All four submissions to our lockdown blog post competition have now been uploaded; you can see them here:
One Nation, Double Stand by Gabriel Barton-Singer
The Liberal Case Against the Legalisation of Cannabis by Lara Brown
Liberal Violence by Jacob Rose
‘Stay at home, fix our National Grid, save lives’ by Alex Harrison
All the submissions were excellent, and the judges (Chair Freddie Poser, Vice-chair Laura Ryan, and Comms Officer Peter McLaughlin) want to congratulate all participants for the very high quality of writing. Our verdicts are presented below, with the three runners-up in random order and the winner last.
Lara Brown’s entry was highly critical of the Liberal Democrats’ embrace of cannabis legalisation, making an evidence-based case against the policy.
“A bold take on a position that all too often taken as a given in young, liberal circles. Lara gives compelling reasons why we should think more carefully about a policy, beyond its electoral ramifications. Although, her argument does seem to me more an evidential case rather than a liberal one.” – Freddie
“A true contrarian, Lara has dared to defy the general sentiment of CULA with this concise and passionately argued case against the legalisation of cannabis. She may well be fighting a losing battle, but her well researched essay makes a convincing case for the need for more evidence regarding the long-term effects of cannabis use, and delivers a scathing critique of the use of cannabis-related policies by political parties as a tool to bring home the youth vote.” – Laura
“Lara’s position is not one that will be popular with many liberals, but she makes a compelling and well-written case for it. Definitely worth reading to challenge your beliefs, even if it ultimately will not convince everyone.” – Peter
Alex Harrison worries about the implications of the experience of lockdown for climate change policy, using a little counterfactual history.
“An interesting approach to examining the impact of COVID lockdowns on our future approach to climate change.” – Freddie
“A thought provoking and well written piece that makes use of a clever analogy to compare the response of the UK public to the COVID-19 pandemic, to our response to the ongoing climate change crisis. Alex correctly identifies the limits of his analogy, but nonetheless succeeds in making us think twice about the fundamental differences and similarities between the two emergencies, concluding with an outline of his well-founded concerns regarding the effects of the successful implementation of a nationwide lockdown on our future politics.” – Laura
“Not many people are thinking about climate change at the moment – we’re largely distracted by more immediate political crises – but Alex convincingly argues that we cannot afford this and that coronavirus itself gives us reason to be even more worried.” – Peter
Jacob Rose’s was the longest of the entries: a set of reflections on Umberto Eco’s essay ‘Ur-Fascism’ and the place of violence within liberalism.
“An exhaustive piece examining violence in a liberal context. Jacob makes a compelling case for why we mustn’t, at this critical juncture or in the future, rule out violence, in its many forms, when considering the cause of advancing liberalism. Jacob argues well that one cannot say ‘violence is never the answer’ without relegating oneself to the sidelines, judging loudly whilst atrocities are committed.” – Freddie
“Jacob’s essay is ambitious in both it’s aims and it’s scope, and his writing demonstrates an in-depth and varied knowledge base. He has provided us with a whistle-stop tour through the works of notable liberal thinkers as they relate to different forms of violence, which makes for very interesting and provocative reading for all who call themselves liberals.” – Laura
“Maybe less a blog post than an essay, but Jacob’s piece was really interesting and provocative. Certainly, he’s convinced me to go read Eco’s original essay.” – Peter
And the winner of our competition is:
Former chair Gabriel Barton-Singer’s piece about Hong Kong, international law, and human rights was judged to be the best article we received.
“A fantastic piece very neatly summarising the very real ideological issues with our stance towards Hong Kong that still manages to end with actions we can take as a nation, but also as a university.” – Freddie
“Gabriel’s essay is a truly damning indictment of the British government, and of a number of notable individuals, based on their failure to adequately honour their obligations to protect the nation and people of Hong Kong. It is a rousing call to arms for young British liberals, and is both timely and convincing.” – Laura
“Gabriel stood out with a piece that was timely, well-written, tightly argued and deeply important. A great contribution all-around.” – Peter
Thank you to everyone who took part, and remember that you can still submit pieces to the blog for posting anyway!