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This tract consists of a collection of papers given for the occasion of the conference, ‘Reenvisioning the British state in a time of crisis: a critical revisiting of the Balliol connection of Temple, Tawney and Beveridge for the 21st Century.
80 years ago, the Beveridge Report set out the ideas which we associate with the Welfare State. Also in 1942, Archbishop William Temple had published his Christianity & Social Order, with a similar manifesto in an appendix. 40 years earlier, Beveridge and Temple had been undergraduates at Balliol, together with R H Tawney, before each lived and worked in Toynbee Hall in London. Each was influenced by the Master, Edward Caird, who was himself associated with the Idealist philosophy of Balliol’s T H Green. Beveridge and Temple were writing, of course, in wartime. As our age grapples with Russia’s war in Ukraine, with the after-effects of the pandemic, with the environmental and cost of living crises, with multiple challenges around equality, diversity, and inclusion, and with the breakdown of trust in political leaders, Balliol and the William Temple Foundation held a symposium in November 2022 for the 80th anniversary of these publications by William Beveridge and William Temple. It explored various themes including: the influence of Idealism & Ideas; did the Balliol ethos of the Victorian and Edwardian eras make a difference to UK society after the Second World War; are there lessons for the 21st century?