2007 - 2022

Celebrating the Spirit of Envy


What most struck me last week about Boris Johnson’s speech canonising Margaret Thatcher and thereby, paving the way for his own beatification, was how deeply and intimately familiar it all sounded. Let me explain.

I was born in Doncaster in 1955 and from 1960, raised and educated on the Isle of Lewis, the son of a Scottish (doctor) father and English (nurse) mother. In those days the doctor’s home and surgery was a social hub in the community for those who ran professional services on the island, many coming over from the mainland on brief visits as well as to shoot and fish. My sister and I therefore grew up with one foot in crofting culture and the other amongst the Masters of the Universe of the British establishment.

Their conversations were an important part of my early education. On the one hand you’d have crofter radicalism. On the other hand, old colonial hands who puffed on about our “losing the Empire”, the low IQ of the working classes, and of the blacks, and the Irish, and the worrying breeding habits of all three. What I therefore found so astonishing about Boris Johnson’s Thatcher speech last week (available in full on the Daily Telegraph website) was how it replicated a script directly out of that era.

It wasn’t so much IQ comments that so astonished me about the Boris speech. These views remain widely held by those who define what they think constitutes IQ but could never pass a Gaelic IQ test, with 70 different words for “endearment”. Rather, my astonishment fell on the comments of cuddly Boris (or is it “a nasty piece of work”?) about British imperialism, and how little this aspect was picked up on in subsequent reporting in the English press. To recap, Boris said:

To grasp what she (Thatcher) did, you have to remember how far we felt we had fallen. Our country – Britain – used to rule the world – almost literally. Of the 193 present members of the UN, we have conquered or at least invaded 171 – that is 90 per cent. The only countries that seem to have escaped were places like Andorra and the Vatican City. In the period 1750 to 1865 we were by far the most politically and economically powerful country on earth.

The source of these statistics a Daily Telegraph article a year ago headed: “British have invaded nine out of ten countries – so look out Luxembourg.” He goes on say – and let us remember that a free-booter is a pirate, a plunderer – that Mrs Thatcher:

… put a stop to the talk of decline and she made it possible for people to speak without complete embarrassment of putting the “great” back into Britain. And she gave us a new idea – or revived an old one: that Britain was or could be an enterprising and free-booting sort of culture, with the salt breeze ruffling our hair; a buccaneering environment where there was no shame – quite the reverse – in getting rich.

And from there to Boris’s apogee:

I don’t believe that economic equality is possible; indeed, some measure of inequality is essential for the spirit of envy and keeping up with the Joneses that is, like greed, a valuable spur to economic activity.

I don’t think Boris would have got away with making such comments in Scotland, a Scotland where, in the words of one of our national anthems by Hamish Henderson:

Nae mair will our bonnie callants
Merch tae war when oor braggarts crousely craw
Nor wee weans frae pitheid an clachan
Mourn the ships sailin doun the Broomielaw
Broken faimlies in lands we’ve hairriet
Will curse ‘Scotlan the Brave’ nae mair, nae mair
Black an white ane-til-ither mairriet
Mak the vile barracks o thair maisters bare

True, we Scots were sub-lieutenants in the Empire. But it’s not something we boast about today. The tragedy is that Boris only got away with it in England because the English radical voice has been so oppressed. Such neo-colonialism is parlour talk amongst his circles.

It left me thinking how I have two hopes for Scottish Independence. One is for Scottish self-determination, especially in the matters of socio-economic policy, foreign affairs and nuclear weapons. The other is for a reawakening of radical England. That won’t happen as long as English identity continues to hide, or be hidden, behind an artificial construct (read Linda Colley’s Britons) of Britishness.

Radical England? When my father, newly graduated in medicine after the war went down and became a GP in the mining village of Armthorpe just outside Doncaster, a close family friend, who subsequently married him and my mother was a Methodist pastor called Colin Morris. He later became head of BBC religious broadcasting. He wrote books with such titles as “Include me Out!” and, jointly with his close friend Kenneth Kaunda of Zambia, “Black Government?” and “The Riddle of Violence.”

Recently I read his anthology, “Bullet Point Belief”, and was thrilled to find in him an original English radical, equal to the best of the Diggers, Levellers, Ranters and early Quakers who were so brutally persecuted in the 17th century. Born in 1929 and still living, Morris was the son of an English coal miner but here, in a passage from p. 192 of the anthology, is a passage that I find speaks powerfully to Scotland. It’s called “Living by Hope.” I share it as a reflection on real England, and why Scotland goes it not alone.

