The State of Nations
Adam Gopnik, Gavin Esler
Chair: Anne McElvoy
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Politics has undergone a sea change. The world is swinging to populism, and the idea of liberalism has become, to many, the property of so-called elites. New Yorker staff writer Adam Gopnik argues that ‘ganster-style authoritarianism’ menaces many nations from Russia and the US, to the Philippines and Hungary, while in the UK the Brexit vote shocked those who felt it symbolised the reversal of a momentum towards transnational openness. Former Newsnight presenter and Change UK candidate Gavin Esler argues we are now living in a world where lies have become normalised. Can we engineer a return to Enlightenment values of reason and evidence-based discourse? In conversation with Anne McElvoy, senior editor and head of Economist Radio London.
Adam Gopnik has written for The New Yorker since 1986. He is a three-time winner of the National Magazine Award for Essays and for Criticism, and the George Polk Award for magazine reporting. From 1995 to 2000 he lived in Paris; he now lives in New York with his wife and their two children.
Gavin Esler is an award winning television and radio broadcaster, novelist and journalist. He is the author of five novels and three non-fiction books, The United States of Anger, Lessons from the Top, a study of how leaders tell stories to make other people follow them. It is based on personal encounters with a wide variety of leaders, from Bill Clinton and Angela Merkel to Tony Blair, Margaret Thatcher, and even cultural leaders such as Dolly Parton. His most recent book is Brexit without the Bullshit.
Anne McElvoy is a former foreign correspondent and columnist. She began her career on the Times, covering east Germany, German unification, the Balkans and Russia before becoming Deputy Editor of the Spectator and Political Columnist of the Daily Telegraph. Most recently she was Executive Editor of the London Evening Standard and the newspaper’s political columnist. She joined The Economist in January 2011. Anne also presents the BBC arts and ideas programme Night Waves and is a regular panellist on the BBC Radio 4 Moral Maze and BBC2 Review Show. She also makes political documentaries.