How to be in Opposition: Seminar Monday, 28th February 2011 Contributors were: Professor Tim Bale, Professor Phil Cowley, Nigel Fletcher and Greg Rosen To mark the publication of our new book, How to be in Opposition, we held a seminar here at the Centre for Opposition Studies, at which the authors and other leading commentators will discussed the themes and issues raised.
How to be in Opposition: Seminar
Monday, 28th February 2011
Contributors were: Professor Tim Bale, Professor Phil Cowley, Nigel Fletcher and Greg Rosen
To mark the publication of our new book, How to be in Opposition, we held a seminar here at the Centre for Opposition Studies, at which the authors and other leading commentators will discussed the themes and issues raised.
Leaders of the Opposition: From Churchill to Cameron
Friday, 9th July 2010
Contributors included (l-r): Dr Timothy Heppell, Professor Kevin Theakston, Professor Lord Norton, Dr Tim Bale and Dr Mark Garnett
This conference, supported by OSF, was organised by Leeds University's Leaders, Parties and Institutions Research Group and the Political Studies Association's specialist group on political leadership. It considered the performance of each of the leaders of the opposition from Winston Churchill to David Cameron, with a range of distinguished academics presenting papers evaluating each leader against set criteria of effective opposition leadership. Contributors included our Advisory Board members Professor Lord Norton and Dr Tim Bale, as well as our Director, Nigel Fletcher.
Full details of contributors and other information can be found at: http://www.polis.leeds.ac.uk/research/events/leaders-opposition.php
Into the Shadows
The challenges of opposition in the new Parliament
Tuesday, 1st June 2010 at 6pm
Speakers: Professor Philip Cowley (University of Nottingham); Peter Riddell (The Times/ Institute for Government) Nigel Fletcher (Opposition Studies Forum);
Following the formation of David Cameron's coalition government, the Labour Party faces the realities of moving from government to opposition. This is a traumatic experience for any party, presenting many problems to those who find themselves out of power. The highly unusual situation of a coalition government adds new dimensions to the challenges they face. Our post-election briefing examined the issues the new Opposition and other parties face in the immediate future, and discussed how previous oppositions have coped in similar circumstances.
Opposition in London
Learning from local government
23 February 2010, Local Government House, Westminster
Speakers: Councillor Paul Dimoldenberg; Eric Ollerenshaw OBE
When a party has been in Government for a long time, the experience of opposition becomes an increasingly distant memory for many of its senior members. But this is not the case for all their colleagues. There are many local councils where for many years politicians have only known the frustrations of opposition. But is it all a futile exercise? Can scrutiny in local government be a useful and fulfilling role in its own right? At this meeting we heard from two long-serving Leaders of the Opposition about their experiences.
Councillor Paul Dimoldenberg (above left) is Labour Leader of the Opposition on Westminster City Council. He also held this position in the late 1980s, when he led the team which uncovered the 'Homes for Votes' scandal and led to the disgrace of the Council's former leader, Dame Shirley Porter, who was found guilty of "disgraceful and improper gerrymandering".
Eric Ollerenshaw OBE has had a long career in local government in London. A former teacher, he was the last Leader of the Opposition on the Inner London Education Authority (ILEA) before its abolition in 1990. A decade later he was elected to the London Assembly and was Leader of the Conservative Group during Mayor Ken Livingstone's first administration. He was also a Councillor in the London Borough of Hackney from 1990 to 2007, and rose to be Leader of the Opposition there. He is now Chief of Staff to Baroness Warsi, and a Parliamentary candidate.
From Opposition to Government
Major event on how parties make the transition to office, hosted in association with
3rd February 2010
The Opposition Studies Forum held a major seminar on the experience of parties making the transition from Opposition to Government. It was jointly hosted with the Institute for Government, who recently published a report on transitions to government as part of an ongoing research project (details here).
