Oxford Literary Weekend
Upholding Democracy: How we must Fight for our Freedoms and Values        27 March 2023 | 18:00 | Bodleian: Divinity School

Activist lawyer Sam Fowles, human rights barrister Adam Wagner and historian Andrew Blick look at whether government is undermining democratic principles and consider how the UK maintains its reputation as a nation governed by the rule of law.
In The Bonfire of the Decencies: Repairing and Restoring the British Constitution, Blick and his co-author Lord Peter Hennessy examine what has caused weaknesses in the British constitution in recent years. They say the Johnson premiership witnessed the violation of constitutional values, and they set out proposals to repair the damage and prevent a repetition. Blick is professor of politics and contemporary history and head of Department of Political Economy at Kings College, University of London. He is also editor of The Constitution in Review.

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Oxford Literary Weekend
Leadership: Lessons for Running a Better Government                                            30 March 2023 | 18:00 | Sheldonian Theatre

Former ambassador and head of the Diplomatic Service Baron Simon McDonald talks about leadership and his life in the corridors of power and how government could be run better.
McDonald hit the headlines over the summer after he accused Boris Johnson’s number 10 office of lying when it said it was not aware of the former whip Christopher Pincher’s sexual misconduct, an issue that led to the end of Johnson’s time in office. He reflects on what makes a good leader, and on what helped and hindered the foreign secretaries and prime ministers he worked for as they undertook some of the most important and challenging work for their country. And he makes a case for reform of the monarchy, the cabinet, Civil Service and the House of Lords.

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Weaver Words Festival
The Bonfire of the Decencies: Repairing & Restoring the British Constitution   7 May 2023 | 14:30 | Frodsham Community Centre

The premierships of both Boris Johnson and Liz Truss exposed worrying vulnerabilities in the British constitution.

Prepare for a fascinating dive into the murky world of national politics and the political maelstrom of the last four years, as politics professor Andrew Blick discusses his new book, The Bonfire of the Decencies.

Written with leading historian Peter Hennessy, it focuses on the occupants of No 10 between 2019 and 2022, when political standards and integrity were seen to be compromised and constitutional values violated. 

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The Bath Festival
Inside Stories of 21st-Century Diplomacy                                                                        18 May 2023 | 13:30 | The Guildhall

So much of modern-day diplomacy still takes places behind closed doors, away from cameras and prying eyes. So what does this vital role really look like in today’s world and what does it take to do well?

Catherine Ashton (And Then What?) and Simon McDonald (Leadership) have observed, supported and guided leaders and countries towards collaboration and stability where hope could rise and fall, often in a matter of hours. They share they’re incredible insights with Greg Ingham.

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