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Jon Yates - Belonging in One Nation

Jon Yates - Belonging in One Nation

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Published by onenationregister
Jon Yates on the policies and priorities for creating trust and a sense of belonging.
Jon Yates on the policies and priorities for creating trust and a sense of belonging.

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Published by: onenationregister on Jun 12, 2013
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Belonging in One NationBy Jon Yates
The first ‘One Nation’ politician was a
of course a Tory. Writing in 1845,Benjamin Disraeli described two nations where there should be one.
[The Queen] rules over two nations [the rich and the poor]; between whomthere
… is no sympathy; who are as ignorant of each other’s habits, thoughts,and feelings, as if they were … i
nhabitants of different planets
.” [Disraeli]
 
Disraeli’s writing –
though of a different political hue
 –
makes one point clear.That if one area is home turf for a
One Nation
party, it is integration. Forwhat is integration if not
the vital task of making ‘One N
ation
out of many?But what should a modern day
One Nation' integration policy look like?What is clear is that w
hether we’re looking at ethnicity, class or age, the UK
has an integration problem. And it is a problem that impacts some of ourmost critical policy challenges:
 
Social mobility: Relationships and networks are key to social mobility.However, half of our poorest children are educated together in just 20%of our schools.
 
Unemployment: 80% of jobs are never advertised but passed throughword of mouth. However half of unemployed Brits spend most of theirtime with others who are out of work.
 
Social Care: Loneliness makes the elderly more likely to suffer mentaland physical illness. However, 5 million senior citizens are sodisconnected from society that they describe the television as theirmain companion.
 
Security: Having a friend of different faiths makes you less susceptibleto extremism. However only 12% of non-Muslims have a Muslim friend.This lack of integration is not just serious
 –
it is also obvious when we startlooking. We can see it when we visit our schools, we can see it when we walkround our neighbourhoods, we can see it when we look at our friends. For too
 
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long our bar for successful integration has been too low. As long as there areno riots or violence we have assumed
it’s
all ok. As long as everyone speakssome English. As long as we can queue up together. This is not integration, itis tolerance.And it is a tolerance that has accepted the unacceptable. It has accepted oneof the most segregated school systems in the rich world. A system sosegregated that my three year old daughter will prepare for life in a diversecountry by spending seven hours a day, five days a week for 11 years in abuilding full of people broadly her age, her ethnicity and her parents' incomebracket. It has accepted a care system that corals the elderly together orisolates them at home. And it has accepted a housing policy that locates richand poor households in separate enclaves.It is time to admit that our present approach to integration has failed. In fact, ithas failed many of the young people my charity has worked with. It failedAhara - an Asian girl from Birmingham - who at 16 had "never had a whitefriend". It failed Dami who never considered university as he did not have afriend who had applied. It failed Louise who crossed roads to avoid groups of black youngsters as she thought they were all in gangs.And it has also failed our country. For a segregated country is a low trustcountry. And we have become a low trust country; British citizens under 55have lower trust of their neighbours than any people in Europe; levels of trusthave fallen by 50% in just half a century. This should seriously worry us for it ishigh-trust countries that flourish in the global race. Individuals are happier
 –
 meaning lower mental health expenditure, communities are more cohesiveand less fearful of crime
 –
meaning lower policing costs
 –
and economies growfaster with a more interconnected labour market.Any successful
One Nation
integration policy must be judged against thisbackdrop. It must focus on delivering ways to rebuild lost trust. This will needa fresh approach
 –
one that puts building connections between all ages,incomes and ethnicities at the centre. This will mean challenging fourinfluential misconceptions of integration policy.
Misconception 1: Integration policy is really about immigration policy.
 
For many, the answer to our integration challenge is solved by
 
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immigration policy. If only we could close the borders, the problem willgo away. Even for those who support reduced immigration, this is adead-end. Reducing immigration will not make this countryhomogenous. With a third of under-fives non-white, we are a multi-racial country. We need an integration policy that accepts this, notwishes it away.
Misconception 2: Integration policy is really about security policy.
Forothers, integration policy is about targeting extremists. Thismisunderstands the fact that low trust and lack of interconnection is aproblem for the mainstream. Lack of connections impacts socialmobility, unemployment and social care
 –
things that impact all of us.We need an integration policy that is as much about Brighton andWigan as Burnley and Woolwich.
Misconception 3: Integration policy is really about race relations policy.
 For still others, integration is solely about building better race relations.This ignores that the disconnections in our society are as much aboutgenerational and income divisions as ethnic ones. We need anapproach that is also about the rich and poor divided by our educationsystem, the isolation of the elderly by our social care system and theseparation of rich and poor households by our housing benefit system.
Misconception 4: Integration policy is not really a matter for policy at all.
 Too many times I have heard politicians and commentators lament thatyou cannot force people to mix and therefore we must do nothing. Thisis the deepest misconception of all. You cannot force people to stopsmoking, but you can decide whether to let them know that it causescancer. You cannot force people to take exercise, but you can decidewhether to offer PE in schools. You cannot force people to read to theirchildren, but you can give them free books when their children areborn. And yet too many of us have accepted a policy of shrugging anddoing next to nothing when it comes to integrating our population. Thislooks particular cavalier when we recognise that our society is becomingmore diverse by age, income and ethnicity. By 2050, we will be the

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