The event featured contributions from:
Tuesday, 12th January 2010
New Year reception
Launch of 2010 events programme
Our New Year reception was held in Westminster, and attracted a broad range of academics, politicians, journalists and activists. The event provided an opportunity to launch our events programme , and to announce the appointment of former Liberal Democrat Leader Charles Kennedy MP as our our third Hon. President, joining former Labour and Conservative Leaders Neil Kinnock and Michael Howard. Mr Howard joined us for the evening, and outlined some thoughts on the way opposition has been restricted in recent years, before taking questions from guests. Neil Kinnock, who had been due to attend, was detained on Parliamentary business, and hopes to come to another event in the near future (he and Charles Kennedy also commented ahead of the event, our news section).
Tuesday, 23rd June 2009
A Decade After the Landslide
Learning the lessons of defeat? With David Willetts MP
Tuesday, 23rd June 2009
In 1999, David Willetts MP wrote a booklet called "After the Landslide" for the Centre for Policy Studies (view it here). It examined the Conservative Party's response to previous heavy defeats, and drew lessons for the future.
A decade, and three changes of Leader later, how many of those lessons were learnt by the Conservatives? David Willetts shared his thoughts with us at the OSF's first speaker meeting, held at the House of Commons
A transcript of David's address and a summary of the discussion will be made available on this page shortly.
Howard and Kinnock launch OSF
Thursday 26th March 2009
Our official launch took place on 25th March 2009 in the Shadow Cabinet Room at the House of Commons, hosted by our two Co-Presidents, the Rt Hon. Michael Howard MP and the Rt Hon. Lord Kinnock. They were joined by a number of current Shadow Cabinet members, Opposition spokesmen, Shadow Cabinet staff and other new members of the Forum.
It was a hugely enjoyable evening, with guests kept entertained by a stream of anecdotes from our distinguished hosts about their time in Opposition. We look forward to many more such successful events in the future.
Historic photos of past Shadow Cabinets on the mantelpiece alongside the OSF logo
Shadow Leader of the House Alan Duncan MP with OSF's Nigel Fletcher
Shadow Children's Secretary Michael Gove MP peruses the programme
Opposition whip Baroness Morris of Bolton
L-R: Conservative Chief Whip Patrick McLoughlin, Lord Kinnock, Nigel Fletcher, Baroness Morris and Michael Howard
Nigel Fletcher with OSF Board members Professor Lord Norton and Dr Tim Bale
Our Co-Presidents Michael Howard and Neil Kinnock address the assembled guests.
Neil Kinnock shares his thoughts on the 'hell' of Opposition
The two former Leaders exchange memories of growing up in South Wales
Neil Kinnock examines the photo of his 1984 Shadow Cabinet
L-R: OSF Deputy Director Peter Taylor, blogger Shamik Das and Lord Kinnock.
All photographs (c) Chris Holt 2009
Launch of 'Government's Waiting Room' exhibition - 15th October 2007
On 15th October 2007, Nigel Fletcher (Director of the Opposition Studies Forum) held an event in the House of Commons to launch his exhibition 'Government's Waiting Room' about the history of the Shadow Cabinet Room since Margeret Thatcher first used it in 1976. Lady Thatcher was the guest of honour, and was joined by current Leader of the Opposition David Cameron, and his Conservative predecessors Michael Howard, Iain Duncan Smith and William Hague.
A similar event to mark the role of the Shadow Cabinet Room in Labour Party history will hopefully be held in the future.
Above: Four decades of Conservative Leaders - Margaret Thatcher back at the Shadow Cabinet table with her successors as Leaders of the Opposition: (l-r) Iain Duncan Smith (2001-2003), William Hague (1997-2001, David Cameron (2005-present) and Michael Howard (2003-2005)
Above right: William Hague with Lords (Tom) King and (Norman) Fowler, members of Mrs Thatcher's Shadow Cabinet Above right: Sir Teddy Taylor, who was Shadow Scottish Secretary under Mrs Thatcher
Above: OSF Director Nigel Fletcher with Michael Howard (our hon. President), Iain Duncan Smith and Lord Fowler