Speakers: Aeron Davis, Polly Toynbee, Joe Earle and Bev Skeggs

When: 6.30-8, 19th March

Where: Sheikh Zayed Theatre, LSE

Please join Aeron Davis, Polly Toynbee, Joe Earle and Bev Skeggs for a discussion on Britain’s dysfunctional leadership. Aeron Davis will cast the evening off by arguing that the Brexit vote and 2017 election result are more than temporary setbacks for the Establishment. Instead, there is a deeper crisis of leadership that has been developing over decades. The great transformations of the 1980s onwards have not only upended societies, they have reshaped elite rule itself. The UK is producing a new generation of leaders who, although richer, have lost coherence, vision, influence and power. Their failings are not only damaging the wider public, economy and society, they are undermining the very foundations of the Establishment itself. Joining Aeron to offer their take on Britain’s top tier will be Polly Toynbee, the Guardian’s award-winning political affairs columnist, and Joe Earle, author and campaigner for economic reform. The event will be chaired by the LSE’s Bev Skeggs.

The event will also launch Aeron Davis’s new book Reckless Opportunists: Elites at the End of the Establishment (MUP, 2018). The book, based on 350 interviews with elite figures across business, politics and finance, asks: how did we end up producing the leaders that got us here and what can we do about it?

Aeron Davis is Professor of Political Communication and Co-Director of the Political Economy Research Centre at Goldsmiths, University of London. For over two decades he has researched and interviewed UK leaders operating in the City, large corporations, Whitehall, Westminster and in the national media. He is the author of four books, two edited collections, and some fifty other publications.

Polly Toynbee is an award winning political and social affairs journalist. She has worked at the BBC, the Independent and, for almost two decades, as a columnist for the Guardian. She has also published a number of books, most recently (with David Walker) Dismembered: How the Conservative Attack on the State Harms Us All (Faber, 2017), and Cameron’s Coup: How the Tories Took Britain to the Brink (Faber, 2015).

Joe Earle is a campaigner and writer. He co-founded the Post-Crash Economics Society at Manchester University and is a trustee of Rethinking Economics. With Cahal Moran and Zach Ward-Perkins he is author of The Econocracy: The Perils of Leaving Economics to the Experts (MUP, 2016).

Bev Skeggs is the Academic Director of the Atlantic Fellows for Social and Economic Equity Programme at the LSE. She is one of the leading feminist sociologists in the world and author or editor of over a dozen books and edited collections.

‘Aeron Davis pulls back the curtain on the wizards of Oz who rule us. And having studied them for decades he tells their story brilliantly. They were never as good as we were led to believe.’ Danny Dorling Professor of Geography, University of Oxford


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