Opinions from University Of Oxford's alumniSee all schools and universities
Jane Ellison, British politicianThe soft drinks industry levy is an important step forward in the fight to halt our obesity crisis and create a Britain fit for the future. Obesity is a threat both to the health of children and to our economy, costing the NHS billions of pounds every year.
[T]he assault weapons ban will have no significant effect either on the crime rate or on personal security. Nonetheless, it is a good idea …. Passing a law like the assault weapons ban is a symbolic — purely symbolic — move in [the direction of disarming the citizenry]. Its only real justification is not to reduce crime but to desensitize the public to the regulation of weapons in preparation f... See More
Yuval Noah Harari, Israeli historian and professor at the Hebrew University of JerusalemI try to change the public conversation and focus the debate on what I think are the most important challenges: nuclear war, the ecological crisis and the dangers of disruptive technology, especially AI and bioengineering. They focus on things like terrorism, immigration or the structure of the EU trade agreements, which are important, we do need to think about it and take care of it, but this ... See More
Rachel Cooke, British journalistSome anti-obesity campaigners are busy arguing that the new sugar tax, which applies to any soft drink containing more than 5g of sugar per 100ml, should now be extended to, among other items, the huge caramel lattes sold by high street coffee shops. It isn’t, of course, very hard to see why, even before you learn that some of these vat-sized drinks contain up to 25 teaspoons of sugar (there are a... See More
HMRC has also published important new data about the fiscal contribution made by recently arrived EEA nationals, showing that they paid more than £3bn in taxes on income while claiming about £0.5bn in HMRC benefits. This provides further confirmation that EU migrants have made a strongly positive contribution to the UK economy and public finances.
Manmohan Singh, Former prime minister of India
disagrees TariffsProtectionism is a very real danger. It is understandable that in times of a severe downturn protectionist pressures mount but the lessons of history are clear. If we give in to protectionist pressures, we will only send the world into a downward spiral.
Yuval Noah Harari, Israeli historian and professor at the Hebrew University of JerusalemAmerican isolationism, British isolationism and the disruption and disintegration of a rule-based international system could ignite even more dangerous nuclear arms race between many more countries. If Germany no longer can trust the USA and Britain to back to Germany in case of confrontation with the Russians, then the Germans will say: hey, we now need nuclear weapons of our own. We can no longe... See More
Yuval Noah Harari, Israeli historian and professor at the Hebrew University of JerusalemIn the 19th century, a few countries industrialized first and then conquered the whole world. It can happen again with AI. At present, China and the US are leading the AI arms race and if we aren't careful, we will see a new wave of kind of data colonialism that many countries become just data colonies. If you have enough data you don't need to send soldiers. Just imagine what the situation... See More
Ezekiel Emanuel, American oncologist
disagrees EuthanasiaPatients who are being kept alive by technology and want to end their lives already have a recognized constitutional right to stop any and all medical interventions, from respirators to antibiotics. They do not need physician-assisted suicide or euthanasia.
Margaret Jay, Former Labour leader of the House of LordsI see this as a tightly focused and compassionate bill which will clarify the incoherent legal framework we have heard about today. I am absolutely committed to the provisions in the bill. It has a narrow, specific focus on the terminally ill and contains strict, upfront safeguards...It is an entirely appropriate measure for this country to adopt.
Yuval Noah Harari, Israeli historian and professor at the Hebrew University of JerusalemMost people tend to overestimate human beings. In order to replace most humans, the AI won't have to do very spectacular things. Most of the things the political and economic system needs from human beings are actually quite simple. We earlier talked about driving a taxi or diagnosing a disease. This is something that AI will soon be able to do better than humans even without consciousness, even w... See More
Tony Blair, Prime Minister of the UK from 1997 to 2007Does it instil respect and understanding, an open mind, open to inquiry, at ease with diversity, ready to learn more about other faiths? Or does it create a closed mind, a mindset vulnerable to fear, distrust and coercion, a world where “error has no rights”? In short is it good religion or bad religion? I believe the overwhelming number of our faith schools fall into the first category. They p... See More
Yuval Noah Harari, Israeli historian and professor at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem
disagrees Basic IncomePaying people not to work will only increase inequality and rancor. [...] If universal basic income is aimed to improve the objective conditions of the average person in 2050, it has a fair chance of succeeding. But if it is aimed to make people subjectively more satisfied with their lot in order to prevent social discontent, it is likely to fail.
