David Miliband on Tony Judt, Europe and the Future of the Left
David Miliband, David Aaronovitch
The late Tony Judt was a towering historian of the 20th century and a fearless commentator on world affairs, including the demise of the Left after the collapse of the Soviet Union. In this conversation with David Aaronovitch, former Foreign Secretary David Miliband came to Jewish Book Week to reflect on the challenges facing Europe now, Judt’s influence and the options for renewal of left-wing politics.
In one of his last books, Judt proposed a defence of 20th century democratic and welfare institutions as the rallying point for progressive politics. He feared that globalisation would roll back the gains of Western European social democracy, and warned of the rise of extremist politics. As a historian, maybe this was inevitable, but is it enough?
Tony Judt (1948 – 2010) grew up in Britain, studied at Cambridge and became a historian of France before achieving scholarly and critical success with Postwar, a history of Europe after 1945 that established him as a major historian. He was Erich Maria Remarque professor in European studies at New York University when he died of motor neurone disease aged 62. His last work, with Timothy Snyder, was Thinking the Twentieth Century, published in March 2012.
David Aaronovitch is a writer and broadcaster on culture, international affairs, politics and the media. A Times columnist, his books include Voodoo Histories. He runs. Or tries to.
David Miliband is Labour member of parliament for South Shields. He was Britain’s Foreign Secretary from 2007 to 2010.