In decline? The state of Social Democracy

Room K, City Hall
Time Slot: 
Tuesday 27th March 09:30 - 11:00
Panel Chair: 
  • Professor Mark Wickham-Jones (University of Bristol)
Panel Discussant: 
  • Dr Patrick Diamond (Queen Mary, University of London)
Panel Members: 
  • Dr Rob Manwaring (Flinders University)
  • Dr Paul Kennedy (University of Bath)

This panel discussion will focus on the current state of the family of social democratic and labour parties. Since the GFC, if not before, the centre-left has been in a state of electoral decline. In 2017, the main social democratic party lost out in many of the major elections to take place including, the UK, Germany, France, and Norway. The centre-left is generally out of office in many of the major advanced industrial countries, including the US, the Netherlands, Spain, and Australia. The trend, however, is not uniform, and there are notable exceptions, such as the new Labour Coalition government  in New Zealand. However, there are wider issues about what some perceive to be an existential crisis of the centre-left, especially, since the era of the 'third way' in the late 1990s. At times, the centre-left has been unable to offer a clear electoral message about what it stands for, and how it is responding to wider sociological and structural changes. This panel discussion will critically review the current state of the centre-left. 

As part of the debate, some of the issues arising from some of the recent literature will be discussed, including Manwaring and Kennedy's collected volume, 'Why the left loses' (2018, Policy Press), and Keman's 'Social Democracy' (2017, Routledge). This discussion will also inform wider debates about the future (and past) of social democracy.