Friday 18 September 2009

Fabians on the LibDem fringe

We always try to engage constructively with Liberal Democrats here on Next Left - though they would cheer us up considerably were they to concede Stuart White's energetic campaign to overturn their plan to abolish the Child Trust Fund.

So I am looking forward to going to Bournemouth, where we have two events this weekend, both taking place in the Bournemouth Highcliff Marriott Hotel. We are working with our friends at CentreForum on both events, and as part of a broad coalition of think-tanks and charities to discuss poverty and inequality in the recession at all three conferences.

On Saturday night, 8pm - 9.15pm, we ask After the Crunch: how do we beat poverty?

The speakers are:

Kate Green, CEO, Child Poverty Action Group
Charlotte Pickles, Centre for Social Justice
Tim Horton, Fabian Society
Steve Webb MP
Chair: Paul Marshall, CentreForum

This fringe jointly held by CentreForum, Child Poverty Action Group, Centre for Social Justice and Fabian Society and the Webb Memorial Trust, and the same organisations are cooperating on follow up events on this theme on the fringe at both Labour and Conservative conferences.

On Sunday lunchtime, 1pm-2.30pm, CentreForum and the Fabians are holding a fringe themed 'how entrenched are Labour's social reforms'.

With Michael White in the chair, this is likely to also get onto broader issues of progressive rivalry or cooperation between the parties. The speakers include Julia Goldsworthy and Steve Webb, while myself and Jessica Asato from Progress will be flying the Labour flag.

There will also be a Fabian Society and CentreForum return fixture asking 'Is this the last chance for a progressive coalition?' on Monday lunchtime (28th September) at the Labour conference, with Vince Cable joining Charles Clarke, David Lammy and Steve Richards to discuss the prospects for progressive cooperation.

I wonder which audience is likely to prove more hostile to my red-yellow coalitionist instincts?

For those of you looking for even more debate in Bournemouth, more CentreForum LibDem fringe events can be found here.

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