Category Archives: Westminster Skeptics

Is it the end of the NHS as we know it? (Westminster Skeptics)

Recorded at Westminster Skeptics on 23rd January 2012, Colin Leys spoke about the proposed NHS reforms.

The government maintains that the Health and Social Care Bill doesn’t mean the privatisation of the NHS. Is this true? What are the main changes implied by the Bill, and what do they imply for patients and taxpayers? What are the reasons for the changes, and do they add up to a persuasive case?

Colin Leys is an emeritus professor of political studies at Queen’s University, Canada, and an honorary professor at Goldsmiths University of London. His most recent books include Market-Driven Politics: Neoliberal Democracy and the Public Interest (2001) and (with Stewart Player) The Plot Against the NHS (2011).

Westminster Skeptics – Juliet Jacques thinking critically about transgender issues

The emergence of gender variant people, practices and identities following the publication of Magnus Hirschfeld’s Transvestites (1909) and the inter-war invention of sex reassignment technologies posed considerable challenges to conservative, socialist, feminist and gay/lesbian politics: if ‘male’ and ‘female’ were no longer true, then what was?

Consequently, transgender people became an object of fascination, and plenty was written about them – by the mainstream media, feminists and the medical establishment whose management of transsexualism has proved especially controversial – with transgender people themselves frequently excluded from the conversation, with their identities erased or discounted, or having their experiences framed by people or outlets with no lived experience of being transgender.

Juliet Jacques author of the Guardian’s Transgender Journey series which documents the gender reassignment process from a first-person perspective, critically examines some of the ideas and myths that grew around transgender people, and the gulf between mainstream political and media discussions of transgender issues and the autonomous transgender theory and identities that developed in response.

Westminster Skeptics – Mark Henderson on ‘The Geek Manifesto’

Recorded on February 7th, Times Science Editor Mark Henderson and Westminster Skeptics President Evan Harris talk about Mark’s forthcoming book ‘The Geek Manifesto’, for which he was soliciting ideas.

Sorry the sound is a bit ropey – the recording wasn’t very good, so I’ve had to wrangle it into something audible, even if it is difficult at times.

You can hear a more succinct interview with Mark on the book on Episode 71 of the Pod Delusion.