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What Mutualism Means for Labour

What Mutualism Means for Labour

Policy Network

26 October 2011


The Conservatives, with their rhetoric of the “big society”, seem to have displaced Labour as the “party of ideas". Their emphasis on empowering communities and decentralising power arguably reflects a cooption of traditional social democratic language and an encroachment on the ideological terrain of the centre-left. Many see mutualism as the left’s answer to the “big society” and a key pillar in Labour’s political economy. However, our definition of mutualism remains unclear and the means to achieve its goals intangible.

This pamphlet sets out to develop a clear vision of what mutualism means for Labour and how it can be used to drive forward the social democratic project. It brings together prominent thinkers, politicians and strategists to lay down ideas on how mutuals and co-operatives can serve as models of post-crisis reform in both the private and public sectors.

Today's Guardian features an article for the pamphlet's launch asking Where is the mutual trust in opening up public services? assessing its potential impact on British politics during this parliament and beyond. It also includes comments from many of the publication's key authors, including Labour MPs Tessa Jowell, Tristram Hunt and Gregg McClymont.


A mutual moment
Tessa Jowell, Labour MP & shadow minister for the Olympics and London

Mutualism and social democracy
Patrick Diamond, Policy Network

Big society, big danger
Tristram Hunt, Labour MP

Co-operatism as a means to a bigger society
Anthony Painter, freelance political commentator and researcher

A real version of mutualism for the left
Michael Stephenson, Co-operative Party

Mutual principles may be more important for Labour than mutuals
Gregg McClymont, Labour MP

Bringing mutualism back into business
William Davies, University of Oxford

Mutuality and economic relationships
Andrea Westall, strategy and policy consultant

Beyond mutualism and towards the ‘big economy’
Adam Lent, the RSA

Research agenda: Moving forward with mutualism
Michael McTernan, Policy Network

Media contact

If you have any queries or comments about this publication, including interview requests with any of the authors, please contact Rob Macpherson on 0207 340 2205 or email rmacpherson@policy-network.net.

Alternatively, you can contact Michael McTernan on 0207 340 2215 or email mmcternan@policy-network.net.

Tags: mutualism , Labour , big society , Tessa Jowell , Patrick Diamond , Tristram Hunt , Anthony Painter , Michael Stephenson , Gregg McClymont , William Davies , Andrea Westall , Adam Lent , Michael McTernan

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