Some previous Brighton Salons:
Politics and politicians no longer inspire people as they once did. The General Election only encourages the parties to be even less radical or visionary than ever. When so many people are dissaffected from society, never mind its democratic processes, who is left to care about indifference?
The right to vote, hard won through history, assumes there is someone worth voting for. The exercise of one's vote once meant taking sides about the future, but now is a strategic decision about the lesser of evils. The technocratic, ideology-free tinkering with givens that passes for mainstream politics goes largely unchallenged.
Young people are assumed to be the least engaged with polictics and even with society in general. But who else will inhabit the future? Could the contempt young people apparently feel for Westminster and its parties one day produce new and exciting ideas?
Is politics still the way to change society? Can you have proper democracy when no-one cares? If society must change before politics can move on, what can possibly happen if people niether vote nor take any other action?
Who's Afraid of Big Data?
Recordings of the speakers' introductions and the discussion with the Audience are here.
Big Data is everywhere. By analysing statistical trends gleaned from masses of information provided over the internet, Big Data promises to revolutionise the way we provide and consume services and policy-makers allocate resources. Google claims that through the use of medical data-mining on software such as Flu Trends it could potentially save 10,000 lives a year if we would be more willing to set aside privacy concerns, whilst everything from massive infrastructural projects to supermarket stocking will massively benefit from a precise, real-time analysis of consumer behaviour. Some even predict that Big Data can provide even greater insights than accurate metrics: with programmes under development to mark university papers, assess the fairness of arts criticism and even predict potential areas of political unrest and destabilisation. Sound recording of salon here.
Author and journalist Brendan O'Neill discusses the results of WikiLeaks' publishing of secret files and the fall of Julian Assange.
An audio recording and full transcription of Brendan's introduction and the discussion.
Drugs & the law: The challenge of legal highs
A panel of experts discusses the dangers of legal highs and of criminalising the users of illegal highs.
With: Roger Howard
former chief executive, UK Drug Policy Commission; chair, Build on Belief, Dr Marcus Roberts, director, policy and membership, DrugScope and Chris Snowdon, director, lifestyle economics, Institute of Economic Affairs; author, The Art of Suppression.
Chris Snowdon, Marcus Roberts and Roger Howard
The Youth Left Wing Collective of Brighton and Hove
Brighton Left has a number of Brighton Salons on its website here.
More previous Brighton Salons
Are we post-modern? No we're not even post-medieval!
Richard Swan on the Tyranny of text, the gradual change of history and the beauty of the Anglo-Saxon language.
Author Kenan Malik discusses how Muslims went from offended minority to warriors of faith. Full transcription of Kenan's introduction and discussion with the audience.
A panel of experts, performers and ex-strippers pulls apart the Burlesque craze, examining objectification, the difference between performing burlesque and stripping and what motivates women to perform.
A full transcription of the introductions and the discussion plus an audio recording of all the proceedings.
Pictured is one of the speakers, Emma Mitchell, who performs burlesque as
Miss Glory Pearl