Helen is the Chief Executive of the UK’s leading non-profit, non-governmental think tank devoted to resolving structural inequalities through social innovation, The Young Foundation. Named after the author of The Rise of the Meritocracy, the latter is notable for the attention it gives to the practical application of its research, working within communities and in partnership with policymakers and other organisations. Helen was previously Executive Head at Nesta and has also consulted in the Cabinet Office and the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister.
A commentator and activist, Faiza has since 2016 been Director of the Centre for Labour and Social Studies (CLASS) – a think-tank that works with academics and other experts to promote alternative policy proposals on the political Left, propagated via briefings and think pieces. Prior to this appointment, Faiza worked at Save the Children UK and the New Economics Foundation, and received her doctorate from the University of Manchester. She is a regular contA commentator and activist, Faiza has since 2016 been Director of the Centre for Labour and Social Studies (CLASS) – a think-tank that works with academics and other experts to promote alternative policy proposals on the political Left, propagated via briefings and think pieces. Prior to this appointment, Faiza worked at Save the Children UK and the New Economics Foundation, and received her doctorate from the University of Manchester. She is a regular contributor on the broadcast media and earlier this year announced her bid to be the Labour Party’s parliamentary candidate for the marginal seat of Chingford and Woodford Green.
As Joint Downing Street Chief of Staff (2016-2017) and, prior to that role, as special advisor to the then-Home Secretary, Theresa May (2010-2016), Nick served for seven years at the heart of British Government. During that period he strove to advance a form of ‘blue collar’ conservatism – a type of Tory politics that focuses on the lives of ordinary working people. ‘We [Conservatives] need to keep asking ourselves’, Nick once stated, ‘what… does the Conservative Party offer a working-class kid from Brixton, Birmingham, Bolton or Bradford’. This being the case, it is perhaps unsurprising that his political hero is Joseph Chamberlain.
The son of the author of The Rise of the Meritocracy, Michael Young, Toby is a journalist in his own right: he has a weekly column in the Spectator, where he an associate editor, and is a regular contributor to the Daily Telegraph and Daily Mail, amongst other outlets. Over the past decade he has taken a particular interest in and become an advocate for Free Schools, the most conspicuous result of which is his role in co-founding the West London Free School in 2011, as well as his appointment in 2016 to the Directorship of the New Schools Network.
On the 60th anniversary of Michael Young's seminal text The Rise of the Meritocracy join the debate about the state of meritocracy in contemporary Britain.
It was in the British sociologist Michael Young’s 1958 text The Rise of the Meritocracy that the word ‘meritocracy’ entered Britain’s political lexicon. Written as a satire, Young’s monograph describes a society in which the distribution of power, status and rewards are determined by the formula “IQ + Effort = Merit”, the result of which was a populace cleft between a talented, meritorious elite and an underclass lacking in the requisite abilities. But whereas The Rise of the Meritocracy describes a dystopia, both today and throughout the post-war period meritocracy has been upheld as both an aspiration and a virtue: from grammar schools to the expansion of higher education, and from Right to Buy to Sure Start, politicians of all stripes have acted to advance a meritocratic society.
Organised to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the publication of Young’s seminal text, this event brings together some of the most prominent commentators and practitioners concerned with equality of opportunity in order to discuss the state of meritocracy in contemporary Britain.
Each panelist will present a paper 15 minutes in length and devoted to determining meritocracy’s health, future prospects and desirability. After every contributor has spoken, the remaining hour will be left for discussion, where you, the audience, can put your questions to the panel.
Though free, due to an expectation of high demand the event will be ticketed. Please use the following link in order to register: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/meritocracy-in-perspective-tickets-48909152592?aff=ebdssbdestsearch. We look forward to welcoming you to a stimulating evening of political debate.