Community Cohesion and Equality

The government has stated that it is committed 'to creating One Nation', a country where 'every colour is a good colour … every member of every part of society is able to fulfil their potential … racism is unacceptable and counteracted … everyone is treated according to their needs and rights … everyone recognises their responsibilities … racial diversity is celebrated'.

The statement invites several searching questions. What values and loyalties must be shared by communities and individuals in One Nation? How should disputes and incompatible values between different communities be handled? How is a balance to be struck between the need to treat people equally, the need to treat people differently, and the need to maintain shared values and social cohesion? Runnymede argues that Britain should develop both as a community of citizens (the liberal view) and as a community of communities (the pluralist view).

Runnymede has a particular stake in the issue of social and community cohesion. The report of the Commission on the Future of Multi-Ethnic Britain was certainly wide-ranging in the scope of its recommendations, but also extremely prescient in anticipating and articulating a number of concerns which arose in the wake of disturbances in Bradford, Burnley and Oldham. In the report, there is an influential chapter which stresses the importance of linking cohesion closely with issues around difference and equality.

Runnymede has worked at developing thinking around cohesion over the past year through conferences, papers and debate. The development of this thinking is shared here through conference reports, articles and papers.

To read these publications, click here.