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Renewing the Left's ideology: what should be the principles and goals of the centre-Left today?

Ralph Miliband programme public lecture

Date: Monday 15 February 2010
Time: 6.30-8pm 
Hong Kong Theatre, Clement House
Speaker: James Purnell MP
Chair: Professor David Held

The credit crunch was followed by a consensus on the centre-Left that the world was entering a "progressive moment", and that the financial crisis represented a failure of the ideas  of the New Right.  Yet, in Europe at least, social democracy has struggled to articulate what the progressive response to the crisis, and has struggled electorally as a consequence. To resolve this paradox, the Left needs to recognise that the financial crisis challenges its received ideology too, and that if it wants to survive electorally, it will need to renew itself intellectually.  The lecture will argue that such a renewal can come from re-examining Labour's traditions, and from having the courage to be bolder about goals and methods.

James currently sits in the House of Commons and is director of the Open Left project at Demos. His interests include the economy, further education, welfare and capabilities. Previously, he was Secretary of State for Work and Pensions and Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport.

In government, James was also Minister of State for Pensions Reform, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and Parliamentary Private Secretary to Ruth Kelly MP in the Cabinet Office. He joined the Government as an Assistant Whip in December 2004.

Before entering Parliament in 2001 he was Head of Corporate Planning at the BBC (1995-1997) and worked as a special adviser on culture, media, sport and the knowledge economy for the then Prime Minister Tony Blair from 1997 to 2001.

He read Philosophy, Politics and Economics at Balliol College, University of Oxford.

This event is free and open to all with no ticket required. Entry is on a first come, first served basis. For more information, email events@lse.ac.uk or call 020 7955 6043.

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A transcript of James Purnell's speech is now available online. Download: We Mean Power, James Purnell (pdf)

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