I am an Honorary Fellow in Politics. Previously I have taught at the universities of Warwick, Liverpool, Manchester and York. I have also held research fellowships at Warwick, Liverpool and Manchester. For a considerable period of my career I worked across a number of areas of ‘government’ in the field of ‘public policy’, including within the Whitehall/Westminster sphere.
The major focus of my attention is to progress a book on labour’s entitlement to the product as a dimension of social justice with particular reference to ‘Ricardian Socialism’ / ‘left-libertarianism’ . This examines the manner in which 3 major traditions of thought (natural rights, political economy/utilitarianism and communitarianism) found expression in the efforts of the respective ‘Ricardian Socialists’ (Bray, Gray, Hodgskin, Thompson) to identify principles of distributive justice at a time of radical change in the processes of production and of population increase and dislocation. The project focus in particular upon the challenge represented by inter-generational factors and seeks to evaluate the extent to which the thinkers in question not only worked within evolving traditions but also anticipated unresolved issues that remain pertinent to this day. Several ‘themes’ pervade the project, most notably: (i) the inter-relationship between political economy and ethics, (ii) the extent to which respective Ricardian Socialist writers anticipated ‘left-libertarianism’ and (iii) the extent to which their diverse responses to a shared understanding of the predicament of labour says something about liberal pluralism. The methodology combines analytical and contextual approaches.
An attendant exercise is the attempt to write something , that might well be aimed at a more popular audience, dealing with inter-generational entitlements and access to markets (including the labour market).
Related but more tenuously is a long-standing interest in William Paley – an engagement motivated in part by the opportunity to access Paley’s private library.
I am the author of Utopian Communism and Political Thought in Early Modern England and am the editor of The Ricardian Socialists: Collected Works (inc. an extended introduction). Besides having articles published in a number of journals (History of Political Thought, Teaching Politics, Political Studies, Journal of the History of Philosophy, History of European Ideas, Politics, Government and Opposition, Contemporary Political Studies) I have contributed to numerous edited collections.