I recall visiting Kenneth Kaunda in 1959 when he was in gaol. Squatting on the ground outside his cell, he was busy writing. He showed me page after page of diagrams. They were, he said, the structures of the various levels of government he intended to create when Northern Rhodesia became an independent Zambia. Most Europeans in the territory would have dismissed him as a crazy fantasist – Africans had no vote, few civil rights and only a tiny minority had schooling beyond the most elementary level. Yet a mere five years later, President Kaunda sat in the Governor’s old residence, State House, drawing up the legislation which would give effect to the system of government set out in those crude drawings. Africans have a capacity we westerners have lost for living expectantly in the present as though the future were already here.

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  1. picpac67 says:

    Support for Alistair McIntosh’s fine piece from a very recent discovery (for me): “These things shall be” by Tom Sargant, first secretary of the law reform organisation Justice. “These things shall be” was written in 1942. His appeal then was to Britain as a whole, but with the likes of BJ setting the tone in England perhaps Scotland could be the nation that fulfils Sargant’s dream.

    “We must have a revolt in Britain. We are already in the throes of its prelude. Not a revolt of hatred and violence … but a mighty upheaval in our social structure and in our national scale of values. What kind of revolt is it to be, if it is to establish freedom, social justice and full development within this land and lead to a new order without?

    …. we ought by now to have some idea of what we want to do in Scotland [the original has ‘England’] and of the systems which would not work here. […] revolt must come, from causes which are inescapable. It must come whether we want it or not, because the people will no longer be fooled. They will find some way to smash the power of those who withhold the riches of the earth from them. They will not fight a second world war to make England safe for privilege.

    Revolt must come because every individual and every community can reach a stage of self-deception and evasion of reality which leads to madness and breakdown. The intelligent and decent people of this country are weary of the prevarications, evasions and childish platitudes which have descended on them from high places. […] It must come because the signs of the times indicate that the old order is ending and that our civilisation is due to cast off its tawdry covering of profit-seeking, rivalry and exploitation, and to put on more dignified garments.”

  2. Lovely piece Alastair. Some nice discoveries for me in there.

    I’d say a couple of things from my perspective south of the border. Firstly, ‘Boris’ may be the darling of the Tory party, but the media is getting carried away in representing him as especially significant for ‘the English.’ The Telegraph might want us to think so, but in my experience most people see him as an occasionally entertaining Tory buffoon. I wouldn’t overplay his representative role.

    Secondly, England is not very keen on the Tories either. We’ve not elected them to government for over two decades, and their heartlands are shrinking. England is fairly small-c conservative, but then I’d say Scotland is too – I just think we’re conserving different things.

    As for that English radicalism: ah, I fear it has always been marginal! In the Civil War the radicals were dispersed by soldiers or hanged. These days they’re squatting or guerrilla gardening. The English love Robin Hood and Dick Turpin, but I sometimes feel they like their radicals to be safely in the past, where they can’t threaten property prices too much. Still, that old spirit clings on, and I agree that an independent Scotland would be good for it.

    One final note, which I drop in as a question rather than a provocation: has Scotland properly come to terms with its role in the Empire? You were very much more than ‘sub-lieutenants.’ The English have spent a painful few decades having their imperial self-image painfully re-assessed and deconstructed, and though it has sometimes gone too far it has largely been good for us. Looking up at Scotland, admittedly from a position of ignorance mostly, I wonder if this debate is going on there, or whether the nationalist need to see yourselves as colonised has obscured your former role as colonisers? I don’t know the answer.

    1. Paul – I don’t think we have come to grips with our role in the Empire. At least, not sufficiently to help us understand our own psychohistory. It matters not just for ember raking. Here in Glasgow, and in the Independence debate generally, the position of the shipyards is crucial. However, in The Upas Tree (Uni of Glasgow Press, 1976) the economic historian, S.G. Checkland, suggests that reliance on imperial shipbuilding that then transmogrifiied into “on cost” MOD contracts has had a poisoning effect on other industries. Why he didn’t consider it to have, instead, a multiplier effect, I am not clear, but I could imagine how it might have tied in with the creation of a militarily driven dependency culture which, after all, is a shadow side of empire.

