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Virtuous Citizenship and the Moral Values of One Nation


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Editor's note: This lecture contains explicit language and/or profanity, please do not download if you may be offended.

Speaker(s): Jon Cruddas MP, David Davis MP, Professor Francesca Klug, Professor Alan Sked
Chair: Dr Purna Sen

Recorded on 12 June 2013 in Old Theatre, Old Building.

Britain as "One Nation" is an idea that originated with the Conservative Party, in particular its Victorian leader Benjamin Disraeli who saw Britain divided into two nations, the rich and the poor. Disraeli defined One Nation politics as the practices necessary to, 'maintain the institutions of the realm and elevate the condition of the people'.

In his 2012 conference speech the Labour leader Ed Miliband defined his party as "One Nation" Labour, and in so doing directly and consciously challenged the Tory ownership of this important political ideal. Meanwhile the Liberal Democrats have always seen themselves as a faction-free party – neither capital nor labour – and in this sense inherently 'One Nation'.

In a period of economic crisis and with the loss of public trust in the ability of politicians to renew our institutions and elevate the condition of the people, who now speaks for One Nation?

Jonathan Cruddas is the Labour Party MP for Dagenham and Rainham.

David Davis has been the Conservative Party MP for Haltemprice and Howden since 1997, and was previously the MP for the Boothferry constituency between 1987-1997.

Francesca Klug is a professorial research fellow at the LSE and director of the Human Rights Futures Project at the Centre for the Study of Human Rights.

Alan Sked is professor of international history at the London School of Economics.

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