Cieo is a new think tank for a new political era.

Cieo is a new think tank for a new political era. Voters around the world are rejecting mainstream parties or forcing change from within, challenging the legitimacy of long-standing institutions such as the EU, and demanding a greater say in the running of their countries. This new political landscape calls for fresh ideas to replace stale orthodoxies.

At present, a close relationship between politicians, journalists, civil servants, think tanks and lobbyists ensures only a narrow range of views inform the selection and framing of social problems. Rather than attempting to understand the concerns of the electorate there is, at times, a readiness to blame voters for being irredeemably ignorant, racist and xenophobic, or simply too old, white and male. Cieo means to excite, rouse, stir up and set in motion. And that’s exactly what we propose to do – to stir up the cosy consensus that exists between politicians and policymakers and set new ideas in motion.

A pessimistic view of people has prompted some to question the appropriate limits on democracy. Decisions about the economy, immigration, the environment and national security are viewed as better put beyond the influence of the general public and left to experts. This leaves large sections of the population feeling powerless and unable to shape the society they live in.

At the same time, schools, the media and campaigners promote concerns with identity rather than social class. A new etiquette around gender, ethnicity and sexuality is enforced through education, work place codes of conduct and the law. Words and images come to take on a huge significance: advertisements, song lyrics and jokes have all become contentious. Breeching this new etiquette, perhaps by using the wrong vocabulary – even inadvertently – can lead to people losing their jobs, being banned from social media or even arrested.

Cieo stands for five distinct values: democracy, liberty, prosperity, humanity and tolerance. These values underpin a commitment to take seriously the views of people who live and work outside of Westminster or Washington. They also underpin a distinctive and far-reaching critical and theoretical perspective. As a result, Cieo goes beyond simply reflecting public opinion and seeks to change the political conversation.

Cieo conducts original social research as well as producing critical commentaries on existing policies and practices.