Rupert Read

Rupert Read

Rupert Read campaigning in Cambridge during the general election of 2015.
Norwich City Councillor for Wensum Ward
In office
10 June 2004  5 May 2011
Preceded by (new seat)
Succeeded by Lucy Galvin
Personal details
Born 1966
Political party Green Party of England and Wales
Alma mater Balliol College, Oxford
Religion Quaker[1]

Rupert Read (born 1966) is an academic and a Green Party politician in England. He is Chair of the Green House thinktank, Green Party spokesperson for transport,[2] East of England party co-ordinator and a Reader in Philosophy at the University of East Anglia.[3]

Read comments regularly through the Eastern Daily Press 'One World Column'.[4] In his regular appearances in the local and national press, he speaks on sustainable transport, green economics and social justice.

Academic career

Rupert Read
Era Contemporary philosophy
Region Western Philosophy
School Analytic philosophy
Main interests
Philosophy of literature, Philosophy and film, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Philosophy of science

Read studied Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE) at Balliol College, Oxford,[3] before undertaking postgraduate studies in the United States at Princeton University and Rutgers University (where he gained his doctorate). Influenced by Ludwig Wittgenstein's philosophy, his PhD involved "a Wittgensteinian exploration of the relationship between Kripke's 'quus' problem and Nelson Goodman's 'grue' problem."[3]

He is Reader in Philosophy at the University of East Anglia, specialising in philosophy of language, philosophy of science, and environmental philosophy, previously having taught at Manchester.[3] He has contributed to many books, including, in 2002, Kuhn: Philosopher of Scientific Revolution, on the work of Thomas Kuhn, and, in 2005, Film As Philosophy: Essays in Cinema After Wittgenstein And Cavell. His book Philosophy for Life: Applying Philosophy in Politics and Culture, was released in July 2007.[5]

Political career

Caroline Lucas giving a keynote speech, with Rupert Read looking on, at the autumn conference of the Green Party of England and Wales, Hove, 2006

Read was one of 13 Green Party councillors in Norwich, where he was first elected in 2004 to represent Wensum ward [6] and re-elected in 2007 with 49% of the vote.[7] He sat on the Joint Highways Committee of the city and county councils,[8] and was spokesperson on Transport for the Green Party city councillors.[9] Read stepped down from local politics in 2011 and Wensum was retained by the Green Party.[10]

Having held a number of officer posts for the Eastern Region Green Party, at the beginning of 2007 Rupert Read was selected as Eastern Region Green Party's lead candidate for the European Parliament elections in 2009 and again in 2014.[11] The East of England is one the Green Party's stronger regions in terms of support, and under the proportional representation system on which the European Elections operate, the Party was optimistic that he would represent them in the European Parliament. However, he was beaten to the last of the seven seats in the constituency by the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) in 2009, and similarly in 2014. He stood in the Norwich North by-election, 2009, as the Green Party candidate, and returned the biggest by-election vote share in Green History with 9.7% of the vote.

Read stood as MP candidate for Cambridge in the 2015 general election.[12] He came fourth, having received 8% of the vote.[13]

Political Journalism

Read was a regular contributor to the One World Column in the EDP, focussing on international development, poverty, globalisation, peacemaking, human rights, international relations and the environment.

Transphobia controversy

In January 2015, Read apologised for tweets in which he was interpreted as describing trans women as "a sort of 'opt-in' version of what it is to be a woman",[14] though he denied he did or ever had believed this and further stated: "I do not and never have believed that trans-women are not real women, or are any less women." He said he did not consider being a trans woman a choice.[15] He said he did not stand by everything he had written two years earlier and did not consider being a trans woman a choice. His comments caused concern within the LGBTIQ Greens, who invited him to "engage with LGBTIQ Greens and listen to our deep concerns over his comments on trans people and of the phenomena that is trans."

Read took up this offer and spent time with trans people in an effort to fully understand their lives. In his subsequent apology, Read said that "most of the offence caused by my tweets is a result of misunderstandings generated by the fragmented and angry nature of so much debate on Twitter" and reiterated that "it is up to women, not anyone else – and certainly not me – to decide who gets let into women-only spaces ... All women have a right to be involved in making those decisions." He also said he "reject[s] transphobia completely". In a separate article he stated[16] Read made a further apology in the Independent in which he said: that "trans people ... need our active engagement in the issues they face" and referred to some of the difficulties trans people face and his meetings with trans Greens.[17] Peter Tatchell and Mary Beard were among the signatories to a letter to the Observer which criticised the "censorship and silence of individuals", and explicitly mentioned Read.[18] Tatchell says he received thousands of critical comments in response to this, some of which were hateful or threatening.[19]

Selected bibliography


  2. "Green Party Spokespeople". GPofE&W.
  3. 1 2 3 4 UEA Faculty page, Accessed 9 July 2009
  4. 'One World Column', Eastern Daily Press. (Accessed 21 November 2007)
  5. Philosophy for Life: Applying Philosophy in Politics and Culture on (Accessed 21 November 2007)
  11. Eastern Green Party website (Accessed 22 May 2009)
  12. Read announced as General Election candidate for Cambridge
  13. Cambridge parliamentary election results 2015
  14. "Rupert Read: Green party candidate apologises for offending transgender people". The Independent. 23 January 2015. Retrieved 26 January 2015.
  15. "Don't throw the Feminist baby out with the Burchill bathwater". Talking Philosophy (comment). 24 January 2015. Retrieved 5 March 2015.
  16. "Green candidate apologises for offending trans people". Pink News. 22 January 2015. Retrieved 26 January 2015.
  17. "I apologised for offending transgender people but that wasn't enough". Independent. 4 February 2015. Retrieved 5 March 2015.
  18. "We cannot allow censorship or silencing of individuals". Observer. 15 February 2015. Retrieved 5 March 2015.
  19. . International Business Times. 17 February 2015 Retrieved 5 March 2015. Missing or empty |title= (help)
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