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Keywords:

  • British progressives;
  • Rainbow Circle;
  • one nation conservatism;
  • social liberalism;
  • ideology

Michael Freeden responds to the debate in this issue on progressivism and its contested manifestations. He asks, first, is there a cluster of policies that collectively merits the designation ‘progressive'? Second, what are the rhetorical usages and power of the term and is it the case that those usages override or deflect its substantive content? And finally, are the multiple understandings of progressivism equally ‘legitimate’ or culturally resonant, and with what effect does the term mutate among its various meanings?