ENGLAND is having fun A moment of communitarianism, thanks to football and its national sport. And now Impresario is England’s manager and now the most popular person, Gareth Southgate. He forged the prima donna collection in the past to defeat his enemy Germany, advance to the Euro 2020 quarterfinals, and over time to create an oily machine that defeated the wonderful Denmark. It’s not just about. The team will advance to the final on July 11th. He also understood the unified national power of collective joy and despair. “When I go out, I have the opportunity to wear this shirt and create moments that people will remember forever,” Southgate wrote in an open letter on June 8.
This sense of unity is evident not only because England reached the final of the tournament for the first time, but also in stark contrast to the division that marked Britain in recent years. The 2016 Brexit referendum did more than just destroy both the country and the Tories. It also became clear that Britain was already far more fragmented than it was realized. Remember the conversation when Remainers (or Leavers) declared they couldn’t understand how close the results were when no one knew they had voted for Leave (or Remain)? The pandemic provided some unity as the British came out on the streets for “applause to the caregivers” on Thursday and were quietly delighted with the incredibly impressive vaccine deployment. But it also forced people to be isolated in their homes. One of the most thrilling things in the semi-finals was the excitement of 60,000 fans at Wembley Stadium, as if a pandemic had never happened.
For decades, the general life of Britain has declined. English in particular has been categorized based on income and education. Danny Doring, a geographer at Oxford University, gathered evidence every decade from 1970 to 2000 that both were physically separated from the many and the few. The British believe that Southgate’s multicultural, kneeling team proves that. With the exception of some thugs, the country is cheerful and racist. In fact, Britain, like the United States, suffers from white flight.
Draw a 100km ring around what appears to be the multicultural capital of London, including the most commuting towns. Minorities are gathered in the center, and whites are gathered around. Leveling things means moving 58% of them within this boundary. This is more than you need to do the same in the average American city. London’s white population declined by more than 500,000 in the 2000s, despite an increase in total population. In 2001, only a quarter of non-whites lived in areas where whites were a minority. Currently, almost half do.
The institutions that once unified the country are also declining. British are far less likely to join voluntary organizations than before, with blue-collar workers leading the escape. Knowledge-intensive companies are less likely to bring different classes of workers under the same roof than manufacturing companies. Half of the poor children who qualify for a free school lunch are educated in just one-fifth of the school.
Classical liberals may point out that much of this separation is voluntary. However, there are many suggestions that many people feel that individual decisions lead to the loss of something important. About half of the British tell pollsters that Britain is “the most divided in my life.” In his new book, Fractured, John Yates, secretary general of the Youth Donation Fund and former Tory special adviser, summarizes evidence that social separation imposes considerable costs. It denies children in poor families access to networks and contacts that help them move their lives forward. Democracy is weakened if voters have no friends to vote for other lots. And when people have little in common with fellow citizens, they are less likely to vote for taxes that keep the welfare state alive.
How do you solve problems that flow directly from your personal choices? Mr. Yates is doing it little by little. He plans to bring thousands of teenagers each year into groups of 12 from different backgrounds and ethnicities to engage in challenging physical activities such as hiking and camping. The intense memories formed by these (sometimes test) experiences can form the bonds that Southgate wrote to his youth, even if the country did not look at them with all their heart.
Yates has other interesting ideas. Mandatory community service for young people as part of their education. Establish a local group for new parents to form bonds in a way that just changes their lives. Then invite those who have recently retired to discuss what to do with their days. Bagehot thinks it’s easier to come up with. Will the voluntary army of young Digerati help older people with their devices? Or do retired people teach children in the city center? It’s not easy to put such an idea into practice. The “big society” that David Cameron promised when he took office as prime minister in 2010 failed because his government turned his attention to reducing the budget deficit. It will also raise difficult questions, especially how obsessive it is. Participation can be unpleasant if there are too many. If too few, the most beneficiaries will dominate everything.
But there are examples to get inspiration. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Britain did the amazing work of creating hundreds of voluntary organizations and restructuring the country. Between 1981 and 2008, the number of Danish voluntary organizations declined elsewhere, but increased by a third, and so did the number of Finns attending sports clubs. After a long period of time when they focused on the politics of liberty, the British elite need to take a leaf from Mr. Southgate’s book and direct their attention to unity. ■■
For more information on Brexit-related issues, please visit: Brexit hub
This article was published in the UK section of the print version under the heading “Band of Brothers”.