2016 was a year of profound change, capsizing what we took for common sense and the political certainties of yesterday. Amid its many challenges – from Trump to Brexit – it also made clear how a different kind of politics could prevail. With the centre ground in decay and the establishment discredited, it’s clear that new lines are emerging. Within such changes a revitalised left – seeking power – is of utter necessity.
But despite that goal being widely agreed upon, it remains unclear how we can build and take power, and what role populism should play, if any. Widespread disenchantment with elites suggests populist politics cannot be ignored. But, for now, it remains the terrain of the far right.
In the wake of Jeremy Corbyn’s Christmas ‘rebrand’, this Novara IRL will debate the possibilities and pitfalls of a British left populism, asking whether it could be the missing ingredient in the Corbyn project, or a divisive, reactionary political practice best left to the right.
Bar: Till Late