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Challenging the politics of evasion

Challenging the politics of evasion

Olaf Cramme, Patrick Diamond & Roger Liddle

04 December 2009


Challenging the politics of evasion: the only way to renew European social democracyToday social democracy is suspended between embarassment and complacency. The left in Europe has been guilty of what can be described as the "politics of evasion": it has failed to confront the fundamental causes of its vulnerability, loss of trust and élan in past years.

In challenging and contesting the "politics of evasion" this new Policy Network paper offers a candid assessment of the centre-left's current predicament, setting out a path for a much needed period of ideological renewal.

Written by Olaf Cramme, Patrick Diamond and Roger Liddle, the papers asserts that "far from social democracy presenting clear answers to the crisis, the root of the problem is the ideological vacuum the crisis has exposed in European social democracy".

Olaf Cramme is the director of Policy Network. Previously, he was a lecturer in European politics at London Metropolitan University and worked as a parliamentary researcher at the Houses of Parliament. He publishes widely on global affairs, the future of the European Union and European social democracy.

Patrick Diamond is head of policy planning at the office of the UK prime minister, No.10 Downing Street. He is also a senior visiting fellow at the London School of Economics and Transatlantic fellow of the German Marshall Fund of the United States.

Roger Liddle
is chair of Policy Network. He is a former economic adviser to the European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso and a former European adviser to the then British Prime Minister, Tony Blair. He is currently chair of the UK government’s New Industry, New Jobs, Universities and Skills advisory panel, as well as a visiting fellow at the LSE’s European Institute.

The Amsterdam process

The paper marks the launch of a new and ambitious process of reflection and strategic thinking which, over the coming 24 months, will bring together an "avant-garde group" of individuals and organisations from across Europe to address the key political and policy dilemmas the centre-left is currently facing.

Download the research programme outline and mission statement here.

Led by Policy Network and the Wiardi Beckman Stichting, this research programme will put forward a programme of research around the following five thematic clusters:

• The social democratic idea in the 21st century
• Demographics, constituency and coalitions
• Political economy and welfare state reform
• Identity, community and culture
• European integration

In the coming months, a series of events and workshops will take place across Europe, underpinned by original research and publications. If you have any comments, ideas or questions about this research programme we would be very happy to hear from you. Please contact Michael McTernan at mmcternan@policy-network.net.

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