Roy Hattersley to address public at annual politics lecture
Roy’s lecture, entitled ‘In Praise of Ideology’, will address the need for political parties to present voters with clear ideas about the kind of ‘good society’ they strive to create based on the deeply-held principles and values that they stand for. Roy will argue that this kind of ideological politics is needed to engage the public in politics and the voting process. The lecture will take place from 6-7.30pm in room 113 of the University’s Calverley Building in the city centre. Places are free but must be booked at http://inpraiseofideology.eventbrite.co.uk
Speaking ahead of the lecture Dr Paul Wetherly, Reader in Politics at Leeds Beckett, said: “It is a great honour to host Roy Hattersley as he presents this year’s Annual Politics Lecture. His lecture, ‘In Praise of Ideology’, addresses an important issue for British politics today, particularly as we approach the general election. One of the reasons for disillusionment with party politics and low turnout at elections is a perception that the main parties are ‘all the same’ in the sense that people are not convinced it will really make a difference which one is in government.
“Very few politicians use the language of ideology and tend to do so in a negative way to refer to ideas that are extreme or dogmatic. However, an ideology is really a set of beliefs and values about the kind of society we want to live in, such as whether a good society requires greater equality than the one we are living in now. In this sense everybody has ideological beliefs and ideology is a necessary and positive aspect of political debate.
“British politics would surely be more engaging if all the political parties based their policies on explicit and deeply-held political beliefs and values involving different ideas of the good society that they are seeking government power in order to bring about. Roy Hattersley’s lecture will provide a timely and stimulating argument in praise of ideology.”
Roy was elected in 1964 at age 31 as Labour MP for Birmingham Sparkbrook and represented that constituency for 33 years until 1997. He was a member of the government under Harold Wilson and a cabinet member under Jim Callaghan, as Secretary of State for Prices and Consumer Protection from 1976-9. He was a member of the shadow cabinet while Margaret Thatcher was in power, including as Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer from 1983-87.
From 1983-92 Roy Hattersley was deputy leader of the Labour Party. Since 1997 he has been a Member of the House of Lords. Roy Hattersley was a vocal critic of New Labour, not least for its abandonment of the goal of greater equality, and he has been a vocal supporter of Ed Miliband’s leadership of the Labour Party.
The Annual Politics Lecture is organised by the Politics & Applied Global Ethics (PAGE) subject group at Leeds Beckett University as part of a programme of public events for students, school pupils and the wider community to discuss political issues. Previous lecturers have included MPs Rachel Reeves, Vince Cable and Hilary Benn.