The Progressive

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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Brexit means Brexit

The Progressive  |  1 August 2016

Britain cannot avoid living with its consequences Journalists have taken great glee in reporting the views of people who voted to leave the European Union but now suffer from truckloads of buyers’ remorse. If we were still in the EU, you could even call it schadenfreude. It is not just the people who perhaps did …

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Wake up, sheeple!

The Progressive  |  8 June 2016

The era of post-truth politics is now in full swing It must be exhausting. I mean, really exhausting, like running up eight flights of stairs or lifting a sofa above your head. To engage with, and believe even a fraction of, the stupefyingly stupid stuff on social media about the Labour party must be like …

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Dancing round the May poll

The Progressive  |  8 April 2016

Iain Duncan Smith was able to make election gains against the government; Labour should be able to expect Jeremy Corbyn to do so The point of playing down your prospects in an election is to make your success seem all the more noteworthy. It also makes political leaders seem humble, taking nothing for granted. No one likes …

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Spectrum of intimidation

The Progressive  |  18 March 2016

Could the return of hard-left political culture to Labour drive women members away?  The British far left’s problem with women is researched, documented, supported by evidence and has launched a thousand feminist studies theses. Gerry Healy of the Workers’ Revolutionary party was accused of rape and sexual harassment by 26 women party members in 1985. …

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