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  • I am British.

  • (Laughter)

  • (Applause)

  • Never before has the phrase "I am British" elicited so much pity.

  • (Laughter)

  • I come from an island where many of us like to believe

  • there's been a lot of continuity over the last thousand years.

  • We tend to have historically imposed change on others

  • but done much less of it ourselves.

  • So it came as an immense shock to me

  • when I woke up on the morning of June 24

  • to discover that my country had voted to leave the European Union,

  • my Prime Minister had resigned,

  • and Scotland was considering a referendum

  • that could bring to an end the very existence of the United Kingdom.

  • So that was an immense shock for me,

  • and it was an immense shock for many people,

  • but it was also something that, over the following several days,

  • created a complete political meltdown

  • in my country.

  • There were calls for a second referendum,

  • almost as if, following a sports match,

  • we could ask the opposition for a replay.

  • Everybody was blaming everybody else.

  • People blamed the Prime Minister

  • for calling the referendum in the first place.

  • They blamed the leader of the opposition for not fighting it hard enough.

  • The young accused the old.

  • The educated blamed the less well-educated.

  • That complete meltdown was made even worse

  • by the most tragic element of it:

  • levels of xenophobia and racist abuse in the streets of Britain

  • at a level that I have never seen before

  • in my lifetime.

  • People are now talking about whether my country is becoming a Little England,

  • or, as one of my colleagues put it,

  • whether we're about to become a 1950s nostalgia theme park

  • floating in the Atlantic Ocean.

  • (Laughter)

  • But my question is really,

  • should we have the degree of shock that we've experienced since?

  • Was it something that took place overnight?

  • Or are there deeper structural factors that have led us to where we are today?

  • So I want to take a step back and ask two very basic questions.

  • First, what does Brexit represent,

  • not just for my country,

  • but for all of us around the world?

  • And second, what can we do about it?

  • How should we all respond?

  • So first, what does Brexit represent?

  • Hindsight is a wonderful thing.

  • Brexit teaches us many things about our society

  • and about societies around the world.

  • It highlights in ways that we seem embarrassingly unaware of

  • how divided our societies are.

  • The vote split along lines of age, education, class and geography.

  • Young people didn't turn out to vote in great numbers,

  • but those that did wanted to remain.

  • Older people really wanted to leave the European Union.

  • Geographically, it was London and Scotland that most strongly committed

  • to being part of the European Union,

  • while in other parts of the country there was very strong ambivalence.

  • Those divisions are things we really need to recognize and take seriously.

  • But more profoundly, the vote teaches us something

  • about the nature of politics today.

  • Contemporary politics is no longer just about right and left.

  • It's no longer just about tax and spend.

  • It's about globalization.

  • The fault line of contemporary politics is between those that embrace globalization

  • and those that fear globalization.

  • (Applause)

  • If we look at why those who wanted to leave --

  • we call them "Leavers," as opposed to "Remainers" --

  • we see two factors in the opinion polls

  • that really mattered.

  • The first was immigration, and the second sovereignty,

  • and these represent a desire for people to take back control of their own lives

  • and the feeling that they are unrepresented by politicians.

  • But those ideas are ones that signify fear and alienation.

  • They represent a retreat back towards nationalism and borders

  • in ways that many of us would reject.

  • What I want to suggest is the picture is more complicated than that,

  • that liberal internationalists,

  • like myself, and I firmly include myself in that picture,

  • need to write ourselves back into the picture

  • in order to understand how we've got to where we are today.

  • When we look at the voting patterns across the United Kingdom,

  • we can visibly see the divisions.

  • The blue areas show Remain

  • and the red areas Leave.

  • When I looked at this,

  • what personally struck me was the very little time in my life

  • I've actually spent in many of the red areas.

  • I suddenly realized that, looking at the top 50 areas in the UK

  • that have the strongest Leave vote,

  • I've spent a combined total of four days of my life in those areas.

  • In some of those places,

  • I didn't even know the names of the voting districts.

  • It was a real shock to me,

  • and it suggested that people like me

  • who think of ourselves as inclusive, open and tolerant,

  • perhaps don't know our own countries and societies

  • nearly as well as we like to believe.

  • (Applause)

  • And the challenge that comes from that is we need to find a new way

  • to narrate globalization to those people,

  • to recognize that for those people who have not necessarily been to university,

  • who haven't necessarily grown up with the Internet,

  • that don't get opportunities to travel,

  • they may be unpersuaded by the narrative that we find persuasive

  • in our often liberal bubbles.

  • (Applause)

  • It means that we need to reach out more broadly and understand.

  • In the Leave vote, a minority have peddled the politics of fear and hatred,

  • creating lies and mistrust

  • around, for instance, the idea that the vote on Europe

  • could reduce the number of refugees and asylum-seekers coming to Europe,

  • when the vote on leaving had nothing to do with immigration

  • from outside the European Union.

  • But for a significant majority of the Leave voters

  • the concern was disillusionment with the political establishment.

  • This was a protest vote for many,

  • a sense that nobody represented them,

  • that they couldn't find a political party that spoke for them,

  • and so they rejected that political establishment.

