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How politics lost touch with everyday life

How politics lost touch with everyday life

Early on in his elegiac study of how our literary and aesthetic past might animate our political future, Marc Stears singles out DH Lawrence’s “wonderful essay” Insouciance, written in 1928, which he believes embodies “the vision that animates this book”. In the essay, Lawrence describes a meeting with two elderly ladies who try to draw… Continue reading…

Melissa Benn’s latest book, Life Lessons

Melissa Benn is a writer and campaigner. Her features, opinion pieces, essays and reviews have appeared in the Guardian, the Times Educational Supplement,  Mslexia, Financial Times, London Review of Books, Schools Week, Women: A Cultural Review, Public Finance, Teach Secondary, New Statesman and many others.

Melissa has published nine books, including two novels Public Lives and One of Us, which was shortlisted for a British Book Award.  Her political writing includes School Wars: The Battle for Britain’s Education, an account of the development of state education over the past fifty years and powerful plea for high quality comprehensive education, and Life Lessons: The Case for a National Education Service  which provides a route map to reform.

Her writing on women’s lives includes Madonna and Child: Towards A New Politics of Motherhood  and What Should We Tell Our Daughters?: The Pleasures and Perils of Growing Up Female which was shortlisted for Politico’s Book of the Year.

Melissa was awarded the Fred and Anne Jarvis Award in 2012 for her outstanding advocacy of greater equality in education. From 2014-2018 she was Chair of the campaign group Comprehensive Future, and is a founder member of Private School Policy Reform. In 2019, she was appointed a member of the Centenary Commission on Adult Education, which reported in 2020.

A regular public speaker, debater and broadcaster, Melissa most enjoys the chance to think out loud on a range of political themes, either in talks or in conversation with open-minded others.

Melissa Benn, writer, author, novelist, campaigner, UK

Latest writing

Putting the special back into special needs.

I can still vividly remember Michael Gove’s first speech to the House of Commons as Secretary of State for Education in 2010. A blast of oratory in which he charged the outgoing New Labour government of failing poor children with talent. During Labour’s 13 years in office, Gove thundered, on average only 45 children on… Continue reading…

Latest news & events

In conversation with Ed Miliband

Inspired and informed by his hugely popular podcast, Reasons to be Cheerful, Ed Miliband’s new book, Go Big: How To Fix Our World, shows us that whilst the challenges we face as a society are daunting, solutions to them already exist. This empowering, uplifting set of practical and transformative solutions – from a citizens’ assembly… Continue reading…