Media

A selection of TV appearances, radio interviews, lectures, debates and newspaper op-eds covering a range of issues, from social mobility and welfare reform to hate laws and why kids riot.

If you're looking for a particular item and it's not listed below, contact me - I may be able to supply it!

Video clips...

How do we create a fair welfare system which supports anybody in need of help while also encouraging people to take responsibility for themselves and their dependents?

 

Address to the Centre for Independent Studies Big Ideas Forum, Sydney Town Hall, September 2012

Britain is a remarkably open and fluid society.  Our problem is not that we are riddled by class division and privilege, but is that our politicians, academics and playrights have class on the brain.

 

Battle of Ideas panel debate with the Mirror's Kevin Maguire, journalist Nirpal Singh Dhaliwal and marxist sociologist Neil Davenport (The Barbican, London, October 2010) 

When Wilkinson and Pickett published The Spirit Level, their claim that inequality causes a range of social problems from infant mortality to poor health and high murder rates created a sensation.  But their statistical analysis would shame a 2nd year undergraduate.

Royal Society of Arts debate with Wilkinson, Pickett and Chris Snowdon, London, July 2010

A truly surreal experience!  Debating class at the Cambridge Union with, among others, 'Red' Ken Livingston and Professor Danny Dorling.  My team won the argument, but lost the vote.

Cambridge Union debate 'This house believes class runs Britain', October 2012

As the Coalition government launches its social mobility strategy, I try to convince the nation that it's talent and hard work that determine our fate in this country, not the social class we happen to be born into.

 

Sky News interview with Kay Burley, April 2011 a paragraph. Click here to add your own text and edit me. It's easy.

An issue in Britain as well as Australia, many people claiming disability benefits are actually capable of working.  It wasn't easy making the case for tighter rules - but it's by rushing in where politicians fear to tread that think tanks make their most valuable contribution.

Interview on Australia's Channel 9 Today programme, April 2004

An historical curio!  My very first TV interview, on the couch with Henry Kelly on TV-AM at 7 in the morning, puffy-eyed and caked in make-up, trying to explain the north-south gap in house prices.  Some things never change.

 

TV-AM interview on the Good Morning show, 1986  

Audio files...

Following publication of my CIS report, Beyond Beveridge, I outline the case for scrapping National Insurance and moving to an alternative system of compulsory personal savings accounts.

 

LBC Radio News, November 2013 

A heated exchange on BBC Radio 4's Moral Maze programme in which I insist that Britain is a broadly meritocratic society, and that recruitment into universities is scrupulously meritocratic.  

BBC Radio 4, The Moral Maze, July 2013

Why do white boys do so badly in education compared with other groups?  Why do children from Afro-Caribbean and Pakistani backgrounds do so badly compared with, say, Indian or Chinese kids?  In this interview with Julia Hartley-Brewer, I suggest the family has something to do with it.

LBC Radio interview, July 2013

Welfare arrangements need to be fair, not only to recipients but to payers.  Interview on Sydney's 2GB radio about the importance of discriminating between deserving and undeserving cases.

2GB interview, January 2013

OK, you've got 4 minutes on the Today programme to explain what's wrong with the social mobility statistics.  But John Humphreys wants a slab of that time.  And because the BBC wants 'balance', you've got to debate with another academic who disagrees with you.  Ready, steady...

BBC Radio 4 Today programme, June 2012

UK equalities legislation is costly and counter-productive.  I debate my Civitas report, The Rise of the Equalities Industry, with former Labour Home Secretary Jacquie Smith.

LBC Radio, June 2012

Wilkinson and Pickett's book, The Spirit Level, argues that unequal countries have many more social problems than equal ones.  But they've cherry-picked their cases and their analysis is hugely misleading.  In this interview I defend my claim that it is "trash sociology".

ABC Radio National Counterpoint, September 2011

British justice prides itself on being 'blind'.  No matter who the perpetrator is, or who the victim might be, the law treats everyone exactly the same.  Except that nowadays it doesn't.  So-called 'hate crime' laws treat crimes against certain social groups as much more serious than crimes against other groups.  

Extracts from the BBC Radio 4 Black Roses debate, chaired by Matthew Taylor, August 2011

A week after the appalling riots in Britain in the summer of 2011, I suggest it's no puzzle why kids rioted (it was exciting, and you could pick up a free pair of trainers).  The better question is why didn't everyone join in?

Interview with Greg Carey, 4BC Radio, August 2011

Newspaper articles...

To claim that top jobs are being handed out through an old boys' network is preposterous

The Social Mobility Commission thinks access to top jobs depends on 'who you know' rather than 'what you know'.  It's rubbish - yet even the Tories buy into this nonsense - Daily Telegraph 31 May 2016

 

Must all students now pass the Nick Clegg test?

Forcing top universities to take more entrants from lower-class backgrounds is unnecessary, unjustified and potentially disastrous - Daily Telegraph 8 February 2011

We're not wreckers: We just think The Spirit Level is bad social science

Chris Snowdon and I respond to The Guardian's attack on us for have had the temerity to criticise The Spirit Level - The Guardian 26 August 2010

Busting the myth of our rigid classes

Politicians who worry about our social mobility rates persistently ignore the importance of differences in talent and intelligence - The Sunday Times 6 June 2010

A social divide based on merit

Why intelligence must vary by class, but not by race - The Independent 25 October 1994

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