“Let’s have a heated debate”

Bath has always been known for its debates. This year’s promise to be explosive.

Jon Snow    Alain de Botton

At the Forum, The Great Bath News Debate will be chaired by Jonathan Dimbleby (March 1, 3pm, £12). Philosopher Alain de Botton and award-winning TED speaker Carl Honore will propose the motion: “News is ruining our lives.” Channel 4’s veteran broadcaster Jon Snow opposes, backed up by the Editor-in-Chief of Huffington Post UK, Carla Buzasi.

With the US’ first ever national Unplugged Day coming up the following weekend, this is a subject of global obsession. How do we keep ourselves informed and connected without going insane from digital overload?

One of the Festival’s fastest-selling events, with only a handful of tickets left. You can also catch Alain de Botton at his solo event (March 1, 6.15pm, £9).


Encouraging Wealth Creation (March 5, 8pm, £8) is a debate about financial responsibility and the tension between the individual and the state. At a time when Cameron’s Big Society is still making headlines, and amidst reports of the increasing use of food banks in the UK this will be a timely exploration of the issues. Theresa Lloyd and Tom Hughes-Hallet argue that philanthropy is the answer, while Steve Richards and Nick Cohen say the the state should provide. Stefan Stern will chair.

Kirsty Wark

Similarly timely is A Woman’s Place Is…? (March 8, 1pm, £8), a debate about the limits and potential of feminism, chaired by BBC2 Newsnight’s Kirsty Wark, focusing on the lack of women in politics (only 16% of Tory MPs are female) and in the boardroom (only 12% of FTSE 100 board members).

Discussing the role of women in public life is a panel of alpha women: Guardian columnist and author of How to Be Awesome Hadley Freeman, Whistles CEO and fashion retail legend Jane Shepherdson and Editor-in-Chief of Red magazine Sarah Bailey.

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