Hay Festival highlights – including Vince Cable on Money and Power

Until last year, I’d never been to the Hay Festival, much though I’d have loved to go to the beautiful Welsh town. I drove through it when I was in Brecon and Radnorshire for the by-election in 2019 and would love to spend more time there.

Anyway, the pandemic has meant that the annual festival has had to go online and is free to access. Although when I say free, there is a danger that you end up buying many books.

Last year, I registered for so many events and enjoyed them all. This year’s event starts this Wednesday, 26th May, and goes on until 6th June.

The beauty of this is that if you are working from home, you can have the events on in the background – but they are available to listen to for 24 hours afterwards.

I also have a subscription to the Hay Player (only £15 for the year) and many events end up there after the Festival is over.

I’ve spent some time this morning browsing through this year’s events. On 3 June, from 1-1:50 pm,  our Vince Cable will be talking about his book Money and Power: The World leaders who changed economics. From the programme:

Through economics, our politicians have the power to transform people’s lives for better or worse. Deng Xiaoping lifted millions out of poverty by opening up China, Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal helped the USA break free from the Great Depression, and Peron and his successors in Argentina brought the country to the brink of ruin. The economist and politician examines the legacy of 16 world leaders who transformed their countries’ economic fortunes, and also challenged convention. From Thatcher to Trump, Lenin to Bismarck, this book offers a new perspective on the science of government over the past 300 years. He talks to Grace Blakeley, political and economic commentator and author of The Corona Crash: How the Pandemic will Change Capitalism.

I have also signed up for events featuring former Australian Prime Minster Julia Gillard, Labour’s Lisa Nandy and former leader Ed Miliband, Jess Phillips, Gordon Brown, Everyday Sexism founder Laura Bates and human rights campaigner and author Elif Shafak. Elif wrote the best book I read last year – 10 minutes and 38 seconds in this Strange World. The book starts with the murder of a sex worker in Turkey and recounts key memories from her life as her consciousness shuts down. It highlights enormous injustice, misogyny, inequality but also the joy and comfort of friendships and relationships and is beautifully paced. The incredibly sad gives way to something that will make you smile and the rage is tempered by almost farcical scenes which make you laugh. It’s a total assault on the emotions and well worth a few hours of your time.

I haven’t even started on the fiction elements of the programme yet, although with The Hate U Give’s Angie Thomas, Val McDermid, the hilarious Marian Keyes, Ali Smith and many debut novelists to find out about, I anticipate hours of pleasure ahead.

If you haven’t already, have a look through the programme and fill your boots with all manner of literary, political, humanitarian food for thought.


* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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