Read about the PragRad and Top of the Policies story so far here

Pragmatic Radicalism – known simply as @PragRad by the Twitterati – provides a new platform for Labour ideas, for all members and supporters. Our primary aim is to promote political engagement, stimulate debate, encourage the development and support for new policies.

‘Top of the Policies’ are informal events, bringing together 20 self-selecting speakers who present new policy proposals in just 90 seconds, followed by two minutes of fast-paced Q&A from the audience which culminates in a ballot, using the first-past-the post-system, to produce the Top Policy.

Future plans

Events agreed for summer 2015

  • Top of the Policies on Public Health – chaired by Luciana Berger MP, Shadow Public Health Minister


  • Expand Top of the Policies events – working with CLPs, council Labour Groups and others so that they can use our TOTP format to engage members and generate debate and policies.
  • Pamphlets – We are considering publishing other pamphlets on topics which might include trade unions, and foreign policy.
  • Events – including key-note speakers from the UK and beyond.
  • The next level – We are exploring how to make Pragmatic Radicalism even more effective, including improved outreach, online activity and more…

Organisations and individuals are invited to sponsor our events and future publications. Pragmatic Radicalism is funded by donations individuals and organisations in a transparent manner.  Pragmatic Radicalism is editorially independent.

If you would like to sponsor or be a partner organisationfor any of the above events, please get in touch with PragRad chair, John Slinger –  john@pragrad.org

The story so far…

First pamphlet

Pragmatic Radicalism was launched in July 2011 with the publication of our first pamphlet, Ideas from Labour’s New Generation. This drew together a series of ideas across a diverse and important set of policy areas and started to sketch out a new vision of Labour’s art of the possible.  The ideas came from Labour’s “New Generation”, defined by Ed Miliband not by age but attitude. The articles were deliberately short (2,000 words) and written in the style of an op-ed in order to be accessible.


We wish to use innovative formats and technology in meetings to encourage the development of new policy ideas. To begin this process, we held a ‘Top Of The Policies’ fringe event at Labour Conference 2011, at which 20 speakers presented a new policy idea in two minutes each followed by two minutes of Qs & As. The ‘Top Of The Policies’ format worked well as it maximised both the number of people who could present ideas, was a great leveller so that the main criterion was not the fame or experience of the presenter but the quality of their idea. The format ensures a high degree of audience engagement, through fast-paced Q&A on each policy idea and voting to produce the Top Policy.

We have been rolling out a series of ‘Top Of The Policies’ events throughout 2012, each with a specific policy focus. They have been very well-attended and well-received, and are usually chaired by the relevant Shadow Minister.

The first event in January 2012, focused on skills, was held in partnership with Unions21 and unionlearn (with prizes funded by GMB Southern Region) and was chaired by the Guardian’s Michael White. Subsequent events have included youth unemployment, chaired by Siôn Simon in Birmingham in February; defence/security, chaired by Shadow Defence Secretary Jim Murphy MP in March; housing, chaired by Shadow Housing Minister Jack Dromey MP in May; transport, chaired by Shadow Transport Secretary Maria Eagle MP in June; justice/constitutional reform, chaired by Shadow Justice Secretary Sadiq Khan MP in July (sponsored by Thompsons Solicitors and Unitas Communications); and our first local government event in September in Southwark (organised by Cllr Rowenna Davis and featuring Mayor of Southwark, Cllr Althea Smith and Leader of the Council, Cllr Peter John).  Our flagship fringe event at Labour Conference 2012 was on 1 October at the Lass o’Gowrie pub (just outside the secure zone), details here. It was be chaired by The Guardian’s Michael White. At the fringe event we launched our second pamphlet. In October,  we held an event in Westminster on industrial policy, chaired by Shadow Competitiveness & Enterprise Minister Iain Wright MP. In November we held an event in Kendal on good quality housing for local people and the rural economy, chaired by Jonathan Roberts, Chair of Labour Coastal and Countryside.

During 2013 we’ve so far held the following events:

Second Pamphlet – Top Policies: Labour Policy as Democracy

Our  second pamphlet was launched at Labour Conference, bringing together articles written for LabourUncut by the people whose policy ideas ‘won’ our 2012 TOTP events, together with an introduction by Jon Cruddas MP, Co-ordinator of the Labour Party’s Policy Review. The democratic TOTP format ensures they’ll have been partially ‘road-tested’ and are popular. The pamphlet was designed pro bono by Ryan Wain (@ryan_wain) and funded largely by a generous donation from  and individual donations via a #CrowdFund campaign.

Public Affairs News Awards – PragRad short-listed

Due to the success of the fringe event and the new pamphlet, we have been short-listed for the ‘Party Conference Innovation’ category for the Public Affairs News Awards being held in Trafalgar Square on 8 November 2012.


We encourage speakers to ensure that their ideas are fiscally-neutral or low-cost. 

Pragmatic Radicalism Executive Committee 

John Slinger – Chair – contact john@pragrad.org

Jonathan Todd – Vice-Chair

Amanda Ramsay – Vice-Chair (for media enquiries, email Amanda)

Shiraz Ahmad – Secretary

VACANCY (for a volunteer – we are all doing this in our spare time!)  – Tech Support/Photography

Richard Ramsay  Treasurer

Julianne Marriott – Events/Outreach

Cllr Mike Harris – Non-Exec Officer (International)

Dr Phil Miles – Education Sector Outreach (if you are from a school, HE or FE institution and would like to get in touch, email Phil)

Ryan Wain – Publications/Education Sector Outreach

Jenny Simms– Trade Unions Outreach

Cllr Theo Blackwell – Local Government Outreach

James Allen – Non-Exec Officer

Note: PragRad is something we do in our spare time and pro bono. The website, events and publications are made possible by small donations and pro bono work.


We currently operate without long-term funding. If you are an individual or organisation who would like to fund our continuing work, please get in touch.

Our first pamphlet (July 2011) was funded by small donations from individuals and by

Refreshments at our Top Of The Policies events have been kindly sponsored by the following organisations:




We have also partnered for an event with:

 and Birmingham Fabian Society


Contact Pragmatic Radicalism Logo by emailing john@pragrad.org