Intelligence Squared tracks on Soundclound

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Jeremy Corbyn Is Unfit To Be Prime Minister
Intelligence Squared

When Jeremy Corbyn won the Labour leadership he was shrugged off as an unelectable oddball in a scruffy suit who would doom Labour to certain defeat. But last year’s shock election result forces us all to consider the real possibility of a Corbyn-led government – a prospect which has some jumping for joy and others quaking in their boots. Intelligence Squared is bringing together some of Britain’s top political minds to debate whether Corbyn is potentially the saviour of Britain’s downtrodden or a fringe fanatic who is morally unfit to be Prime Minister. According to his critics, Corbyn leads a dangerous gang of hard-left zealots who cosy up to enemies of the West and are hell-bent on rehashing the disastrous politics of the 1970s. He has turned a blind eye to the antisemitism festering away within the Labour Party and has crafted a foreign policy which would make Putin proud. And when it comes to the economy, his old-school socialist programme of borrowing, tax hikes and renationalisation could be catastrophic. By pulling Labour away from the centre ground, Corbyn has gravely damaged one of Britain’s great political parties. He is a danger to this country, and is not fit to lead it. That’s the contention of the Corbyn-bashers. But what answers do they have to the crises that have plagued Britain since the 2008 financial crash? Inequality is rampant and wages have been squeezed for a decade, while many millennials struggle to get a foot on the property ladder. Homelessness and food bank usage have hit record highs across Britain, and each winter brings a new NHS crisis. Our current economic model has clearly failed, say the Corbynistas, so why not try something different? Corbynism isn’t the socialism of the 1970s – it’s a whole new set of radical, transformative policies and a vision for social justice that has enthused an entire generation of young people. Give Corbyn a chance, and he’ll build a Britain for the many, not the few. Arguing for the motion were novelist and journalist Howard Jacobson and Conservative MP Anna Soubry. Arguing against the motion were Senior Editor at Novara Media Ash Sarkar and Labour MP Chris Williamson. The debate was chaired by Vice Chancellor of the University of Buckingham Sir Anthony Seldon.

News & Politics
367
Tim Marshall in conversation with Catherine Philp on Why We're Living in an Age of Walls
Intelligence Squared

Tim Marshall, renowned journalist and author of 'Divided', in conversation with the Times diplomatic correspondent Catherine Philp, examine the fault lines that will shape our world for years to come. Walls are going up around the world. Nationalism and identity politics are on the rise once more. What are the causes of this new era of division?

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Jamie Susskind in conversation with Helen Lewis On How Tech Is Transforming Our Politics
Intelligence Squared

Jamie Susskind, author of Future Politics, in conversation with the New Statesman's Helen Lewis, discuss how digital technology will radically transform how we live together, exploring how the very concepts of democracy, liberty, justice and power could be fundamentally changed by tech.

Technology
1,294
James Bloodworth in conversation with Matthew Taylor
Intelligence Squared

Journalist James Bloodworth spent six months working undercover across Britain, taking on some of the country's most gruelling and menial jobs for his recent book 'Hired: Six Months Undercover in Low-Wage Britain'. In this Intelligence Squared podcast in conversation with the RSA's Matthew Taylor, he discussed his findings from Amazon's warehouses to the care industry to the taxicabs of Uber.

News & Politics
1,212
Tom Whipple in Conversation With Rosamund Urwin on Why Gender Still Matters
Intelligence Squared

Referencing the latest research on the science of sexuality, Tom Whipple talks about dating apps, Love Island, the relative testicle size of bonobos and chimpanzees, and gay penguins, to throw light on why men and women behave the way they do when it comes to love and sex. He was in conversation with Rosamund Urwin about his book 'X and Why: The Rules of Attraction: why Gender Still Matters'.

