One hundred and forty eight years ago in Manchester, the great statesman, Benjamin Disraeli, articulated a bold mission for Britain, writes Sir John Hayes.
Though his speech lasted for three hours, during which Disraeli consumed two full bottles of brandy (!), a simple phrase has come to represent his vision – ‘one nation’.
January 31 at 11pm will mark a new chapter in our unique island story as Britain becomes again a wholly independent state, free to craft her own destiny.
However, as we depart from the EU, Brexit must represent much more than the dichotomous perception of victory or defeat as the be all and end all.
Looking to the future, coming together as people in an uncertain world is more important than ever.
Disraeli envisioned a shared, patriotic love for the nation, driving each and every citizen, no matter from where they began.
Coupled with this rooted sense of place and loyalty to our shared home, care for those whose life is a struggle should define decisions made by people blessed with good fortune.
Disraeli’s wisdom from the past offers a firm foundation for the future upon which I hope this Government can build a national policy programme designed to ensure that every corner of our Kingdom – England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland – can flourish.
This endeavour’s success depends on complementary objectives.
Firstly, we must elevate the most disadvantaged Britons by investing in public services, relied upon most by those amongst us with least.
The Prime Minister’s welcome pledge to recruit 50,000 new nurses will bolster our precious National Health Service, ensuring those who suffer have access to needed care.
Similarly, though we are collectively responsible for keeping watch over our neighbours, 20,000 extra police officers, including 50 here in Lincolnshire, will work to protect the innocent from thugs and thieves.
Most exciting of all, this Government will re-direct the currently disproportionate degree of public spending which ends up in the South East by investing in the regeneration of the rest of Britain.
Second, simultaneously, we should celebrate our glorious national history, rejoicing that British identity – rooted in Christian teaching – has always been generous and welcoming.
The liberal establishment’s disdain for patriotism has left many seeking a sense of belonging to resort to peculiar identarianism based on proclivities and prejudices.
The golden opportunity Brexit provides is to take back control of our sovereign independence, able to determine our own laws free from the interference of foreign courts and in doing so empower the left behind.
On February 1, we will rise and shine as one nation.
Let us now come together for the betterment of those with least in a shared love of country, friends and neighbours.