      I take your point about Boris not being representative of most English people. At the same time, the people of London chose him, and some see him as a serious contender as a future prime minister. Incidentally, my mention of “real England” at the end there was a nod towards your own book by that title – to be recommended.

      1. Thanks Alastair. I appreciate the nod!

        The people of the Great Wen, as Cobbett called London, are a mystery to those of us outside it. But London has long been a city-state, and these days it is very different to the rest of England in almost every way. Even other English cities are very different. London is an international city now; there’s nothing especially English about it.

        That’s still no excuse for them electing Boris, of course. Hopefully it’s a flash in the pan. If he ever became PM, I think it would signal the start of the End Times.

      2. Abulhaq says:

        @Alastair McIntosh
        Indeed the New York born Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson is not your typical Englishman. He uses his cosmopolitan ancestry effectively within the system to play a multi-facetted game. The voice of the London city-state he carries far more weight than the limited powers of the authority he heads would suggest. If returned to parliament in 2015 he could turn into a feisty “hammer of the Scots”, and if PM a energetic adversary. An English nationalist with an idiosyncratic twist.

      3. bellacaledonia says:

        Just to reiterate Alastairs point, I’m sure we haven’t come to terms with our role in Empire, no.

        But I just wanted to pick you up on the idea that “England is not very keen on the Tories either. We’ve not elected them to government for over two decades”.

        I’m not sure how you are judging this claim, see here:


        It’s an imperfect system but it’s difficult not to conclude that the Conservatives have significantly support throughout most of England?

        1. Of course they have ‘significant support throughout England.’ But not enough support to win an election, even against a deeply unpopular (Scottish!) PM after 13 years of rule by an exhausted, corrupt party. They’ve not had a majority of the vote since 1992, and that doesn’t look likely to change next time. Something seems afoot.

          A different situation to Scotland, of course, but that brings me to the reply I was going to make to Douglas. I’m not sure I like the word ‘essentialism’ – another loaded term – but I do think nations have characteristics. It’s what makes them nations. Otherwise, why are we even discussing ‘Scotland’ and ‘England’? What makes those ‘nations’ different is their different ‘characteristics’ and those characteristics stem from their history, which is why it matters.

          As to the referendum: I’ve no opinion on the views of the Scots one way or the other, but when I look around me I see people who are primarily concerned not with ideals or wider notions but with themselves and their families. Perhaps that is what’s going on.

    2. Abulhaq says:

      Don’t see the contemporary English as radicals. Their historic radicalism was inspired by non-conformity. As a Methodist Colin Morris referred to in the text would certainly be in that vein. As non-conformity has waned so has radicalism. The English are all culturally “Anglican” now.
      The Scots did play a significant rôle in the British Empire. But so did the now liberated Irish and Indians. Without the cooperation of the latter the British, small in number, would never have held the sub-continent for so long. Quite shameful, but the Indians and Pakistanis and Bangladeshis have moved on, so ought we.

      1. Of course, the English have moved on as well, Abulhaq. And it needs to be remembered that Empire was not a project of the English people, but their ruling class. It also needs to be remembered that the English people were the first victims of that empire – dispossessed of their power and land centuries ago.

        I don’t think you can really suggest that ‘the English are all culturally Anglican.’ The English are not ‘all’ anything – there are fifty million of us. Cultural Anglicanism doesn’t exist where I live in any meaningful sense, and today’s radicalism is not connected to the old religions. Still, you’re right that there’s very little of it.

      2. I think class is at the heart of this, and whether we believe “a man’s a man for a’ that” or whether we predicate politics, as does Boris, on the notion of a “ruling class”, as where he says in his speech: “….and then we had the world wars – and we ended up so relatively weakened that the ruling classes succumbed to a deep spiritual morosity that bordered on self-loathing, and we gave in to the reverse of the fallacy that gripped the Victorian imperialists.”

        The problem with pitching the debate in social class terms is that it tends to be received in terms of an industrial working class v. the bosses – a dynamic that is now much weaker in Britain than it once was. Bourdieu helps, with his redefinition of class in terms of taste/distinction, but even that seems to me (I may not be sufficiently read) to be based on an analysis that is weak on getting to grip with POWER.

