"It seems to me that by “social cohesion” we minimally mean, to return to our first metaphor, a social fabric that holds together. But potential exemplars of this vary enormously, from very tightly-knit communities to much looser ones. This is how it should be. It should not be the goal of policy-makes to determine just how closely interwoven the lives of citizens are. People should be allowed to be as independent as they want to be, consistent with society holding together.Contribution to a collection essays exploring the future of the public and not-for-profit sectors over the next ten years. Full text available as PDF here.
"Similar thoughts arise when you consider the word “community”. It evokes warm feelings of village fetes, neighbourhood watch schemes and communal allotments. But, again, this kind of close living with others is not for everyone. Public bodies should certainly allow such communities to flourish, but it is not their business to turn every street into prime exemplars."