).

Thom Brooks on the UK's Citizenship Test

Free access to today's interview on BBC Radio 4 can be found here (from 23.20).

Labour's reshuffle: another prediction come true

In late September, I predicted a Labour reshuffle in 2-3 weeks. While many others were confident of a reshuffle before the winter break, I don't believe anyone else had predicted a reshuffle so quickly after the Labour Party were due to approve changes at their annual party conference. So a quick "you saw it here first" - as the reshuffle was announced swiftly, as predicted.

"Catgate" redux

Something cute to start your week. Never say the Brooks Blog doesn't care about the things that matter most!

The secret of Chris Huhne's mysterious "tweet" revealed!

Readers will recall our earlier post on what not to tweet if you're a politician, lessons learned from Chris Huhne (Lib Dem). The rumour mills were running wild about what it's secret meaning was and now we know. Readers may have heard about "catgate": the Home Secretary, Theresa May, recently argued at the Conservative Party's annual conference that someone was able to escape deportation because he owned a cat (a story now apparently widely discredited).

Huhne apparently knew that May was not the first to have used this example: it had been used by UKIP's Nigel Farage ealier and perhaps picked up from him. This was the story that he didn't want his "fingerprints" on (see here). So glad you asked?

UPDATE: I am scheduled to appear on BBC Radio 4 today to discuss the UK's immigration test from about 12 noon. I will note the link on BBC iPlayer when available in a separate post.

Saturday, October 08, 2011

What periodicals do politicians read?

We now have information here about the newspapers and periodicals most subscribed to by members of the Conservative-led British government. Top marks to those who assumed the lucky winners might be the Daily Telegraph, The Times, and The Economist. The curioisities:

* The Financial Times falls below The Guardian
* The Culture Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, is the only Cabinet member who does have any periodicals and newspapers delivered to his office.
* Only Ken Clarke and Eric Pickles receive The Daily Star

There is this data:

"Taking the Government as a whole, The Times is out on its own with 43 copies going to Ministers' offices. The Financial Times is a close second with 41 copies, while the Guardian and the Daily telegraph tie for third place on 36 copies, just one ahead of the Daily Mail on 35. The Independent seems to be more popular among junior Ministers than The Sun, nudging ahead with 30 copies to the Sun's 26, with the Mirror, Express Star and the 'i' newspaper bringing up the rear."

What Not to Say If a Politician: The Huhne Tweet

The BBC reports the above "tweet" on Twitter from Chris Huhne (Liberal Democrat). Of course, much speculation on what this is about. Huhne is currently facing allegations that he asked his wife to claim that she, not he, was speeding. Full details here. The police investigation into whether he had done this is due to report shortly.

UPDATE: The mystery is now revealed! Details here.

Friday, October 07, 2011

Alistair Darling was right


During his 1,000 days at Number 11, then Chancellor Alistair Darling argued that the UK would see the worst recession for at least 60 years. He argued that the financial crisis was international making it a difficult course to navigate.

These comments were seized upon by a great many politicians on all sides and promptly denounced as sensationalism, creating a climate of fear for political advantage, and nonsense. Prime Minister Gordon Brown was rumoured to have released "the forces of hell" on Darling. George Osborne argued that Darling lost his credibility for economic competence.

Well, now Mervyn King, Governor of the Bank of England, has affirmed what Darling has said all along: the current financial crisis is perhaps the "worst ever" and it is an international problem. We have also seen the economy further tank as more and more austerity measures kick in. Looks like Osborne's economic plans have come to much less than Darling's.

There we have it: Alistair Darling was right. Told you so.

Who is in the Shadow Cabinet?

Ed Miliband has announced a new Shadow Cabinet today. Details here. No surprises, but early promotions for new MPs who have been rising stars.

