Author: Alex Baxter

Alex Baxter is a Politics and Philosophy student at Magdalene College, Cambridge.
<strong></strong>Reflections on Covid-19: a crisis of freedom, but to what end?
Society

Reflections on Covid-19: a crisis of freedom, but to what end?

Originally published in The Cambridge Student. What is freedom? Is it the right to choose and determine all actions which we make, or the capacity to gain from actions which we partake in? What is the role of community in our understanding of freedom? For a community must have a radiant centre, a light which shines through all people involved. This needs an invisible altar with which all inside worship. An agreement of the common good which assists the vibrancy of encounters with one another. There has to be a realisation of our joint and united endeavour in our understanding of ourselves. But to what extent have freedom and community become entirely separate? We look at our current circumstances against the backdrop of VE day. A time of remembrance of joint loss and suffer...
Let the 2020s be the decade of empathy and kindness
Society

Let the 2020s be the decade of empathy and kindness

The political philosopher Hannah Arendt argued that the key to ensuring happiness in the social realm was empathy and kindness towards others. It is only through forgiveness of mistakes and appreciation of difference that one can reveal all, and be at one with both themselves and those around them. Arendt’s entire political scheme relates to the social; the wonderful communicative relational realm in which people come to act. Act not to help themselves, nor achieve anything in particular, but to achieve a personal and social euphoria which is the highest end. This is not just something that we aim to achieve, but something that we cannot exist without. It is a coincidence of existence; it is what makes us human. I think that anyone today, regardless of political persuasion, or whether ...
<strong></strong>After May’s stunning defeat, what now? We’ve no choice: a second referendum
UK Politics

After May’s stunning defeat, what now? We’ve no choice: a second referendum

Tuesday should have been the day that two years of electrifying political energy reached its end. It ought to have been a vote to heal wounds, unite us and bring together a nation bitterly divided over an issue which was always too big for a simple referendum. An irreversible change of course for our nation's history should have taken place, as Parliament gives Theresa May the nod on her Brexit deal. But that is not how things have played out. On Tuesday, Theresa May’s hard-fought Brexit compromise was crushed by Parliament by a majority of 230, the biggest government defeat in history. just 202 MPs supported her, and a stunning 432 voted against her. Whilst the defeat itself is an embarrassment for the Prime Minister, it goes far deeper than that. The entirety of the last two years mus...
On Brexit, our nation deserves better
European Politics, Politics, UK Politics

On Brexit, our nation deserves better

Many comparisons were made when Britain voted to leave the EU on 23 June 2016. A nation heading for an iceberg, storm clouds on the horizon, even a full-on apocalypse was envisaged in the distance. Despite these comparisons, what Britain has witnessed in the two years since has shocked even the most ardent Remainer. Long gone are the days of George Osborne’s spuriously specific figures booming out of the treasury, in which households would supposedly be £4,300 worse off by 2030. Indeed, even David Cameron has said that the economic fallout directly after the vote has “turned out less badly than we first thought”. But today, the horrific chaos that Brexit is going to bring isn’t the direct result of leaving itself, but the result of our Conservative government’s incompetence and incomprehe...
'Lib Dem gains and Labour wanes': 2018 local elections in full
UK Politics

'Lib Dem gains and Labour wanes': 2018 local elections in full

Thursday's local elections can at best be described as murky. There were gains and losses for both of the two main parties which will be cause for concern and tribulation. Yet one thing that is for sure is that 2014 seems a long time ago, and the political scene in the aftermath of Brexit is ever more confusing and unpredictable. If the Conservative campaign has shown anything, it’s that after eight years in government, two Prime Ministers, four resignations in the last six months and one of the biggest political scandals in recent times occurring a week before the vote, it’s that there certainly isn’t a better alternative. By the time the Labour Party had been in office for eight years, they were losing 4,000 council seats. Contrast this with the Conservative net loss of 33, there is c...
Windrush is proof that compassionate conservatism has died
UK Politics

