Close
Close

Lorna Finlayson

Lorna Finlayson teaches philosophy.

Short Cuts: The Rot

Lorna Finlayson, 1 August 2019

My brother​ is not dead. So far, he has lost only the top part of the index finger of his right hand, though he may lose more. He works with chainsaws. Or rather, he used to work with chainsaws. He did not lose the fingertip in a chainsaw accident, though. That would be an improbable scenario, since he is right-handed: this was the trigger finger. In October last year, my brother burned the...

Popular Feminism

Lorna Finlayson, 4 July 2019

What is so disorientating isn’t just that the feminist movement has attained apparent maturity and success just when the conditions of so many women’s lives are desperate and deteriorating, but that it should also be necessary – yet oddly so difficult – to argue for the relevance of those conditions to feminism. Austerity, war and climate change have not been prominent concerns in the most visible feminist campaigns, which have focused instead on a relatively narrow set of issues: increasing women’s representation in various spheres, or pursuing legal, policy and cultural changes in the areas of sex, sexuality and the body.

Corbyn Now

Lorna Finlayson, 27 September 2018

In the event that Corbyn survives to win an election and form a government, what may be hoped from it? It has often been said that we should not expect his troubles to end when he becomes prime minister, and indeed that this may be the moment when his real problems begin. This is probably true, if not very useful. What we may hope for also depends on a more basic and fundamental question. If you think that capitalism can be managed in such a way as to afford a decent life for all, then it is precisely this we should hope for and demand from a Labour victory under Corbyn. If not, the hope must be for something else.

Can the law be feminist?

Lorna Finlayson, 25 January 2018

The difference between Catharine MacKinnon and a typical pro-war American feminist is that MacKinnon has a far bleaker view of the condition of women in Western countries. As she sees it, they need more than top-level representation – in the form of a female president, for example – to perfect their equality. They are systemically brutalised in a society that refuses even to recognise what is going on. This raises the question of whether America, too, might be a legitimate target of humanitarian intervention. But that doesn’t seem to be what MacKinnon has in mind when she asks: ‘Will the marines never land for them?’

From The Blog
20 February 2019

On Monday, seven MPs resigned from the Labour Party – though not from their seats in the Commons – to form a new ‘Independent Group’ in Parliament. An eighth joined them yesterday, and three Tories today. Few people, arguably including the splitters themselves, have much confidence that the breakaway group can garner significant public support, or achieve any particular objective.

From The Blog
4 December 2018

Earlier this year I wrote about the planned changes to mental health provision for students at the University of Essex. The details were murky but the outline was clear enough: yet more cuts and outsourcing. Though seemingly unwilling to give staff and students a clear explanation of what was going to happen, the university was at pains to emphasise one point: that this was to be an ‘expansion’ of counselling provision for students – a 30 per cent expansion, no less.

From The Blog
13 November 2018

Amid the poppies, the parades, the TV programmes on military themes, the commemorative art works springing up in towns and villages across the country, Theresa May said last week that she would be laying a wreath at the graves of British soldiers in France on the centenary of the Armistice to commemorate ‘every member of the Armed Forces who gave their lives to protect what we hold so dear’.

From The Blog
2 October 2018

By the end of the Labour Party Conference last week, it was clear that something had changed. For once, the media coverage was broadly positive. The same outlets that had played host to endless attempts to derail the party's leftward movement, and to undermine its elected leader, now granted a belated (and qualified) endorsement – if not of Jeremy Corbyn's project, exactly, then at least of its legitimacy and viability as a political force.

From The Blog
27 July 2018

Like most of my colleagues, I was until recently unaware of the changes the University of Essex is planning to make to its provision of support for students suffering from mental illness. In general, we hear about such changes only once they are a fait accompli, and are told that it is too late to do anything about them. If we pick up rumours earlier in the process, we are told that it is too early: the idea is still just an idea, still at the ‘consultation’ stage, nothing has been decided yet. Even now, after the story has hit the national press, I have so far been unable to get a full and clear account of the planned changes from university administrators. The outlines, however, are plain enough.

From The Blog
30 May 2018

On Sunday, 27 May, supporters of the far-right Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) gathered in the centre of Berlin. Founded in 2013, the AfD has quickly amassed sizeable support. Were an election held today, the party would probably get 14 per cent of the vote. The parallels between the AfD and Ukip – or, rather, Ukip before its sudden, post-Brexit decline – are striking. Like Ukip, the AfD has its roots in nationalist, anti-EU sentiment. It opposes the perceived dominance of Brussels and the bailout of the banks. Like Ukip, it combines social conservatism with more or less explicit xenophobia and racism. Like Ukip, it contains openly fascist elements. And, like Ukip, it draws energy from the sense of abandonment, resentment and despair bred by neoliberalism and austerity.

