BOOKS: The book that shook

BOOKS: The book that shook - 'I read David Marquand's The Progressive Dilemma on holiday after I left Millbank, before starting at the IPPR. It describes the intellectual and ideological space I want to work in. Through fascinating stories of key figures

by MATTHEW TAYLOR, director of the Institute of Public PolicyResearch
Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

'I read David Marquand's The Progressive Dilemma on holiday after I left Millbank, before starting at the IPPR. It describes the intellectual and ideological space I want to work in. Through fascinating stories of key figures in the history of the Liberal and Labour parties, Marquand brilliantly highlights the dilemmas and failings that lie behind 20th-century progressive politics in the UK. It is an essential read for anyone who wants to understand the British centre-left and its leaders.

Marquand tries to link radical liberal politics of empowerment and civic renewal with traditional social democratic concerns for planning and equity - the central challenge facing a Labour second term.

All of us on the left grew up believing in social justice, but this book makes clear that radical politics is also about decentralising power and engaging people in the process of change. As one would expect, there is more here about failure and its causes than about answers. But, for those who think politics has become dull and irrelevant, it reminds us that the big questions are as important today as ever.

Find this article useful?

Get more great articles like this in your inbox every lunchtime

Could coronavirus lead to gender equality?

Opinion: Enforced home-working and home-schooling could change the lives of working women, and the business...

Mike Ashley: Does it matter if the public hates you right now?

The Sports Direct founder’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic has drawn criticism, but in the...

4 films to keep you sane during the coronavirus lockdown

Cirrus CEO Simon Hayward shares some choices to put things in perspective.

Pandemic ends public love affair with Richard Branson et al

Opinion: The larger-than-life corporate mavericks who rose to prominence in the 80s and 90s suddenly...

The Squiggly Career: How to be a chief strengths spotter

When leading remotely, it's more important than ever to make sure your people spend their...

"Blind CVs don't improve your access to talent"

Opinion: If you want to hire socially mobile go-getters, you need to know the context...