Tuesday, 12 August 2008

Book Festival - Part 2

After Mr Brown, I was back at the Book Festival on Sunday.

First off was sociologist Richard Sennett, a name that was vaguely familiar when I bought the ticket. I later found this on my shelves.

Sennett was talking about his latest book The Craftsman. I thoroughly enjoyed the presentation in which Sennett made the case for craftsmanship in work. He was clearly a bit of a leftist but one who could become "one of us" with some effort... Sennett had lost all of his early enthusiasm for New Labour. He partly agreed with my suggestion that Germany's retention of craftsmanship was more to do with culture than politicians. Apparently, having an "ology" doesn't necessarily make one a nutter

Next on was the Undercover Economist Tim Harford. I enjoy reading Harford's Dear Economist in the FT on Saturdays. I wasn't surprised to find Harford a competent and confident performer but I thought that his talk was a bit too much show business and not enough economics. His heart's in the right place though.

In today's lunchtime break I went to hear Anthony King of Essex University and well known to viewers of television election programmes.

King was another competent presenter but, I thought, a little too much of an establishment figure. He generally favoured the changes made to the British constitution over the last fifty years. Sheena Macdonald asked King (a Canadian) about the American constitution. I was saddened to hear the usual and erroneous stuff about the Florida vote in 2000 as well as an attack on the Second Amendment.

King's "solution" for the West Lothian Question was to reduce the number of Scottish MPs below our population share but to keep full Westminster voting rights. Wrong on both counts, unless of course he is an agent of Alex Salmond.

1 comment:

David Farrer said...

Comments made on previous template:

I know King only from the telly, but he's always struck me as a rather ponderous, dull fellow.

13 August 2008, 20:06:56 GMT+01:00
– Like – Reply

Left or right, Richard Sennett wrote the best analysis of the modern workplace I've ever read. It was his contribution to 'On the Edge', edited by Hutton & Giddens

13 August 2008, 14:49:30 GMT+01:00