Public event

Birmingham: Building a progressive future

Birmingham Impact Hub

Building a Progressive Future! 5 (draft) Principles

Thursday 22 September 2016
7pm-9pm, Birmingham Impact Hub
This is a free event but booking is essential, by clicking here

A group of people from across the West Midlands have developed 5 (draft) Principles for a Progressive Future – and would love to hear what you think! The (draft) Principles are:

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

But what do you think of these principles? Can you improve them? How they can be developed into a finished ‘product’ providing the basis for a Progressive alternative to austerity and neoliberalism? Come along, have your say and get involved in Building a Progressive Future.


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.

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

The 5 (draft) Principles 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

But these are draft Principles and the 22nd September Workshop is about getting feedback on them and working through how to develop them into a final credible, concise and persuasive Progressive alternative to austerity and neoliberalism.


Building a Progressive Future means doing politics differently and the Workshop will have the following ethos.

● We come together on the basis of shared values and concerns (leaving organisational, political and other labels outside);
● emphasising what we agree on (not points of disagreement);
● seeing co-operation and compromise as strengths (not weaknesses);
● being positive and focused (not just criticising, looking at negatives, discussing problems and being a talking shop!);
● accepting a good enough outcome (not insisting on individual ideological perfection);
● being curious about different views, listening and ensuring everyone has their say; and
● at all times acting with care, compassion and respect for all.

For an idea of what the Workshop will be like, there’s a five minute video of a previous event available by clicking here.

Compass West Midlands Organiser – Michael Orton
Twitter: @MichaelOrton9

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