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Tony Blair Institute for Global Change

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Renewing the Centre

We work to revitalise the centre-ground of politics and equip today’s leaders to combat the rise of false populism.

We aim to articulate a vision of liberal democracy that can garner substantial popular support, and to push back against the destructive approach of populism which offers anger but no real answers. 

This new populism may differ in some respects between left and right, but what is remarkable is the convergence between them, especially around isolationism and protectionism, in what is an essentially closed-minded approach to globalisation.

We are not a think tank. We are a non-party platform to inform and support those in the active frontline of politics to counter short-term solutions of false populism. Our purpose is to provide radical but sensible answers to people’s concerns. We aim to create a facts-based dialogue, not one on in which emotion supersedes fact.

The challenge for the centre is to change the status quo, not manage it.

Across the West, what the centre lacks is a radical policy agenda. This is the task to which we are devoted.

AI, automation and Big Data will usher in a new workplace revolution. Healthcare systems, schools and ‘early years’ education, welfare and retirement all need to be re-designed fundamentally to take account of technology, scientific development, and changing demographics and lifestyle.

Communities and people left behind by globalisation need to be helped by specific measures which connect them to the mainstream economy.

We need ambitious affordable housing programmes.

In an era of fiscal constraint there is an even greater responsibility on governments to seek solutions which change systems and not just pump money into them.

We need to draw on the best and most creative minds, to produce the new thinking to meet these challenges; shape our future; and re-kindle optimism.

We are working to renew the centre ground through:

New policy thinking

To defeat populism, centrist leaders need to be able to offer their people a credible prospect for a better future. To help them, our work will focus on the big policy challenges globalisation presents in areas like jobs, tech, trade, education, immigration, housing, employment, and international relations. Our ambition is to revitalise the centre by shaping a new political vision and providing the expertise, analysis and insight that equip centrist leaders to rise to the populist challenge. Our work draws on the best ideas in both public and private policy spheres, and drives forward practical solutions to some of today’s global challenges.  

Strategy

To combat the rise of the new false populism of left and right, politicians in the centre ground need to articulate an optimistic vision for change, not be guardians of a failed status quo. 

Our focus is therefore not simply on crafting individual policies— but also to test how politicians can make an optimistic case for the set of policies that, taken together, can achieve a better future. Our ambition is to go beyond individual policy ideas to craft a coherent strategy for change that can make a real difference to the living standards and life prospects of ordinary people.

Analysis of populism

While the rise of populism has dominated headlines, there continues to be a dearth of careful analysis about the nature and the causes of the populist threat. Our ambition is to provide a centre of expertise on why we have now entered a populist moment--and how we might be able to stop it from turning into a populist age.

A network for change

The challenge of renewing the centre is a challenge shared by countries across the West. We will work to align the development of new policy thinking with the networks which link people up, and allow a reasonable and evidence based discussion of the future which avoids the plague of social media-led exchanges of abuse. Central to our work will be the creation of a platform to engage people who are interested in participating in these debates and who can inform our work as well as receive its conclusions.

Projects in Renewing the Centre

We are always looking for outstanding candidates with a proven track record of leadership

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