Latest Issue

Leith on life: Libertarianism in the playground

What would Isaiah Berlin have made of the soft play centre?

By Sam Leith  

The scene in Little Dinosaurs was an ugly one. The scene in Little Dinosaurs, to be fair, is always a pretty ugly one: it’s a “soft-play” centre—a well-padded indoor-adventure playground cum climbing frame through which north London’s most energetic under-sixes bound and romp and shriek while their dispirited parents sip milky coffees and listen out for the siren-wail of minor injury.

Ordinarily, such shouting as there is is directed at members of the pre-school community. But on this occasion, it was mother-to-mother, and the vehemence of the altercation was enough to blow spume off the top of my cappuccino. Mother…

Register today to continue reading

You’ve hit your limit of three articles in the last 30 days. To get seven more, simply enter your email address below.

You’ll also receive our free e-book Prospect’s Top Thinkers 2020 and our newsletter with the best new writing on politics, economics, literature and the arts.

Prospect may process your personal information for our legitimate business purposes, to provide you with newsletters, subscription offers and other relevant information.

Click here to learn more about these purposes and how we use your data. You will be able to opt-out of further contact on the next page and in all our communications.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to

More From Prospect