The AHRC and the Big Society: The Next Chapter

Readers will be aware of my efforts to persuade the UK's Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) to remove the "Big Society" from its current delivery plan. The plan spells out the AHRC's strategic research funding priorities for the next several years. These priorities include a commitment to "contributing" to the British government's "Big Society" programme, a political campaign slogan that has failed to take off despite four relaunches. Yesterday, the Prime Minister made only two brief mentions of the "Big Society" in his Conservative Party conference speech (neither telling us what it is...yet again).

The efforts to remove the "Big Society" from the AHRC's delivery plan included:
* Petitions signed by over 4,000 academics calling on the AHRC to remove the "Big Society" from the delivery plan immediately.
* A joint statement signed by over 30 learned societies calling on the AHRC to remove the "Big Society" from the delivery plan immediately. (To date, the AHRC has never commented on this joint statement.)
* The resignations of aabout 50 senior academics from the AHRC's Peer Review College because the AHRC refused to remove the "Big Society" from its delivery plan.
This is unprecedented opposition to research council plans.

There have not been encouraging developments since on several fronts. The AHRC has not changed its position or made any amendments. Within days of the mass resignation from the AHRC Peer Review College, the AHRC CEO took up the position of RCUK Chair - the head of Research Councils UK. Furthermore, we have recently heard from the universities minister that he has hopes to break with the Haldane Principle, a principle that safeguards research funding from political interference.

Yet, there is hope. I recently called upon colleagues to join me in writing to the AHRC under the formal complaints procedure. The subject of the complaint is that the AHRC may well be in breach of its Code of Conduct in its inclusion of the "Big Society" in its delivery plans. This is because the AHRC must avoid providing any grounds for criticism that funding might be related to political party purposes. The fact that thousands of academics have signed petitions, 30+ learned societies have protested, and dozens of senior academics have tendered resignations appear to be material evidence of a breach. I should know the results of the AHRC's investigations shortly. (If they do not agree, then there is a parliamentary ombudsman who will decide upon appeal.)

The AHRC is recruiting for new Peer Review College members. Oddly, they wrote to me about rejoining and asking others to do likewise. Nevertheless,  the "Connected Communities" link provided (e.g., the programme which will "contribute" to the "Big Society") says much about the programme, but makes no mention of the "Big Society" despite the fact that the AHRC delivery plan clearly states - and about a half dozen times - links between this programme and the Big Society in the AHRC's 2011+ plans. A sign that the AHRC has accepted the widespread criticisms from across the sector and the world? Possibly, but let's see that change to the delivery plan to confirm it.

UPDATE: The AHRC has published its Annual Report 2010-11. The report makes no mention of the "Big Society" -- nor does it appear to make any mention of the unprecedented criticisms the AHRC has received since March over inclusion of the "Big Society" in its delivery plan.

PhilJobs

I'm particularly delighted to report the launch of PhilJobs (associated with PhilPapers). It is the best website listing jobs in philosophy that I've seen and I recommend it most highly.

David Bourget and Dave Chalmers should receive knighthoods for services to philosophy (and for far more reasons than PhilPapers and PhilJobs, of course!).

Thursday, October 06, 2011

How never to become lost in a British city again

Here!

Sarah Palin will not seek the White House

On the day the death of Apple's Steve Jobs is announced, we learn that Sarah Palin will not run for US President against Barack Obama after all. This ends months (years?) of speculation. The Brooks Blog readership will remember that I predicted Palin would not run post-Tucson shooting in January. Despite a major media presence and even new film, her poll numbers have remained very disappointing. (Perhaps she would have run if Michelle Bachmann and Rick Perry hadn't entered the race.) When you were once a Vice Presidential hopeful, but now can't outpoll about anyone interested in the job . . . you've fallen down the totem poll of political life.

While I would expect we will see Palin on our television sets for some time to come, I suspect she will not win a major office again. She may well try - for the US Senate, perhaps - but she has bottled her post-election buzz. It was a major political mistake to quit as Alaska's Governor mid-term. The idea must have been to keep the spotlights on her in the run up to a historic campaign to be America's first female president.

