The Minister for Immigration Liam Byrne today claimed that Labour is the only party that can ‘refresh’ Britain’s sense of community.
In a pamphlet written for Demos, ‘A More United Kingdom’, he says that Labour is built on ideas of fraternity and fairness, and must not allow the Conservative party to claim the notion for itself.
While the tactic of right is to revert to a set of traditional institutions to renew our sense of belonging, Byrne argues that the institutions and standards that sustained it in the past have been weakened by the pressures of modern life. The solution, he suggests, is a new spirit of ‘civic inventiveness’.
“We’re living in a world without walls where job insecurity, frequent moving and dispersed families have eroded our feeling of community. We need a new set of shared standards if we are to make Britain feel like home. This is not about Government lecturing people from Westminster, its about empowering people to express their civic pride and freeing them to celebrate what they love most about our country. ”
He also paid tribute to Britain’s multi-culturalism, saying “Strengthening what we have in common must coexist with a respect for difference.”
The pamphlet renews calls for a national day of celebration. It also calls for stronger support for the Union and for the Labour Party to lead a renewal of civic pride and association as part of an effort to regenerate Britain’s poorest places.
Notes to editors
Liam Byrne is Member of Parliament for Hodge Hill, and Minister at the Home Office for Immigration and the West Midlands.
‘A More United Kingdom’ was written by Liam Byrne and published by Demos. Support for the project was provided by the Accord Housing Association.
For interviews with Liam Byrne please contact Sharon Ibbs - 0207 035 8801.
At Demos, please contact Peter Harrington – 07939 664133, 0207 367 6338.