Introduction to Social Democratic Futures

As part of the conversation we have started, we have created a new category of post on the Website: “Social Democratic Futures” will be vehicle for new Left thinking. The first two, very different, “carriages” of this train of thought are conducted by Shalom Lappin, a co-author of the manifesto and by James Purnell, Minister of State for Pensions in the British Labour government.

The Euston Manifesto Group seeks the renewal of progressive politics. Our principles are not exclusive. We reach out, rather, beyond the socialist Left towards egalitarian liberals and others of unambiguous democratic commitment. We seek to foster open debate. So we are launching a new section of the website. Social Democratic Futures will help to develop a new agenda for left-of-centre democratic politics by hosting an international conversation as open as it will be intelligent, as passionate as it will be non-sectarian. Because it is dialogue we seek, each debate (or “carriage”) will set off with an article, travel by way of responses or questions to the author, and arrive with a rejoinder by the author. Each journey, we hope, will prompt the next. Each conversation will spark another.

We do not see renewal of progressive politics being achieved by any single political tradition, let alone through any one party, faction, or leader. We want a free and open international dialogue linking parties, movements, unions, intellectuals, activists and citizens.

Our first two ‘carriages’ both explore the modernisation of progressive politics in a transformed world. Shalom Lappin, co-author of the Euston Manifesto, makes the case for global trade unions and social trade agreements as the foundations of a new global social democracy. James Purnell, Minister of State for Pensions in the British Labour government, calls for a candid debate on the future of modern social democracy, and opens that debate with a defence of the reform of the public services as “modern methods within a modern setting”, and as the best means to secure the ends of equality, liberty and solidarity. We seek responses from readers (up to 1000 words) and questions to the authors (up to 200 words). Please email these to Alan Johnson. Shalom and James will respond to the debate.

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