Phillip Blond is Director of ResPublica. Follow him on Twitter.
To many, the Church is a charming but hopelessly outdated institution, part of this country’s past but with little to do with its future. The secular cosmopolitan elite regard the church as at best a quaint anachronism, at worst a redoubt of reactionary values. But this self-satisfied contention is founded on an unsustainable confidence about the present order and an ignorance of what life is like for many people in our country.
One of the hallmarks of British society over the last 30 years or so is that those who fall behind do so progressively and aggressively; rewards accrue more and more to the winners and less and less to the losers. And as the winners get fewer, the losers grow and proliferate. In Britain this divide seems brutal and permanent; when you fail in Britain there seems to be no second chance, no way back. When the postcode of our birth is perhaps one of the most successful indicators of our future, it is no surprise that we are one of the most socially immobile countries in the developed world, fractured by generational inequality and deep social damage.
Trapped between the extremes of a radical collectivist and individualist politics we Britons have, since the Second World War, gradually eliminated most of our mediating and immediate institutions. Grammar schools have been denied to the poor, trade unions have abandoned the low paid (the living wage campaign has been led by civil society, not organised labour), and successful regional businesses employing people at scale have largely vanished.