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What would John Griffith have made of Jonathan Sumption’s Reith Lectures?

Loughlin, Martin (2019) What would John Griffith have made of Jonathan Sumption’s Reith Lectures? Political Quarterly. ISSN 0032-3179 (In Press)

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In his 2019 Reith Lectures on the rise of law and decline of politics, Jonathan Sumption presents a thesis that, on its face, seems identical to that of JAG Griffith’s defence of the political constitution. Given the radical differences in their views on equality, democracy, and redistribution – with Griffith working in the tradition of democratic socialism espoused by the Webbs, Tawney and Laski and Sumption expressing the libertarian philosophy underpinning Thatcherite policies – this is puzzling. This article sets their views in historical and political context and argues that the similarities are superficial whereas the differences are profound. It then proceeds to show the weaknesses in Sumption’s defence of his thesis.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2019 The Author
Divisions: Law
Subjects: K Law > KD England and Wales
J Political Science
Date Deposited: 11 Oct 2019 11:30
Last Modified: 22 Feb 2020 00:14

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