Series 15 – 2022

The Debates are on Saturdays from 11.00am and will take place on Zoom. An invited speaker talks for about 30 minutes, followed by another 30 minutes for questions and discussion.

The debates will also be streamed live on Facebook

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Dates for 2022
January 15th
February 5th
February 26th
March 5th
March 19th
April 30th
June 11th


Saturday 15 January:
What’s left of Global Britain after the Afghanistan debacle?

Michael Clarke, Associate Director, Strategy & Security Institute, Exeter University

Professor Clarke will speak about the way the Afghani disaster unfolded in August 2021 and discuss the political background to it. The presentation will then go on to discuss the effects this situation has had on the future for British security and foreign policy.

Professor Michael Clarke is currently Associate Director of the Strategy and Security Institute at Exeter University and a Visiting Professor there. He was Director of the Royal United Services Institute until 2015. He is a Guest Fellow at The Brookings Institution, Washington, DC, and a Fellow in Foreign Policy Studies at the Royal Institute of International Affairs in London. He has been senior Specialist Adviser to the House of Commons Defence Committee since 1997, having served previously with the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee. In 2009 he was appointed to the Prime Minister’s National Security Forum in pursuit of the 2008 National Security Strategy.


Saturday 5 February 2022:
Authoritarian Contagion: The Global Threat to Democracy
Luke Cooper, Associate Researcher, London School of Economics

Sometimes it feels as if democracy is in a state of growing peril. All over the world ‘strongman’ leaders have risen to prominence in the context of the disruptions and crises of the 21st century. How do we explain the source of their appeal and potency? What common features does this ‘authoritarian turn’ have? And what can democrats do about it? Luke Cooper will present some of the findings of his recent book, and discuss the commonalities and differences between this new radical right and the ideas popularised by Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan in the 1980s. 

Dr Luke Cooper is an associate researcher and consultant based at LSE IDEAS, the in-house foreign policy think-tank of the London School of Economics. He is the author of Authoritarian Contagion; The Global Threat to Democracy (Bristol University Press, 2021). His academic research has developed the programme of historical sociology with a focus on national identity, nationalism and the theory of uneven and combined development. Dr Cooper has also written and commented extensively on the Brexit process. He is the co-host of the Another Europe is Possible podcast and is a co-founder of the Another Europe is Possible campaign.


Saturday 26 February 2022:
Will the lights go out?

Richard Black, Senior Associate, Energy, Climate Intelligence Unit

As the dust settles after COP26 what can we look forward to? We are suddenly aware of the challenges of the international gas market and the effects of storms, accentuated by climate change, on our power supplies. What are the reasons to be cheerful that we will address the challenges of climate change as well as maintaining our living standards? What is the composition of current UK energy supplies and how will these change?

Richard Black was Director of ECIU 2014-2020 and is now a Senior Associate there focussing on the international agenda. His background is in BBC journalism where he worked for BBC World Service. As BBC environment correspondent, he reported on many UN summits. From 2012 he was Director of Communications for the Global Ocean Commission prior. His book, Denied: The Rise and Fall of Climate Contrarianism, is the only book about the UK’s climate contrarian elite, its influence and its retreat. Richard is Honorary Research Fellow at the Grantham Institute at Imperial College London, and frequently contributes to UK broadcasts and other news media.


Saturday 5 March 2022:
Medicare or the NHS? The implications of the Health and Care Bill
Peter Roderick, Population Health Sciences Institute, University of Newcastle.  

This talk will discuss the implications for a universal and comprehensive public health service of the incremental structural changes in the NHS in England which have been enacted over many decades, culminating, for now, in the Health and Care Bill currently before Parliament.

Peter Roderick is a researcher at the Population Health Sciences Institute at Newcastle University, and qualified as a barrister in 1982. He has been studying the legal development of the NHS for about ten years. He is a co-author of the NHS Reinstatement Bill with Professor Allyson Pollock.  


Saturday 19 March 2022:
Towards Narratives of Transformation
Viviane Straub,

Which stories go beyond a critique of socio-ecological issues? What skills are needed to live interdependently in community? How can imagination be reclaimed to counter dominant systems as the climate crisis worsens? Taking inspiration from degrowth and ecovillage praxis, these questions and more will be explored in moving towards narratives of transformation. 

Viviane Straub brings holistic perspectives on the climate crisis; connecting society, culture, ecology, and economics. She is a climate activist, facilitator, and aims to bring together young changemakers. Having finished her Msc in Human Ecology, she is exploring regenerative urban farming and is in the process of co-founding a project on regenerative education. 


Saturday 30 April 2022:
Hyperconsumption: Corporate Marketing versus the Planet
Gerard Hastings, Emeritus Professor, University of Stirling

The constant stream of marketing that infests our lives is explained by a crass economic truth: profits depend on demand outstripping supply. A multi-billion-dollar global industry has therefore been constructed to turn us into devout consumers. Gerard Hastings invites us to explore alternatives to a materialist system that is threatening our survival.

Gerard Hastings is Professor Emeritus at Stirling University. For the last four decades he has studied the damaging impacts that commercial marketing has on our wellbeing and his work has attracted the attention of the media and the ire of multinationals. His new book Hyperconsumption: Corporate Marketing versus the Planet (Routledge) will be published in the spring, 2022.


Saturday 11 June 2022:
Why do we need to rethink security?
Paul Rogers, Emeritus Professor of Peace Studies at Bradford University

COVID-19 and climate breakdown show that the real global security challenges are about common problems and need maximum international cooperation, not spending two trillion dollars a year on arming ourselves against each other. After four failed wars since 2001, how do we change thinking and move away from the idea that military force is the answer to so many problems? 

Paul Rogers  is Emeritus Professor of Peace Studies at Bradford University and international security advisor to Open Democracy to which he has contributed a weekly column for twenty years. He has lectured at Britain’s senior defence colleges for 35 years and is also a long-time member of CND. The fourth edition of his book, Losing Control: Global Security in the 21st Century has recently been published by Pluto Press.


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Video recordings and details of previous series of The Hexham Debates can be found at https://hexhamdebates.wordpress.com/the-debates-archive/