BlogNation: Libs and Labs talk dirty with each other

Anthony Barnett
Anthony Barnett
27 June 2010

I enjoyed the Liberal Conspiracy bloggers summit on Saturday and its useful and interesting contacts. Sunny called it blognation, and as he has just outed himself in the Guardian as "English not British" we know what nation that is - and all the better for it. (There was an intense break-out session on the London mayor, for example, but not one on the dramatic developments in Scotland.)

Jim Jepps has reported on the discussion of what to do about the cuts. What made it interesting was the combination of core Labour, Social Lib Dems and independent radicals [apologies, and Greens, see comments], all in the same space testing arguments in a spirit of collaboration without trying to agree a line. Its vital to create and grow this kind of space (and hard work).

There are three obvious options over the next few years if the budget doesn't work (see here for OK's coverage and here for Joe Steiglitz).

  • The boundary and constituency changes go through, the AV referendum is defeated, the Lib Dems are carved up, the Conservatives despite the budget successfully rebrand their image as caring and competent-in-hard-times, and win outright, if narrowly, as Labour retains its media image as incompetent, untrustworthy and threatening
  • Ditto, but the AV referendum is won and the Lib Dems retain their 60 odd seats, in which case Labour will need to govern in coalition with them.  (And the Lib Dems will want this too, a second coalition with the Tories will surely see them divided and absorbed.)
  • Ditto, but the economy does so badly that Labour wins outright and we start all over again.

It was fascinating to watch the first exchanges I've seen that were not of a ya-boo kind between Labour and Lib Dems, with this five year prospect in mind.

Can there be a green populist project on the Left?

Many on the Left want to return to a politics based on class, not populism. They point to Left populist parties not reaching their goals. But Chantal Mouffe argues that as the COVID-19 pandemic has put the need for protection from harm at the top of the agenda, a Left populist strategy is now more relevant than ever.

Is this an opportunity for a realignment around a green democratic transformation?

Join us for a free live discussion on Thursday 22 October, 5pm UK time/12pm EDT.

Hear from:

Paolo Gerbaudo Sociologist and political theorist, director of the Centre for Digital Culture at King’s College London and author of ‘The Mask and the Flag: Populism and Global Protest’ and ‘The Digital Party: Political Organisation and Online Democracy’, and of the forthcoming ‘The Great Recoil: Politics After Populism and Pandemic’.

Chantal Mouffe Emeritus Professor of Political Theory at the University of Westminster in London. Her most recent books are ‘Agonistics. Thinking the World Politically’, ‘Podemos. In the Name of the People’ and ‘For a Left Populism’.

Spyros A. Sofos Researcher and research coordinator at the Center for Middle Eastern Studies, Lund University and author of ‘Nation and Identity in Contemporary Europe’, ‘Tormented by History’ and ‘Islam in Europe: Public Spaces and Civic Networks'.

Chair: Walid el Houri Researcher, journalist and filmmaker based between Berlin and Beirut. He is partnerships editor at openDemocracy and lead editor of its North Africa, West Asia project.

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