< Ideas Bank, < Economic wellbeing
< Regeneration, < New Start editorial index page

On Monday the beggar sitting on the pavement in London’s Euston Road summed up the mood. Next to him was a piece of cardboard with the scrawled message: ‘business as usual’.

Resilience is the word of the week. It’s about a determination not to be defeated, a triumph of hope over inhumanity, the heroism of the daily grind.

Being attacked concentrates the mind. It reminds us of what we value - not just the freedoms we’re privileged to enjoy, but also the ordinariness of life: travelling on the bus or the tube, turning up at work and getting on with the job in hand, doing our bit.

Most of the time, we forget these things are fragile and have been achieved at a high price. That price has been paid not only by those responsible for peace and security, but by those who have fashioned the quality of our peace and security - people who have fought for workers’ rights, for equal opportunities, for sanitation and public services, who have campaigned for decent housing and transport and a better environment. We’re living on the investment they made with their lives, just as our children will live on whatever we put back.

The resilience that refuses to be cowed in the face of terror is a cousin of the resilience that’s at the heart of real regeneration: the insistence on the value of ordinary life and ordinary people, the affirmation that no matter how run-down and neglected a place or a community is, it deserves the best future we can give it.

At its core is a belief in the worth of human beings and an assertion that disadvantage is not just unfortunate, but unjust, and that we’re here to do what we can to put right that injustice.

It is that belief that underpins the more aspirational of this government’s policies: the idea that nobody should be disadvantaged by where they live, that child poverty should be ultimately eradicated, that enterprise and opportunity should be open to everyone.

To put those policies into effect demands not just expertise but resilience - an insistence that the job is worth doing, that we won’t give up in the face of hostility or a lack of interest, and that when a stand needs to be taken in solidarity with people who are poor or powerless in the face of easy commercial or bureaucratic options, we’ll have the courage to take it.

Julian Dobson, Editor

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