But the problem of spotlights is that they can catch you in their full glare - and the comments re: Tucson and elsewhere got attention, but (from Palin's perspective) for the wrong reasons.

If I were one of her political advisors, then I'd strongly recommend returning to the drawing board. Palin must begin to re-define herself in the eyes of the public, not unlike Hillary Clinton. Not unlike Palin, Clinton had been a polarising figure but she had a clear strategy. Moving to New York was one part of it, but also becoming involved in central issues. Palin's advisors would do well to choose an issue or two where Palin can focus her efforts. We've so done the Mama Grizzly stuff, now let's see her help the homeless or lead some initiative on banking reform. This may help her return from the political wilderness, but I wouldn't think it likely to happen.

Many thanks to Cafe Culture and REC North East

. . . for sponsoring my talk Monday on ethics and climate change. The Cafe Culture Newcastle website is here. My talk launched RCE North East's autumn lecture series.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

UK desires break from Haldane principle

The story - reported here by Research Fortnightly - is that David Willetts (the UK's universities minister) told a fringe meeting at the Conservative Party conference that he wished there could be a break from the Haldane principle. This principle forbids direct funneling of research money by ministers. The argument is that he'd like to see more collaborative scientific work between the UK and China.

So there we have it. More political interference in university research appears to be a goal, not less or none. Expect more on this in due course . . . .

And the band played on . . .

As the Tories make triumphalist speeches on how they will rescue Western Civilization (but deport all cats) (I paraphrase . . .), the economy continues to stagnant as it is about to tank. Detals here.

PGR 2011 is underway!

Great news in academic philosophy. The Philosophical Gourmet Report 2011 is being put together now by Brian Leiter. The PGR Report is the leading ranking of departments in the English speaking world (in general and specialist categories). I will comment on results when they are published.

Prime Minister: Pay off debts (while you still can)

The British Prime Minister, David Cameron, is calling on the public to pay off their debts - in particular credit card debts. (No, really. Details here.) The idea is that we are all borrowing too much and living beyond our means. It's necessary for our longterm financial health to cut back and get things in order now.

Why such a happy message to voters? Perhaps it is to keep up the public relations offensive against Labour. The Conservatives have been arguing that Labour - when in government - had spent too much and increased the country's debts. Now that Cameron's government has been proposing new funding for various new schemes it may sound hollow (and so "we've heard this all before from you") if he were to continue the "Labour spent our savings so the Tories are here to tighten our belts" line. Instead, he is selling a similar message in a different way: you, the voter (like the country), has borrowed too much and so you must cut back. Just as you should cut back, so should the country cut back. See the logic?

The genius in this is the traditional Conservative idea that households are like the state's treasury on a smaller scale: just as each household must live within its means, so must the state. This message is very effective because voters can easily grasp the idea and it has an intuitive plausibility.  (Of course, the problem is that the state is entirely different. For example, only states can print money and help control interest rates.)

There is a flaw in this plan that opponents can easily exploit. Let's accept the idea that we should pay off debts to secure a more stable financial future. (I'm feeling charitable.) If this is true, then why is his government knowing, foreseeably, and avoidably implementing a higher education policy that will double, if not treble, the debts of virtually all new university students from next academic year (in a scheme where 20-30% will never pay back their full loans and these debts will have to be picked up by the state)? If dumping debt on future generations is such a bad thing, then why is this at the heart of government policy from next year?

Hypocrisy in a party leader's speech may not be the stuff of headlines and perhaps not too surprising. It is no less disappointing however. So pay off your debts, or at least while you still can . . . .

Adapting conservation to climate change

Details here of a new report by joint Natural England & British Ecological Society. Key findings:

"[. . .] 1) Climate change adaptation needs to start happening to a far greater extent than currently. It was not difficult to find research into possible adaptation strategies, assessments of vulnerability and plans for implementing adaptation. There are many fewer examples of adaptation that is actually happening.