Learning
1,439
Blockchain: Quantum leap forward or digital snake oil?
Intelligence Squared

Blockchain, the technology on which Bitcoin is based, has gone mainstream. Evangelists describe it as a thrilling and versatile foundation that will revolutionise everything from finance to governance. But is it really the radical new paradigm its adherents claim? We were joined on stage by Jamie Bartlett, one of the UK’s leading thinkers on the politics and social influence of the internet; Primavera De Filippi, expert on the legal challenges and opportunities of blockchain technologies and author of Blockchain and The Law; David Gerard, author of the news blog and book Attack of the 50 Foot Blockchain: Bitcoin, Blockchain, Ethereum & Smart Contracts; and Vít Jedlička, founder and first elected president of the Free Republic of Liberland, which aims to be the first country to base its government structure on blockchain technology. The event was chaired by BBC Economics Editor Kamal Ahmed.

Technology
1,516
Mary Beard on Women and Power, with Miriam González and Laurie Penny
Intelligence Squared

Mary Beard is Britain’s best known classicist. Widely admired for her scholarship and popular television programmes about the ancient world, she is also one of this country’s most prominent feminists. By refusing to be cowed by the misogynistic trolls who have abused her on Twitter, she has become a heroine for our times. On June 7th Beard came to the Intelligence Squared stage to talk about the themes of her No. 1 bestselling book 'Women and Power: A Manifesto'. Examining misogyny’s deep cultural roots, she will explore the ways in which women have been excluded from power for thousands of years. Take the decapitated, snake-haired head of Medusa in Greek mythology – seen by Freud as a castrator figure. It has been used recently to demonise Theresa May, Angela Merkel, and in the 2016 presidential campaign Hillary Clinton, who appeared in a meme as Medusa, with Trump holding her severed head aloft. The message? That the ultimate way to silence a woman is to kill her. Beard will also highlight a passage in Homer’s Odyssey, some 3,000 years old, where Penelope’s son tells her to shut up and go back to her spinning and weaving because speech is ‘the business of men.’ Muted women, men as aggressors: the injustices that the #MeToo movement is addressing are millennia old. So how do we combat misogyny in all its forms? Is the kind of collective action we have seen recently in the Women’s March and #MeToo going to effect the change longed for by so many? Should women who seek political power simply accept the status quo and follow the male template, or do we need a radical rethink of the entire nature of power and spoken authority? Beard explored these urgent questions, in conversation with lawyer and campaigner Miriam González and radical commentator Laurie Penny, with writer and broadcaster Afua Hirsch in the chair.

Learning
1,114
The Rise of the Smart City: Urban Wonderland or Fool’s Paradise?
Intelligence Squared

More humans than ever before live in cities. Technology is now being rolled out across the world’s urban areas, making day-to-day city living more pleasant, more efficient and more sustainable. For example, traffic flows are being improved by sensors that detect snarl-ups, allowing a central computer to coordinate traffic lights and even change the direction of a highway during rush hour – saving commuters time and lowering the pollution caused by stop-start congestion. Smart energy meters are allowing the power companies to provide the energy we need from the best sources, at the right times of day. But what we’re already seeing is just the beginning. By using computing, automation and big data, the cities of tomorrow will be transformed by practical, disruptive solutions, helping us tackle the energy challenge and achieve a lower carbon future. But there’s a flip side to letting technology take over the way our cities are run. Automation opens up systems like traffic, communications and power to hackers and hijackers. Increasing reliance on AI systems and complex networks makes us more vulnerable when outages occur. And the collection of data about you and your life from millions of sensors across the city raises serious concerns about personal freedom. And then there’s the question of what kind of places we actually want to live in. Most of the urban areas people flock to are attractive because of their charm, their history and their sheer haphazardness; will smart-city technology inevitably rationalise these charms away? And let’s not forget that many of the most urgent challenges facing cities, such as inequality and crime, will never be solved by endless number-crunching and smartphone apps. So what do we really want from our cities? The kind of connectivity that comes from technology, making our cities smooth-functioning and sustainable? Or the deeper human connection and sense of meaning that technology can never provide? We were joined by Anjana Ahuja, the award-winning science writer; Jamie Bartlett, one of the UK's leading thinkers on the politics and social influence of the internet; Finlay Clark, UK Country Manager of the crowd-sourced traffic and navigation app Waze; and Stephen Lorimer, Smart London Strategy and Delivery Officer at the Greater London Authority. The debate was chaired by comedian, actor and television presenter Alexander Armstrong. This event, hosted by Shell in partnership with Intelligence Squared, brought together big thinkers from diverse backgrounds to debate how the digital revolution taking place in our cities is impacting our lives. Join us to learn how together we can #makethefuture today.

