AC Grayling, philosopher, author, eminent academic, journalist, social media activist…and champion for Remain is profiled by Ginny Smith in Sussex Bylines’ popular Defenders of Democracy series.
Author: Ginny Smith
Ginny Smith had a varied career after graduating which included tractor driving, working as an occupational adviser at the University of Sussex and teaching English to secondary school children in Algeria. She now runs her own management development consultancy and is the chair of EUnitySeahaven. She lives in a small village in the South Downs and is passionate about protecting the countryside and environment from inappropriate development. She is a strong supporter of electoral reform and campaigns against the undermining of the UK's democratic institutions. She has an MA in Organisational Behaviour, S1 in General Agriculture from Plumpton College and an all-consuming hobby for a few years was breeding sport horses.
Action group ‘Bespoke’ has been campaigning for safe cycling routes in Eastbourne for many years but every time a breakthrough is close, somehow all its efforts run into the sand. Every other Sussex seaside town has a cycle lane along the front. Eastbourne is the exception, and it is almost certainly because – unlike nearby Brighton – it is not a unitary authority.
Terry Reintke attributes her growing awareness of inequality and the injustices in the world to the fact that she grew up as a German. Living with the knowledge that my grandparents and great-grandparents had a duty as citizens in a democracy to speak up for the rule of law, for minorities, and they didn’t really do that. That knowledge brings a level of responsibility and it is why politics and democracy have always played an important part in my own thinking.
“Grotesque over-development”: Lewes District Council fights government plans to “build, build, build”
Lewes district councillor Emily O’Brien warns of “grotesque over-development” if the government’s “build, build, build” policy doubles the number of planned builds for Lewes district. But despite the government’s U-turn, Conservative MP Maria Caulfield and Emily O’Brien can’t agree on the revised figures.
For over 200 years the Newhaven Lifeboat has been saving lives in the Sussex sea. Volunteers require enormous courage as they face both physical and emotional challenges. The desire to give something back to the people they live amongst is their driving force, and the relationships they form with local and seafaring communities give them the strength to carry on.
We’re on high alert now − but government failings have made the race against the virus more desperate
The BBC is under threat as never before, as right-wing organisations and MPs work to lower its status in the eyes of the nation, while people in the younger age groups are switching off. Solutions for this problem exist – but who has the courage to implement them?
What drives individuals to demonstrate, come rain or shine not to mention abuse, for a cause they believe in? Ginny Smith talks to 81-year-old street activist Alan Dornan to find out.
The deal with the EU may give some certainty to businesses and hauliers, but it also means a mountain of red tape. Ginny Smith assesses the threat border bureaucracy poses to our local ports like Newhaven.
In this extract from a webinar on 10 December Lord Hannay of Chiswick discusses two key issues in the Brexit negotiations between the EU and the UK: the concept of ‘sovereignty’ and the question of fisheries.
Can one of the most ancient and last remaining bridleways in Mid Sussex be saved from being turned into a cycleway? Ginny Smith uncovers a controversy involving Mid Sussex District Council, furious residents, environmentalists, developers, landed estates, the vice-sheriff of West Sussex and a seemingly endless maze of complications.
Peter Geoghegan, investigations editor for Open Democracy, has played a key role in exposing some of the fault lines in our present democracy. In this interview with Ginny Smith he explains what has influenced him, and what motivates him to shine light into the dark corners of UK politics.
Why should a newspaper or its owner be free to do whatever they like, just because it’s a newspaper?
The future health of our democracy depends on the existence of an impartial and engaging public broadcaster
Meeting Gina Miller, you are struck by her energy, her determination, and her passion for social justice. Although her name first came to public notice at the time of the EU referendum, she has actually been a remarkably successful campaigner over a couple of decades. She was a driving force behind the introduction of the 1996 Special Education Needs Act, and later worked on the report and the draft of the Modern Slavery Act with the Centre for Social Justice.
The initiator of the LoveEU campaign (“a love letter to Europe”), a key figure in Women4Europe, the leader of the Release the Russia Report demonstrations in Westminster, and one of the founders of savedemocracy.uk, Amanda Robinson typifies the many passionate, committed and creative campaigners on the frontline of the battle to maintain the rule of law in the UK.
Syrians fleeing their war-torn country have had a mixed reception in Britain – depicted as besieging our borders in Nigel Farage’s infamous ‘Breaking Point’ poster. Elsewhere they have been welcomed, and in some unexpected quarters. Such as the leafy Sussex villages of East Hoathly and Halland. The villages (pop 1,600) may seem an unlikely link […]
At a time when our Parliamentary democracy is under threat, those few courageous voices in the media and in public life who are prepared to come forward and expose corruption, wrong-doing and lying, sometimes appear to be the only upholders of our democratic system. This is the first in a series of articles that will […]
While Westminster politics remains resolutely tribal, out in the country things are changing. As more people begin to tire of yah-boo confrontation, Lewes provides a fascinating example of how successfully different political parties can work together and run a complex district council. After the May 2019 local elections, the Conservatives emerged as the largest single […]
During those first weeks of lockdown when the roads fell silent and there was hardly a plane in the sky, one service remained to ensure that fresh produce, fruit and vegetables continued to reach shops and supermarkets in Sussex. Unpublicised and uncelebrated, as so often in its history, the Newhaven to Dieppe ferry kept open […]