Throughout another year of bluster and bedlam in Westminster, John Crace’s brilliantly acerbic political sketches have once more provided the nation with a much-needed injection of humour and satire. In A Farewell to Calm the Guardian’s parliamentary sketch writer introduces an infectiously funny selection of his finest pieces and talks to journalist Max Liu about everything from Covid to Partygate and Brexit to war in Ukraine.
“It’s now becoming easier and easier to predict government policy. Just listen to what the prime minister said in the morning and the opposite is likely to be true come the middle of the afternoon.”
All Walls Collapse brings together newly commissioned fiction in translation by twelve acclaimed writers from across the world, exploring the walls and borders that have sought to divide communities and nations, and their effects on people’s lives and histories.
From the Berlin Wall to the fences of Uyghur internment camps in Xinjiang, the US–Mexico border to the edge of the ‘Fortress of Europe’, and the barbed wire of the Korean Demilitarised Zone to the fences erected to hide Rio’s favelas before the 2016 Olympics, this groundbreaking collection of short stories examines our relationship to walls, both real and perceived.
Krisztina Tóth is a highly acclaimed Hungarian poet and Geetajali Shree is a Hindi author longlisted for the International Booker Prize 2022.
Our panel of experts debate the role of governments within the economy and society, the digital challenges facing society and how to recover a sense of public purpose. Mariana Mazzucato is Professor in the Economics of Innovation and Public Value at University College London where she is Founding Director of the Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose. Jamie Susskind is a barrister and author of the award-winning Future Politics: Living Together in a World Transformed by Tech. His new book, The Digital Republic: On Freedom and Democracy in the 21st Century, will be released in June. Financial Times journalist Gillian Tett is author of Anthro-Vision: How Anthropology Can Explain Business and Life. They talk to entrepreneur and publisher William Sieghart.
The expert on empires, autocrats and Russian history presents his latest work In the Shadow of the Gods (the Emperor in World History), a dazzling account of the men (and occasional woman) who led the world’s empires, a book that probes the essence of leadership and power through the centuries and around the world. British Pugwash is the UK arm of the international Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs. Pugwash and Joseph Rotblat, its founder, were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1995.
Ours is the age of global warming. Rising sea levels, extreme weather, forest fires. The next ten years are key to averting climate disaster. Dire warnings are everywhere, so why has it taken so long for the crisis to be recognised?
Climate scientist Professor Peter Stott (Hot Air: The Inside Story of the Battle Against Climate Change Denial) reveals the bitter fight to get international recognition for what, among scientists, has been known for decades: human activity causes climate change. Climate campaigner and writer Dr Alice Bell (Our Biggest Experiment: A History of the Climate Crisis) reviews the history of climate change research – how the world became addicted to fossil fuels and what tools we may have for survival. They discuss what we can do to confront the climate crisis, and exactly how we ended up here with Thea Sherer, Director of Sustainability and Climate Action Officer at Springer Nature.
The UK’s leading authority on recovering from disaster looks back at her work on some of the most high-profile disasters of recent decades including 9/11, the 7/7 bombings, the Shoreham air disaster, the Indian Ocean tsunami and the Covid-19 pandemic. No one person expects to experience just one of these events, let alone all.
Professor Lucy Easthope has spent her life preparing for, and working in the aftermath of, disasters to better plan for future events. She describes life behind the police tapes and her focus on the victims and their families and the government briefing rooms where ‘confusion and soggy biscuits can reign supreme’. When The Dust Settles: Stories of Love, Loss and Hope from an Expert in Disaster is both her memoir and a record of what can be learned from living a life on the edges of disaster.
Easthope is Professor in Practice of Risk and Hazard at the University of Durham and Fellow in Mass Fatalities and Pandemics at the Centre for Death and Society at the University of Bath. She talks to writer and broadcaster Francine Stock.
Vicky Spratt traces decades of bad policy decisions to show how and why the British dream of homeownership has withered and the safety net of social housing has broken. She illuminates the ways this crisis is devastating our health, communities and political landscape. Hilary Cottam is focused on reforming the British welfare state. She challenges us to stop trying to reform out of date institutions and instead look at how modern solutions might start with people and communities, fostering their capabilities. They talk to Oliver Balch about the real, radical steps we can take to give everyone the chance of a good home.
Vicky Spratt is a journalist, documentary maker, activist and housing rights campaigner. Her new book is Tenants: The People on the Frontline of Britain’s Housing Emergency. Hilary Cottam OBE is a social entrepreneur and Honorary Professor at the UCL Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose. Her latest book is Radical Help: How We Can Remake the Relationships Between Us and Revolutionise the Welfare State.
The acclaimed historian, Professor of History at Harvard University and a leading authority on the Cold War and nuclear history, tells the tale of the six nuclear disasters that shook the world: Bikini Atoll, Kyshtym, Windscale, Three Mile Island, Chernobyl and Fukushima. Based on wide-ranging research and witness testimony, Plokhy traces the arc of each crisis, exploring in depth the confused decision-making on the ground and the panicked responses of governments to contain the crises and often cover up the scale of the catastrophe. He talks to writer and journalist Oliver Balch.
