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:


Robocop and the Civil Servant

26th August 2015

I recently watched the remake of Robocop. It was not a very good film, but it did remind me of the plight of the civil servants in Whitehall and the challenge of how and when to use your conscience. Hannah Arendt…

The Soul in Dialogue with Time

24th August 2015

Let us suppose that each of one us has been given a gift, a soul. This soul is unique to us, and we cannot be parted from it. We might imagine that soul turning to Time and saying: “I know Someone mightier than…

Why We Mustn’t Murder Beethoven (or Anyone Else)

24th August 2015

One doctor asks another:"About the termination of pregnancy - I want your opinion. The father was a syphilitic, the mother tuberculous, of the children born the first was blind, the second died, the third was deaf…

Let The Power Fall - The Value of Fripp

27th July 2015

Last week I met with Simon Barrow of Ekklesia and Richard Murphy of the Tax Justice Network. It was a productive meeting on many levels, but I was particularly excited when Simon mentioned the thinking of the…

At The Heart of A New Welfare State

9th July 2015

Last week I attended a very interesting meeting in Sheffield. The event was part of the farewell tour of the National Coalition for Independent Action (NCIA). After ten years of campaigning for the voluntary sector…

Clever Clever Tories

26th May 2015

Recently I was asked on Twitter what was the best rebuttal for the Government’s policy of setting a Benefit Cap; this was shortly after watching a Labour leadership candidate back the Benefit Cap when challenged…

There is a Revolution Going On

19th May 2015

There is a revolution going on. We are beginning to realise that everyone, every human being is important. We are beginning to see that every human being is beautiful. At the heart of this revolution are not the…

The Marriage on the Mountain - Independent Living and Person-Centred Support

18th March 2015

This is my fourth and final blog - written in honour of the Social Care Ideas Factory’s (SCIF) event - We Chose to Climb. This event has been one of the most interesting and positive events that I have ever had the…

On the Mountain - Roles or Relationships

17th March 2015

Today the theme of second day of We Chose to Climb was clear and strong - not power - but relationships. The event itself was full of wonderful content - stimulating and moving - and again and again the presenters made…

Coming Down the Pyramid or How to Give up Power

17th March 2015

Today I was part of the We Chose to Climb event, created by the Social Care Ideas Factory. It was a stimulating affair, and I really enjoyed being there - seeing familiar faces, catching up and meeting new people. I was…

Mountains, Pyramids and the Fate of Self-Directed Support

15th March 2015

For me there is always something special about coming to Glasgow. Setting up Inclusion Glasgow in 1996 was certainly the most wonderful, exciting (if stressful) and ultimately rewarding experience of my working…

The Self-Sacrificing Gene

30th January 2015

I am no expert in biology but something struck me recently. As I understand it there is a natural process of change which goes by the name 'evolution'. It is by this process of evolution that plants and animals change…

Who is Strong and Who is Weak?

21st January 2015

This week I was lucky enough to be invited to hear Jean Vanier speak. For those of you who do not know of Vanier, he is the founder of the L’Arche movement that encourages people with and without learning disabilities…

What Monopoly Teaches us about the Welfare State

29th October 2014

I didn’t know until recently that the game Monopoly was originally designed to teach people about the perils of capitalism. Sadly I think I’m not the only one who missed the point and just saw it as a chance to win.…

Why We're Launching the LDA for England

21st August 2014

We are only 8 months or so away from the General Election of the 7th May 2015 and nobody knows who will win that election. However, over the last four years our Government has taught us that people with learning…

The Liberal Fallacy or Yet Another Argument for Basic Income

24th May 2014

Liberalism, or neoliberalism, has many flaws but we don't always focus on its biggest flaw. You can see this flaw most obviously once you accept one of the most important axiom's of liberal economics: if prices are…

The Eugenic Fallacy

19th May 2014

The contemporary philosopher, Peter Singer, is not the only modern thinker who thinks 'the handicapped baby should die'. Eugenics is not dead, it is just in hiding. Singer is just more outspoken than most.But he,…

Weil's or Pascal's Wager

19th May 2014

Here is Pascal's famous wager, which proposes the absolute rationality of believing in God: If there is a God, He is infinitely incomprehensible, since, having neither parts nor limits, He has no affinity to…

Ideal Markets or Real Markets

28th March 2014

In public policy we use the word 'market' in radically different ways and in fundamentally inconsistent ways. For the liberal (or if you prefer, neoliberal) the word 'market' is used to describe a special kind…

Keeping Money Fresh - The Ideas of Malcolm Henry

14th March 2014

Nothing that could be got from the heart of the earth could have been put to better purposes than the silver the king's miners got for him. There were people in the country who, when it came into their hands, degraded it…

The Cancer of English Anti-Semitism

12th March 2014

The 200 year-old arrangement - by which the Jews rendered money-lending services in return for protection and freedom of travel around the kingdom - was torn to shreds. The first sign was the sudden enforcement of…

The Inquisition - A Truly Modern Institution

12th March 2014

The Inquisition was its own dominion of judgement, a state within a state, answerable to no one other than the Pope, the Crown and its own array of imposing bureaucratic regulations. As well as the inquisitors and…

What is Neoliberalism Good For?

12th March 2014

It would be fair to say that the world of politics seems to be dominated by an ideology that we in the UK call liberalism and which argues for the primacy of freedom and the pursuit of individual happiness. This is an…

Use and Abuse of Standards

21st February 2014

To have standards or regulations imposed upon us means we all cannot succeed; some will make it and some will fail. It is by the nature of such measures that they must divide us into sheep and goats. The only standards…