Oxford 2009: 2009 and 1939 – how do we avoid political crisis after economic crash?

  • Dr Patricia Clavin (Jesus College, University of Oxford)
  • Will Hutton (The Observer, Executive Vice Chair of the Work Foundation)
  • Mark Thompson (shortlisted for the Orwell Prize 2009 with The White War, editor of Television Across Europe: More Channels, Less Independence)
  • Chaired by Professor Jean Seaton (Director of the Orwell Prize)

The seventh of the Orwell Prize’s events at the Sunday Times Oxford Literary Festival 2009.

‘I see it all. I see the posters and the food-queues, and the castor oil and the rubber truncheons and the machine-guns squirting out of bedroom windows. Is it going to happen? No knowing. Some days it’s impossible to believe it. Some days I say to myself that it’s just a scare got up by the newspapers. Some days I know in my bones there’s no escaping it.’ Orwell’s 1939 novel, Coming Up For Air, was written with war looming, a war created in part by political tensions that were the shrapnel of a global economic crash. With a credit crunch and global downturn now upon us, will political crisis follow? Is it going to happen, or is there some way of escaping it?

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