  • This replicates around Europe and much of the liberal democratic world.

  • We see it with the rise in popularity of Donald Trump in the United States,

  • with the growing nationalism of Viktor Orbán in Hungary,

  • with the increase in popularity of Marine Le Pen in France.

  • The specter of Brexit is in all of our societies.

  • So the question I think we need to ask is my second question,

  • which is how should we collectively respond?

  • For all of us who care about creating liberal, open, tolerant societies,

  • we urgently need a new vision,

  • a vision of a more tolerant, inclusive globalization,

  • one that brings people with us rather than leaving them behind.

  • That vision of globalization

  • is one that has to start by a recognition of the positive benefits of globalization.

  • The consensus amongst economists

  • is that free trade, the movement of capital,

  • the movement of people across borders

  • benefit everyone on aggregate.

  • The consensus amongst international relations scholars

  • is that globalization brings interdependence,

  • which brings cooperation and peace.

  • But globalization also has redistributive effects.

  • It creates winners and losers.

  • To take the example of migration,

  • we know that immigration is a net positive for the economy as a whole

  • under almost all circumstances.

  • But we also have to be very aware

  • that there are redistributive consequences,

  • that importantly, low-skilled immigration

  • can lead to a reduction in wages for the most impoverished in our societies

  • and also put pressure on house prices.

  • That doesn't detract from the fact that it's positive,

  • but it means more people have to share in those benefits

  • and recognize them.

  • In 2002, the former Secretary-General of the United Nations, Kofi Annan,

  • gave a speech at Yale University,

  • and that speech was on the topic of inclusive globalization.

  • That was the speech in which he coined that term.

  • And he said, and I paraphrase,

  • "The glass house of globalization has to be open to all

  • if it is to remain secure.

  • Bigotry and ignorance

  • are the ugly face of exclusionary and antagonistic globalization."

  • That idea of inclusive globalization was briefly revived in 2008

  • in a conference on progressive governance

  • involving many of the leaders of European countries.

  • But amid austerity and the financial crisis of 2008,

  • the concept disappeared almost without trace.

  • Globalization has been taken to support a neoliberal agenda.

  • It's perceived to be part of an elite agenda

  • rather than something that benefits all.

  • And it needs to be reclaimed on a far more inclusive basis

  • than it is today.

  • So the question is, how can we achieve that goal?

  • How can we balance on the one hand addressing fear and alienation

  • while on the other hand refusing vehemently

  • to give in to xenophobia and nationalism?

  • That is the question for all of us.

  • And I think, as a social scientist,

  • that social science offers some places to start.

  • Our transformation has to be about both ideas and about material change,

  • and I want to give you four ideas as a starting point.

  • The first relates to the idea of civic education.

  • What stands out from Brexit

  • is the gap between public perception and empirical reality.

  • It's been suggested that we've moved to a postfactual society,

  • where evidence and truth no longer matter,

  • and lies have equal status to the clarity of evidence.

  • So how can we --

  • (Applause)

  • How can we rebuild respect for truth and evidence into our liberal democracies?

  • It has to begin with education,

  • but it has to start with the recognition that there are huge gaps.

  • In 2014, the pollster Ipsos MORI

  • published a survey on attitudes to immigration,

  • and it showed that as numbers of immigrants increase,

  • so public concern with immigration also increases,

  • although it obviously didn't unpack causality,

  • because this could equally be to do not so much with numbers

  • but the political and media narrative around it.

  • But the same survey also revealed

  • huge public misinformation

  • and misunderstanding about the nature of immigration.

  • For example, in these attitudes in the United Kingdom,

  • the public believed that levels of asylum

  • were a greater proportion of immigration than they were,

  • but they also believed the levels of educational migration

  • were far lower as a proportion of overall migration

  • than they actually are.

  • So we have to address this misinformation,

  • the gap between perception and reality on key aspects of globalization.

  • And that can't just be something that's left to our schools,

  • although that's important to begin at an early age.

  • It has to be about lifelong civic participation

  • and public engagement that we all encourage as societies.

  • The second thing that I think is an opportunity

  • is the idea to encourage more interaction across diverse communities.

  • (Applause)

  • One of the things that stands out for me very strikingly,

  • looking at immigration attitudes in the United Kingdom,

  • is that ironically, the regions of my country

  • that are the most tolerant of immigrants

  • have the highest numbers of immigrants.

  • So for instance, London and the Southeast have the highest numbers of immigrants,

  • and they are also by far the most tolerant areas.

  • It's those areas of the country that have the lowest levels of immigration

  • that actually are the most exclusionary and intolerant towards migrants.

  • So we need to encourage exchange programs.

  • We need to ensure that older generations who maybe can't travel

  • get access to the Internet.

  • We need to encourage, even on a local and national level,

  • more movement, more participation,

  • more interaction with people who we don't know

  • and whose views we might not necessarily agree with.

  • The third thing that I think is crucial, though,

  • and this is really fundamental,

  • is we have to ensure that everybody shares

  • in the benefits of globalization.

  • This illustration from the Financial Times post-Brexit is really striking.

  • It shows tragically that those people who voted to leave the European Union