In the context of growing inequality, disconnection from power and political polarization, many people have lost trust in the institutions that frame their lives and even those with whom they coexist. A key issue that emerged in meetings with our inquiry into the future of civil society around England through the past year has been …
“There’s a huge amount of active, pissed off, determined people who are trying to deliver all sorts of change within Cornwall. So I think that’s where the hope is”
Epsom is a powerful analogy for much of the country: economic forces are sucking it towards the city of London, but it’s striving to develop its own identity. How that struggle plays out - between England as a hinterland for a once imperial capital, and England as a country in its own right - could be vital to the future not only of this one town, but of the whole country.
As the British economy has moved away from manufacturing and toward financial services, growing numbers in the city are unemployed, underemployed or in precarious employment, and the use of food banks is on the rise. Inequality has increased, with life expectancy as much as 14 years lower for residents in areas of Sunderland like Hendon, than it is for people outside the city in rural Northumbria.