Technology
1,348
The Battle for the Countryside: Britain Should Rewild its Uplands
Intelligence Squared

Imagine if swathes of the British countryside were allowed to be wild once again, if trees and rare plants could flourish and beavers, boars and white-tailed eagles could retake their place in the ecosystem. That’s the goal of the growing numbers of nature-lovers who support the idea of rewilding Britain’s uplands. We tend to think of these uplands as ‘wild’ and ‘natural’. But in fact, as the rewilders point out, they are entirely man-made, the result of clearances by man to make way for millions of sheep whose grazing over the last 200 years has rendered the land bare. Sheep farming, once a major source of Britain’s wealth, is now largely uneconomic and depends on billions of pounds of subsidies. But where rewilding is taking place, in Britain and in Europe, a boom in tourism is providing a more sustainable local economy. We must make space for wild nature in places where farming does not make sense. That’s romantic tosh, say the opponents of rewilding. People matter too, and the idea that we should do away with traditional ways of life for the sake of wild bilberries and wolves is getting things out of proportion. Get rid of the farms in the uplands and you will destroy not just the livelihoods of farmers, shepherds and vets, but also the village schools, shops and pubs that are at the heart of rural communities. Yes, upland sheep farms are subsidised but so is almost every other kind of agriculture. And do we really want rampant scrub to replace peaceful scenes of grazing sheep and gambolling lambs, and introduce dangerous animals who will all too soon encroach upon the outskirts of our towns and villages? Intelligence Squared brought together four speakers who care passionately about the countryside but disagree profoundly on how we should manage it.

Learning
1,076
The World Should Recognise Jerusalem As Israel’s Capital
Intelligence Squared

Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel has sparked outrage around the world. The Palestinian ambassador to London claims Trump’s move amounts to ‘declaring war on 1.5 billion Muslims’, and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has warned that the US could ‘plunge the region and the world into a fire with no end in sight’. But why all the fuss? According to many of Israel’s supporters, it’s no secret that Jerusalem has been the de facto capital of Israel since its creation. Jerusalem is home to Israel’s Parliament and Supreme Court. It’s where both the Israeli Prime Minister and the President reside. But more than that, Jerusalem has been the spiritual and cultural capital of the Jewish people for thousands of years. Sure, there might be some disputes over a few neighbourhoods and holy sites. But every other country across the globe has the right to choose their own capital. Why not the world’s only Jewish state? Others warn, however, that symbolic recognition of Jerusalem would be a mortal blow for the currently frozen Israeli-Palestinian peace process. According to the 1993 Oslo Accords, the final status of Jerusalem is meant to be discussed in the latter stages of peace talks — so Trump’s move stalls further progress and rules out US involvement in any future deal. And let’s not forget that East Jerusalem has been occupied by Israel for over fifty years, giving Israel dominion over hundreds of thousands of Palestinian residents and some of the most fiercely contested holy sites in the world. Why should the world recognise Israel’s sovereignty over land that doesn’t belong to it? The Palestinians insist that any two-state peace agreement must also include East Jerusalem as their own capital. So not only would it be a bad move for peace and stability — recognising Jerusalem as Israel’s capital would be a denial of the fundamental right of the Palestinian people to their own homeland.

