Who gets to win power and how do they keep it – and lose it? Who is excluded from power? Does power always corrupt or are there examples of leaders who have maintained their integrity while in authority? How does the nature of power vary across different times and cultures? These are the questions that Mary Beard and Rory Stewart will addressed when they came to Intelligence Squared in November 2023.
Beard, Britain’s best known classicist, has won legions of fans through her enthusiasm for the ancient world and her exploration of our cultural assumptions about powerful women, as depicted in her bestseller 'Women & Power'. In her new book 'Emperor of Rome', she shines her spotlight on the men who ruled the Roman Empire. Rather than running through the usual chronology – the assassinated Julius Caesar, the monster Nero, the philosopher Marcus Aurelius – she asks bigger questions: What power did the emperors actually have? Were they all control freaks and bloodthirsty tyrants? What was life like for those living under their rule?
Stewart has seen the workings of power up close – and he has yielded it. Over the course of a decade from 2010, he went from being a backbench MP, though several ministerial positions, to standing for prime minister – before being sacked from a Conservative Party that he had come to barely recognise. In his new memoir 'Politics on the Edge' he reveals how he bore witness to cronyism and incompetence, which he believes laid the foundations for our current political and economic chaos. Now, well away from the political arena, he regularly shares his insights into current affairs as co-host of the UK’s leading political podcast The Rest Is Politics.
Presented in partnership with Penguin