From The Blog
17 January 2018

Until very recently, most of us hadn’t heard of Carillion. Not having heard of a particular company wouldn’t usually be surprising or unsettling. But this is more like not having heard of the people who have been making alterations to your house, building your neighbour’s and – in an odd display of versatility – delivering lunches to your children. Because it turns out that Carillion is – or was, until its sudden but entirely predictable liquidation on Monday – pretty much everywhere. As a result, several projects, including the building of two hospitals, a high-speed railway and a bypass in Aberdeen, now hang in the balance, along with the jobs of around 20,000 UK workers.

From The Blog
2 January 2018

It was announced this week that Toby Young will serve on the board of the newly formed Office for Students (OfS), the body that is to help regulate the higher education 'market' in England. Critics have been quick to point out Young's unsuitability for the post. A prominent champion of free schools, Young has little to no experience of the university sector. He does, however, have a record of sneering at the kind of 'ghastly inclusivity' that leads to wheelchair ramps in schools. Ideal, then. But Young's unsuitability for the post is beside the point.

From The Blog
15 June 2017

Reporters and political commentators have been lining up since the election to tell us they are sorry: they were wrong about Jeremy Corbyn, wrong about the move to the left which is both cause and consequence of his leadership of the Labour Party, wrong about 'the public'.

From The Blog
17 September 2016

Opinium and the Social Market Foundation have released a report based on a survey of 2000 people in the wake of the Brexit vote. Respondents were asked for their views on various policies, and to say where they saw themselves on the political spectrum. The report's conclusions, repeated in the press, were that public opinion is currently centrist-to-right-wing, and the left is split over policy in a way that the right is not, above all over immigration. The report also identifies Britain's eight ‘underlying political tribes', the two largest of which – ‘the Our Britain tendency’ and 'Common Sense' – make up 'around 50 per cent of the population' and 'hold a range of traditionally right wing views, offering a solid foundation on which to aim for the 40-42 per cent of the vote which normally guarantees a healthy majority under our electoral system.'

From The Blog
29 June 2016

There are a lot of people who at some point supported Jeremy Corbyn, but are now saying ‘with a heavy heart’ – always with a heavy heart – that he has to go. I would like to ask them to think one more time about this: to ask themselves why they supported him in the first place, and what has changed.

From The Blog
5 March 2015

The inclusion of Russell Brand on Prospect’s annual list of ‘world thinkers’ has been met with predictable outrage and ridicule. The Guardiansaid that his ‘presence looks designed to be provocative’. Reviewing Brand’s book Revolution for Prospect a few months ago, Robin McGhee attacked ‘Brand’s political stupidity’. At the same time, the Telegraph said that ‘Russell Brand's politics are staggeringly stupid.’ The Spectator called him 'an adolescent extremist whose hatred of politics is matched by his ignorance'. In the Observer, Nick Cohen once derided Brand's 'slack-jawed inability to answer simple questions'. Nathasha Lennard in Vice said she didn’t ‘think Brand is totally idiotic. But, to be clear, he is an idiot.’ If there's one thing Brand is not, however, it's stupid: that much should be obvious from watching or reading him, unless you think that having an Essex accent and taking the piss are signs of stupidity.

From The Blog
3 October 2014

In his speech to the Conservative Party Conference, David Cameron vowed to protect current levels of health spending. He also stressed that ‘you can only have a strong NHS if you have a strong economy’ – something Labour 'will never understand'. In other words, the salvation of the NHS depends on a Conservative victory at the next election. That sentence has a strange ring to it. But everyone claims to be the saviour of the health service these days. Both camps in the Scottish independence debate claimed it. The Labour Party claims it. The Conservative Party claims it.

Letter
Lorna Finlayson replies: Catharine MacKinnon accuses me of a ‘category mistake’ and of ‘sloppy scholarship’, on the basis that she did not ‘praise’ the Israeli Defence Force, but merely stated the ‘fact’ that the IDF does not rape Palestinian women under occupation. My point was that this is not a fact, since it is false, or at the very least highly questionable....

Read anywhere with the London Review of Books app, available now from the App Store for Apple devices, Google Play for Android devices and Amazon for your Kindle Fire.

Read More

Sign up to our newsletter

For highlights from the latest issue, our archive and the blog, as well as news, events and exclusive promotions.

Newsletter Preferences