Category Archives: Interventions

A Sociological Autobiography: 59 – February 15, 2003

February 15, 2003, is a day that will enter the history books. It saw coordinated global protests against the imminent Iraq War in 600+ cities. Experts in social movements have described it as the largest protest event in human history. Estimates of participants worldwide range from 8 to 11 million: Rome saw around 3 million,… Read More »

Who’d Have Thought It?

Well, who would have thought it? So much ‘reform’ crammed into post-1970s financial capitalism and rationalized by neoliberal ideology! The institutions and conventions of postwar welfare capitalism – familiar to a declining proportion of the UK population – have been sabotaged by a fraction of the Occupy movement’s 1%, call them what you will: governing… Read More »

Voting for Collateral Damage

This will be a two-part bog, the first before today’s vote is taken on the motion to extend bombing operations to Syria, the second after the vote. I remember only too well marching through the London streets in 2003 to tell Bliar and his allies in the Commons not to invade Iraq. There were quite… Read More »

The Inductivist Human

Bertrand Russell once told a story with a purpose behind it. Imagine, he wrote, that a turkey wakes up each morning to a rising sun, a feed and, well, the prospect of a mundane but decent enough day. As the days pile up his sense of security and comfort grows. Then, out of the blue… Read More »

‘Realistic’ Public Health Interventions

In his recently published The Health Gap, Michael Marmot reports on two lists of ‘top ten tips’ for health. The first was published by England’s Chief Medical Officer in 1999 and contains the following items: 1 Don’t smoke. If you can stop, stop. If you can’t, cut down. 2 Follow a balanced diet with plenty… Read More »

Triggers for Social Change

Perhaps the paramount research question confronting sociologists today is: why is it that those being exploited and oppressed are not rising up? And as a follow-up: what are the most likely drivers of social change? In this blog I focus on the second question and consider and comment on several possible ‘drivers’. The primary characteristics… Read More »

Labour in the Aftermath of GE2015

I am a socialist. It is difficult to write in a detached way so soon after a general election that delivered such a surprisingly decisive and divisive conclusion. I still feel emotionally fatigued, disorientated, and above all sad and angry at the future that faces so many who are already suffering at the hands of… Read More »

‘High Net Worth?’ How to Fleece the Rest

So what’s all this about ‘high net worth’ people? This is how it works, courtesy of Guardian journalism. If you are a wealthy person, tax-resident in the UK but with strong foreign links, then you are a ‘high net worth’ individual. The question for you is: do you want to share all your income with… Read More »

A Speech Ed Miliband Never Made

In this second decade of the twenty-first century we have reached a crossroads. The end of the cold war has not led to a new and more stable world order but instead to widespread disorder and human suffering. Our global world is fragmenting and life is becoming less predictable not only for people in poorer… Read More »

If Society is Broken, Who Broke It?

Buried deep in my laptop’s memory is a letter I wrote to the editor of the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine following the infamous London riots. It was intended as a corrective to a ‘biomedical’ examination by a Dr Misselbrook of the underlying causal mechanisms that shaped the young rioters’ behaviour. As a… Read More »