Sunday, 31 August 2008

Book Festival - Part 7

On Friday morning I went to hear Neil Blain and David Hutchinson discuss their book The Media in Scotland. This was an interesting session that concentrated on broadcasting and the press. The Scottish Six was brought up. Inevitably. As was the ownership of the Scottish press. We were told that the owners of the Herald and the Scotsman demand unusually high rates of return thus precluding proper investment in the papers. I wonder; and if so does that not create an entrepreneurial opportunity? I asked a question about the Internet and blogging in Scotland and chatted to Blain about this later. He agreed that the mainstream press were a bit slow on the uptake. According to Blain his students regard e-mails as something akin to the quill pen. They all communicate through social networking sites. Now, where's my ink well?

Later on Friday it was time for Robert Kagan to speak about his new book The Return of History. Kagan, a neocon and McCain advisor, got a respectful hearing from the normally slightly left of centre Book Festival audience. I pointed out that the US was founded as a constitutional republic and not as a democracy and suggested to Kagan that the US should concentrate on spreading liberty rather than democracy. My question received some applause from the audience! Kagan said that constitutional purity was on the way out even by the time of Andrew Jackson. Quite so, but still a mistake. I'm currently half way through the book but have yet to find any deep new insights.

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