Josh CassJosh Cass, 3FF Deputy Director

So we are going to have a referendum.

Given that we have known for some time that this was going to happen, I have been thinking about what it might mean to apply 3FF’s lens for looking at questions or problems to the idea of the referendum. While this blog post in no way represents a 3FF ‘position’ on the issue, it does at least begin to set out my thinking in relation to the question.

At 3FF we are interested in questions of leadership and are in the process of looking more closely at how leadership is able to achieve social change. We talk about exploring ideas of power and powerlessness, and about questions of identity, faith and belief. So how do these intersect with arguments that at the moment are framed in pure political and economic terms – would Britain be better off in or out of the EU?

Whether through our What Women Believe festival which we are running as part of our Arts and Culture programme, or through the work that we do in schools and universities, we are interested in exploring models of leadership that enable inclusive decision making and encourage and enable participation by all.

In other words, we are looking to create more inclusive societies, where people feel enabled to contribute fully. In particular, we are committed to ensuring that there is space in societies to explore the complexities associated with faith and belief identities.

Returning to my thought experiment, what does that mean for the referendum?

In thinking about the values and mission of 3FF, it seems to me that I am looking for arguments in this debate that speak to a vision for British society that we will wake up to on 24 June 2016. Where are the arguments, on either side, about how we create stronger, more supportive communities? Who is putting forward the case for inclusive leadership models, for spaces for dialogue? It is early days yet, but where if anywhere, are those arguments being made?

It seems to me that however we all choose to vote on 23 June, that there needs to be a vision for how society will come together the day after, how will we come together after what will no doubt be a bruising campaign. Have we heard those visions yet? I am not sure that we have.