Tag Archives: Will Hutton

Public Intellectual is not a dirty name – Suzannah Lipscomb at Swindon Festival of Literature

17 May

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Given the reaction of the tabloid and ‘quality’ press front pages during the election, you may be forgiven for thinking that today’s public intellectuals are Katie Hopkins, Jeremy Clarkson and Russell Brand.

Happily, you’d be wrong on two counts and you can argue the toss with me about Russell. The term ‘public intellectuals’ sit uncomfortably with the British public, too self-congratulatory. The French are fine with it. But, boy, do we need them.

According to historian Susannah Lipscomb at the Swindon Festival of Literature last Friday, public intellectuals are the clever people who emerge from quiet libraries; they don’t endlessly research a particular point that only five other people care about.

They arm themselves with encyclopaedic knowledge, for sure, have a long hard rumination about all of it – then they get out there, tell people what they know and have an opinion about it: “They use knowledge and learning to change our shared world,” says Suzannah. Continue reading

Will Hutton delivers election postmortem and wonders How Good We Can Be at Swindon Festival of Literature

11 May

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Economist, journalist, and Oxford college principal Will Hutton is angry. He bangs the lectern with his glasses, and gesticulates madly. He even uses profanities with clear intent.

The man who wrote The State We’re In now thinks we’re just “in a mess”. The audience laps it up. Continue reading

A little bit of politics at LitFest

14 May
Newspaper pundit and author Will Hutton

Newspaper pundit and author Will Hutton

Mid-festival Monday at the Swindon Festival of Literature, and the punters are getting antsy. They had their fun in the sun at Lower Shaw Farm on Sunday, now they’re ready to have a moan about the government. Continue reading