If today there is, as Brendan O’Neill describes, a ‘moral vacuum’ do we really have such things as ‘moral panics’, or are there just panics and much moralising by an elite who hold the public in contempt? From the contents of kids’ lunchboxes to abortion, this debate remains as pertinent as ever, since hiding behind the science seems to be the order of the day. A glimpse of this debate should be reason enough to attend the Battle of Ideas festival this year taking place at the Barbican. The speakers are: David Aaronovitch columnist, The Times; Brendan O’Neill editor, Spiked; Jenni Russell columnist and broadcaster; writer, Evening Standard, Sunday Times and Guardian. The chair is Claire Fox Director of The Institute of Ideas.