A tale of two piers - why is Mr Cameron giving £2m of taxpayer money to Eastbourne? - Civitas blog 3 August
- comment by Ryan Bourne, City AM, 4 August
- update, Civitas blog, 8 August
Does Mill's liberty principle really justify gross acts of public lewdness? - Ideas@TheCentre 18 July
What lessons might Australia learn from Britain's recent welfare reforms? - Weekend Australian 7 June (paywall; or read it here)
This web site provides a portal for accessing various of my publications, talks and media appearances up to my retirement from social policy research in 2014.
Social policy outputs are organised under 4 themes:
Family and Community
Poverty and Inequality
Tax and Welfare
Material is also classified by genre:
Publications (books, articles and blogs; also works of fiction)
Media output (newspapers, TV and radio)
Presentations (inc. debates, etc)
Navigate through the site using the buttons on the left of the screen.
(Professor Emeritus, University of Sussex, England)
Social policy researcher
(Distinguished Fellow of the Centre for Independent Studies, Australia; Professorial Research Fellow at Civitas, London)
(Fiction, non-fiction and journalism)
Media commentator and public speaker
"Brash, brilliant and cannot be ignored"
Times Higher Education Supplement
The Sunday Times
"That rare beast - a sensible sociologist"
"The most prominent liberal intellectual in Australia"
Sydney Morning Herald
"The antithesis of an Ivory Tower intellectual"
ABC Radio National
"Saunders uses spare and stylish English to mow down paddocks of sacred cows"
Offering a classical liberal perspective on current issues:
In our universities, where there should be open debate and pluralism, there is political orthodoxy and intellectual conformity. Nine out of 10 UK sociology professors describe their politics as left wing and just 3% vote Conservative*. This ideological uniformity underpins the social policy advice academic 'experts' offer to politicians and the public. As an independent researcher I have tried to subject the claims of the academic establishment to critical scrutiny. Offering an alternative perspective based in classical liberal values of individual responsibility and personal liberty, I seek to find practical solutions to pressing social problems that do not entail more government spending, or more control of our lives by the state.
* Survey of sociology professors reported in A. H. Halsey, A History of Sociology in Britain, 2004
I used to be a sociologist, but I'm alright now...
ABC Radio National special programme, recorded in 2008, sets out my thoughts on sociology, politics, and more. See also:
Ideological bias and closed minds in academic sociology. Sociological Research Online, 2011
Follow me on Twitter for notifications of new publications, events and media
Beware privileged hirelings and petty prophets:
'Who is to answer the question: What shall we do, and how shall we arrange our lives?.. Only a prophet or saviour can give the answers. If there is no such man, then you will certainly not compel him to appear on this earth by having thousands of professors, as privileged hirelings of the state, attempt as petty prophets to take over his role' (Max Weber, Science as a Vocation, 1919)
"Some of the biggest cases of mistaken identity are among intellectuals who have trouble remembering that they are not God" - Thomas Sowell
What freedom means:
"A man's right to work as he will, to spend what he earns, to own property, to have the state as servant, not as master - these are the British inheritance. They are the essence of a free country and on that freedom all our other freedoms depend" (Margaret Thatcher, 1975)
“The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings; the inherent virtue of socialism is the equal sharing of miseries.” (Winston Churchill, 1945)