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Ideas and debate

Essays and critical thinking on some of the key political and ideological challenges for 21st Century social democracy.

Working for women, parents and growth

The case for policies that break down women’s barriers to  participate in the labour market is not just about smart politics or fairness; gender equality is key to growth.

Sharing in the success of the digital economy

An exploration of how information and communications technology, and the digital economy, can act as  catalysts for increasing innovation, productivity, and living standards.

Technological turbulence and future jobs

Long-term economic growth requires new technology application. However, this can lead to insecurity in low-skilled work; therefore, managing this transition is crucial.

The rise of the service economy

The industrial sector, once the powerhouse of many economies, has shrunk in the face of the service sector's rise. Progressive politics must understand this for the development of progressive capitalism.

Democratic innovation and renewal

Democracy and elections are two words which are strongly linked in society today, but have we become 'Electoral Fundamentalists'?

The need for a new industrial policy

The changes in global economic landscapes necessitate renewed thinking on industrial policy in the UK, after being seen as 'anti-competitive' and wasteful.

Mission-orientated finance

A collection of essays focusing on the innovative and capacity-building role of the state in modern capitalism, and how this must go beyond fixing market failures and into 'smart' innovation-led fiscal policy.

Social investment and the future of the welfare state

Welfare policies to balance the management of a fast-paced, innovative economies, and stop the risk of widening inequalities. 

Britain's cosmopolitan future?

A debate on the big-picture demographic, social and economic changes that influenced the British election of 2015 and that will shape the elections of 2020, 2025 and beyond.

Populism, extremism and the mainstream

Expert briefings examining the evolving nature of populism in relation to cultural antagonism and identity politics, and how parties are responding to its manifestations.


Reformers must focus on market reforms that encourage a more equal distribution of economic power even before government collects taxes or pays out benefits to prevent inequalities from happening initially.

The freedom of movement of labour in Europe

A debate on the future of European integration, encompassing a variety of issues such as work, welfare and immigration.

Climate change: the challenge for social democracy

Social democrats must think more about how climate change objectives can be aligned with their wider policy agenda and ideology.

The party of the future

Many mainstream parties have become outdated as forces for popular mobilisation. The Left, in particular, is affected by this breakdown and must develop stronger electoral and campaigning alliances.

Progressive coalitions for a fragmented left

The pressures of division and fragmented constituencies necessitate progressive coalition building among parties and actors on the centre-left.

Democratic self government in Europe

Responses to Damian Chalmer's 'Democratic Self-Governance in Europe', discussing  reforms to make the EU more democratically accountable and popular.

The return to internationalism?

Internationalism once lay at the heart of the progressive movement, yet recently has appeared to have lost its appeal for many social democrats, having been seen a threat to the welfare state and social justice.

A centre-left project for new times

A new series charting the ideological waters of contemporary centre-left political thought, surveying the salient works of over a century of political thought, and debating which choices represent the future of the left.

The new "progressive" conservatism in Europe

A series to promote a better understanding of the new progressive conservative agenda, and how to the centre-left can develop a strategy to counteract this.

Mutualism and social democracy

Many see mutualism as the left’s answer to the “big society”, but definitions are unclear and methods intangible. The challenge is to develop a clear vision of mutualism and how it can progress social democratic projects.

The classics of social democracy

As the centre-left wrestles with the tough questions of today, familiarity with the classics of social democratic thought can play a significant role in kicking-off a sustained period of revisionism.

Social justice in tough times

A series of UK and international responses from leading voices on the centre-left to the 'In the black Labour' debate on economic credibility, which argued for a merger of fiscal conservatism and social justice.