Rodney Barker

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    The plumage and the bird: We need to reappraise what is ‘essential’ and what ‘superfluous’ in political life

The plumage and the bird: We need to reappraise what is ‘essential’ and what ‘superfluous’ in political life

Political theories have often included frameworks that minimize the importance of some aspects of human flourishing and prioritize others. Rodney Barker takes issue with these distinctions, arguing for the fundamental importance of cultural choices and display in understanding human conduct.

At the end of the eighteenth century, the conservative Edmund Burke denounced the revolutionary regime in France and defended monarchy […]

Margaret Thatcher: who dares, wins (and loses)

With news of Margaret Thatcher’s death today, Rodney Barker looks at her legacy. Thatcher’s robust straightforwardness and uncompromising nature set her apart from her Conservative successors, as did her ability to not only exploit political circumstances and the existing state of thinking, ideology, policy and language, but to shape and create them. Margaret Thatcher was one of the two great twentieth century […]

For a society to be truly ‘big’ it must have universal dimensions which sustain and cultivate solidarity and equality

The Government’s notion of the ‘Big Society’ has been subject to much criticism. Rodney Barker argues that the doctrine is rife with contradictions and that for a society to be truly ‘big’ it must have universal dimensions which sustain and cultivate solidarity and equality. Is Big Society rhetoric just that, a froth concealing the reality beneath. There are clear contradictions between what the Cameron government […]

The summer’s riots and the Occupy movement are both protests against, and a rejection of, an economy that is no longer working for most ordinary citizens.

2011 has seen the streets of London dramatically occupied, first with the riots and looting that struck in August, and more recently with the tents of the Occupy LSX encampment. Rodney Barker argues that both forms of ‘street theatre’ are a response to the perceived ills of the modern economy.

Red Tories, Cameronians, and capitalism for the workers

Rodney Barker analyses the influences on political philosopher Philip Blond, whose Red-Tory book is credited with many of the ideas in the Conservatives’ manifesto.


Philip Blond’s advocacy of Red Toryism has attracted attention by its very novelty. Strange bedfellows are always worth a headline, and Blond’s paradoxical juxtaposition has joined ‘champagne socialists’, ‘anarcho-capitalists’ and ‘revolutionary nostalgia’ in the handy bag […]

The perils of electoral success

LSE Professor Emeritus Rodney Barker discusses the challenges faced by Gordon Brown and David Cameron in winning over the UK electorate in 2010.


How will the parties try to gain the support of the electorate? When competing for votes, political parties in Britain, like parties everywhere, have relied regularly on tales about their opponents and the threats those opponents are […]