Exposing celebrities’ private lives may be inevitable in a free press

Two stories emerged this week regarding the private lives of elite sportsmen: rugby player Gareth Thomas and cricketer Ben Stokes.

Thomas felt obliged to reveal his HIV status after a journalist from an unnamed tabloid threatened to out him. Worse, that reporter approached his parents for comment on the matter before they were aware of the diagnosis, depriving Thomas of choosing how to conduct that delicate conservation.

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Sam Smith’s pronoun request is not some impending tyranny

Sam Smith’s decision to come out as non-binary has provoked predictable backlash from pundits – particularly rightwingers.

The pop singer announced they were changing their pronouns to they or their via Instagram late last week. “After a lifetime of being at war with my gender I’ve decided to embrace myself for who I am, inside and out,” Smith said. “I understand there will be many mistakes and mis-gendering, but all I ask is you please, please try.”

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The flexitarian diet is a model for moral progress

Our politicised age is one of black and white thinking, deeply felt tribals loyalties, and hunting traitors who denounce the faith. As with previous eras of sectarian strife, there is a fixation on purity of actions, speech, and even conscience.

This does not sound like something that can be solved by taking inspiration from a faddish diet with a cumbersome portmanteau name. But flexitarianism may be the model we need to pursue moral progress sustainably.

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Podcast Ep. 142: John Bercow Calls Vote To Cancel Johnson

This week we discuss Boris Johnson’s fortnight from hell (or was it?), the Lib Dems’ vote on abolishing democracy (or are they?) and Commons speaker John Bercow’s decision to step down by October 31 (or will he?).

Joining us is Bercow’s famous respect for precedent.

Image based on Regius professorship lecture, November 2014 by University of Essex

Podcast Ep. 141: Prorogation Sale, Must End Halloween!

This week we talk Boris Johnson’s decision to prorogue Parliament between 9 September and 14 October.

Joining us is Britain’s dusty and incomprehensible constitution.

Image based on Boris Johnson’s first cabinet meeting, July 2019 by UK Prime Minister