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‘One Nation’ concept: Origins began with Benajmin Disraeli

THE “One Nation” concept has its origins in the novels of Benjamin Disraeli, who entitled his 1845 book Sybil, or the Two Nations.

The work from the man who went on to become prime minister was written to illustrate the poverty of the country’s working-class cities. It included the quote that the UK was made up of “two nations between whom there is no intercourse and no sympathy… The rich and the poor”.

In a famous speech at the Manchester Free Hall in 1872, although he didn’t use the phrase “One Nation”, he became widely associated with the concept as he called for improvements to working-class lives.

In the 1920s, Tory Stanley Baldwin said he stood for the “union of these two nations of which Disraeli spoke… to make one nation of our own people at home”.

One Nation Conservatism, which dominated the party’s thinking in the post-war years, believed in the need to balance the need for free enterprise with a concern for social justice.

 

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