Rossiter Book – Edmund Burke by Jesse Norman
Thursday 23rd May at 7pm, Bishopswood House, Ross-on-Wye
Ticket £5 (£3 Redeemable against book)
Jesse Norman will discuss his new book, Edmund Burke: Philosopher, Politican and Prophet. In it he gives us Burke anew, vividly depicting his dazzling intellect, imagination and empathy, and his lasting ideologies. Burke’s wisdom applies well beyond the times of empire to the democratic politics of Britain and America today. The words ‘big society’ may have faded but the ideals of community, cooperation and society have not.
Statesman and founder of modern conservatism, Edmund Burke is the greatest yet most under-rated political thinker of the past three-hundred years. We cannot understand the defects of the modern world, or modern politics, without him.
Born in Ireland in 1729, and greatly affected by its bigotry and extremes, Burke’s career constituted a lifelong struggle against the abuse of power. Both conservative and subversive in his beliefs, he was at first a marginal figure but became a revered theorist – a hero of the Romantics – among the 18th century’s golden generation, including Adam Smith, Samuel Johnson and Edward Gibbon.
Burke warned his peers of the effects of British rule in Ireland, the loss of the American colonies, and most famously, of the disastrous consequences of the French Revolution. He predicted that it would trigger extremism, terror and the atomisation of society. This was a profound analysis that continues to resonate today.
South Herefordshire MP Jesse Norman welcomed TV retail guru Mary Portas to the Hay Festival last week–and invited her back to visit Ross-on-Wye as well! The self-styled “Mary Queen of Shops” came to the Festival to talk about her plans to revive high street shopping up and down the country, following her review of high street retailing for the government last year. Her event, which was sponsored by Jesse, was a sell-out with over 1,400 people attending. Afterwards she visited shops with Jesse on the high street in Hay-on-Wye, talking to local retailers, setting out her ideas and drawing a crowd of interested spectators. Jesse Norman MP has been a strong supporter of local shops in Herefordshire, even organising and launching a local guide to good shops in 2009. Most recently he enthusiastically backed the bid by Ross-on-Wye to be a Portas Pilot town. Commenting afterwards, he said: “It is great to have Mary Portas come to Hay, and her event was terrific. But I couldn’t resist inviting her to Ross-on-Wye! Especially given all the fantastic work which has been done by local people on the Portas Pilot bid.”