George Walford International Essay Prize Rules

The George Walford International Essay Prize (2000 – 2022) has concluded. Thank you to all who have participated. No further Prizes are to be awarded, no further essays are to be considered for the Prize.


Rule Precedence
The rules for the George Walford International Essay Prize (GWIEP) listed here replace any and all prior rules. These rules may be changed in the future: please consult the rules prior to submitting your essay.

The Essay Prize
In memory of the late George Walford, there is an annual essay competition. The subject of the essay is Systematic Ideology and the prize is £3,500 for the winner to spend at the college and on the course of their choice. The George Walford International Essay Prize has been offered annually since 1998.

George Walford
George Walford studied Systematic Ideology for most of his life. He was already thinking deeply about political ideologies when, before the war, he met Harold Walsby who introduced him to the Ideology of Ideologies, which later became known as Systematic Ideology. After Walsby’s death in 1973 George Walford developed the theory further, producing books and a long-running journal on the topic. His friends and family produced a Memorial after his death. George Walford died in 1994 and his family wish his work to continue, hence the Essay Prize.

Systematic Ideology
Systematic ideology (SI) seeks to understand the origin and development of ideologies, how ideologies and ideological groups work together, and the possibilities of guiding the development of ideologies on a global scale. The basic premise of systematic ideology is that ideology is the central motivator in human affairs; that the characteristics that make up the major ideologies come in sets; that those sets of characteristics form a series and that the ideological series forms a system. Founded in London, England in the late 1930s, systematic ideology has since been developed to encompass topics such as religion, sociology and anarchism and is now being studied and further developed around the world. New Readers Start Here.


Everyone is eligible, with the following exceptions: (1) the trustees (2) the judge (3) friends and family of the trustees or the judge (4) prior winners of the GWIEP. Applicants do not need to be current students. There are no bars regarding age, nationality or gender.


Essay subject
The essay should either:

  • Apply SI to areas not yet addressed by SI (e.g. the histories/politics of China, India, etc.) or
  • Apply the theory to a preexisting large body of thought (e.g. Marxism, feminism) or
  • Provide a thorough analysis and/or history of the theory.

For an essay to be considered for the prize both of the below are essential. The essay must:

  • Demonstrate an understanding of the theory and incorporate that understanding into the essay
  • Include references to previously published SI works.

An essay that rejects the theory is acceptable, so long as it is well argued.

For 2018 only, a suggested and entirely optional theme is offered: Brexit through the lens of systematic ideology. There is no requirement for the applicant or the entry to be in favor of or against systematic ideology. There is no requirement for the applicant or the entry to be in favor of or against Brexit. Does the theory predict Brexit, or does Brexit propose a challenge to the theory? Does the theory predict a likely outcome of Brexit, or does it not? What roles did each of the Major Ideologies play in Brexit? Is Brexit a return to the system of ideologies from an unbalanced state, or is Brexit a disruption of the system of ideologies, or neither?

Information about systematic ideology is available on the Web at GWIEP.NET contains many of George Walford’s writings and this is the best place to go, either for an introduction to systematic ideology or for in-depth research.

The lead judge will be pleased to receive requests from applicants for guidance regarding the theory. He can provide much information himself and can put applicants in touch with other long-term students of the theory. Please feel free to contact the lead judge to clarify the theory at any time except between 31 May and 15 July, 1200 Pacific Standard Time. Between those times, other students of systematic ideology may be available to help you (or argue with!).  Questions and selections from your essay are welcome, but do not send a complete essay until you are ready to submit it for judgment (see ‘Timing’).

Criteria for judging
Essays will be evaluated on their understanding and application of the theory. Those that uncover history or apply SI to previously unaddressed areas will receive special consideration. No prize will be awarded in years where there is no essay that exhibits the minimum required understanding of the theory.

Textural requirements
The essay may be any length but it is expected that at least 1,500 words will be required to explain the theory. Diagrams, etc. are welcomed. The language must be English. The preferred file formats are HTML or PDF. A Web page address or ASCII text on disk would also be acceptable. If none of these are possible then two typescript copies in a plain 12-point font with double spacing must be provided, one to Trevor Blake and one to Richenda Walford. Manuscripts will not be returned.


Applicants should feel free to contact the lead judge regarding the theory, possibly even submitting a draft essay. Do not formally submit essay until ready for it to be considered for judging. Please state clearly that essay is being submitted for the Prize by saying something like “This is my entry for [year] for the George Walford International Essay Prize” and include contact information with entry. In the event of an essay being formally submitted more than once in a given year, the first essay will be considered the essay submitted and all subsequent essays ignored.

Essays must be submitted to Trevor Blake and Richenda Walford by 31 May, 1200 (noon) Pacific Standard Time. We need to ensure that the winner is attending a reputable place of learning or will soon do so. Thus each student must give the name of his or her nominated college to Richenda Walford by 10 June, 1200 (noon) Pacific Standard Time and must arrange for Richenda Walford to have received evidence of current, or future enrolment, by 1 July , 1200 (noon) Pacific Standard Time.

Essay may be submitted one time per year.  That is, the first essay submitted will be assessed as an applicant’s entry, and once submitted cannot be changed or replaced.

The winner will be announced by Trevor Blake no later than 15 July, 1200 Pacific Standard Time. This will be done by contacting the winner directly and by posting the announcement at GWIEP.NET. The prize, once announced, is available to be used by the winner for the next academic year, or any following year.

The essay must not have been published at GWIEP.NET. If the essay has already been published elsewhere this will not affect the judging but the trustees should be informed of where and when. The essay must be solely the work of the person submitting it.

Authors of all submitted essays confer the unrestricted right of reproduction – also transferable to third parties – to the Trustees. This includes the right of translation and dissemination of essays in any way or form either in part or in full and in all languages. The trustees may publish the winning essay at GWIEP.NET and may also elect to not publish winning essays. They will also publish any other essays that are thought interesting. The author(s) may include any notes on copyright or links to other pages they desire. The authors of all essays may publish their essays themselves wherever they see fit.

To maintain our charitable status the prize can only be paid when the winner is attending a reputable place of learning. Depending on circumstances we are willing to wait a period of time while the winner arranges this. The prize will be paid direct to the winning applicant to be used as s/he wishes.

Failure to follow the rules described here may result in failing to win the Prize.

Contact addresses
The George Walford International Essay Prize

Trevor Blake, GWIEP Lead Judge contact
Richenda Walford, GWIEP Chair contact

Registered with The Charity Commission for England and Wales, number 1071002.