This week marks the 100th anniversary of one of the most influential lectures ever given on politics: Max Weber's 'Politics as a Vocation', first delivered in Munich on 28 January 1919. David and Helen talk with Jonathan Powell, Tony Blair's former chief of staff, about some of its lessons for the age of Brexit. Where have all the good leaders gone? Is the party system to blame? Are we suffering from an excess of conviction or a lack of conviction? And who will be responsible if we see a return to violence? Recorded before a live audience at Trinity Hall, Cambridge.
The British two-party system, which Weber admired, was intended to organize political divisions; however the plebiscitary politics of the Brexit referendum introduced another set of divisions.
Is the current failure of leadership about the leaders we have chosen or the dilemmas they face?
When Weber wrote his lecture, the stakes of politics were remarkably high—there was a real risk of civil war.
Mentioned in this episode:
And as ever, recommended reading curated by our friends at the LRB can be found here: lrb.co.uk/talking