Transcript of Byrne-Etzioni at RSA

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.


Speech to the RSA with Professor Amitai Etzioni

Fantastic event last night at the Royal Society of Arts, where I and renowned American communitarian philosopher Amitai Etzioni, spoke together on the theme of community.
Professor Etzioni is the leading exponent of communitarianism, and was here to help me think through some of the issues around using public service reform to strengthen our sense of community and responsibility. Having admired his work for many years, it was a privilege to meet him yesterday, and to engage with him and an the audience at the RSA. You can read my speech – which addressed the question ‘Do People Need Community Anymore?’ – here. And you can listen to an audio recording of the event here –