Insecurity has become pervasive. It permeates the lives not just of the marginalised but also the reasonably well off. Our lives feel beyond our control. Someone else is making the big decisions that affect us, whether that’s through the state or the market, and forces such as globalisation and climate change impact on us and there is nothing, it seems, we can do about it. The root causes of this age of anxiety are deep and strong and there are endless reports on how bad things are and why, including the earlier Compass report, Something’s not right: insecurity and an anxious nation.
So Compass, with the support of the Webb Memorial Trust, thought it was time to look for answers as to how we might start the process of addressing insecurity in terms of both policy and politics.
We need two things: first a strategic policy approach. The scale of the problem is so big that there are no simple or quick answers. Instead we need a policy approach that builds over time. And because the problems are deep, affect so many and will take decades to sort, the solutions are unlikely to be the preserve of any single party or political project. So second, we need a broad alliance to be formed that is committed, over many years, and from all walks of political and civil society life, inside and outside Westminster, to see this project through. This will not be easy. But the old binary and adversarial politics of the past is being broken down. Not least through new technology and new identities that increasingly make old divisions less relevant.
What this paper does is highlight that the most important word in our political lexicon is ‘and’. It is the world of ‘and’ we seek and in particular a world that is Secure & Free, secure because it provides genuine freedom – freedom to do as well as freedom from – and free because it is secure. It is this dualism that resides in all of us – the need for both security and freedom – that we must find expression for at the level of society. That is one reason why the answer doesn’t lie with one party, tribe or tradition, but must be forged out of respectful and open dialogue to help create a world in which we learn from and help each other.
The paper identifies starting points for how to build a more secure future. It is not a standard report setting out a particular position – it is the first step of a consensus building process. It is posted here as a draft for consultation (hence the typos!) and we’d love to hear your comments.
Read the full publication and we would love to hear in the comments below: do you agree with the ideas that have been highlighted? Can you improve upon them? Can you suggest better ones