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Who benefits from regulating incomes?

Tuesday 4th Apr: First Tuesday Current Affairs discussion

Discussing First topical issue (Mark Iddon) and Second topical issue (Simon Belt)

Public discussions and debate in Manchester
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From tribal to identity politics

April 2011

Kevin Bean and Chris Gilligan will be in conversation with the Salon audience, with a focus on recent developments in Northern Ireland.

Kevin BeanChris GilliganWhether it was the Peace Process or the rise and fall of the Celtic Tiger, Ireland as a whole has been a focus of interest over the last twenty years. In Northern Ireland, the 1998 Good Friday Agreement was supposed to end the old tribal politics and usher in a new era. But instead of transformation, has the Peace Process simply created new forms of conflict framed around issues of identity? 


Identity politics are usually associated with the New Social Movements of the Left which emerged in the late 1960s – such as radical feminism, sexual politics and black power. However, in Northern Ireland it is associated with Irish Nationalism and Ulster Unionism. Orange Order parades are defended by Unionists on the grounds that they are celebrations of their cultural identity. Irish Nationalists defend murals which depict IRA hunger-strikers as an expression of their cultural heritage. In this view being Irish or British provides a sense of belonging to a community, and the cultural articulations of Irishness or Britishness are expressions of the authenticity of those communities.

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The future of journalism and publishing online

March 2011

Brendan O'Neill and Louise Bolotin will introduce a conversation about recent changes in journalism and how the future of online publishing can be shaped

Brendan O'NeillLouise BolotinNational and regional newspapers have experienced a protracted period of retrenchment, and the development of critical and in-depth journalism has been one of the main casualties. Alongside this trend in paper based publishing has been the proliferation of a variety of online publishing mechanisms, by individual bloggers and collaborations trying to develop new mechanisms of news reporting and commentary. 


Brendan O'Neill represents the first custom-built online current affairs publication in the UK, as editor of spiked, so will be able to talk through experience of the practical challenges posed for online publishers of quality commentary. Louise Bolotin represents a Manchester-based response to the development of a news platform that only publishes online, incorporating technology to address the demands of a 24-hour news agenda and using social media such as Facebook and Twitter to reach new audiences. The Inside the M60 website she co-owns appeals to a particular readership that only rarely pick up print copies of the papers.

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China's economic growth: what should we celebrate?

February 2011

Alan Hudson will focus on state led planning for the Shanghai Expo in 2010, whilst Professor Berthold Schoene on how British authors are leaving the national scene to imagine a global community.

Alan HudsonAs a trailer for his introduction, Berthold SchoeneAlan Hudson said 'the exhilarating technical inovation, speed of development and unashamed ambition of Chinese urban centres should be welcomed as a direct challenge to the painful negativity of western planning. But a Maglev train and a Five-Year Plan represent only a partial, and one-sided, re-engagement with China's century long struggle to embrace and reconstitute the modern.


China's fractured experience of modernity combined with he peculiar social and economic development of the post-1980s reforms present a vivid example of what happens when detailed planning meets the aspirations and intelligence of city dwellers. The city is a place of strangers in a world of difference. In a city, the opportunities are defined, not by a fixed relationship to nature and tradition, or by regulation and behavioural codes but by social possibilities. As anywhere, technically the movement is easy but there are social constraints. The heterogeneity of the the cosmoploitan city is asymmetrical. In Shanghai there are 'citizens of the world' who commute between there and London and New York. Others are bound in a particular space but their imagination is not.'


Berthold Schoene will look at the visions British authors express in their novels of an increasingly cosmopolitan society and one less focussed on the national scene. He will explore the extent to which their interest in cosmopolitanism may well be to provide an ethically informed response to globalisation, and perhaps as a way of rationalising the relative decline of previously ascendant economies and societies such as Britain.

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Poetry and its relevance

January 2011

Angelica Michelis and Antony Rowland will be in conversation with the Salon audience, chaired by Dave Bowden, including some short readings by guest poets.

Angelica MichelisAntony RowlandThe appointment of Carol Ann Duffy – well known from her place on the curriculum - as Laureate, and the controversies over the election of the Oxford Professor of Poetry, have kept the sullen art in the headlines. Christopher Reid picked up the 2009 Costa Book of the Year for his collection A Scattering, while Bright Star saw John Keats join Dylan Thomas, Allan Ginsberg and Sylvia Plath as recent stars of the big screen. Poetry performances are increasingly popular at music festivals and at gigs, and pop stars such as Mike Scott (of Waterboys fame) and Rufus Wainwright have even recorded musical interpretations of WB Yeats and Shakespeare’s sonnets.

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Ferraris for all: is economic growth such a good thing?

November 2010

Daniel Ben-Ami and Clive George will introduce a discussion about the scope for and limits to economic development in the developed and developing world.

Ferraris for AllDaniel Ben-AmiIs economic growth such a good thing? Until the 1970s few would have even thought of asking this question. Yet today the West is often seen as guilty of overconsumption, while the rapid growth of developing countries such as China and India is seen by many in a highly negative light.


People who champion growth are accused of encouraging greed, damaging the environment and widening social inequalities. Daniel Ben-Ami, in his new book Ferraris for all, challenges these notions, arguing that society as a whole benefits from greater affluence and that we should celebrate growth. 

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Recent Discussions

The Future of Transport: stargazing and guiding principles

October 2010

Michelle Di LeoAustin Williams, and Yvonne Hübner will be in conversation with the Salon audience.


Michelle Di LeoWhen Mancunians roundly rejected a new transport plan in 2008, Sir Richard Leese, leader of Manchester’s city council said 'There is no plan B, which is why we will have to have a period of reflection'. The plan would have made £3billion of funding available for transport improvements: much of it borrowed against future revenue from a proposed rush-hour congestion charge. The voters of Manchester, it appeared, were in no mood to have to foot the bill for improvements funded through a tax on driving.


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