From the Director

Tonight the IoI is back at the Bishopsgate Institute in London, discussing ‘The European Parliament: what is it good for?’: a chance to talk about the real politics of Europe, the lack of a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty, and the state of democracy beyond the expenses scandal.

Genuine public debate was also at a premium at our Post-G20 Battle for the Economy Summit on 16 May. Audio recordings of all eight sessions are available below, from ‘Recession in the Eurozone’ to ‘The Rise of Behavioural Economics’. Meanwhile, you are warmly invited to the National Final of the Debating Matters Competition for sixth formers on the weekend of 4-5 July. See below for details.

To help continue our vital work of raising the level of public debate through the recession, join the Institute of Ideas... and benefit from reduced price early bird tickets to this year’s Battle of Ideas on Saturday 31 October and Sunday 1 November.


**IoI Event in association with Bishopsgate Institute**

The European Parliament: what is it good for?
Thursday 28 May, 7.30pm @ Bishopsgate Institute, 230 Bishopsgate, London EC2M 4QH

Are the upcoming European elections a waste of time, or an opportunity to revive democracy in Europe and at home, whatever our views on the EU as an institution?

Speakers: Christopher Bickerton (lecturer, University of Oxford), David Craig (Libertas candidate for South East England, and author of The Great European Rip-Off and Squandered: How Brown is wasting over £1 trillion of our money), Mark Littlewood (director, Progressive Vision think tank), and John Stevens (adviser to Taube Hodson Stonex Partners; business campaigner for Britain to join the Euro).

Tickets: £7/£5 (conc) from or 020 7392 9220

More information



Cabaret Without Borders - Talks and Performances for Free Movement
Wednesday 3 June, 6-9.30pm @ Rochelle School, Arnold Circus, London E2 7ES

The Manifesto Club, Artsadmin and ‘A’ Foundation present an evening of satirical artistic interventions, music, readings, passionate political rhetoric and personal testimonies celebrating free movement for all and in opposition to the Home Office’s new controls for visiting artists and academics.

Featuring visual and performance artists Harold Offeh, Susannah Hewlett, Mark McGowan, Cyril Lepetit, chanson diva Barb Jungr, author Maureen Duffy, poet and performance artist Anthony Howell, theatre director Tim Supple, activists/free thinkers Josie Appleton and Christian Michel and many more.

More information



The Challenge of Sustainability: How is Business Evolving in Response?
Friday 12 and Saturday 13 June @ Goodenough College, Mecklenburgh Square, London WC1N 2AB

Goodenough College in conjunction with the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry Commercial Education Trust, would like to invite you to the next Goodenough Conference. In recent years, sustainable business – the alignment of environmental and social goals and priorities with economic ones – has moved from the fringes to one of the central concerns of many companies. This has raised multifarious issues for companies as well as for societies as a whole, which this conference will address. The following two questions form the base for the discussion throughout the conference:

1. How much sustainable business is already done at present, and how is it characterised?
2. Which changes are required to make more sustainable business happen and how can we induce them?

More information









      IoI FORUMS
On Sunday 21 June, the Parents Forum will be holding a sports day with the Manifesto Club as part of Freedom Summer. On 30 June, the Forum will be discussing The Nurture Assumption by Judith Rich Harries. Helene Guldberg, author of Reclaiming Childhood will introduce. Contact Jane Sandeman at
The next Education Forum will be held on Monday 22 June when David Perks, teacher, and author of What is science education for? will describe his latest experiment in improving and developing physics teaching and explain ‘Why a “Physics Factory”?’ Contact
The Culture Wars Forum will resume in July. Contact
On Thursday 11 June, George Hoare (DPhil Political Theory, Oxford University) will present on 'The Dialectic of the Self': Alienation, Class, and Marx’s Social Philosophy. Contact
In June, the Social Policy Forum will discuss public spending and the recession. Date tba. Contact Martin Earnshaw.
On Tuesday 7 July, Jane Sandeman will introduce Netherland by Joseph O'Neill. Contact
There will be a series of Emerging Economies Forum meetings over the summer in the run up to the Battle of Ideas. Contact
On Sunday 31 May, Brendan O'Neill (editor, spiked) will introduce a discussion on the expenses scandal. Contact
The next Brighton Salon will be on Thursday 25 June. As part of the Manifesto Club's Freedom Summer, Sean Bell and Josie Appleton will discuss 'Policing Booze on the Beach'. Contact
The next Manchester Salon meeting will be on Tuesday 14 July when Stuart Derbyshire will introduce a discussion on behavioural economics.
The next Belfast Salon will be on 23 June when Dennis Hayes will discuss academic freedom, while on 28 July the speaker will be Eric Lyons from the Sonic Arts Research Centre, Queen's University.
On Thursday 4 June, Kenan Malik will discuss his recent book From Fatwa to Jihad.


20 June: Claire Fox will be speaking at the Republic Annual Conference. Other speakers include Johann Hari and Yasmin Alibhai-Brown.

