One of the few traditional Conservatives to have served on the Tory front bench under Cameron, Paterson was Secretary of State for Northern Ireland before being promoted to the more high profile role of Secretary of State for Defra.

Candidate of the day

Owen Paterson

One day to go and Sir John Major has weighed in. “Labour divides to rule. To win votes they will turn rich against poor; north against south; worker against boss." We hope we don't wake up with them on Friday.

Hero of the day

Sir John Major

Another awful Labour woman. The fact Ed Miliband’s carved his pledges in stone doesn't mean he might not break them, campaign chief Lucy Powell has said.

Villain of the day

Lucy Powell



Back marriage. Restore grammar schools. Leave the EU.

Reader’s Comment of the Day: Every individual has free will

In response to Ken MacIntosh: Radicalisation, a weasel word that lets young Jihadists off the hook, Gimme Some Fightin' Room wrote:

'Everybody becomes a victim of circumstance. Which is not true: we all have free-will.'

Individuals must take responsibility for their actions and they must be held accountable for their choices - it was their choice and they must face the consequences of those choices.

There are those who will argue that free will doesn't exist and that we are all driven by forces beyond our control - but our society depends on people’s belief in the existence of free will because belief in free will helps people adhere to a cultural code. It guides an individual’s choice to be a moral one. The denial of free will has provided the ultimate excuse to those who want to behave as they like and without any morals at all.

Fully agree with you Ken - excellent article.

  • Nockian

    Except it’s nothing to do with a cultural code, or society, but an individual choice based on holding ones own life as the primary value. Other than that, I agree.

  • simonstephenson

    Is this not just a difference of word definition, though?

    I’m sure everyone would be prepared to accept the general principle that in making a decision, a person is responsible for having made it.

    The bone of contention is surely though the extent to which this 100% responsibility translates into the culpability of the individual concerned for any harm or damage resulting from actions taken as a result of the decision which he has made.

    At what level of coercion is an individual relieved of the burden of culpability – if there is to be a fine dividing line between culpability and non-culpability? And if instead we are to have a graduated scale of culpability, on what basis are we to formulate the rules to use in assessing the culpability levels to be deemed applicable to individual actions?