John Prescott and Menzies Campbell among highlights of Festival of Politics 2010

This article is from 2010.

Tommy Sheppard

Tommy Sheppard

Edinburgh Festival tackles big ideas

The Politics of Comedy
Will the ConDemNation we all live in now spark a new political comedy or has all that stuff been left behind in the 80s? Is it all just about the money and not trying to frighten the horses? How do the likes of Jimmy Carr and Frankie Boyle fit into this new niceness? A panel including Simon Fanshawe and The Stand boss Tommy Sheppard (above) debate the odds.
17 Aug, 1pm, £6 (£3.50).

The Science of Eating: Or Who Controls What You Eat?
We are in the grip of an epidemic of over-eating. But what is the root cause: greed, the availability of food, or societal pressures? Or are there more subtle physiological mechanisms at work? And why is it that some people are ‘naturally’ slim, whereas others struggle to control their weight?
17 Aug, 4pm, free.

Scotland’s Political Football
As yet another World Cup fades into the memory-bank with Scotland getting nowhere near the business end of proceedings, fans, politicians and sports media examine what needs to be done to improve the fortunes of our national team?
17 Aug, 6pm, tickets available through the Real Radio Football Phone-in.

Solutions to the Crisis in News Media and Representative Democracy
The demise of traditional news media coupled with the lack of trust in representative democracy present major challenges to politics and to citizen engagement. This session will explore what can be done to yield a more pluralistic news media in the interest of enriching democracy and strengthening civil society.
18 Aug, 1.30pm, free.

Is Peace Worth Fighting For?
Malcolm Rifkind QC is among those debating how politicians balance up the national interest, the security of citizens, and their own principles before coming to momentous decisions about armed conflict.
18 Aug, 4pm, £6 (£3.50).

Zero-Carbon Scotland of the Future
Scotland has some of the world's toughest climate targets but if we do reduce our carbon emissions to almost zero, where will our energy come from and what will our homes look like?
19 Aug, 1.30pm, free.

Hepatitis C: Future Impact on Scottish Society
An estimated 50,000 people in Scotland have been infected by the Hepatitis C virus but only half have been diagnosed. The virus can be successfully treated but public and professional awareness remains low, delaying diagnosis and treatment. What then are the implications for Scottish society?
19 Aug, 4pm, free.

The Politics of Devolution
How has devolution changed life in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales? What are the big issues for the future of politics. Among those debating their experience of devolution is Michael Russell MSP while the Beeb's Brian Taylor chairs the show.
19 Aug, 4pm, free.

Where Do Young People Get Their Political News?
With newspaper sales declining and readership growing ever older, where do young people obtain information about politics? Have blogs and social networks become the political forums of choice for the under 25s?
20 Aug, 11am, free

Hear Me!
This event provides young people from across Scotland with an opportunity to get on a soapbox and propose a ‘two-minute manifesto’ identifying what would most change their lives for the better.
20 Aug, 1.30pm, free.

‘It’s Nae Fair’: But Who is Responsible for Our Understanding of the Law?
How many of us really understand the law and how it affects us? If we don’t know what the law is, can there be any chance of making it fairer?
20 Aug, 4pm, free.

Mediating Conflict
Third-party countries can often play an important role in bringing those involved in conflict to the negotiating table, and facilitating peace agreements. Join Des Browne, ex-Defence Secretary, and Sir Menzies Campbell MP, former Lib Dem leader, as they discuss the vital need for conflict mediation.
21 Aug, 3pm, £6 (£3.50).

Equal and Child-Centred: Is Britain Ready for a Nordic Revolution?
UK political parties are increasingly nicking the best ideas from our Nordic cousins, but is Britain really a nation that can adapt to their methods? Lesley Riddoch (above) chairs proceedings.
18 Aug, 11am, free.

Women at the Top: Where Next for Women in Politics?
After the recent general election campaign in which female politicians had such a low profile, this discussion analyses the future for women in politics across the UK.
21 Aug, 4pm, free.

A Life in Politics: John Prescott
John Prescott was Britain’s longest serving Deputy PM and someone who fought hard on climate change. But you lot will still think of him as the guy who punched a voter. Presiding Officer Alex Fergusson MSP chats to Prezza about his colourful career.
21 Aug, 5pm, £6 (£3.50).

All events at Scottish Parliament, Holyrood Road, 0131 473 2000

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