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Beating populism in populist times: The power of cities and institutional renewal

  • Date(s)
    6 February 2014
  • Time
    13.00 - 17.00
  • Location
Beating populism in populist times: The power of cities and institutional renewal

Policy Network and the Barrow Cadbury Trust will host an afternoon seminar on beating populism in populist times.

The event will mark the launch of a new two year project entitled "Understanding the Populist Signal', which will explore how and why populism can be seen as both a threat and a corrective to liberal democracy and the health of political parties and public institutions.

The seminar will seek to move beyond analysis of the populist phenomenon (i.e EU elections, Le Pen, Wilders and Farage et al)  to set out some ideas on how mainstream political parties need to respond to the signal populism sends about the failure and ‘elite capture' of representational politics.

Session 1: Understanding the Populist Signal

David Marquand, author of The End of the West: The Once and Future Europe and former Labour MP and an official at the European Commission

Ernst Hillebrand, head of the department for International Policy Analysis, Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, Berlin

Alison McGovern, Labour MP for Wirral South

Tim Bale, professor of politics, Queen Mary University of London

Chair: Roger Liddle, chair of Policy Network and UK Labour’s front bench spokesperson on Europe, as well as Business, Innovation and Skills in the House of Lords

Session 2: The Power of Cities and Community-Building in the Fight against Populism

A new politics of institutional renewal and invention
Matthew Taylor, Chief Executive, RSA

The role of cities and regions in alleviating the drivers of populism
Alexandra Jones, Chief Executive, Centre for Cities

Amsterdam Case Study: Local government as an antidote to populism
Martien Kuitenbrouwer, President of the board of Amsterdam West District Council
Labour's localism agenda - and the crisis of representational politics
Jessica Studdert, political adviser to the Local Government Association (LGA) Labour Group and author of One Nation Localism: How Labour councils are delivering fairness in tough times

Chair: Matthew Goodwin, associate professor of politics, University of Nottingham and author of Revolt on the Right: Explaining Support for the Radical Right in Britain (forthcoming Spring 2014, Routledge).

Questions for debate

•    What signal does the rise of populism send to mainstream political parties and public institutions? How to beat populists, win elections and govern in a populist climate?
•    What does a re-energised progressive programme look like that repoliticises mainstream politics and economics?
•    Do we need more decentralisation? Should progressives champion devolution to councils, cities and regions as a means of repairing the democratic disconnect between politicians and citizens?
•    What kinds of revived and new institutions do we need to boost social capital given the diminishing commitment to traditional civic institutions such as political parties and organised labour?

A video of this event can be viewed here.

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