Our country is more divided than ever. As we leave the European Union, our national identity is also in flux. That's why we need to set out a new model of citizenship which defines our place in the world and our responsibilities to each other. To heal the wounds of the Referendum, and find a sustainable future for our public services, we must focus on what unites us rather than what divides us.
Here are two of my big ideas:
When I was made Chair of the Prime Minister’s Policy Board in 2016, I immediately argued that renewing citizenship must be at the heart of a Post-Brexit renewal programme. A ‘21st Century’ Skills Passport – giving those feeling left behind by globalisation, digitalisation, automation a means to train and retrain for the modern labour market – was one of my core reform ideas. I believe that creating something physical and tangible, with obvious local benefits for every British citizen, would go some way to restoring the alienation that many feel from their own economy. In a similar vein, I believe we should be doing more to encourage the next generation to broaden their horizons, visiting emerging markets around the globe, and funding schoolchildren to see these places first-hand.
My belief in local politics is one of the reasons I founded the Big Tent Ideas Festival: a non-party political forum for those from across the political spectrum and those who do not associate themselves with any one specific party. After a highly successful pilot in 2017, featured across television and the press, in 2018 we brought 2000 people to rural Cambridgeshire to discuss the big challenges facing contemporary politics. We hope Big Tent will launch a movement of reform, opportunity, empowerment, responsibility and a renewed sense of active citizenship. We do not claim to have all the answers, but we hope to at least ask the right questions. Of the right people. In the right forum. In the right spirit.
Links to coverage of my work in this space: