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The modern left values both solidarity and diversity, but they can conflict. A strong notion of Britishness helps them to cohabit—the left still needs the nation

By Jytte Klausen   December 2000

For the 100 years preceding the 1970s, progressives in Europe and America pursued a politics of solidarity. The left demanded the creation and expansion of the welfare state. Public policy should redistribute income and subsidise, if not deliver directly, essential services such as education and health. The ideal was a society in which the inequalities associated with social class would fade away.

That ideal remains in place, but from the 1970s onwards it has been gradually supplemented by another ideal-the promotion of diversity. Groups that once experienced discrimination would now be accorded recognition. The plethora of languages and cultures created…

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