Public debate things

22 02 2013

Went to two meetings of the Wiardi Beckman Stichting this week, the Dutch social-democratic think-tank. Last saturday they launched their new manifest ‘Of Value’ (Van Waarde), a reflection on social democracy for the 21st century. I will be contributing to the debate with a short commentary for their magazine Socialisme & Democratie, focusing particularly on the issue of solidarity between haves and have-nots, or – in the words of the WBS – the winners and the loosers of modernization; positioning myself, for dramatic effect as a winner who wonders what she has to gain from social democracy.

Second thing was a small scale lunch meeting with Ed Miliband, Douglas Alexander, Stewart Wood and Tim Livesy of the UK labour party, and a couple of Dutch economists to talk about ways out of austerity, and about Europe. Interesting division between the macro perspectives of reforming the banks and the economy, and the micro ones about people’s everyday struggles and solutions. The latter is more my things and tried to raise the gender politics of these issues by saying that small enterprise and solo trading have been taken up by women in particular. Good and inspiring meeting, but what a shock to see only two women among the 20 men that the WBS invited.

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