FORMER politician David Owen will be opening next year’s Malvern Festival of Ideas.

Lord Owen, as he now is, was foreign secretary in the Labour government from 1977 to 1979, before leaving Labour as one of the founders of the new Social Democratic Party.

He has just published a new book, Hubris: The Road to Donald Trump, Power, Populism and Narcissism, and will be discussing it at the festival’s opening event on Friday, March 1.

The theme of this year’s festival is Crisis, and a panel of participants will be discussing this topic from different perspectives including health, social and political perspectives.

Organiser Andrew Webb said: “The speakers at the 2019 Malvern Festival of Ideas will address the topic of Crisis from their own standpoints, and the accompanying discussions and activities will allow participants to follow up their own interests within this overall theme.”

On the Saturday, speakers include Allyson Pollock on the NHS in crisis Dinesh Bhugra on the mental health crisis, and Ilan Pappé on Gaza in Crisis.

Kate Pickett will describe how more equal societies reduce stress, restore sanity and improve everybody’s wellbeing, and Danny Dorling and Sally Tomlinson will talk about how the legacy of the British Empire led to the Brexit attempt and what it tells us about ourselves.

The Saturday will also include an art and science programme, which will also include the Explorer Dome, and Maths Rocks with Tom Crawford and Mark Lewney.

Sunday’s speakers are AC Grayling, Neil Faulkner and Alastair McIntosh.

Mr Webb said: “There is no charge for entry to most events at Malvern Festival of Ideas, though there are considerable expenses. As in previous years, we will ask at each event for your donations towards those costs.”