        Such is why, as one interesting in theology, I am drawn so strongly to the analysis of the late Walter Wink and especially his book “Engaging the Powers: Discernment and Resistance in a World of Domination” (Fortress, USA, 1992). This is the 3rd book in Walter’s trilogy, but he used to say to read it first, and I would particularly recommend so for the non-theological reader. Walter argued that the key issue is the “domination system” and that it express across multiple parameters – class, gender, race, sexual orientation, etc.. It is about one group dominating the other, and the constant interplay of “the myth of redemptive violence” by which the one believes that by using violence, it can overcome the tyranny of the other.

        Walter’s definition of “spirituality” was the “interiority” of people, institutions, nations, etc.. It is significant that in the passage quoted above from his Thatcher speech Boris spoke of “a deep spiritual morosity”. He sees that he is engaged with a battle for the interiority of power structures – their interior cohesion – and as Walter says, this is why all battles of good v evil must be fought first on the interior battlefield if there is to be any external hope (he views this interior field as the realm of prayer – that is to say, as inner connectedness that goes beyond narrow self interest). Such is liberation theology. The key point here is that social class is pivotal in this debate, but not to be construed narrowly, and as Abulhaq points out, much English radicalism was nonconformist. They were pioneers of liberation theology as, interestingly, is Scots Presbyterianism at its communitarian best, which is why the Scottish churches have been, and will hopefully remain, so important in opening up and deepening the level of debate whatever the positions being taken. It’s about getting to the spirituality, the interiority, of the matter – and no wonder Boris’s version of that became so “morose”. How could it not become “self-loathing” when it really reflected on its values?

      3. Abulhaq says:

        @Paul Kingsnorth
        of course, “all” is too sweeping in this context but as the system detects virus attack it goes into default mode. The “Great British” theme in tv entertainment, the recrudescence of monarchism and the interest in the foundation myths of Britishness to wit “Tudorolatry” and a forthcoming series on English Cathedrals betoken, to me, that Scruton wasn’t far wrong in equating the conventional notion of the essence of England with the “anglican” outlook. Only the English could have come up with the via media and made it their psychological hallmark. If the British State is cast into history next september the identity question as a potent driver for the ideological shape of the new states will be significant. Scots believe the identity thing has been sorted because we know who we are. I guess the proof of that will be in the practical process of fabricating a modern state. Personally, I believe we will have many identities to work through before we find one that actually works for all of us. Our nation-building may require extensive reconstruction; truly an intellectually exciting and stirring prospect for a new democracy to engage in. As for England, in 1066 the Normans acquired the land and made thralls of its people. Their descendants and their body-servants are still calling the tune. Over to you!

  3. Douglas says:

    Alistair, a fine piece.

    I think the English have a great radical tradition, and one which will eventually revive. Increasingly, I should say, I think it’s as much about London as England. Let;s not forget Milton, let’s not forget Shakespeare, let’s not forget Tom Paine. Such intellectual giants would turn in their grave at Boris’s words. These were great, great men.

    But let’s talk about something as essential as life experiences. If you are Boris, you have not had many challenging, contradictory or in fact even disagreeable life experiences. If you have had the gift of living between two worlds or cultures, as you have Alistair, if you have had money problems, if you know somebody who is disabled or simply has had an unfortunate childhood, then you have an insight that people like Boris don’t have.

    People like Boris may have a high IQ, but they have the emotional intelligence of a mollusc. And emotional intelligence will ultimately determine the fate of humans on earth.

    There is this emphasis on competition in the discourse of the neo-liberals, and competition in some cases is good – sport being the most obvious example. But we cooperate much more than we compete in our day to day lives, and a society founded on the principle of cooperation would be a much better place than one founded on competitiveness.

    They are not mutually exclusive categories, and values are always in competition. It’s about redressing the balance.

    1. On English radicalism, got a great private response this morning from a leading English public intellectual (as they’d be called in France): “English radicalism is slumbering not dead……..and if I ever have to abandon that view I’ll come and live in Scotland!”

      1. Douglas says:

        I agree, Alistair, cheers.

        I admire the English radical tradition tremendously. Let’s not forget that it was in England where some many of the fundamental rights of democracy emerged and were respected, with all the ifs and buts that could be added to that assertion.

        The problem is that England fell asleep two centuries ago and basically, they are now way behind many democracies in the world in terms of civil liberties.

