Progressive politics takes centre stage at HowTheLightGetsIn

HowTheLightGetsIn, the world’s leading philosophy festival, is back in Hay-on-Wye this May with hundreds of challenging debates and talks across politics, philosophy, science and the arts, as well as a full programme of live music and comedy


From 21-31st May this year, leading politicians, scientists, economists, philosophers and artists will leave the post-election fallout for ten days and transform Hay-On-Wye into a hotbed of intellectual discussion and parties.

After an election which will likely see another miserly turn out, HowTheLightGetsIn will be seeking explanations and solutions to both widespread public disregard for politicians, and politicians’ disregard for big ideas.

Is the Left-Right political dichotomy entirely redundant? Do we demand the impossible from politicians, or are they just incompetent – or worse? How can we redress rising economic inequality? Does politics needs to find a way out of the cosmopolitan consensus and rediscover an ethical vision? Do we need new ideological fantasies to capture the collective imagination?

To answer these questions, the 2015 festival has a heavy emphasis on progressive politics, with speakers including Jon Cruddas, Diane Abbott, Natalie Bennett, Paul Krugman, Peter Tatchell, Margaret Hodge, Ann Pettifor, Polly Toynbee, Beatrix Campbell and Yasmin Alibhai-Brown all taking part.

The festival is not limited to political discussion.

If you tire of politics, you could see eminent theoretical physicist Roger Penrose debating Artificial Intelligence with highly celebrated novelist and comic Warren Ellis and founder of the Open Data Institute Nigel Shadbolt. Or join CERN physicist John Ellis for lunch to discuss whether nothing is an illusion.

The evening entertainment sees musicians and comedians like Lianne Le Havas, Mike Skinner and Liam Williams help revelers forget all that they have learned during the day. The full music lineup can be seen here.

For further information on a selection of politics events over the first weekend, and more, follow the links below:


23 May

10.30am, The End of the West With Clare Short, Stephen King and Will Kymlicka


10.30am, Guns and Butter With Philip Collins, Rana Mitter and Clare Short


4pm, Killing the King With Polly Toynbee, David Aaronovitch and Natalie Bennett


7pm, Je Suis Charlie? With Myriam Francois-Cerrah, John Lloyd and Brian Klug


24 May


5.30pm, Are Hospitals Bad For Us? With Natalie Bennett, Diane Abbott, David Healy, Mark Salter


7pm, Rebel with a Cause With Phillip Blond, Charlotte Leslie and Philip Collins


25 May


10.30am, Running the World Differently With Margaret Hodge, Yasmin Alibhai-Brown and Jamie Whyte


10.30am, The New Left and Right With Jon Cruddas, Charlotte Leslie and Nigel Shadbolt


12pm, The Rise and Fall of Fantasy With David Aaronovitch, Ted Honderich and Edwina Currie


1.15pm, Tears of the Europeans With George Galloway, Philip Collins, Bronwen Maddox


4pm, The Wealth Delusion With Paul Krugman, Peter Tatchell, Frances Stewart and Jamie Whyte


5.30pm, Changing the World With Tariq Ali, Margaret Hodge and Dan Hodges

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6 Responses to “Progressive politics takes centre stage at HowTheLightGetsIn”

  1. littleoddsandpieces

    Where is:


    Socialist GB

    Class War

    The Left Unity Party

    That are the true progressives against austerity, against the end of the welfare state and against a privatised NHS.

    Someone will pay for listening to the same hackneyed old ideas that have not worked and make the poor ever poorer?

    Donate to a foodbank now offering fuel vouchers as well, instead.

  2. Selohesra

    Only missing Will Self and they would have full set of people who annoy me – although I did like Phil Collins in his Genesis days

  3. Robert

    All those you have mentioned need to get together form one left of center party and then fight to win seats, at the moment these are so broken and they are never going to get MP’s.

    Labour today are a broken left of center center right bunch who are more interested in power for power sake then making a difference to peoples lives.

    The fact is Miliband and Cameron as so close in polices and political out look they may even end up together in a coalition.

  4. damon

    There’s a few good people listed there, but some pretty naff ones too.

  5. Leon Wolfeson

    Oh right, you find a couple of people who might go your way if you threaten them and call it good.

  6. Leon Wolfeson

    LU are no better than Respect in terms of divisiveness and condoning certain forms of hate (against Jews, specifically), and they’d drive the left away from a party. Not a sensible suggestion – any left-wing blanket party needs to avoid that sort of thing, and the reality is that FPTP means it’s a waste of time anyway – they’d all be better off camp aiming for voting reform.

    And Labour are plain right wing these days. The idea that there would be a Labour-Tory coalition is laughable, though.

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