Goodbye to all that
The solid social bonds of 50 years ago have been replaced by division, anger, distrust and anxiety. Alessandra Buonfino and Geoff Mulgan on Britain’s ‘quiet crisis’ of unhappiness
Wednesday January 18, 2006
Neighbours chat in Birmingham, 1954. Photograph: Getty
Britain, by and large, is a contented society. But for all the huge social advances of the past 50 years, it is clear that some things have gone badly awry. We have become a less integrated society: more divided by class, income and geography. Inequalities persist, our lives are more fractured. The social fabric has been stretched, bruised and damaged. We prosper, economically, but we suffer, too, from a quiet crisis of unhappiness.