I’ve only just come across this link to my interview with Demos, about a More United Kingdom.
The transcript of the talk I gave at the RSA with Prof Etzioni is now online, and the Community Links’ You Tube page has some of my discussion with David Robinson’s team out in East London. The core of Prof Etzioni’s argument, which has influenced me a great deal is that we need to work on new ways of having what he calls a ‘moral dialogue’ with each other, to establish new norms of behaviour and living. This has to fill the gap – some would say a gulf – that opened with the breaking down of the norms and traditions of the 1950s and 1960s, which in actual fact, few of us would want to go back to. But Prof Etzioni’s message is optimistic; using the example of the debates as wide ranging as Iraq, gay marriage, the environment and the smoking ban, he argues here;
‘I think by now I’ve succeeded in illustrating what I mean, the way whole societies, local communities and increasingly actually trans-national communities, can have more conversation despite as huge as they are, and despite that they’re often heated and emotional. At the end of the day very often they lead to new shared understanding and new voluntary enforcement’
My argument is that this is the kind of conversation that political leaders and parties have to take on help lead if we’re to foster the kind of solidarity which I believe is the key to social progress in the two decades to come.
I delivered a speech last night to the Fabian Society, in the Boothroyd Room at the House of Commons. The speech was on the subject of “Communitarian Politics for Britain’s Poorest Places” and in it, I outlined what I think needs to be done to tackle poverty in our inner cities, and to equip people with the capabilities they need to get on in life.
As you can see from the speech, I drew extensively on my experiences as a community organiser in Hodge Hill over the last five years.
After I spoke, Antonia Bance from Oxfam and Mary Abdo from The Young Foundation responded, and we had a good discussion – punctuated by Division Bells, calling me to vote in Parliament – with some interesting contributions from the audience.
If you’d like to read the speech in its entirety, you can find it Here