2) Pilot studies need to be established to help address the uncertainties around determining the most effective adaptation measures, for example on the relative importance of increasing connectivity of habitat networks, compared to improving or enlarging existing sites. Good monitoring and assessment of the outcomes are essential.

3) The issues posed by climate change are different depending on the extent to which climate actually changes. To put it crudely, there is a big distinction between dealing with 2°C and 4 °C of warming. At the lower end of the scale, there is plenty of scope to increase the resilience of the landscapes and ecosystems that we currently have. At the higher end, this will not be sufficient and we need to consider much more radical approaches and be prepared to accept species in very different places and place that look very different.

4) Climate change adaptation needs to be developed as part of a wider transformation in the approach of human societies to the natural environment, in which we understand it better and value it more. [. . .]"

To be fair, these sensible findings may not be wildly surprising to those working in this area. Virtually no one argues that we should pursue either adaptation or conservation, but the general consensus is that some combination of both is necessary. This is because the climate is already changing and so there is an immediate need to adapt to the changing conditions, although most argue that greater emphasis should be placed on conservation (where adaptation is more of a short-term policy to adjust to changing conditions now, but not a strategy for long-term climate change policy).

This is a topic that has occupied me a lot over the last couple years and I'll be posting several new papers shortly (as soon as I can revise them a bit more) on the ethics of climate change, climate change and public policy, and particular criticisms of the co-called environmental footprint approach to climate change.

PHYLO JOBS: new resource for finding jobs in philosophy

I'm delighted to share the following announcment:

We're pleased to announce the launch of Phylo Jobs (http://phylo.info/jobs), a free listing of job openings for academic philosophers. Listings are accepted from department or search committee chairs (or their authorized representatives) and verified for accuracy before they appear. Phylo Jobs features include:

* full text search and filtering capabilities that sort jobs by location, rank, AOS, AOC, and type of institution
* live, searchable map of philosophy job postings worldwide
* multiple delivery options including RSS, text-only, Twitter, and Facebook
* community jobs wiki for unofficial status updates (http://phylo.info/jobs/wiki)

Phylo Jobs currently lists 80 openings from departments worldwide.

We invite you to use Phylo Jobs in your search this year or to officially post open positions. For an introductory screencast on using Phylo Jobs, please visit http://phylo.info/jobs/help. Please contact us at jobs@phylo.info with questions or suggestions.

-----------------------------

Phylo Jobs is part of a larger project, which combines data sources, user feedback, and visual analytics to advance the study of the discipline of philosophy. Our work traces the flow of ideas across time by documenting the people, places, and institutions associated with philosophy. As a service to the philosophical community, Phylo also provides free information on professional opportunities and activities, including job listings. Phylo was created by David Morrow (University of Alabama at Birmingham) and Chris Alen Sula (Pratt Institute School of Information & Library Science) and has received support from DigitalHumanities@SILS/Pratt, the CUNY New Media Lab, and the The Graduate Center of the City University of New York.

Monday, October 03, 2011

As the Tories talk, the economy tanks

Details here of further market losses. Meanwhile, the Conservative Party is busy telling its members how the economy is the safest in their hands.

The greatest goal ever scored

Details here.

George Osborne's secret millions

The Chancellor, George Osborne (Con), has repeatedly argued that there is no money left: we must tighten our belts, we're all in this together, and welcome to an age of austerity. The argument is that the Labour Party has broken the piggy bank and spent every penny. (In today's Conservative party conference speech, Osborne says there isn't a penny more to spend.) We must now learn to live on much less so that economic prosperity might return.

These are tough words followed by tough actions. The UK will see some of the biggest cuts in public spending in a generation. Most of these cuts will be implemented shortly -- so the pain is getting closer and no longer on the horizon. We are told that there is only a plan A and no plan B. The government is supporting austerity measures because it has to and not because it wants to.

But is this true? The Labour Party has made repeated claims that the Tory-led cuts are being made too fast and too deep. The austerity measures are not driven by economic necessity, but political ideology.

So what evidence do we have that there's no money left?

