Us vs Them: How the Left wins back ground lost to the populists
Marie Le Pen in France, Norbert Hofer in Austria, Frauke Petry in Germany and Nigel Farage in the United Kingdom are just the most prominent figures of contemporary European populism. Across Europe we have seen a rise of populist parties and an erosion of trust in mainstream political institutions. In several countries right-wing parties have gained the reins of government, and where they haven’t they are enjoying record popularity. In some southern European countries left-wing populist have had a resurgence. The inability to handle vast numbers of migrants and the lingering euro crisis are named as root of this trend. In the UK this has manifest itself as a vote to leave the European Union and turn its back on greater cooperation with its European neighbors.
The consequences of rising populism are significant, not least to centre-left and social democratic parties. These parties are facing somewhat of a crisis, challenged from both the left and the right, battling to remain relevant and articulate a credible alternative vision. Consensus around many of our defining values seems to be eroding, and at times they feel at odds with those of the public. The centre-right has co-opted much of the language of social mobility and equality, and in many ways we have vacated the space on issues of immigration, the EU and identity to populist parties.
Join the Fabian Society International Policy Group and Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung to explore:
- What are the drivers of rising populism and are they common across countries in Europe?
- What common features do right-wing and left-wing populist parties share and what can we learn from this?
- How do we understand these drivers and how can the centre-left and social democratic parties begin to address them?
- How can Labour forge greater alliances with sister parties to stem the growth in populism across Europe?
Our speakers include:
- Baroness Jan Royall (Chair)
- Hilary Benn MP – Chair, Exiting the EU Select Committee
- Ralf Melzer - Policy officer on right-wing radicalism at FES Berlin
- Matthew Goodwin - Professor of Politics and International Relations, University of Kent