How Britain Really Works

Has Brexit broken the government? Should the NHS be overseen by a non-political body? Is the future of Parliament outside of London? These were all the issues debated by a panel of experts this afternoon, with the addition of a series of ingenious and delightfully cynical quotes cited in Stig Abell’s telling account of Britain’s institutions and democracy, How Britain Really Works.

“It’s the thing everyone is doing when they should be governing the country” said Abell, as he referred to the UK’s rather forlorn current political state, to which Robinson added is “only going to get a lot worse in the next few days”.

And it wasn’t just Brexit on the agenda this afternoon. The panel also spoke on the role of Parliament, which Maddox addressed with a determined idealism - she said “I think there’s a lot you can say that’s positive about Britain at the moment”. The NHS, the economy, schooling and the housing crisis were also especially prominent in the discussion.

Starmer took a more unsentimental approach in his comments; he argued “there’s brilliant stuff going on, it’s just parliament isn’t doing it”.

“We failed”, Olusoga told the audience, as he urged young people to vote. “The pendulum is in the process of swinging” he said, but there’s work to be done yet.

If you are interested in politics, please also see Event 130 at 11.30am on Monday 27 May. If you like watching Hay Festival events digitally please sign up to the Hay Player for more from the world’s greatest thinkers.

Picture by: Chris Athanasiou