This event has now finished and is available to watch on demand.
Intelligence Squared welcomed Tony Blair and Andrew Adonis in an online event to mark the publication of Adonis’ new biography of Ernest Bevin, one of the giants of Labour Party history. Often overshadowed by his near namesake Nye Bevan, who will forever be associated with the creation of the NHS, Bevin was arguably the more important and inspirational figure. An orphaned farm boy with almost no formal education, he started work aged 11 and rose to become the first general secretary of the Transport and General Workers’ Union in 1922. Minister of Labour in the wartime coalition during the Second World War, he was Churchill’s de facto deputy, masterminding the home front while the prime minister commanded the battle front. After the war he was Foreign Secretary at one of the most pivotal moments of international history, helping to keep Stalin and communism out of Western Europe, and playing a central role in the creation of West Germany, NATO and the transatlantic alliance, all of which underpin European democracy and security to this day.
In this rare public appearance together, chaired by the BBC’s Rajini Vaidyanathan, the former Labour prime minister and cabinet minister discussed how the man known as ‘the working-class John Bull’ grew to become one of this country’s greatest political leaders and what lessons can be learned from his legacy today.
Ernest Bevin: Labour’s Churchill by Andrew Adonis is available to order from Waterstones.
Speakers are subject to change.