New Statesman events at Labour conference 2013

What to look out for in Brighton, including events with Chuka Umunna, Rachel Reeves, Andy Burnham, Sadiq Khan, Diane Abbott and Lord Adonis.

All events are free to attend and open to the public.

Sunday 22 September

Chuka Umunna MP in conversation with New Statesman

Chuka Umunna MP, Shadow Business Secretary

12:30-1:30pm, Tennyson room, Thistle Hotel

Diane Abbott MP in conversation with New Statesman

Diane Abbott MP, Shadow Public Health Minister

2-3pm, Wordsworth room, Thistle Hotel

Why invest in UK life sciences?

Shabanna Mahmood MP, Shadow Science and Higher Education Minister

5:30-6pm, Tennyson room, Thistle Hotel

Smart Grids: Is this the way of selling low carbon policies to sceptics?

Tom Greatex MP, Shadow Energy and Climate Change Minister

5:30-6:30pm, Wordsworth room, Thistle Hotel

Home Front: The battle for a sustainable housing market

(invite only)

Jack Dromey MP, Shadow Housing Minister

8-9:30pm, Hall 7 Room D, The Hilton

Monday 23 September

What next for the criminal justice system?

Rt. Hon Sadiq Khan MP, Shadow Lord Chancellor, Shadow Justice Secretary and Shadow London Minister

9-10am, Tennyson room, Thistle Hotel

Where now for aid to Syria and what role for Britain?

Rushanara Ali MP, Shadow International Development Minister

5:30-6:30pm, The Sandringham room, The Hilton

Could aid be effective without advocacy?

Cathy Jamieson MP, Shadow Economic Secretary to the Treasury

Rt. Hon Peter Hain MP

5:30-7pm, Wordsworth room, Thistle Hotel

Jobs for young people: how do we solve the problem?

Lord Adonis, Shadow Infrastructure Minister and former Transport Secretary

5:30-6:30pm, Tennyson room, Thistle Hotel

Rachel Reeves MP in conversation with New Statesman

Rachel Reeves MP, Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury

7:15-8pm, Tennyson room, Thistle Hotel

Tuesday 24 September

Innovation: what does the NHS need to do?

Andrew Gynne MP, Shadow Health Minister

8:30-9:30am, Tennyson room, Thistle Hotel

Is integration enough to save the NHS?

Rt. Hon Andy Burnham MP, Shadow Health Secretary

12-1pm, Wordsworth room, Thistle Hotel

Will competition and choice open up the banking sector?

Chris Leslie MP, Shadow Financial Secretary to the Treasury

4:45-5:45pm, Wordsworth room, Thistle Hotel

Is a cap on immigration a cap on growth?

Chris Bryant MP, Shadow Immigration Minister

5:30-6:30pm, Tennyson room, Thistle Hotel

Wednesday 25 September

From prevention to survival: the cancer pathway at every step

Lord Hunt, Shadow Health Spokesperson

9-10am, Tennyson room, Thistle Hotel

A workman fixes a Labour Party Conference banner to a fence outside the conference centre on September 21, 2013 in Brighton. Photograph: Getty Images.
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Europe's elections show why liberals should avoid fatalism

France, Germany and the Netherlands suggest there is nothing inevitable about the right's advance.

Humans are unavoidably pattern-seeking creatures. We give meaning to disparate events where little or none may exist. So it is with Brexit and Donald Trump. The proximity of these results led to declarations of liberalism's demise. After decades of progress, the tide was said to have unavoidably turned.

Every election is now treated as another round in the great duel between libralism and populism. In the Netherlands, the perennial nativist Geert Wilders was gifted outsize attention in the belief that he could surf the Brexit-Trump wave to victory. Yet far from triumphing, the Freedom Party finished a distant second, increasing its seats total to 20 (four fewer than in 2010). Wilders' defeat was always more likely than not (and he would have been unable to form a government) but global events gifted him an aura of invincibility.

In France, for several years, Marine Le Pen has been likely to make the final round of the next presidential election. But it was only after Brexit and Trump's election that she was widely seen as a potential victor. As in 2002, the front républicain is likely to defeat the Front National. The winner, however, will not be a conservative but a liberal. According to the post-Trump narrative, Emmanuel Macron's rise should have been impossible. But his surge (albeit one that has left him tied with Le Pen in the first round) suggests liberalism is in better health than suggested.

In Germany, where the far-right Alternative für Deutschland was said to be remorselessly advancing, politics is returning to traditional two-party combat. The election of Martin Schulz has transformed the SPD's fortunes to the point where it could form the next government. As some Labour MPs resign themselves to perpeutal opposition, they could be forgiven for noting what a difference a new leader can make.

2016 will be forever remembered as the year of Brexit and Trump. Yet both events could conceivably have happened in liberalism's supposed heyday. The UK has long been the EU's most reluctant member and, having not joined the euro or the Schengen Zone, already had one foot outside the door. In the US, the conditions for the election of a Trump-like figure have been in place for decades. For all this, Leave only narrowly won and Hillary Clinton won three million more votes than her opponent. Liberalism is neither as weak as it is now thought, nor as strong as it was once thought.

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.