Battle Blogs

Battle Blogs are specially-commissioned pieces that explore topics being discussed at the Battle of Ideas, serving as introductions to the debate and encouraging further reflection. Battle Blogs are published daily through the festival on Independent Voices.

Editor: David Bowden


Jonathan Hurlow, Independent, 1 November 2012
Like alcohol, can these chemicals not be taken in the right way, at the right dose

Alka Sehgal Cuthbert, Independent, 29 October 2012
The Tory drive to make teachers and carers chase after statistics has hindered rather than helped

Luke Gittos, Independent, 18 October 2012
While the 2010 Equality Act seems to be discouraging prejudice, it has also come under attack for limiting freedom

Richard Swan, Independent, 17 October 2012
We still view European history as taking off with the Renaissance and Enlightenment, but this position gets more out-of-date the more we learn

Miguel Ceia, Independent, 16 October 2012
There's so many prizes today's writers aren't bothered about who wins. The purpose awards serve now is to tell readers what to read.

Jason Smith, Independent, 15 October 2012
Instead of an outright ban on activities deemed "undesirable" - like getting off your head on booze - the state is trying to render them socially inacceptable

Paul Kilbey, Independent, 12 October 2012
People expect melody and emotion from their music; but just because modern classical doesn't conform to this doesn't make it worthless

Piers Benn, Independent, 12 October 2012
As religious observance is on the wane, people's desire to connect at some higher level faces a quest for new forms

Dave Bowden, Independent, 12 October 2012
Now be against the political institution in its current form is apparently to be anti-peace as well as anti-European

Niall Crowley, Independent Voices, 10 October 2012
There's a risk that in using choirs for everything from helping fragmented communities to stress relief, we drag them down to the level of the mundane

James Shaw, Independent Voices, 10 October 2012
A fresher on the joys of exchanging a rigid and prescriptive curriculum for learning through free-form debate.

Paul Reeves and Martyn Perks, Independent Voices, 8 October 2012
A dearth of real engineering ambition is holding back the sector. Big, ambitious projects are needed to put us back on track.

Mick Hume, Independent Voices, 4 October 2012
The real danger isn't state censorship but the consolidation of a sterile, conformist atmosphere in which it's accepted that it simply won't do to publish some stories

Dennis Hayes, Independent Voices, 4 October 2012
The knowledge and understanding of subjects has no moral purpose. It may lead to discontent.

Ashley Frawley, Independent Voices, 2 October 2012
Unlike past protest movements where ideologies came into conflict, today's uprisings are raw and reject traditional political structures

Jason Walsh, Independent Voices, 2 October 2012
Whichever the year, whoever the artists, the Turner Prize always brings us back to the same old, endlessly fascinating question: what makes great art?

Frank Furedi, Independent Voices, 1 October 2012
The recent Norwegian study ‘Equality in the Home’ found higher divorce rates among couples who shared housework than among those where most of the tasks were carried out by the woman. What surprises me is that so many commentators were surprised by this.

Dave Clements, Independent Voices, 30 September 2012
Too often government tries to "fix" communities whose problems can only truly be solved from within

Smart drugs: magic bullet or cheating ourselves?

"A truly original battle with a great deal at stake as opposed to a reassuring renactment of old arguments. I felt refreshed rather than entrenched afterwards."
Damian Barr, columnist, writer, playwright, salonierre

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