The Liberal Democrats will find they have many new friends at their party conference this year. The Fabian Society are also interested outsiders, but don't fall into that category, as we have been holding fringe events with our friends at CentreForum for several years - often exploring the potential and barriers to political cooperation across the centre-left.
In a changed political context, we will be doing the same again this year. More on our LibDem fringe events.
On Saturday, we have a fringe debate Inside Out: should there be fewer people in prison?, with the Prison Reform Trust, CentreForum, Policy Exchange and the Criminal Justice Alliance. We are holding events on this theme at all three conferences this year. The panel are Lord McNally (Minister of State for Justice), Ben Page (Ipsos MORI), Juliet Lyons (Prison Reform Trust), Dr Mary Harris (Director of Young Offender Programme led by National Grid) and chaired by Duncan Greenland (CentreForum). The event is in Room 11A, AAC Hall, Liverpool (in the conference secure zone).
Our other public fringes are in Jury's Inn, and are not inside the security cordon.
On Saturday night at 8pm, the question is The Poverty Challenge: can the coalition meet the fairness test?. Sarah Teather will speak, while differing perspectives will be offered by Tim Horton (Fabian Society) Phillip Blond (ResPublica) and Imran Hussian (CPAG). The debate is being held with CentreForum, the Child Poverty Action Group and ResPublica. [Jury's Inn, Suite 1]
(The Fabian Society's new research paper What's Fair? on educational inequality can be read online; and our TUC study of who benefits from public spending also addresses one of the key themes of this fringe).
On Sunday at 1pm, I will be taking part in a Fabian/CentreForum debate on Lab-Lib dialogue - "Is the Labour-LibDem Coalition gone forever?" with LibDems Norman Lamb MP and Richard Grayson, and Labour's David Lammy, again in Jury's Inn, Suite 3/4/5.
On Monday, the Fabian Society and Groundwork are holding a roundtable on kickstarting a green jobs agenda: attendance at the seminar is by invitation.
CentreForum have a broader fringe programme at the LibDem conference.
The Fabian Society are also involved in fringes on the case and campaign for AV, and on Lab-Lib dialogue, as part of our programme at the Labour fringe in Manchester.