Windrush is proof that compassionate conservatism has died

The Windrush scandal has revealed many things about our current government; crucially, that compassionate conservatism has died like its oxymoronic origins foreboded. Today we are left with an alt-right Conservative party conveying the wishes of every Brexiteer’s wet dream, hidden by the incompetence of the May-bot. Windrush has confirmed that this government’s heartlessness has ruined lives, and with local elections on the horizon, I challenge liberal Conservatives to abandon this illiberal sinking ship. Many liberals have recently found themselves swooning over figures such as Ken Clark and Anna Soubry, heralding them as ‘good Tories’,  whether this be in their defence of the constitution or of liberal immigration policy. Yet today, these individuals are expressing the views not of th...
The ‘take back control’ paradox: the Tories and their hypocrisy over Syria
UK Politics

The ‘take back control’ paradox: the Tories and their hypocrisy over Syria

‘Take back control!’ Boris blustered with an aroma of British exceptionalism. ‘I want my country back’, said the 52 per cent with petulant ambivalence. What joined their choruses of chaos together? Sovereignty. If one thing can be taken from the EU referendum, it is that the majority of the British public want Parliament to decide the future of Britain. Yet today, in the face of military involvement in Syria, we see the glaring and frankly abhorrent hypocrisy of this far-right Tory government. For the best part of thirty years, the Tory party has bemoaned our lack of parliamentary sovereignty due to the EU. Eurosceptics claim the EU has limited our Parliament’s ability to scrutinise the government, yet when the government plans to disrupt the Middle East, they are complicit in a complete ...
Why I’m letting my Liberal Democrat membership lapse
UK Politics

Why I’m letting my Liberal Democrat membership lapse

I am an unapologetic liberal. A liberal whose hair and soul are so orange, I sleep with The Orange Book at my bedside. But I no longer consider myself a Liberal Democrat. The party of Clegg, Laws, and Alexander is no more. Ripped apart by our coalition partners in 2015, my beloved party’s fantastic work in reducing the deficit whilst watering down the Tories’ evil was a triumph for a nation that ‘doesn’t do coalitions’. Yet today I see nothing of this resolve. Whimsically held together by the evangelical illiberal Liberal Tim Farron, we whimpered across the finish line in 2017, praying to Tim’s God that gay sex was never mentioned whilst self-indulgently preaching about an ‘exit from Brexit’. We gained four seats. I suppose at least we should be grateful that we can now hire a minibus w...
Dyslexia can be a gift, but only with the right opportunities
Education

Dyslexia can be a gift, but only with the right opportunities

After years of struggle, hard work, and coffee, today my dream finally sunk in: I’m going to Cambridge. My place was confirmed some months ago, but the significance only really hit me on an open day visit to my home for the next three years. Born dyslexic (the local state school calmly reassured my parents that I was just ‘stupid’), I cannot describe the magnitude of this step for me. I was fortunate enough to go to The Unicorn School, Abingdon, a specialist school for those with specific learning difficulties, which both nurtured and tormented me as I grew up. A school of fewer than a hundred people can be both magnificent and stifling, but it was an invaluable experience that was only made possible by my grandmother's savings. I was, however, blissfully unaware of this at the ...
The day the world wept
US Politics

The day the world wept

Today Capitalism screamed out in pain, and the world finally listened. Yet it wasn’t the upper echelons of capitalism like in 2008, but the very bottom. Those who have footed the bill of a broken system for too long, those who have struggled to support their children — those who have paid the most for something they never wanted. Today they got Trump. This isn’t an isolated problem. It has been smouldering for years, arguably back to the 90s — but it is only now that these people have had their voices heard. Donald Trump is a monster; he is a sexist bigot who is unfit to hold the position of president. But America doesn’t think so, and democracy is empowering. Just imagine what those millions who voted for him feel like today — elation, celebration — it’s not something so distant from t...