The politics of new inequalities: What are social democrats for?

Join us at this year’s Labour Party conference for a high-level discussion about the future of social democracy in Britain and Europe

Event Details
1:45 pm - 3:00 pm

Labour Party Conference 2019, Brighton
The Royal Albion Seafront Hotel
35 Old Steine

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Social democrats today face unprecedented challenges as extremist forces continue to hold the balance of power in many parts of the globe. Whilst right-wing radicals seek to offer a voice of protest to the discontented, it is becoming increasingly apparent it is failing to go beyond reflecting anger to address the difficult issues democratic societies face. In this age of new inequalities, we find ourselves in political paralysis, with many problems but little leadership.

In Britain, Europe, and across the western world, politics must find ways to navigate these new inequalities: of wealth, power and between generations; of geography and regional economies; of the labour market; and of education and social mobility. With the existential threat of climate change looming over all that we do, serious answers are sought to serious questions.

As electorates lurch to parties at the extremes of both the right and the left, how does the centre renew its purpose and win people’s trust? Does a rapidly-changing world render the social democratic mission, underpinned by redistribution and Keynesian interventionism, irrelevant? What new policy approaches may be required, and are new electoral avenues in need of consideration? What does it even mean to be a social democrat today? Or do the new, emerging fault lines of modern politics consign social democracy as being an outdated, 20th century philosophy in terminal decline?

Not without a fight, the centre-left is defiantly reassembling. Join us at this year’s Labour Party Conference in Brighton for this serious intellectual conversation from a social democratic perspective. In combining robust academic thought with political realities — true to the tradition’s long history — social democrats can begin once again to build narratives of hope and provide answers to heal divisions.


David Coats, former head of economic and social affairs, TUC, and author, Fragments In The Ruins: The Renewal of Social Democracy

Ania Skrzypek, director for research and training, FEPS

Roger Liddle, Labour member of the House of Lords

Marije Laffeber, deputy secretary general, PES

Tim Bale, professor of politics, Queen Mary University London and author, Footsoldiers: Political Party Membership in the 21st Century

This event is free and open to all — you do not need a conference pass to attend.

Food and drink refreshments will be provided.

This event is held in partnership with the Foundation for European Progressive Studies (FEPS) and supported by Progress.