Simon Duffy

Thoughts, Bemusements & Arguments

Simon Duffy

Thoughts, Bemusements & Arguments

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Simon is a philosopher and activist. He is Director of the Centre for Welfare Reform and Secretary to Citizen Network: a global cooperative to achieve a world where everyone matters.

Essays, thoughts, poems, prayers and quotes:


If the game is fixed - change the rules

If the game is fixed - change the rules

30th December 2019

As Greta Thunberg says: panic is the rational response to a real emergency.  And the results of GE2019 is so bad that panic feels like the only rational response: After 10 years of austerity and extreme…

Why a New Centre Party Will Fail

Why a New Centre Party Will Fail

10th September 2018

It may not be wise nor truthful to think of political (i.e human) activities as driven by uncontrollable forces. But today, as extreme austerity policies lead to ever-worsening harm, it is hard not to see, what…

The True Source of Our Security

The True Source of Our Security

17th August 2018

True security can only be found in a community of citizens who honour their obligations to each other I love the Frank Capra film - It's a Wonderful Life - it is pure socialism (in the word's truest and best sense)…

George MacDonald on Heaven and Plurality

George MacDonald on Heaven and Plurality

19th June 2018

George MacDonald (1824-1905) was a Christian who wrote novels, poetry, sermons and fairy tales. He was an inspiration to C.S. Lewis, W.H. Auden and G.K. Chesterton and one of the fathers of the literature of…

What is Heaven?

What is Heaven?

18th June 2018

The Great Divorce by C S Lewis is a wonderful thought piece on the subject of what will happen after death. Lewis delights in taking worries or philosophical problems and turning them on their heads. The first…

What Welcome Means

What Welcome Means

18th June 2018

welcome means it seems when you come we’ll see you well see you safe at last see you’re made welcome

Social Care Car Crash

Social Care Car Crash

16th June 2018

This week I have been working in the USA, but it's been hard to get people to understand how severe the cuts to social care (children and adults) have been in England. But here’s my best shot at a…

Socialist Response to Austerity?

Socialist Response to Austerity?

16th May 2018

Austerity has been severe and unjustified and it has targeted the poorest people and the poorest places. It has also targeted local government. For instance, Barnsley saw its funding fall by 31% in 5 years, and these…

How Relevant is the Communist Manifesto?

How Relevant is the Communist Manifesto?

27th March 2018

The Communist Manifesto, written by Karl Marx and Frederick Engels, was first published in 1848 - that is 170 years ago. Today we may think of Communism as either irrelevant or as a dangerous evil; for it is firmly…

Where on Earth is Our Welfare State?

Where on Earth is Our Welfare State?

23rd March 2018

Politicians Who don’t come from here Fight for our votes Before heading off there To London To fight with each other To be Ministers (well a few) To tell their civil servants Who've certainly never been…

Welfare State as Wicked Stepmother

Welfare State as Wicked Stepmother

23rd March 2018

I suppose one dream of the welfare state is that the welfare state is like a Fairy Godmother, kind and wise, although perhaps living far away, and someone, who when called upon, can turn pumpkins into carriages and…

Top 10 Tory Injustices: the price of austerity

Top 10 Tory Injustices: the price of austerity

2nd March 2018

Tomorrow I hope to speak at a demonstration in Sheffield against the privatisation of the NHS - although the extremely cold weather may be against us. So I thought I’d put my thoughts online, just in case. One of…

Why Inequality Drives Me Crazy

Why Inequality Drives Me Crazy

13th January 2018

I wrote this blog for The Equality Trust and as a contribution to the international Day of Action on 25th January 2018. Philosophers know that when you start talking about equality you can quickly get in a muddle.…

Interview on Universal Credit

Interview on Universal Credit

11th October 2017

I was recently interviewed by occupy.com about Universal Credit. Here's my perspective on the next unfolding disaster of Tory (non) welfare reform. Universal Credit (UC) is being criticised as a “one size…

The Kingdom of Heaven and Universal Credit

3rd October 2017

Certainly Not Matthew 20:1-16 Here is something Jesus did NOT say: For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire workers for his vineyard. He agreed to pay them a…

Welfare and the Common Good

20th September 2017

My friend Virginia Moffatt recently edited a collection of essays called Reclaiming the Common Good which explores the way that society, in so many ways, seems to have lost its way. My essay explores some of the…

Australia’s Pride, England’s Shame

13th September 2017

How Australia is taking the lead in disability rights and social care I have just returned from 3 weeks in Australia where I have been working with disability advocates, families and support organisations. The…

Equality - The Kind That Really Matters

14th July 2017

or why status is not a zero-sum game This essay jumps headfirst into a complex debate which deserves a more careful set of introductory comments. However, I am pressed for time, and so I merely want to offer a few…

Why Welfare Reform is Wicked

3rd May 2017

The term welfare reform might naturally suggest improvements in welfare systems. However the term is usually, although not always, used by those who have a negative view of the welfare state and who propose…

What Do We Believe?

10th April 2017

Many of us believe in justice, and we try and work for justice. But sometimes the “long arc of history” seems a very distant hope. For those of us who work to advance disability rights we see the tide of negative…

Tilting at Windmills or Radical Hope

27th March 2017

I was very lucky recently to get the chance to participate in an event organised by the University of Leeds and Hope Not Hate entitled: A Future for Post Industrial Communities? It provided much food for…

Inequality is Inefficient

2nd March 2017

Over the past few decades inequality in the UK has grown considerably, by whatever measure you choose. After World War II, at the birth of the welfare state, inequality was at a very low level. Over time we've come to…

Strangers in Alien Lands

20th February 2017

This poem was written as a contribution to Sheffield's Poetry-athon on 20th February 2017, a celebration of the contribution of migrants to our communities. You can read all the poems contributed…

Equality and the Market

26th January 2017

I like and loathe Twitter; it draws you into debates with all sorts of interesting people and challenges you to make your point as sharply as possible. But it is also frustrating when something seems really obvious,…