The thesis of the report is that the way the UK public understand poverty is stuck somewhere around 1985. Further, this fact is hindering the emergence of truly transformational efforts from the UK that we know are required to tackle global social injustice.
With the thinking and directions of travel suggested in the report, we think it is credible to have a vision of a wholly new understanding of global poverty and social justice within British culture, ushered in, in part, by the development sector, in all its rampant diversity. An understanding built on the facts as we now know them: that mass global social injustice is a by-product of our social, political and economic norms; that each of these facets of life interact in an ongoing dance of co-creation, reinforcement and evolution; that social injustice is systemic in nature and the solutions will necessarily be systemic as well; that mass injustice is neither inevitable nor necessary and can be overcome with the resources and knowledge we have at our disposal; and that who we are as humans and what we innately know to care about is more than enough to drive such transformation in this world.
This vision requires us to think together, and longer term than our organisations might usually choose to. By 2020, we would wish to have fostered the conditions in which the UK public can make its fullest possible contribution to global social justice. One measure of this is that the UK would be seen as a vanguard nation in making change through an empowered citizenry. Another measure is that the UK public would no longer engage in global poverty through the powerful giver/grateful receiver model of the Live Aid Legacy.
That may read like an eye-wateringly grand vision. But it is not, we believe, crudely idealistic or naive. It is simply a shift in the dominant understanding of what drives and sustains global poverty, and our role in it. From that, all the evidence suggests, other things necessarily flow. What was once inconceivable can become inevitable. What was impossible becomes merely challenging.
The practical edge of the vision is that the development sector finds, through this learning, a new alignment, based on positive values and frames. It will then need to find new partners and allies to join that alignment from other parts of the Third Sector.
To borrow from our friend and colleague Tom Crompton, whose sister paper spawned much of this work, this is about revisiting our missions, defining our collective purpose in relation to publics and delivering on our Common Cause.