Our Common Good by John Nickson


“The happiness or unhappiness of the society in which we live depends upon ourselves as citizens, not only the instruments of political power we call the state”.

William Beveridge, Liberal and founding father of the welfare state.

“Our society is divided, unequal, uncertain and in search of an identity and purpose. Old assumptions have gone and old sources of financial support are diminishing. We need to look anew at how all of us, as citizens, can sustain our society, our way of life and our civilization. This book is a timely answer to that challenge”.

Lord (Chris) Smith of Finsbury, chairman of the Art Fund, master of Pembroke College, Cambridge and former Secretary of State, DCMS.

“In Britain, we are proud of our mixed economy; the taxes we pay, our charitable donations and volunteering have all contributed to sustaining our public services and our common good. Now all that is at risk as public services have been slashed and charitable giving has not grown. It is imperative we understand the risk to our democracy.  All of us – the state, local government, international corporations, local business and individual men and women – must commit to the common good.
Our way of life depends upon it.
John Nickson demonstrates what a practical and moral response to current challenges might be and how the public spirited are devising innovative and vibrant services that will benefit everyone”.
The Rt. Hon. Dame Margaret Hodge, MP, former chair of the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee.

“We must save the concept of the collective before it is eclipsed. When you cut out a sense of the common good, you end up facing a dystopian future. If the state does less, then we need an initiative that encourages more citizens to participate and do more. John Nickson’s is a vital contribution to the debate”.

Sir Clive Cowdery, founder and benefactor of the Resolution Foundation.

“Contemporary Britain is defined by the personal generosity and social commitment of our predecessors as much as by the state. But, as the state retreats, demands on the voluntary sector grow, the gap between rich and poor increases and charitable giving stagnates, our way of life is at risk. Will future generations live in a liberal democracy – or a plutocracy devoted to the interests of the rich and powerful?

There will be catastrophic effects on your democracy unless we all commit to creating the social, cultural and intellectual capital we need to sustain society and our economy.

Amid the challenges we face, there are opportunities: not least to transform the role of the state and the way the public, private and voluntary sectors to work together to find innovative and enterprising solutions. Our Common Good explores the efforts of philanthropists, social entrepreneurs, and local authority, charity and business leaders, and reveals how their inspiring and practical solutions can build a better and fairer society”.