The Progressive

Why is Labour not doing better?

The Progressive  |  1 December 2017

Labour is backtracking on the coalition that meant 2017’s result was an unexpected improvement on 2015, not convincing former Tory voters to switch sides next time In the long annuls of British political history, has the nation ever been led by such damaged goods? Theresa May is a weak leader at a time of maximum peril, encircled by inadequates, …

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The wrong battles

The Progressive  |  14 November 2017

Progressive politics should be looking to the future, not trying to nationalise the private sector The Labour party has been having a row about the role of the state, markets, and the profit motive since Queen Victoria was on the throne. Early radicals and socialists had an instinctive distrust of a strong state, which they …

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Corbyn’s cronies

The Progressive  |  23 September 2017

Now they have power for themselves the Bennite left have junked the ‘new politics’ they promised and indulge patronage like never before Remember the fuss about ‘Tony’s cronies’? It began almost as soon as Tony Blair was elected leader of the Labour party in 1994, and became noisier once Labour formed the government. The fuss centred on the …

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A Bennite Brexit

The Progressive  |  1 September 2017

The ‘Lexit’ campaign might have come to nothing but Corbyn and McDonnell believe leaving the EU could precipitate a socialist government Jeremy Corbyn is a Brexiteer. He has wanted the United Kingdom to be outside the European Union, and its forerunners, since the 1970s. Corbyn, when he was a Haringey councillor in 1975, voted to …

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Our Rorschach test

The Progressive  |  2 March 2017

Emmanuel Macron stands the best chance of beating Marine Le Pen but offers no hope for Labour’s modernisers Twenty years ago, the centre was radical, popular – even, at times, exciting. The Third Way was ascendant. Wim Kok, Gerhard Schroder, and Lionel Jospin were in power. When Bill Clinton sat down in 1997 to dine with Tony Blair at …

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Frankenstein’s Momentum

The Progressive  |  6 February 2017

The eternal truth that the far-left loves schisms has been proved right again There is an old joke on the left which runs something like this: if you put five Trots in a room, pretty soon you will have six different factions. It is not a great joke, I will grant you, but it speaks to the eternal truth that …

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Annus horribilis

The Progressive  |  12 December 2016

The lows of 2016 will continue if the centre-left does not recognise that history can be shaped In the long sweep of history, there are certain years which punctuate time’s journey, like speed bumps. When Sir Edward Grey looked out of his window at the Foreign Office in August 1914 and remarked that the lights …

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Rage against the machine

The Progressive  |  8 November 2016

The battle to come is not the usual bureaucratic bust-up Anyone with even a little schooling in Marxism-Leninism, which these days means anyone who turns up to a constituency Labour party meeting in an urban area, understands that Marxists see ‘the party’ differently from the rest of us. For democratic socialists, the party is a broad-based localised organisation, designed …

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The cult paradox

The Progressive  |  24 September 2016

Many intelligent, idealistic and self-sacrificing people belong to political cults What is a political cult? How does one work, and what are the signs that someone, perhaps a friend or loved one, has been recruited? We are blessed with a rich literature about cults and how they operate. For example, an important contribution in 2000 by Dennis Tourish and …

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Refine your craft

The Progressive  |  7 September 2016

The public don’t hate ‘professional politicians’ – they hate bad professional politicians The summer saw the British public glued to their televisions during August. Not to watch the ‘who is more socialist’ contest of the Labour leadership race, nor to monitor the latest polls showing Labour falling down the charts on an almost daily basis in inverse …

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