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About Alan Finlayson

Alan Finlayson is Professor of Political and Social Theory at the University of East Anglia. His research is particularly concerned with the theory and practice of democratic politics, the study of political ideologies and also with political rhetoric. As part of a project supported by The Leverhulme Trust he has developed the website and is working to promote the theory, analysis and improved practice of political speech, oratory and argument in the UK.

Articles by Alan Finlayson

This week’s front page editor


Sunny Hundal is openDemocracy’s social media editor.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

Who won the referendum?

Brexit should be seen as a series of different responses to globalisation.

Too many facts and not enough theories: the rhetoric of the referendum campaign

Both campaigns in Britain's European referendum are build on thin theories which utterly fail to understand each other.

Why is Corbyn doing better on social media?

Corbyn's natural, unpolished and conversational comfort puts him well ahead of the other candidates in terms of engaging social media, if not the electorate at large.

No ethos: the rhetoric of 2015

In trying so hard to present themselves as good, connected and in-touch, politicians end up talking about themselves and each other in a way that demonstrates just how disconnected they really are.

Powellism, Conservatism and Syria

Enoch Powell highlighted the differences between England's vision of itself and its reality, but has this led ideology to be chosen over pragmatism in the Commons rejection of the Syria vote?

What is Blue Labour? An Interview with Jonathan Rutherford

In the second of a series of interviews on Blue Labour, Jonathan Rutherford tackles some common misconceptions with the approach, explaining why the left cannot afford to ignore issues of race, national identity and the emotional need for belonging.

What is Blue Labour? An Interview with Marc Stears

In the first of a series of interviews on "Blue Labour", Marc Stears argues that the UK Labour party must recover a democratic culture, connecting with progressive social movements outside the Party to forge a politics of the common good.

Should the left go Blue? Making sense of Maurice Glasman

As the figurehead of 'Blue Labour', Maurice Glasman is being hailed as an intellectual guru for the Labour Party. In this Friday Essay, Alan Finlayson engages with Glasman's vision of the common good

Compass' vote on opening out its membership is a sign of the pluralist times

Compass is deciding whether or not to open itself to members of any political party - rather than, as at present, only those who are members of the Labour party or of none. The decision feeds into a wider debate of the moment around the shifting distribution of power in British politics and the extent to which the left can and should co-ordinate efforts.

The philosophical significance of UKUncut

When activists under the banner of UK Uncut protest outside high-street shops on Saturday 18th December they will be doing something of great political importance. But they will also be demonstrating and articulating something of immense philosophical significance.

David Willetts is trying to conjure away the dangers of higher education reform with the magic word 'choice'

There are many different kinds of magic trick, but for all of them, one technique is the most important: misdirection. Of the many practitioners of such magic, David Willetts, Minister of State for Universities and Science, is one of the best.

Britain, greet the age of privatised Higher Education

Let’s be clear about what has happened. The House of Commons has not voted only for a rise in tuition fees in English universities. It has voted for the privatisation of British Higher education.
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