The nanny internet of Sacha Baron Cohen

At least some backlash against the internet has been down to one of the basest human instincts: self-interest. Incumbent journalists, politicians, and other public figures are disgruntled that cheaper communication has opened new channels, undermining their role as gatekeepers of public opinion.

The right sort of people have not shied away from slating what the US presidential candidate Hillary Clinton termed “deplorables”, nor their enablers among Silicon Valley executives who have made billions off the internet economy in the last few decades.

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Podcast Ep. 147: General Election – The Apathy Strikes Back

This week we discuss anything but the general election. Starting with an update on the state of democracy in Hong Kong, we take a look at the Daily Mail group’s purchase of the i, and finish with a discussion of Hungary’s exodus from Eurovision.

Joining us is Jimmy sounding like he’s very far away from the mic.

Corbyn’s Epshtine problem

It has been said that both atheists and theists can look into the universe and be reassured about their beliefs. Even in our small corner there is an endless array of beauty, elegance and complexity, as well as ugliness, disorder and decay. You can see divine order or directionless chaos.

Now is not the time to re-litigate The God Delusion, but I was reminded of our well-developed confirmation bias by the tussle over Jeremy Corbyn’s pronunciation of Epstein, which he said as “Epshtine” during the general election debate on ITV this week.

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Podcast Ep. 146: General Election – A New Despair

This week we discuss the snappy general election, covering the cadre of blowhards trying to be prime minister, the jostling of the remain and leave alliances, and our predictions on who will win this most welcome of contests.

Joining us are our increasingly shaky gut feelings.

Britain’s descent into futile debate

It is a dread of conference-goers everywhere to see an audience member grasp the microphone during the interactive section, only to announce their contribution “is more a comment than a question” before rambling at a tangent for five painful minutes.

The Battle of Ideas, a political ideas conference held in the Barbican arts centre in central London at the start of November, is rare in tolerating such behaviour, which would be swatted away by stricter organisers. But in allowing for this the event crudely tracks the descent of British public discourse, where the quantity of debate is imperilling the quality.

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