After two years as Head of the Policy Unit at Number 10, Director of the Institute for Public Policy Research Nick Pearce suggests that we ask how those who hold positions of leadership in our society can serve everyone else?
He rightly says that elites must attend to the common good, adding, “they will not do so voluntarily”.
“What if schooling, access to higher education and entry to the professions were guided by the injunction that elites in a democratic society should serve the common good and not just their individual aspirations?”
“Elites drawn from a narrow gene pool – the privately educated and socially segregated that marry and mix with each other – will often possess limited understanding of those they represent or serve in their professional lives. They will have little first-hand knowledge of the conditions in which others live, still less of their concerns. At worst, they will be entirely ignorant, prejudiced or disrespectful of them.”
He considers remedial action:
- Organise a gap year to be spent in voluntary service
- Learn from the experience of Teach First, which places graduates from leading universities into schools in disadvantaged communities.
- Develop the government’s National Citizen Service scheme into a rite of passage for all young people.
- Hold primaries for the selection of political candidate.
- Devolve power.
- Develop stronger community organising.