I wrote this with my friends more than anyone else in mind. Like most intelligent people, they have been variously bewildered, puzzled, intrigued, discouraged, disaffected, changed around and moved about thanks to the dominance in our public life of the notion that there is something noble about something or other usually referred to as the ‘free market’. I hope they like the book, and that they will share my belief that, if you’re going to cut some sinister thing down to size, the first thing you have to do is analyse and anatomise.
Otherwise, there isn’t a great deal to say by way of preface that wouldn’t just repeat what I say in the opening chapter; so let me just warmly thank all the individuals who have been so supportive over the last year while I have been writing. Unfortunately, there isn’t space to mention everyone by name, but the following definitely deserve mention here.
There are - first - my professional colleagues at the University of North London. I owe a special debt of gratitude to the members of the Research and Staff Development Committee (Faculty of Humanities and Teacher Education) who decided to award me the relief from teaching without which it would have been impossible to complete the book on time. Let me add - because I know that it is conventional and expected for the recipients of such awards to acknowledge them in the way I just have - that I mean that more than formally. I am deeply appreciative, and I realise how difficult it is for such committees to reach decisions in these straitened times. I am similarly appreciative of the way my colleagues, mainly my fellow philosophy teachers but also many others within the faculty, have supported me informally. I know that everyone has gone to great lengths to make sure that I have had the time to write. And, while I’m on the subject, I would like to thank the students, present and past, with whom I’ve had the pleasure of sharing my classes on political philosophy. I wonder who has learnt most from whom, and I count myself very lucky to have spent the greater part of my working life in such an interesting environment.