The British public are way ahead of the government in their ideas for a fairer, greener country. Time for Downing Street to listen
Earlier this month, a dance troupe on an ITV light entertainment show created one of the most complained-about television moments of the past decade. In their performance, the dancers of Diversity reflected the carnage of Covid, deep-seated inequalities and, most of all, racism. They recreated the murder of George Floyd, then took the knee in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. Unusual fare for Saturday prime-time, yet the audience lapped it up, whooping in the studio and enthusing on social media. And then the media regulator, Ofcom, was deluged with complaints – well over 20,000 by the start of this week, objecting to its political nature. That in turn provoked a petition supporting Diversity.
In this small story lies much that makes people despair of the state of UK democracy: deeply tribalistic, talking past rather than to each other, and with some (notably on the right) nursing their resentments like the dregs of an expensive cocktail. Yet it isn’t always so. A report by a cross-party group of MPs, to be published on Thursday, shows the public is far more thoughtful, is happy to talk across party divides, and way ahead of the government in ideas for a fairer, greener society.