Trouble at the Top: is Britain's leadership still fit for purpose?

Hosted by the Department of Sociology

Sheikh Zayed Theatre, New Academic Building


Professor Aeron Davis

Professor Aeron Davis

Polly Toynbee

Polly Toynbee

Joe Earle

Joe Earle


Professor Bev Skeggs

Professor Bev Skeggs

Join Aeron Davis, Polly Toynbee, Joe Earle and Bev Skeggs for a discussion on Britain’s dysfunctional leadership.

Aeron Davis will cast the evening off by arguing that the Brexit vote and 2017 election result are more than temporary setbacks for the Establishment. Instead, there is a deeper crisis of leadership that has been developing over decades. The great transformations of the 1980s onwards have not only upended societies, they have reshaped elite rule itself. The UK is producing a new generation of leaders who, although richer, have lost coherence, vision, influence and power. Their failings are not only damaging the wider public, economy and society, they are undermining the very foundations of the Establishment itself.

Joining Aeron to offer their take on Britain’s top tier will be Polly Toynbee, the Guardian’s award-winning political affairs columnist, and Joe Earle, author and campaigner for economic reform. The event will be chaired by the LSE’s Bev Skeggs.

The event will also launch Aeron Davis’s new book Reckless Opportunists: Elites at the End of the Establishment. The book, based on 350 interviews with elite figures across business, politics and finance, asks: how did we end up producing the leaders that got us here and what can we do about it?

Aeron Davis is Professor of Political Communication at Goldsmiths College.

Joe Earle is an economics campaigner and writer.

Polly Toynbee (@pollytoynbee) is a Guardian columnist and author of several books including Dismembered: How the Attack on the State Harms Us All.

Bev Skeggs (@bevskeggs) is Academic Director of the Atlantic Fellows programme in the International Inequalities Institute at LSE.

The Department of Sociology at LSE (@LSEsociology) was established in 1904 and remains committed to top quality teaching and leading research and scholarship today.

Twitter Hashtag for this event: #LSEestablishment


A podcast of this event is available to download from Trouble at the Top: is Britain's leadership still fit for purpose?

Podcasts and videos of many LSE events can be found at the LSE Public Lectures and Events: podcasts and videos channel.


A copy of the PowerPoint slides used at this event is available to download from Trouble at the Top: is Britain's leadership still fit for purpose? (PDF)

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