Pictured Top: Tony Benn
Pictured Bottom: Lord Alderdice
Published: 7 June, 2012
LORD Alderdice, the Northern Irish politician who helped bring the Troubles to an end, is one of the speakers at this year’s Primrose Hill lecture series.
Organised by a committee at St Mary’s Church and now in its 10th year, the lectures bring some leading thinkers to the Elsworthy Road institute to discuss topics close to their hearts.
Lord Alderdice, a doctor who studied psychiatry in Belfast, has long had an interest in solving violent conflict.
He was central to the signing of the Good Friday Agreement, and represented the non-sectarian Alliance Party in Northern Ireland.
He is a Lib-Dem peer and is often sought for advice on conflict resolution around the world.
He said: “Until people in any conflict turn away from violence, they are unlikely to accept that the prize of peace is worth paying for the price of peace.
“Peace is about dealing with your enemy not about choosing your friends.”
He will be discussing issues around reconciliation, focusing on the obstacles that stop groups from finding common ground.
The series this year features some true heavyweights: Tony Benn will be in conversation with Joan Bakewell, discussing faith – a topic perhaps not normally associated with the elder statesman of the school of left-wing firebrands.
He says one of the roots of his radical politics – after quitting the Commons in 2001 to “spend more time on politics” he has been a regular and ferocious critic of government past and present – is his religious background.
His mother was a Bible scholar and he says she had a lasting influence on him.
“I was brought up on the Bible, that the story of the Bible was conflict between the kings who had power, and the prophets who preached righteousness,” he says.
“And I was taught to believe in the prophets, which got me into a lot of trouble.”
Other lectures include the art critic and historian Brian Sewell talking about “a life in art”; theatre writer Michael Frayn discus sing his latest novel Skios, and Professor Marina Warner, an English literature academic, speaking on the title “myth-making”.
• The Primrose Hill Lectures are on June 12, 19, 26 and July 3 and 17 at St Mary the Virgin Church, Elsworthy Road, NW3 3DJ. Full lecture series ticket £55 (£45 concessions); single lecture £12 (£10 concessions).
Book online at www.stmarysprimrosehill.com/news/primrose-hill-lectures-2012 or call 020 7722 3238