Most of the self-conscious debate about the politics of public health is the politics of the left. Therefore most of the political disagreements about the politics of public health are framed by those wider politics. Over the 10 years from 1984 to 1994, centre-left politics in England slowly understood that the 'public' had developed and changed. For public health to have any success in the modern world, its social theory and practice needs to move to work with the public's aspirations. One important example of the way in which an authoritarian politics of the left dominates the politics of public health is the language used. Nearly everyone on the British left is engaged in democratic policies. The government white paper on health improvement contains a politics of health improvement that demonstrates how individuals and communities have a strong role in improving their own health.