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Southern Discomfort Again?

  • Date(s)
    11 October 2010 to 11 October 2010
  • Time
    15.30- 17.30
  • Location
Southern Discomfort Again?

This public lecture presented the findings of the pamphlet, specifically the pressing question of how the Labour Party once again overcomes its recurring “Southern problem”. In 1992, Giles Radice argued in his original pamphlet, Southern Discomfort, that “Labour cannot win without doing better in the South.” At the time there was a profound and palpable sense of urgency about the way in which Labour had lost the general election despite leading opinion polls for several months in advance of Election Day. In 2010, the sense of urgency vis-à-vis Labour’s “Southern problem” is rising but there is still little consensus about how the party’s regains support in this crucial electoral region and political constituency.

Southern Discomfort Again is part of a new and ambitious programme of work Policy Network has initiated on the future of social democracy. The central conceit of this reflective process, organised in partnership with a number of senior European thinktanks, is that social democrats will not overcome their current malaise by wallowing in the politics of despair and nostalgia, or by further dissecting the paradoxes of the global financial crisis. European social democracy used to be a hotbed of ideas and reason; today it is rudderless, disorientated and lacking a credible vision of how to respond to the deep forces of change which are swirling across the world. In short, both as an ideology and as a movement social democracy is in crisis.

The event is co-organised in association with The Fabian Society.

Speakers and respondents:

Giles Radice is a Labour peer, author of the original Southern Discomfort pamphlet in 1992, and of the recent New Labour biography Trio (published by IB Tauris, 2010). He is a former chair of Policy Network.

Patrick Diamond is Senior Research Fellow at Policy Network, and at Nuffield College, Oxford . He is formally head of policy planning in 10 Downing Street.

Liam Byrne, Labour's Shadow Chief Secretary and MP for Birmingham Hodge Hill

Deborah Mattinson, political pollster and author of Talking to a Brick Wall

Peter Kellner, president of YouGov

Rene Cuperus, senior adviser to the Dutch Labour Party

Bob Blizzard, former Labour MP for Waveney

Bill Rammell, former Labour MP for Harlow

Sunder Katwala, general secretary of the Fabian Society

The event is supported by The Fabian Society

Press contact: Simon Latham, slatham@policy-network.net, 07725910439

The pamphlet Southern Discomfort Again was published by Policy Network on 11th October.The polling referred to in this article was carried out by You Gov on 26-27th August 2010, specially comissioned by Policy Network.



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