The left must get over its queasiness at displays of national prideby Chuka Umunna / December 16, 2016 / Leave a comment
Social divisions sap our communities of trust—increasing anxiety, prejudice and the fear of crime, restricting social mobility and augmenting the sense that there is more which divides us than binds us together. The result is a self-perpetuating cycle of fragmentation which fuels feelings of difference and dislocation—and makes it all too easy for people to pin the challenges facing our country on “the other.”
In order to drain Britain’s politics of the venom of blame and recrimination, we must build a more socially integrated society. This will mean seriously engaging with the vital task of managing change and crafting a politics which speaks the concerns of all Britons. As those of us who believe in open societies have been repeatedly reminded this year, political movements which attempt to suppress or circumvent the need for solidarity and community have a limited shelf life.
There are some very practical steps we can take at a local level to support communities and foster integration. When I visited Boston in Lincolnshire, one woman said to me that she wanted to talk to her neighbour and build a friendship, but she had to wait for her neighbour’s children to come home to translate because her neighbour didn’t speak English. However, local authorities have had their funding cut for English language services and are not able to provide the scale and depth of…