27 June: Tiffany Jenkins will present a paper on ‘Cultivating Claims: the significant role of the museum sector’ at a Pagans and Archaeology and University of Bristol conference on Pagans and Archaeology.



Claire Fox will be on BBC Radio 4’s The Moral Maze at 8pm on Wednesdays 3, 10, 17 and 24 June.

14 May: Geoff Kidder discussed the MPs’ expenses scandal on BBC Radio Wales.

17 May: Angus Kennedy discussed the MPs’ expenses scandal on City Talk FM.

24 May: Claire Fox discussed MPs’ expenses, the archbishops and the BNP on BBC Radio 4’s Sunday programme.

Audio recordings of all the sessions at the IoI’s Battle for the Economy conference on 16 May are now available:




Engagement is kids’ stuff, by Claire Fox, MJ, 30 April 2009 (Followed by a response from a government youth adviser)

New Labour plays its last card, by Dolan Cummings, spiked, 7 May 2009

Walcott smears shame our intellectual standards, by Shirley Dent, the First Post, 13 May 2009

Ken Loach, the censor, by Shirley Dent, the First Post,  21 May 2009

Pandas and poetry: Salt Publishing spoofs WWF video to save itself, by Shirley Dent, Guardian Books blog, 27 May 2009

Articles related to the Post-G20 Battle for the Economy Summit

Give this moralising the brush-off, by Claire Fox, MJ, 22 April 2009

How the credit crunch and recession helped Britons discover the joy of being serious, by Gaby Hinsliff, Guardian, 12 April 2009

Brain dysfunction did not cause the recession, by Stuart Derbyshire, spiked, 6 May 2009

Getting to the roots of the economic crisis, by Daniel Ben-Ami, spiked, 7 May 2009

Time for politics for a change, by Bruno Waterfield, Telegraph blogs, 12 May 2009

Timid Britain must look to its risk-takers, by Rob Killick, The Times, 13 May 2009

Behaviour versus Structure: an exchange of views on how to understand the economy and its current crisis, by Leigh Caldwell and Stuart Derbyshire, Rising East, 13 May 2009

Went to the G20, shouted loudly, got the T-shirt. Er, that’s about it, by Suzy Dean, The Times, 14 May 2009

Behavioural psychology can’t avert economic crisis, by Stuart Derbyshire, the First Post, 15 May 2009

It’s easy, and wrong, to blame ‘greedy’ bankers for the meltdown, by Daniel Ben-Ami, Independent, 21 May 2009

    May's highlights on Culture Wars included essays on ‘Obama Poetry’, and the politics of rap, and reviews of books on reason and rationality, genetics and world trade. In London theatre, we cover BAC's Burst festival. May also saw the launch of the Brighton Salon blog. Finally, Rowenna Davis reports from the IoI's Battle for the Economy conference.  

Plans for the Institute of Ideas and Pfizer Debating Matters National Final (3-5 July) are now well underway and we are delighted to announce that our hosts for the weekend will be the Royal Society of Medicine in London. Having received all of the debate motions for the final, the eight winning Regional Final teams will now be busy preparing for the important debates they will be having over the course of the final, including the issues of bankers pay, genetically modified crops, population growth and assisted dying, to name just a few.

Debating Matters are also delighted to include so many eminent judges on the panels throughout the weekend, all of whom are poised to challenge debaters with some tough questions, thoughtful discussion and constructive feedback. National Final judges include: Nick Hytner, Director of the National Theatre; Hilly Janes; Executive Editor of Prospect Magazine; Graham Sheffield, Artistic Director, The Barbican; Sarah Sands, Deputy Editor at London Evening Standard; and Dr Jack Watters, Vice President of External Medical Affairs, Pfizer.

Alongside the formal debating, students at the National Final will also be provided with a stimulating extra curricula programme that will include a balloon debate, chaired by Austin Williams and an Institute of Ideas Question Time debate with top name speakers from the arts, business, politics and science.

Another exciting aspect of the national final will be our international contingent. Flying in on the first day of the National Final, and staying with us throughout the event will be the winners of the first ever Debating Matters India competition – S.M. Choksey School from Pune – who on Sunday 5 July will be competing against the winners of the UK competition on the motion “Protecting the public from terrorism should come before civil liberties”. After taking part in a debate in Delhi a few weeks ago, the team are looking forward to the challenge of taking on the best of the UK schools in an exciting finale to the competition year.

If you would like to attend the National Final on either Saturday 4 or Sunday 5 July, please contact Abigail Ross-Jackson on






The Institute of Ideas relies on the financial support of individuals to continue our work. Joining the IoI as an associate is a way of showing your support for our efforts to create a public space where ideas can be contested without restraint.

You have received this email because your address is on the Institute of Ideas mailing list, or because it has been forwarded to you from a friend.

If you are not already on our mailing list, and wish to receive future Institute of Ideas mailings, sign up now.

If you no longer wish to receive these mailings, please use the Unsubscribe link below to remove your address from our list.

If you want to amend the details we have for you, including changing your email address, use the Update Profile link below.

Institute of Ideas
Signet House
49-51 Farringdon Road
United Kingdom