As a nation, the Brits have been through quite a bit over the last year. A sort of late midlife health and emotional crisis. The twin demons of pandemic and Brexit have scarred and divided us. But what is the collective mindset that led to the Brexit vote? And how have our values determined how we have coped with the pandemic: the wishes and needs of the individual do not always coincide with those of the group, our nation. Face masks don’t just protect us they are intended to safeguard others. How has pandemic changed our values and priorities – both on a personal and public level? Or will it be back to business as usual once we are all vaccinated?
In the latest in its series of podcasts supported by the investment bank Stifel and its European President Eithne O’Leary, Jericho Chambers Partner, Matthew Gwyther speaks to Eithne plus three book authors and a young, American colleague of Eithne’s who has only recently joined the bank after completing a Masters at LSE in London.
“It’s much easier to take comfort in your history than face up to what actually happened”
To understand where we are, claims Sathnam Sanghera, you have to comprehend where we’ve been as a nation. And indeed, the grim things we’ve done. Sanghera’s book Empireland just published has caused a huge stir and shot to number 2 in The Sunday Times bestseller list. It has annoyed many on the “patriotic” Right very much. Sanghera places Brexit in a continuum of a Brit exceptionalism, a mindset that is convinced that we remain Top Nation despite the globe containing rather fewer nations coloured in pink than it did in 1918. Until we come to terms with our history and find the true strengths of a multi-cultural identity, he suggests, then we’ll remain in the death grip of an inexorable reputational and economic decline.
This podcast is part of The Double-Wicked Challenge; COVID and Brexit conversation series, curated by Jericho on behalf of Stifel Europe.
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