        They are living in cloud cuckoo land, they are in fact, in so many cases, no more than complacent and indifferent: that benign disdain which is a trademark of so many intelligent people in that country.

        In any case, I read Iain MacWhirter’s piece on Sunday in the Herald, and can’t help but agree with so much of what he says.

        We are parlying while the future of Scotland hangs in the balance. And if we lose, it will be silence or exile. How do we waken the sleeping voters of Scotland?

    2. On the subject of that hidden strain of English radicalism, this might be of interest:


      1. Douglas says:

        Paul, thanks for that, though I should say that I am as interested in England’s past as much I am in Scotland’s which is to say, not very much after the general overview, and not in a way that goes much beyond common intellectual curiosity.

        I set no store by the past, and if you are in any doubt, look at the polls, Scotland, the country whose trademark since Burns has been Freedom, counting the pennies and pounds of possible self-determination….a travesty of the “Scottish character”

        Which is to say, I don’t believe in any shape of from in “essentialism”. I don’t believe that there are essential qualities which all or even most people of a nation share.

        What I am interested in is empowering people, in engaging so that people get some of control back on their lives. That is why we need independence, first and foremost.

        From the polls since the White Paper, this campaign could easily go out “not with a bang but a whimper”.

        We need some ideas, and the it is time that the reified world of Scotland’s artists, always the first to talk Scotland up and mention self determination from their armchairs, actually started contributing to this campaign – otherwise, forever hud yer wheesht..

        Where are they? Why are they not speaking out? We are losing this referendum….

  4. Abulhaq – thanks. I agree about the TV and the Tudors and the like. But these are presented almost always as ‘British’, not English. The last gasp of an establishment trying to keep an internal empire going, perhaps – but you’d perhaps be surprised that many English people don’t really see this as their history either.

    As for identities – they’re never ‘settled’ and you never find one that ‘works for all’, because an identity is a process, not a thing. I don’t know your background, but your moniker here suggests your Scottishness is not of the traditional variety. England is far more diverse than Scotland in most ways, so there’ll never be ‘an’ English identity. I think this is a good thing – on the other hand, I also think continuity and place matter. And above all, tolerance. I rather like Scruton, in a way, and his Englishness is part of the mix. A mix is good, unless one element dominates it utterly.

    As for 1066 – funny you should mention it. I’ve a new novel coming out based in that period next month! or perhaps you knew that. Either way, you’re right – we’re all thralls.

    Alastair – now you’re talking, I think. So often we try to give interior questions with exterior answers. What is the inner meaning of any of this ‘identity” stuff, anyway? As a Buddhist would ask: what’s the attachment? Why does it matter? We start there. As for class: it is a divisive and often meaningless word. I never use it. But power: that’s the thing. Who holds it, and are we aware of the subtleties of power, interior and exterior? too often these debates are simplified, the world divided into power blocs. Then it gets sticky …

  5. Douglas says:

    I mean if William MacIvaney is touted to write a paper for the Scottish government, why doesn’t he just write it anyway?

    He is on the left so it can’t be about money.

    So why doesn’t he write it if he believes in independence?

    Likewise James Kelman. Why is Kelman making comments in favour of independence, without actually usuing his considerable skills to argue for it.

    Where are Scotland’s artists?

    You’re either in or you’re out, and Scotland’s artists, with some notable exceptions like Allan Bisset are nowhere to be seen…

  6. Douglas says:

    Maybe Muir was right and, the obvious exceptions notwithstanding, they’re just “sham bards of a shame nation”….

  7. Keith says:

    I’m sorry, but I think Alastair misses the point of his title (though with admittedly interesting social history). Surely, for all those who take the Bible seriously, a person that celebrates and exhorts us to greed and envy is plain evil.
    These cardinal sins motivate us to acts of selfishness, cruelty and hatred. People of sound mind will condemn them – wherever they live and whether or not they like poetry, speak Gaelic or hew coal.
    Not only Christians either, because Buddhists and, if you go back to the original texts, Muslims, Hindus, and all the rest (though I am guessing now), have placed the “Golden Rule” at the core of their practical philosophy: ‘do unto others as you would have them do to you’.

