Divided Britain: how should we put the One Nation back together again?

Sep 26, 2016

Time & Date

Monday 25th September 2016

17:45 – Start
18:45 – End


Room 2H, 5,
ACC Liverpool,
Kings Dock,
L3 4FP

Chair: David Goodhart, Policy Exchange

Speakers: Tulip Siddiq MP | John McTernan, Political Strategist and Commentator |  Tom Clark, Prospect

The popular view is that Britain is divided. The EU referendum result has brought underlying questions — of privilege and disadvantage, representation and voice, disillusion and discontent — to the fore. New theoretical revisions have arisen around class, wealth, geography, and age. In the face of political and economic uncertainty, a need for unity makes addressing both the realities and perceptions of division not only desirable, but also essential — both for greater societal cohesion and for electoral gain.

Theresa May’s government has responded with the promise of One Nation politics. Increased usage of this term during the past years — on all sides of the political spectrum — has risked it becoming an ambiguously virtuous sound bite. But, of course, as with other forms of paternalistic thought, ‘One Nation’ simply proposes that the state’s duty is to protect its citizens as members of a hierarchical society — not least in helping them to observe their obligations to each other — particularly in times of increased segregation over access to wealth and opportunity.

The offer of a new paternalistic answer to intense feelings of division brings up urgent questions for Labour politicians, thinkers, and policymakers, alike. In order to respond, it seems necessary to take a fresh look at the role the state should play in our lives, the significance of social justice and social mobility, and how we can and should measure and effect societal progress.

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