One of the highlights of the evening was the keynote address by Booker Prize-winner Howard Jacobson, who delivered a rousing (and very entertaining) defence of free speech and scepticism. Stressing the need to criticise and hold nothing sacred, he continued:
"For our part — we who possess that power – we must not exempt ourselves from the universality of our scorn. If nothing’s sacred, then we aren’t sacred either. Nor, by the same logic, is any principle. “Objection, evasion, cheerful mistrust, delight in mockery,” Nietzsche said, “are signs of health.” “Everything unconditional,’ he went on, “belongs to pathology.” So we are trapped in a contradiction of our profession’s making. Mockery — sacred; unconditional attachment to mockery — pathological."That's merely a sample – read the full speech over at Index.