Washminster

Washminster
Washminster

Saturday, 14 January 2012

Fabian New Year Conference

Today in London, the Fabian Society is holiday its annual "New Year Conference". It is being held at the Institute of Education, fairly close to Euston Station. The keynote speech is being given by Ed Balls, the Shadow Chancellor. The title of the conference is "The Economic Alternative" - and the full programme is available here.

The Fabian Society has been influential in the Labour Party throughout the party's history. The "Fabians" played a key part as one of the organisations which set up the Labour Party. Originally formed in 1884, it was a "think tank" long before the term became fashionable. It takes its name from the Roman General Fabius Maximus, whose strategy was to avoid the immediate headlong attack - but to adopt a longer term "gradualist" approach - which delivered ultimate victory more effectively. That describes the political strategy of the Fabians. They oppose violent revolution - but the establishment of social democracy through persuasion. I once owned their tie which was a succession of the phrase "the inevitability of socialism".

The photograph is of George Bernard Shaw, the playwright, one amongst many influential Britons who have been involved in the Society. A book he wrote on the early history of the Society is available here.

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