Tech Weekly producer Scott Cawley and I have been very busy over the last few months developing the Tech Weekly Tech City Talks series, four evenings of debates on Mondays in October at Imperial College London between front benchers and the people at the coalface about the realities that lie behind the UK government’s Tech City initiative.

We’ve announced the first event – Who Will Build the Future Digital Economy? with Minister of State for Universities and Science David Willetts – on The Guardian’s Technology blog. It will be held at Imperial College on Monday 10 October at 6:30pm and is open to the public. Sign up to attend here.

Information about the others will come shortly (held on Monday 17th October, Monday 24th October (with Eric Pickles (Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government), and Monday 31 October (with Ed Vaizey, Minister for Culture, Communications and Creative Industries). You can expect some seriously excellent discussion about access and e-citizenship, entrepreneurship and innovation (and the importance of good coffee) and intellectual property and ownership in a post-scarcity age.

The thinking around the content of these debates was inspired by conversations Scott and I have had with the Tech Weekly team (Jemima Kiss and Charles Arthur), plus those I’ve had with the Cabinet Office and around the table at business breakfasts hosted by Number 10. As was argued in early planning meetings, if this initiative is to work, it’s not just about showcasing which digital bigwigs the UK can get to set up offices, but how the government can demonstrate that it’s engaging with the important underlying issues that are being discussed in coffee shops, pubs and board rooms in Silicon Roundabout and elsewhere around the country. Many thanks to Jonathan Luff for his help from the inside.

We’ve asked some of these questions of politicians previously on the podcast, most notably in the run up to the 2010 general election, when we spoke with candidates from the three leading parties to defend their technology manifestos. But now, it’s one year after David Cameron announced the Tech City initiative and 18 months since the Digital Economy Act was passed through Parliament. I look forward to dissecting where we are now, and to teasing out the realities behind the rhetoric.

More information here.