18th August 2016

Building a Progressive Future

5 (draft) Principles

An initiative in the West Midlands, called #ProWhat!, has involved an informal network of people from a wide range of groups and with very different starting points – community action, faith-based, political, single issue campaigns and many others – coming together to set out shared Progressive Principles.

The outcome is these 5 draft points:

  • Enabling Potential
  • Equal Society
  • Participatory Democracy
  • Common Ownership of Resources
  • Environmental Sustainability


It is widely acknowledged that Progressives lack a concise, credible and broadly popular alternative to austerity and neoliberalism.

Neoliberalism is based on its own five simple and easy to understand principles (free markets, low tax, small state, individual liberty, big defence – that’s an entire ideology in just 10 words!)

Neoliberalism’s principles enabled over 450 right-wing groups, globally, to work and campaign with a shared vision and common framework. The lack of alternative Progressive principles means it is harder for Progressives to collaborate, have a shared voice and leads to shopping list politics, scores of separate manifestos and contradictory policies.


The idea of #ProWhat! was to bring together people opposed to this status quo, but then flip the question on it’s head: we’re anti neoliberalism, but what are we pro?

The 5 (draft) Principles that we came up with aim to shift the terms of debate from a neoliberal paradigm to a Progressive agenda about:

  • enabling everyone to fulfil their potential
  • treating people equally
  • ensuring everyone can take an active part in democratic decision making
  • sharing common resources
  • how we conserve the planet for our children and grandchildren

If others identify with the 5 principles it means Progressives can:

  • work together more effectively by focusing on big points of agreement, not be divided by smaller points of difference
  • build a stronger collective voice
  • talk to others about our views more clearly and successfully
  • use a shared framework of principles against which to assess policy ideas, and
  • express a concise, inclusive and easily understandable alternative to neoliberalism and austerity


These are draft Principles: on the 22nd September, you are invited to join our workshop, aimed at getting feedback on them and working through how to develop them into a final credible, concise and persuasive Progressive alternative to austerity and neoliberalism.  This is a free event, but booking is essential.


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