Leading authority on the Cold War and nuclear history Serhii Plokhy, journalist and author of Butler to the World: How Britain Became the Servant of Tycoons, Tax Dodgers, Kleptocrats and Criminals Oliver Bullough, and author of Putin’s People: How the KGB Took Back Russia and Then Took on the West Catherine Belton come together to analyse the tragic events taking place in Ukraine and how they are causing a whole-world shift. They speak to lawyer and writer Philippe Sands.
In his timely new book Butler to the World: How Britain Became the Servant of Tycoons, Tax Dodgers, Kleptocrats and Criminals, the award-winning investigative journalist reveals how the UK took up its position at the elbow of the worst people on Earth – the oligarchs, kleptocrats and gangsters – and explains what steps we can take to change Butler Britain’s underhand ways.
A little light ridicule, mockery and fun to start the day as the satirists read the tabloids and surf the social media storms for an irreverent look at what’s tickling the nation’s fancy – and driving it to splenetic fury – today.
Catherine Belton is author of Putin’s People: How the KGB Took Back Russia and Then Took on the West. She is an investigative correspondent for Reuters and worked from 2007 until 2013 as Moscow correspondent for the Financial Times. Bill Browder is a financier and activist whose new book Freezing Order exposes Vladimir Putin’s campaign to steal and launder hundreds of billions of dollars and kill anyone who stood in his way. They join Oliver Bullough, author of Butler to the World: How Britain Became the Servant of Tycoons, Tax Dodgers, Kleptocrats and Criminals, to discuss these themes in relation to Putin’s path to war.
Cambridge economist Professor Diane Coyle explores the enormous problems – and opportunities – facing economics today if it is to respond effectively to the ongoing disruption of the technology revolution and help policymakers solve the world’s crises, from pandemic recovery and inequality to slow growth and the climate emergency.
The war in Ukraine has thrown into sharp relief the dangers of dependence on imports of Russian gas, just as the Gulf wars at the turn of the century showed up our over-reliance on Middle East oil. On the surface, renewables offer a way out: away from dependence on dodgy dictators for our economic lifeblood, and towards climate-friendly energy independence. But can we really rely on them for the lion’s share of our energy? What happens when the wind doesn’t blow and the sun doesn’t shine?
One answer, of course, could be to massively improve the efficiency with which we use existing energy. Then there are battery banks and ‘green hydrogen’, pumped hydro or compressed air storage, along with all sorts of smart new ‘demand management’ tricks – but these are early stage or (for now) small-scale technologies.
So do we need to ramp up nuclear power? Boost North Sea gas? Revisit fracking? Take a couple of coal-fired plants out of mothballs? Or can we put our faith in a clean, green, energy-efficient future – one which both keeps the lights on and sticks two fingers up to the world’s fossil-fuelled despots?
Harriet Lamb is CEO of Ashden, Mark Lynas is an author, journalist and environmental activist, Nina Skorupska is CEO of the Renewable Energy Association and Martin Wright, former editor of Green Futures, is an environment journalist and photographer.
A little light ridicule, mockery and fun to start the day as the satirists read the tabloids and surf the social media storms for an irreverent look at what’s tickling the nation’s fancy – and driving it to splenetic fury – today. The team are joined by TikTok comedians the Sugarcoated Sisters (Chloe Tingey and Tabby Tingey, Best Newcomer Musical Comedy Awards 2022) -- real-life siblings with over 400,000 followers online, who cover topics such as living with bipolar and diabetes, partygate, feminism and dating in their musical comedy sketches.
Roula Khalaf is editor of the Financial Times. She was previously deputy editor from 2016 to 2020, overseeing a range of newsroom initiatives and award-winning editorial projects and leading a global network of more than 100 foreign correspondents. She gives this year's lecture honouring the great contrarianfocusing on how to restore trust in journalism followed by a Q&A session chaired by Alan Rusbridger, Editor of Prospect magazine.
In 2015 Svetlana Alexievich won the Nobel Prize for Literature “for her polyphonic writings, a monument to suffering and courage in our time”. Using a wide range of interviews and crossing the boundary between reporting and fiction, she writes in a way that lets human voices speak for themselves. In 2018 she won the Anna Politkovskaya Award from the human rights organisation RAW in WAR, honouring women journalists and human rights defenders working in war and conflict zones. Mariana Katzarova is founder of RAW in WAR (Reach All Women in War) and the Anna Politkovskaya Award. In 2014, she led the UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission’s team in Eastern Ukraine for two years at the start of the armed conflict. The duo hold a conversation about a region that has historically suffered from a conflict that is now threatening the whole world.
A little light ridicule, mockery and fun to start the day as the satirists read the tabloids and surf the social media storms for an irreverent look at what’s tickling the nation’s fancy – and driving it to splenetic fury – today. The team are joined by Sophia Smith Galer who is a multi-award-winning journalist, TikTok creator and author of Losing It: Sex Education for the 21st Century.
We owe it to our fellow humans – and other species – to save them from the catastrophic harm caused by climate change. The philosopher approaches climate justice as something that should motivate us all. Starting from irrefutable science and uncontroversial moral rules, she explores our obligations to each other and to the non-human world, unravels the legacy of colonialism and entrenched racism and makes the case for immediate action. Cripps is a senior lecturer at the University of Edinburgh and author of Climate Change and the Moral Agent. In conversation with Andy Fryers, Sustainability Director at Hay Festival.