The next step for Progress


We are adopting a new funding model for Progress – and we need your help, writes Richard Angell

First published on ProgressOnline

After 21 years of generous support, I know you will want to join me as we thank Lord Sainsbury for his generous and ongoing support for Progress and our centre-left politics, as he prepares to step back from funding party political causes. He is not just Labour’s biggest ever donor and an excellent former science minister, he – more than anyone – went above and beyond to try and keep the United Kingdom in the European Union.

Progress keeps the Labour party a broad church – ensuring progressives are not shut out, campaigns for a more open politics and believes that Labour at its best not just aligns its values with those of the British publics but speaks for their hopes and ambitions. Not only is the progressive centre-ground where the voters are, it is where lasting change is made. While the general election confounded many expectations about Jeremy Corbyn, it also confirmed that ‘one more heave’ will not work and that to win, Labour must win over people who voted Tory.

To this day, Progress is a young, dynamic and policy-focused organisation. It trains people to make and win arguments, to write about political ideas, it encourages people to stand for public office – be that school governors, councillors or parliament – and it believes in the power of democratic politics to make people’s lives better.

Sainsbury’s support for this organisation has enabled new thinking and inspired new activists. It provides a platform for those wanting to encourage new avenues of policy thinking and challenge the mainstream Labour thinking when it needs updating and moving on. For these reasons we have not been without controversy at times. But being a ginger group of this kind is necessary in a party that has lost far more times than it has won and can adhere to rigid dogma of ideology rather than obsess over how to improve the everyday lives of our fellow citizens.

I hope we have readied our ship for the next chapter in our organisation’s history. Many generous people have stepped forward already – in the five short weeks we knew about this before the general election, we secured pledges amounting to a third of our funding target – and I hope many more will come aboard. I am confident that our membership will rally behind us as they have in the past.

Progress remains the ideas hub, the organising focus and the talent development body of the modernising left. If you want to play your part in bringing Labour into government, keeping Britain an outward-looking country that seeks to cooperate with its neighbours and ensure progressive politics can save our public services once again, we need your help:

  •   If you are not a member, join.
  •   If you know someone who should join, invite them now.
  •   If you are a member – thank you, please consider increasing your contribution.
  •   If you are able to join the 100 Club – £120 per year, let our membership team know.
  •   If you can afford more and want to play a part in keeping progressive politics afloat, get in touch.

It is time for Progress – all grown up, aged 21 – to meet the organisation’s next big challenge. I believe we remain vital to Labour’s historic mission and the party’s future. It will not happen without you.


Richard Angell is director of Progress. He tweets at @RichardAngell

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