News & Politics
1,383
James Comey in Conversation with Emily Maitlis on Speaking Truth To Power
Intelligence Squared

When President Trump sacked James Comey as FBI Director in May last year, he ignited a political firestorm with huge implications for American democracy. Comey’s dismissal led to the appointment of Special Counsel Robert Mueller to look at possible links between the Russian government and the Trump campaign — an investigation which may bring to light dark secrets about President Trump and his close associates. Now to mark the publication of his global bestseller, 'A Higher Loyalty', Comey came to the Intelligence Squared stage for an exclusive event. In conversation with the BBC’s Emily Maitlis, he revealed what really happened in those strange early months of the Trump presidency, as well as his long career in public service and speaking truth to power. Before his tenure at the head of the FBI under Obama from 2013 to 2017, Comey served in the highest echelons of American law enforcement, first as a senior prosecutor during the Clinton administration and then as Deputy Attorney General under President George W. Bush. His career under both Republican and Democratic presidents brought him to the centre of the most important cases in modern history, including prosecuting the mafia, overhauling the Bush administration’s surveillance and counterterrorism policies, securing the conviction of lifestyle guru Martha Stewart and leading the controversial investigation into Hillary Clinton’s private email server. In today’s era of fake news, polarised politics and ‘alternative facts’ — when the truth itself often seems under attack — integrity, honesty and ethical leadership seem more important than ever. Comey, who served under four very different presidents, has witnessed and experienced the struggles that arise when patriotism and principles careen headlong into the partisanship that has gripped American politics.

1,536
Jordan Peterson on Gender, Patriarchy and the Slide Towards Tyranny
Intelligence Squared

In May 2018, we recorded a special episode of the Intelligence Squared podcast in London. Jordan Peterson, author of '12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos', was joined by Anne McElvoy, Senior Editor at The Economist and head of Economist Radio, to discuss identity politics, liberalism and #MeToo.

News & Politics
3,717
Revere or Remove? The Battle Over Statues, Heritage and History
Intelligence Squared

Statues and memorials to famous figures of the past adorn our towns and cities. But what should be done when some of these figures have come to be seen by many people as controversial symbols of oppression and discrimination? In Britain, the Rhodes Must Fall campaign hit the headlines when it demanded the removal of the statue of Cecil Rhodes from Oxford’s Oriel College, of which he was a leading benefactor, because of his colonialism. In the US, violent protests in Charlottesville were sparked by a decision to remove from a park a statue of Robert E. Lee, a Confederate general in the American Civil War, because of the association of the Confederacy with slavery. Passions run high on both sides. Are those calling for the removal of controversial statues seeking to right an historical injustice or are they trying to erase history? And are those who object to removing memorials defending the indefensible or are they conserving historical reality, however unpalatable that may be? To discuss these emotive questions and examine the broader cultural conflicts which lie behind them, Intelligence Squared joined forces with Historic England to bring together a stellar panel including historians David Olusoga and Peter Frankopan, the journalist and author Afua Hirsch and the cultural commentator Tiffany Jenkins. The event was chaired by Guardian columnist, broadcaster and author Jonathan Freedland.

News & Politics
1,591
The nuclear deal with Iran won't make the world a safer place
Intelligence Squared

For this week's episode we're revisiting our debate from November 2015, "The nuclear deal with Iran won't make the world a safer place". Alan Dershowitz, one of America’s most formidable and celebrated lawyers, and Emily Landau, one of Israel’s top nuclear proliferation experts, went head to head with senior politicians Norman Lamont and Jack Straw, both impassioned advocates of rapprochement with Iran.

News & Politics
1,762
Jamie Bartlett in conversation with Helen Lewis on how the internet is threatening our freedoms
Intelligence Squared

This week's Intelligence Squared podcast features Jamie Bartlett, tech journalist and author of The People vs Tech in conversation with the New Statesman's Deputy Editor Helen Lewis. In this in-depth discussion on the politics of technology, they explored the addictive nature of social media and whether the tech giants are a threat to democracy.

