On the New Statesman today, John Denham, former Labour minister and director of the Centre for English Identity and Politics at Southampton University, writes about why the coronavirus is a moment for England to craft a new identity – one that is “inclusive but also distinctly national”.
Over the past month, commentators have proclaimed what should change “without any evidence that these changes will come to pass”, he says. The left needs to do better. “If we want this new crisis to usher in progressive change then, this time, we need to have a better narrative,” he argues.
“In the future, one story will be that we came through this together. We looked out for each other and bore our losses bravely as we have done before. That story will put power back where it has always been. Our national story must be more than togetherness and solidarity. It must be that the people of England proved better than those in power.”