    The most significant feature of human nature is neither nasty and competitive, nor kind and caring, it is flexible adaptability. We respond to the environment around us. Bring someone up in a cruel world and they will be cruel, but the reverse is true too: let’s use that.

    Instead of looking to the past, I suggest we all concentrate on the future, on how to create a society that nurtures the nice side of the human spirit, rather than the Thatcher side. For this, we must take the ultra radical step of rejecting neo-classical economic dogma as the implicit creed of our lives.

    This is the dogma to which Boris is thirled: a simple mathematical model of the economy assumes infinitely greedy and perfectly selfish consumers, competing to the limit, will do the economy the most good. It’s not even true of course, but if it were, we would have to ask: what made the economy so much more important than people?

    1. Hello Keith – as is often the case with these things (e.g. most newspaper articles) the writer does not get to choose the title or the accompanying pictures. Those are chosen by the editor or sub-editing staff with an eye to the balance of the page (or blog) as a whole. In this case I can see why you think I missed the point with the title used. I too had to think twice about it when I saw it. What is meant, I then realised, is that Boris is celebrating the spirit of envy, and my comment is about that. I understand why Bella would have done this. The title they chose is much more catchy than the rather academic sort of title i’d had in mind.

      While on that, I also didn’t take to the photograph used. To me, the human face – any human face – is a sacred thing, an icon into the divine. I am not a Catholic but the Pope demonstrated this tenderly recently with his embrace and kissing the head of that hideously deformed man. The challenge to us is to say “even this is in the image of God; an icon into the divine”, and that means even Maggie Thatcher (God save us!). Again, however, a busy editor is concerned with what will catch the eye of the average reader. In my time of writing articles I have had to come to accept that when you write a piece you have to relinquish full control over how it will appear in print. At the end of the day, what matters most is that it appears, and an author should not over-flatter themselves into thinking that they know best about presentation.

      I did actually propose to Bella that the picture they might have used was the map that the Daily Telegraph printed to support its article about Britain having at some time invaded and/or colonised 90% of the world. It is an astonishing map, and had it appeared in a lefty newspaper the right wing would quickly have savaged it for overstatement. But Boris clearly loves it. Have a look at it at: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/history/9653497/British-have-invaded-nine-out-of-ten-countries-so-look-out-Luxembourg.html

      I guess the reason Bella didn’t use it was probably copyright.

      I hope this clears up your disappointment.

      One other thing while I’m here. One of the commentators above said something about social class not mattering. I don’t agree. As I have said before on this site, I am from a middle class background with middle class skills, and living in Govan I am acutely aware of how much of that privilege is simply a closed door to young folks growing up around here. Yesterday the BBC website ran a fascinating article on Why Violent Crime Is So Rare In Iceland – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-25201471

      I quote:

      “First – and arguably foremost – there is virtually no difference among upper, middle and lower classes in Iceland. And with that, tension between economic classes is non-existent, a rare occurrence for any country.

      “A study of the Icelandic class system done by a University of Missouri master’s student found only 1.1% of participants identified themselves as upper class, while 1.5% saw themselves as lower class.

      “The remaining 97% identified themselves as upper-middle class, lower-middle class, or working class.

      “On one of three visits to Althing, the Icelandic parliament, I met Bjorgvin Sigurdsson, former chairman of the parliamentary group of the Social Democratic Alliance. In his eyes – as well as those of many Icelanders I spoke with – equality was the biggest reason for the nation’s relative lack of crime.

      “Here you can have the tycoon’s children go to school with everyone else,” Sigurdsson says, adding that the country’s social welfare and education systems promoted an egalitarian culture.”

      End quote.

      The lessons, and encouragement, for Scotland are salutary.


      1. Keith says:

        Thank you Alastair. What you say about class is, I think, absolutely correct. Iceland too – I fell in love, not so much with the place as with the people when I visited recently. They hold a great secret, which ought not to be a secret at all. How to make their country a community. Mind you, they have a lot of advantages in that respect: small size and relative isolation both help a lot. Still, we would do well to learn from their equity and nurturing of the communal spirit.

  8. Thank you Keith. I’m glad you got to see my response to you given that this thread has pretty much expired now. Go well, and if you’re in Glasgow on a Thursday evening, drop in to one of our community meals at the GalGael Trust on Fairley St (by Ibrox subway) where everybody’s working to put the “nurturing of the communal spirit” as you word it, into action.

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