First, the government's new school reforms - enabling the creation of academies and free schools - has cost far more than originally predicted.

Secondly, we have seen that the London riots have caused about £35 million of damage - and that the government has promised to help with these costs.

Thirdly, the government's higher education policy - surely, the worst such policy I've ever known - will actually cost the government much more than the current system. The government expects 20-30% of students to be unable to pay their loans in full.

Fourth, the government has found £250 million that it will pay to councils to ensure weekly bin collections.

Finally, Osborne has said that he has found a further £805 million to pay to councils (representing a 2.5% rise) if these councils do not raise council taxes for the forthcoming financial year.

Welcome to George Osborne's secret millions. There is money left in the bank after all, money that has been used to fund policies that cost the taxpayer far more than the policies that have been replaced.

Yet more evidence that ideology, not economics, is driving government reforms. So where has Osborne found his secret millions? Is there more? Time will tell.

British Idealism makes the New York Times

. . . via the discussion of R. G. Collingwood here. The beginning of more to come . . . ?

Sunday, October 02, 2011

How alcohol affects the body

Details here (from BBC Health).

In other news, readers should expect to see a Call for Papers for a special issue of Contemporary Social Science on the topic of alcohol and public policy.

New books received

New books I've received this month include:

Kwame Anthony Appiah, The Honour Code: How Moral Revolutions Happen. New York: W. W. Norton, 2010.

Monica Barry, Youth Offending in Transition: The Search for Social Recognition. London: Routledge, 2006.

Charles Beale, Jazz Piano from Scratch: A How-To Guide for Students and Teachers. Thetford: Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music (ABRSM), 1998.

Eric Berne, Games People Play: The Psychology of Human Relationships. London: Penguin, 1964.

Paul Blackledge and Kelvin Knight (eds), Virtue and Politics: Alasdair MacIntyre's Reviolutionary Aristotelianism. Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 2011.

Stephen Case and Kevin Haines, Understanding Youth Offending: Risk Factor Research, Policy and Practice. Cullompton: Willan, 2009.

Robert Cialdini, Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, rev. ed. New York: HarperCollins, 2007.

Alistair Darling, Back from the Brink: 1,000 at Number 11. London: Atlantic Books, 2011.

Jerry Ellig, Maurice McTigue, and Henry Wray, Government Performance and Results: An Evaluation of GPRA's First Decade. Boca Raton: CRC Press, 2012.

Andrew Hindmoor, Rational Choice. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2006.

David Patrick Houghton, Political Psychology: Situations, Individuals and Cases. London: Routledge, 2009.

Wayne Le Cheminant and John Parrish (eds), Manipulating Democracy: Democratic Theory, Political Psychology, and Mass Media. London: Routledge, 2011.

Frank Luntz, Words That Work: It's Not What You Say, It's What People Hear. New York: Hyperion, 2007.

Ian Martin, The Coalition Chronicles. London: Faber and Faber, 2011.

Catriona McKinnon (ed.), Issues in Political Theory. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008.

Bernadette McSherry and Patrick Keyzer, Sex Offenders and Preventive Detention: Politics, Policy and Practice. Annandale, NSW: Federation Press, 2009.

Joe Navarro, What Every Body is Saying. New York: Harper, 2008.

Robert Rawlins and Nor Eddine Bahha, Jazzology: The Encyclopedia of Jazz Theory for All Musicians. Milwaukee: Hal Leonard, 2005.

The Real Book (6th ed) Play-Along, vol. I: A-D. Milwaukee: Hal Leonard, 2008.

Colin Tyler, Idealist Political Philosophy: Pluralism and Conflict in the Absolute Idealist Tradition. London: Continuum, 2006.

Drew Westen, The Political Brain: The Role of Emotion in Deciding the Fate of the Nation. New York: Public Affairs, 2007.

David Wooton (ed.), Modern Political Thought: Readings from Machiavelli to Nietzsche. Indianapolis: Hackett, 1996.