Across Europe all political parties are dealing with the rise of far-right and Eurosceptic parties. It is also increasingly difficult to get foreign affairs issues on the agenda of mainstream political parties, unless it is in the form of a battle cry against the European Union or any form of immigration.
On Monday 7th, the Young Fabians hosted and Internationalism Ideas Series event to discuss some of these issues. We heard from the experiences of Pierre Kanuty from the French Parti Socialiste, Samuli Sinisalo from the Finnish SDP and Mattia Guidi from the LUISS Guido Carli School of Political Science in Rome. All speakers elaborated on the difficulty of getting foreign affairs issues on the agenda citing the complexity of many of the issues, the perception of their irrelevance to everyday life and particularly the EU’s ability to elicit negative association and emotion.
Despite the differences in the composition of far-right and Eurosceptic parties across Europe, a number of commonality were striking. Constituency of voters, shifting patterns of voting behaviour, disproportionate amounts of media
coverage, a charismatic leader who is less extreme than much of the party and the use of EU election as a protest vote have all been contributory factors to the rise of UKIP-style parties, particularly in France and Finland.
The panellists also spoke about tactics that have been helping to tackle the rise of these parties – focussing on the politicians and the consequences of their voting records rather than attacking the voters; not compromising and playing games to court voters but focussing on your own positive message; and presenting a vision of change but also of stability.
There was a lot of positive feeling about the ability of centre-left parties to win the argument about what type of society we want to build for the future and our common values of human rights, but a recognition that more work needs to be done to analyse the shape of the emerging right. In the end, this will require us to find a way to serve the constituency of people who are drawn away from mainstream parties by understanding and addressing their needs as socialists in the wake of the crisis.
The Fabian Society is looking for two new researchers to join them.
Researcher/Senior Researcher (£22,000 – £32,000 (plus 7% pension contribution)
The Fabian Society is seeking to recruit a Researcher or Senior Researcher to drive forward our wide-ranging and influential programme of policy research. We are seeking someone who is highly entrepreneurial, with the ability to form influential relationships, secure funding for projects and achieve impact for their research. We expect excellent skills in desk-based policy research and report writing, an understanding of social research methods and expert knowledge in at least one field of social, economic or environmental policy.
Research Fellow – Tax Reform (£15,864 per year, paid monthly (ie ESRC London maintenance grant))
The Barry Amiel and Norman Melburn Trust, in partnership with the Fabian Society, is recruiting for a one year Tax Reform Research Fellow.
The Fellow will work on research and publication projects promoting radical tax reform in the United Kingdom. This is a unique opportunity for the development of a researcher with the potential to become a radical but credible voice on tax reform issues.
The deadline for applications is 14th July. For more information please visit the Fabian Society website.
At this year’s Fabian Society Summer Conference, members young and old were asked the question: Why did you become a Fabian?
Limited edition Young Fabian wristbands are available at Fabian and Young Fabian Society events. These wrist bands have been endorsed by Labour heavy weights such as Andy Burnham and Ed Balls, so be sure to pick one up. The wrist bands cost £2 and the money goes towards supporting the research and work of the Young Fabians. Thank you, and never forget to, "Educate, Agitate, Organise"
On 28 June, Chair of the Young Fabians James Hallwood moderated a panel debate entitled "Labour's pledgecard offer for young people" at the Fabian Society Summer Conference. The panellists were Bex Bailey, Young Labour's representative on the Labour National Executive Committee, Uma Kumaran, prospective parliamentary candidate for Harrow East, and Rushanara Ali MP, Shadow Minister for Education.
The lively discussion covered a range of issues Labour must address in order to win the trust and votes of young people, including vocational education, graduate jobs, lowering the voting age, and improving schools.
On 23 June, the Young Fabian China Programme continued with a panel discussion in parliament on the implications of the growing economic impact of China.
Jonathan Fenby, former Editor of The Observer and the South China Morning Post opened the event by placing recent developments placed into a historical context. Lise Bertelson, Executive Director of the China-Britain Business Council gave an account of the business perspective, whilst Tim Page, Senior Policy Advisor at the TUC spoke about their recent report The Way of the Dragon. The event was chaired by the Young Fabians International Officer Joel Mullan.
The discussion and subsequent Q+A covered a wide range of issues, including the significance of the recent visit by the Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, the visibility of British business within China, sources of potential growth in trade, and the implications of increasing Chinese assertiveness.
This event is part of a wider programme on the UK-China relationship.
Today aired the first a new series on Radio 4 to discuss and debate institutions that affect British life. In this episode focused on Trade Unions, Stephanie Akomeah our Under 20's officer was invited to join the discussions on trade union's appeal to young people in the 21st century.
On Tuesday, May 6 the Health Network led a panel discussion in Parliament to find an answer to the question ‘how can Labour reform the NHS without another top-down reform?’
Debbie Abrahams MP, Parliamentary Private Secretary to Shadow Health Secretary Andy Burnham MP, spoke for Labour, whilst NHS campaigner Jos Bell spoke on behalf of the London Socialist Health Association. The event was chaired by the Health Network Chair, Amrita Rose.
Are you involved in Local Government? The Young Fabians are building a new community to bring together young individuals active and working in Local Government - whether they are officers, councillors, candidates or involved other ways.
We are very interested in all our members who are in Local Government becoming part of this network and would like to invite you to express your interest by filling out the form here.
Our networks provide platforms and social opportunities for Fabian members from specific industry and professional sectors.
Our Local Government Network is led by Hetty Wood, our Local Government and Regional Officer.
On Wednesday we hosted the launch of the YF's Ideas Series project on Internationalism with Lord Jack McConnell. We covered a wide range of issues from what internationalism actually means in the 21st century to specific issues like Britain in Europe, UN Reform and how to make the case for aid an development.
But above all we agreed that the debate must go on...
Now we want to hear from you. We've put together a handy guide to running an event in your area. We want as many members as possible to get involved as possible. If you would like more information or advice, please contact Jessica Toale.
Please don't forget to join our Facebook group for updates, event write-ups and ongoing discussion.
For more information, check out the programme portal.