Rowan Williams, Former Archbishop of CanterburyThe often-forgotten fact that church schools are the main educational presence in some of our most deprived communities means that it simply can't be said that these schools somehow have a policy of sanitising or segregating.
Catherine Bennett, JournalistDivisiveness is, after all, the point. Until devout parents decide, as they will not, that their religions are interchangeable, the very existence of a faith school belittles rivals and heathens alike. And even within a church as carefully non-discriminatory as the Church of England, there can be no knowing how individual teachers talk about people who, as a token of devotion, they regard as steep... See More
All education should be secular. But failing that, religious indoctrination - which in a free society will occur, because one cannot outlaw religion itself, though one should argue against it vigorously – should happen at the private expense of those who choose to inflict it on their children. It should emphatically not be happening at public expense.
David Cameron, Former UK Prime MinisterI think faith schools are an important part of our system, I support them and I would like if anything to see them grow. I think faith organisations bring often a sort of culture and ethos to a school that can help it improve and I’m a strong supporter personally and politically.
It remains the case that far too many people are unaware of just how badly some of these schools fail their pupils. All over the country there are children whose education is being severely limited, whose understanding of the world is being fatally undermined, and whose individuality and identity are being constrained.
Reza Moghadam, Economist and Vice-chairman for sovereigns and official institutions at Morgan StanleyMacron is right - the Eurozone needs a finance minister. [...] it focuses on the essential: a collective action mechanism for managing and stabilising economies in crisis. It also does so without the need for EU Treaty changes
disagrees Learning foreign languages at schoolLike the current zombie cult of maths, languages are beloved of reactionary educators for one reason: they are easy to test, quantify and regiment. They are the raw material for education’s new Holy Grail, the league table. Challenge the usefulness of such subjects, and teachers fall back on the medieval saw, that “they train the mind”. They used to say that of Latin – and corporal punishment. The... See More
Jonathan Levin, Professor of Economics at Stanford University
disagrees $13,000 a year for every over-21-year-old American instead of all transfer payments would be better than the status quoProvocative idea but as stated would cost ~$3 trillion, equal to all federal tax revenue. What about e.g. national defense?
Stuart Russell, Professor of Computer Science at BerkeleyThe question is: Could you prove that your systems can’t ever, no matter how smart they are, overwrite their original goals as set by the humans?
Of course you need amazing people around you, people smarter than you, people who compliment your strengths. But someone has to own it and lead. Time wasted on finding a co founder, time spent negotiating, blah blah blah. Lead and ship
Luke Johnson, Chairman of Risk Capital Partners. Weekly columnist for the Sunday TimesI worry that it [the EU] is a growing threat to our democracy, I think that we lack control over our own borders, I worry that with ever closer union we will be forced at some point into the euro zone which is clearly a failed project.
Dominic Raab, Conservative Member of Parliament for Esher and WaltonIn terms of jobs, the real case for leaving the EU lies with the positive opportunities from winning back the freedom to craft our own laws at home, while trading more energetically abroad with the global economies of the future
Kitty Usher, Managing Director, Tooley Street ResearchThe trend rate of GDP growth will be a little lower due to reduced competitive pressure on UK firms from possible implied or real trade barriers and the negative signal sent to prospective investors seeking to trade with the EU from Britain
Patrick Minford, Professor of Applied Economics, Cardiff Business School, Cardiff UniversityIn the medium and long term Breset will herald a major growth-boosting period as the UK breaks free of the over-mighty EU with its protectionist mindset and establishes free trade and intelligent regulation aimed at UK economic interests
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