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Dante's Divine Comedy; William Blake, 1757-1827 Audio 

In the Moral Maze with art and the transgressive artist

On BBC RAdio’s The Moral Maze this week, Claire Fox, Matthew Taylor, Anne McElvoy and I discussed art and the artist. Can their moral worth be separated? Our peg was “Leaving Neverland”, a two-part TV documentary which detailed child sex abuse claims against the singer Michael Jackson (whether Jackson’s music can be termed “art” is debatable, but anyway). The renewed allegations have prompted a debate about whether we should stop listening to his music. Some believe a boycott takes an important moral stand against the late singer’s alleged crimes. To…

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curriculum Audio 

Decolonising the curriculum in the moral maze

A report commissioned by the Office for Students has recommended that universities should “decolonise” the curriculum to end the dominance of western values and beliefs, which “position anything non-European and not white as inferior.” The “decolonisers’” argument is that a “white” curriculum marginalises minority writers and alienates minority students, contributing to their low representation and attainment in higher education. Some university departments have been reassessing their reading lists accordingly. Critics warn, however, that this promotes tokenism, presenting the works of black or female thinkers as being of equal worth merely…

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curriculum Audio 

The moral maze of the British constitution

BBC Radio’s Moral Maze, on which I am a regular panellist, started its new run last night with a discussion about the moral duty of MPs. With the Brexit crisis setting government against parliament and parliament against the people, we asked whether the principal duty of MPs was to their constituents or to their conscience, and whether sovereignty lay with parliament or the people. Is the British constitution currently working as it should, or are MPs trying to subvert it – and is it ever going to be the same…

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curriculum Israel 

A climate of suspicion, or prudent defence against terror?

A climate of suspicion, or prudent defence against terror? MI5 is to declassify and share information on UK citizens suspected of having terrorist sympathies. “Key” biographical data on potentially hundreds of people will be given to neighbourhood police, councils and other public agencies such as the Probation Service and the Charity Commission. Is this only prudent in the interests of national security, or does it needlessly compromise privacy and freedom? I discussed this on BBC Radio’s Moral Maze this week with fellow-panellists Giles Fraser, Claire Fox and Tim Stanley. Our…

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