Demos is Britain’s leading cross-party think-tank.
We produce original research, publish innovative thinkers and host thought-provoking events. We have spent 20 years at the centre of the policy debate, with an overarching mission to bring politics closer to people.
Demos is now exploring some of the most persistent frictions within modern politics, especially in those areas where there is a significant gap between the intuitions of the ordinary voter and political leaders.
Can a liberal politics also be a popular politics? How can policy address widespread anxieties over social issues such as welfare, diversity and family life? How can a dynamic and open economy also produce good jobs, empower consumers and connect companies to the communities in which they operate?
Our worldview is reflected in the methods we employ: we recognise that the public often have insights that the experts do not.
We pride ourselves in working together with the people who are the focus of our research. Alongside quantitative research, Demos pioneers new forms of deliberative work, from citizens’ juries and ethnography to social media analysis.
Demos is an independent, educational charity. In keeping with our mission, all our work is available to download for free under an open access licence and all our funders are listed in our yearly accounts.
In 2013, our twentieth anniversary year, our core research is focused on four programmes:
Britain’s economic model is stuttering. The financial crisis revealed a series of underlying weaknesses, from an over-reliance on low-paid, low-skilled jobs to an underinvestment in productive enterprise. In 2013 Demos will be exploring how companies can do ‘good business’, aiming for solutions that lead to the decentralisation of power – to employees, consumers and communities – rather than simply tilting the balance from companies to regulators.
In an age of austerity the question is how Britain affords the services that people need and expect. Budgets are shrinking yet demand for services like education, health and social care is rising. Policymakers must establish what people’s real priorities are – and learn to do more with less. In 2013 Demos will be exploring those priorities through research on public attitudes to key areas of the welfare state.
Britain continues to experience declining public trust and participation in formal politics, in addition to social problems, such as the rise of loneliness, depression and social isolation. Many of these problems have their roots in a growing sense of social distance that is the product of globalisation and a more individualised society. In 2013 Demos will explore the ideas and institutions that can help bring together a more fragmented society.
Until recently questions of national identity tended to be taken for granted. Now they are all around us, from questions about Englishness and the future of the Union, to appropriate responses to historically high levels of immigration into the UK. The challenge is to close the gap between the ordinary voter and the political class, through an informed debate and genuine sense of dialogue about how we live together.
Alongside our research programmes, Demos will also continue its tradition of institution building. Over the last two years Demos has helped ‘spin out’ the now-independent Centre for London.
In 2013 Demos is establishing two new ventures:
Demos Finance is a new financial services research unit, providing industry leaders, policymakers and the public with a reliable source of objective and easily comprehensible analysis of the sector. It will generate new ideas and public policy solutions, will help to explain and ‘translate’ complex arguments to a non-specialist public, and give a high priority to good, jargon-free prose.
CASM is a collaboration between Demos and the Text Analytics Group at the University of Sussex. Led by Jamie Bartlett, its work will combine computer science with social science in order to develop social media analysis as a valid instrument of research that meets the needs of policy and decision-makers: research that is ethical, reliable and useable.
Connected with our research programmes, Demos has political projects focused on the burning issues in current political thinking.
The Progressive Conservatism Project looks at how progressive ends can be achieved using Conservative means. The project develops policies and ideas that are firmly rooted in the conservative tradition but also reflect the progressive values of personal and community empowerment, combating poverty and tackling inequality.
Demos collections are about bringing together leading thinkers and experts to illuminate and challenge major issues facing politics and society. We consult intellectuals and commentators from the Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and Conservative Minister David Willetts to Blue Labour guru Maurice Glasman, from journalist Jenni Russell to social reformer Baroness Neuberger, and from philosopher Julian Baggini to illustrator Quentin Blake.