BIF Book Series 2024: Navigating the UK’s political landscape

From devolution debates to foreign policy and the quest for a greener future, BIF’s 2024 Book Festival features a number of prominent voices from across the political spectrum, with compelling narratives and bold visions.

Here’s a round-up of talks that will captivate anyone interested in the current and future state of British politics:

Andy Burnham and Steve Rotheram: HEAD NORTH – A Rallying Cry for a More Equal Britain

In HEAD NORTH, Andy Burnham and Steve Rotheram, the Mayors of Greater Manchester and the Liverpool City Region, present a compelling case for decentralising power from Westminster. Highlighting Britain’s growing inequality, they share their personal and political journeys – from the Hillsborough disaster’s impact on their careers to their experiences as MPs and Northern leaders. Their narrative is not just a critique but a blueprint for a more equitable Britain. This discussion is particularly relevant as debates on devolution and the North-South divide take centre stage. Click HERE to find out more/book online.

Rowan Moore: Property: The myth that built the world

Property promises wealth and freedom but also acts as a tool for displacement and exploitation. In Britain, it creates a new class divide between owners and non-owners. Rowan Moore, The Observer’s architecture critic, explores property ownership’s evolution from 16-century enclosures to modern times, including developer-led Gurgaon, cooperative living in the Bronx and the impacts of Margaret Thatcher’s ‘property-owning’ democracy. He questions how homes became investments and suggests reforms to return property’s social value to society.  Click HERE to find out more/book online.

Caroline Lucas: Another England: How to Reclaim Our National Story

Caroline Lucas, the UK’s sole Green Party MP, offers a transformative vision of English identity in Another England. Against a backdrop of increasing national division, Lucas delves into the English people’s historical commitment to inclusivity, environmental stewardship, and social justice. She proposes an alternative Englishness that embraces these values, advocating for a future that is both greener and fairer. As environmental issues become critical talking points in the election, Lucas’s perspective provides a hopeful and unifying narrative. Click HERE to find out more/book online.

Simon McDonald: Beyond Britannia: Reshaping UK Foreign Policy

Lord Simon McDonald, with his extensive diplomatic experience, challenges the UK’s current foreign policy direction in Beyond Britannia. He argues for a strategic pivot from military might to soft-power diplomacy, emphasising the need to acknowledge the realities of Brexit and recalibrate the UK’s international ambitions. McDonald’s insights into harnessing the UK’s cultural and diplomatic strengths offer a pragmatic approach to maintaining global influence, making his talk essential for understanding the future of British foreign relations in a post-Brexit world. Click HERE to find out more/book online.

John Crace: Depraved New World: Please Hold, The Government Will Be With You Shortly

Another month, another prime minister – how many have we been through now? Despite Westminster’s chaos, John Crace’s political sketches have provided relief. Covering Partygate, Johnson’s farewell, Truss’s disastrous reign, Tory leadership drama, Sunak’s return, and his inept colleagues, Depraved New World hilariously captures British politics at its most absurd.

Rescheduling announcement: Due to the State Opening of Parliament, John Crace, The Guardian’s Political Sketch Writer, needs to be in London rather than Buxton on 17 July and his talk will now take place on 13 July at 10am.  The venue has also changed to Buxton Opera House, which means additional tickets are NOW available (this event was previously sold out). Click HERE to find out more/book online.

For the full BIF 2024 programme, go to