Science
2,091
Rembrandt Vs Vermeer: The Titans of Dutch Painting
Intelligence Squared

(For a list of all paintings referenced by Simon Schama and Tracy Chevalier in this debate please go to: https://www.intelligencesquared.com/events/rembrandt-vs-vermeer-titans-of-dutch-painting-simon-schama-tracy-chevalier/ Rembrandt van Rijn is the best known of all the Dutch masters. His range was vast, from landscapes to portraits to Biblical scenes; he revolutionised every medium he handled, from oil paintings to etchings and drawings. His vision encompassed every element of life – the sleeping lion; the pissing baby; the lacerated soles of the returned prodigal son. Making the case for him in this debate was Simon Schama. For him Rembrandt is humanity unedited: rough, raw, violent, manic, vain, greedy and manipulative. Formal beauty was the least of his concerns, argues Schama, yet he attains beauty through his understanding of the human condition, including to be sure, his own. But for novelist Tracy Chevalier it can all get a little exhausting. Rembrandt’s paintings, she believes – even those that are not his celebrated self-portraits – are all about himself. Championing Vermeer, she will claim that his charm lies in the very fact that he absents himself from his paintings. As a result they are less didactic and more magical than Rembrandt’s, giving the viewer room to breathe. The debate was chaired by art historian , broadcaster and Director of Artistic Programmes at the Royal Academy Tim Marlow.

Learning
1,538
Psychiatrists & the pharma industry are to blame for the current ‘epidemic’ of mental disorders
Intelligence Squared

Drug pushers. We tend to associate them with the bleak underworld of criminality. But some would argue that there’s another class of drug pushers, just as unscrupulous, who work in the highly respectable fields of psychiatry and the pharmaceutical industry. And they deserve the same moral scrutiny that we apply to the drug pedlar on the street corner. Within the medical profession labels are increasingly being attached to everyday conditions previously thought to be beyond the remit of medical help. So sadness is rebranded as depression, shyness as social phobia, childhood naughtiness as hyperactivity or ADHD. And Big Pharma is only too happy to come up with profitable new drugs to treat these ‘disorders’, drugs which the psychiatrists and GPs then willingly prescribe, richly rewarded by the pharma companies for doing so. That’s the view of those who object to the widespread use of the ‘chemical cosh’ to treat people with mental difficulties. But many psychiatrists, while acknowledging that overprescribing is a problem, would argue that the blame lies not with themselves. For example, parents and teachers often ramp up the pressure to have a medical label attached to a child’s problematic behaviour because that way there’s less stigma attached and allowances are made. And psychiatrists and the pharma companies also take issue with those who argue that the ‘chemical imbalance’ theory of mental disorder is a myth. ADHD is a real condition, they say, for which drugs work. Research shows that antidepressants really are more effective than just a placebo, especially in cases of severe depression. Defending the motion in this Intelligence Squared debate at London's Emmanuel Centre in November 2014 were author and journalist Will Self and psychoanalyst and author Darian Leader. Opposing the motion were former Head of Worldwide Development at Pfizer Inc. Dr Declan Doogan and President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists Professor Sir Simon Wessely. The debate was chaired by Matthew Taylor, Chief Executive of the RSA.

Science
2,420
Hilton Als and Afua Hirsch on Race, Gender and Identity
Intelligence Squared

In March 2018, we recorded a special episode of the Intelligence Squared podcast at the Acast studio in east London. Pulitzer prize winning writer and chief theatre critic for The New Yorker Hilton Als was in conversation with Guardian columnist and author Afua Hirsch. In this wide ranging discussion, they talked about issues of race, gender, culture and identity, which were some of the themes explored in Als' recent book White Girls. Image © Brigitte Lacombe (2018).

News & Politics
1,640
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