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Are the UK's institutions elitist and irrelevant?

Cass students report from City of London debate

On the first of October the Lord Mayor of London, Lord Hennessy, Professor Diarmaid MacCulloch, and representatives from the wider City of London community debated the "authority of our institutions".

The debate focused on what Lord Hennessey calls the 'hidden wiring' that holds together a well-governed city, community or country.

Cass MBA student Iain Kerrigan and PhD student Aneesh Banerjee attended and wrote this report:

The debate examined the sources of social cohesion and of personal and public moral values. It focused particularly on those values reinforced by traditional symbols such as monarchy, government and church.

The debate then went on to consider whether increased communications have rendered these closed gardens elitist and irrelevant.

Alternatively, do young people increasingly value traditional institutions that provide stability and spiritual depth in a changing and often superficial world?

The debate proved very stimulating; bringing the differing generational viewpoints into sharp relief.

The divide that was identified between the Church of England's leaders, who were described as living in "Bishop Land", and the diverse British community was stark.

Kerrigan writes: "I believe this division is central to the Church's current problems. It is the strategic dilemma faced by the Church's leadership with regards to halting the decline in regular worshipers in parish churches. At the same time Cathedral congregations have grown by 30% over the past decade - this is fascinating."

The thought provoking discussion explored the underlying dynamics of these societal changes. The group debated whether society increasingly perceives higher education as a "service industry". Has this led to a dilution of its authority?

Banerjee writes: "Such introspection is both helpful and necessary to ensure that our institutions remain relevant and connected to younger generations."

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