Election breakdown – where now for progressive politics?

It can be argued that last week’s General Election marks a turning point: a shift away from neoliberalism and towards – or rather back to – social democracy. There is talk that the age of austerity is over. The initial focus on Brexit was replaced by a genuine policy debate, based around the Labour and Conservative manifestos and revealing voters’ anxieties about the state of public services. Young people were energised into voting in greater numbers, which could lead to changing political priorities as parties take them more seriously in future.

The power of the mainstream media has been dented, as the public took little notice of their sneers and voted Labour anyway. The scale of Labour gains prompted discussion about the mechanics of campaigning, including the use of social media, the impact of positive messages versus smearing your opponents, and the importance of the ‘ground campaign’ through canvassing and rallies.

On the other hand let’s not lose the run of ourselves. Despite unexpected Labour gains, the Conservatives are still likely to be in government, kept in power by the DUP: a regressive partnership, rather than the progressive alliance we at The Combination had hoped for. And a partnership that regards the Good Friday Agreement as collateral damage.

The Combination group blog has organised a public meeting to address these and related issues, and to consider the implications of the General Election for progressive politics in Northern Ireland and farther afield.We’ve invited five speakers from a range of perspectives: Brian Campfield (NIPSA), Geraint Ellis (QUB), Ellen Murray (GenderJam NI and Green Party NI), Liz Nelson (Belfast Feminist Network and Belfast Trades Council) and Robin Wilson (independent researcher and journalist).

Join us on Tuesday 20th June, 7.30pm at the Crescent Arts Centre, Workshop Room 4.

And follow us at: https://www.facebook.com/combinationNI/ and @CombinationNI


  • ted hagan

    Would it not be more interesting, and stimulating to have someone in the panel to challenge the ‘progressives’ rather than having a panel solely composed of like-minded people?

  • Karl

    You might want to challenge the meaning of progressive but surely you don’t want to champion the cause of the regressives?

  • ted hagan

    I want a debate, that’s all, not a head-nodding session

  • Granni Trixie

    I think “progressive” has become a fad word in politics at times used by the most unlikely people and sure to be replaced by another eventually.
    Definately worth exploring its meanings.

  • Granni Trixie

    You underestimate ..see above.

  • Karl

    I want people to agree with my ill thought out and often contradictory opinions without question. Only the unemployed have time for debate.

  • Brian O’Neill

    You have a point there alright. I will ask them that.

  • Mike the First

    Here, it’s mainly now used as a not-so-subtle self-awarded credential so that you can “otherise” themmuns and being “dark side of the street” people (as MOM would have it) and generally horrible.

  • Bill Neill

    Let us hope that the material gains secured for all of N.Ireland by Arlene lead to suitable progressive outcomes. Pouring exaggerated derision on the ‘regressive’ DUP is insulting to 36% of the electorate. Empty slogans are a poor substitute for critical thought.