‘Community’ has become a verbal conjuring trick in the political vocabulary. Who, in the urbs or suburbs, actually experiences it and its lessons of tolerance, caution and compromise? We have a rich tradition of dissent in these islands, expressed from Wat Tyler through the Levellers, Covenanters, trade unions and the workingmen’s institutes. How rapidly the latter seem to have blown away.
Our vanished institutions of dissent grew out of communities. If we are to have new ones, can they come from any other source?