Disraeli defined One Nation as ‘the maintenance of the institutions of the realm and the elevation of the conditions of the people’. It remains a noble description of the vocation of politics. We need to renew not subordinate our institutions such as our great universities, our Parliament, our city governments and professional associations and extend them into the working life of the nation.
One Nation assumes the plurality and diversity of existing interests and traditions and seeks to reconcile them in pursuit of the common good, of a societal purpose that gives incentives to virtue and is oriented towards the good. It conceives of this in reconciling the societal divisions that liberalism denies exists, between capital and labour, between immigrant and local, Christians and Muslims, religious and secular, men and women, rich and poor and between North and South.
Such a political vision is very different from the one proposed by this government, or the last Labour government, both of which are characterised by a contempt for tradition, a belief in managerial prerogative and the domination of a single interest in the name of efficiency. One Nation Labour is offering a future that is significantly different and better. There are interesting times ahead.