5 July 2010

Festival of Politics (2010)

This morning, Holyrood revealed its programme for this year's Festival of Politics. Running in Edinburgh from Tuesday the 17th to Saturday the 21st of August, the Festival will pack in just shy of 50 events over the course of its five day life. Thematically, the events are interesting not just for their content but also for the principles of selection they suggest.

The "overarching theme" of the event is apparently "Changing Politics", both I think as a political project, but also paying testament to the dominant idea that contemporary society is connected but dynamic, associated but shifting in new ways. We change and the times change with them. Heaven knows what one ends up with. Unintended consequences, certainly. I'm mildly surprised the organisers didn't take it into their heads to arrange a new media session, emphasising possibilities and limitations. Folk seem terrifically keen on exercising their gums on that topic these days. There is a session on Do Newspapers Have a Future? - which will likely touch on these issues - but it looks a pretty low-key, frankly understaffed affair. Ho Hum.

Reviewing the five days of political mischief (understood in its broadest sense), you get a measure of the garlanded range of hobby horses ridden, detect the gnawing policy bugbears and some of the political tensions and "issues" dominating the conscious minds of the institution's creatures. Equality, disability, carers, scientific discovery, localism and planning, globalisation, climate change, freedom of information, public engagement and involvement with political institutions.. Oh, and John Prescott's "Life in Politics". Be still my throbbing pancreas. 

They've also set up a swish but functional web site. For those of you minded to take an interest, the whole programme of events can be perused here.

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