Citizenship

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:

  • Skills Passport/Welfare Reform. The global economy is changing. The idea of a job for life is no longer true. That means, before too long, too many people in our country may have outdated for the modern economy. Indeed, much of our education system and view of skills training is a century out of date. We need to rethink the way we view a career, helping people retrain at various stages along the way. With a new Skills Passport, we can make skills training a key part of modern 21st-century citizenship.
  • DFID-funded Work Experience. For too long our horizons have been limited by the EU. That's why now is the time to help any young person who wants to truly embrace Global Britain by supporting them financially through our aid budget. By helping them undertake work experience in the fastest growing emerging markets around the world, we can make Global Britain into a reality.
  • Big Tent Regional. Many people voted for Brexit because they think the Westminster bubble doesn't speak for them. Sadly, they're often right. That's why I created the Big Tent Ideas Festival as a cross-party forum to discuss the key ideas to renew Britain after Brexit, something above and beyond the shrill and divisive rhetoric of modern politics. And now we're taking it around the country. Big Tent Regional will visit the people and places left behind, developing new ideas with local communities to build a bold renewal programme that can really change our country.

Background 

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:

ConHome 19.08.18 “A New Model of Citzenship.”

The Times 07.09.18 “People are tired of partisan politicians – we can and must do better.”

Daily Telegraph 08.09.18 “The need for a British renewal.”