23 April 2014
David Goodhart is presently Chair of the Advisory Group at the think tank Demos, and was previously Demos’s Director. In November 2012 I spent a couple of days staying in Windsor Castle to attend a small conference to kick off Demos’s Mapping Integration project. Accordingly I was delighted to receive a hard copy of this publication recently. It can be downloaded free from the Demos website.
The book is a very short 116 pages, which encourages you to read it. There are 15 chapters, listed below, so each one is quite short. While brevity often carries the risk of platitudes, that is not the case here. Instead the chapter writers get to the point quickly, and are often hard hitting.
I have listed the chapters below. I cannot attempt to summarise them, but have in certain cases commented on points that I found particularly striking, often by including brief quotes.
Trevor Phillips OBE is a former Chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission and Chair of the Mapping Integration at Demos.
“Few topics inspire more heat and less light than integration. For a start, an overheard discussion between any three people will quickly reveal that between them they are talking about at least four different phenomena. One person may start by musing about social relations across the lines of ethnicity, culture, class, religion or age. Another will be thinking about the concentration or the dispersal of racial groupings in one district. A third will be wrestling with abstract questions of values and adherence to national identity.”
Rich Harris is a Reader in Quantitative Geography at the University of Bristol.
This chapter has some fascinating data summarising what we can learn by comparing the 2001 and 2011 censuses and the changing demographics of the London region.
Bobby Duffy is the Managing Director of the Ipsos MORI Social Research Institute.
As one would expect from a polling expert, there is some fascinating data here. For example:
“So, for example, when we compare trust in institutions like the local council and Parliament between groups, the native population have much lower levels of trust than immigrant populations. So for example, just 30 per cent of the native born population with native parents say they trust Parliament, in contrast with 70 per cent of recent immigrants from outside Europe.”
Miles Hewstone is Professor of Social Psychology at the University of Oxford, and Fellow of New College.
Katharina Schmid is a research fellow at the Department of Experimental Psychology and lecturer in Psychology at New College, Oxford University.
The authors point out that contact across ethnic minority boundaries does not just change the attitude of those directly engaged in the contact. It also has benefits for the attitudes of fellow members of their groups who know that such positive encounters are taking place.
I have seen the same effect in Manchester as a result of the work of the Muslim Jewish Forum of Greater Manchester over the last decade.
Jon Yates is co-founder and Strategy Director of The Challenge.
The author points out that institutions are vital for increasing contact between communities. However contact is not always positive. He sets out criteria for how to make it work well.
Simon Burgess is Professor of Economics and Director of the Centre for Market and Public Organisation at the University of Bristol.
The author points out that schools are often more segregated than the communities they serve. He mentions a bold initiative in Oldham where two highly segregated schools were merged into Waterhead Academy.
Shamit Saggar is Director of the Understanding Society Policy Unit and Professor of Public Policy, based in the Institute for Social and Economic Research at the University of Essex.
The author points out that it is not the bottom of society that matters. Discrimination can be a blight higher up, as found by a report many years ago on “Ethnic Minorities and the Labour Market” from the Prime Minister’s Strategy Unit.
“But among Indian men a different picture emerged. Although this group boasted parity of earnings (and similar odds of being out of work) with their white counterparts, it overlooked the fact that they were, on average, rather better educated, skilled and experienced. The analysis showed that they should have been doing between 5-15 per cent better on earnings alone.”
Katharine Birbalsingh is Headmistress Designate of the Michaela free school, opening in 2014 in Wembley Park, London. She is the author of "To Miss with Love" (Penguin).
The author is a well-known critic of poor quality teaching methods and points out how they damage the life chances of ethnic minority children.
“Some people cannot imagine teaching a chronological, coherent and connected history of Britain that includes ethnic people. But it is possible to teach a knowledge-rich and traditional history curriculum without making ethnic people seem like passive dupes. In fact, the only way to teach black history properly is to ensure history as a whole is taught in a coherent and chronological manner with the teacher standing at the front of the class.”
Sam Scott is a Senior Lecturer in Human Geography at the University of Gloucestershire.
Poles are now the largest single foreign nationality group in the UK. The author discusses the very different integration experiences of highly educated and poorly educated Poles in the UK.
Eric Kaufmann is Professor of Politics at Birkbeck College, University of London and a Demos Associate.
It is easy to be alarmist about “white flight” from London. The author looks at the facts for a period covering several decades. The situation is less bad than the simple statistics for the past 10 years might suggest, but there are some challenging policy issues.
Jasvinder Sanghera is founder and CEO of the charity Karma Nirvana, which supports victims and survivors of forced marriage and honour-based abuse.
The author herself was the victim of a forced marriage. She writes passionately about the way fear of being labelled racist often leads public authorities to fail to protect vulnerable British citizens from forced marriage and honour based violence.
Michael S. Merry is Professor of Philosophy of Education at the University of Amsterdam and author of "Equality, Citizenship and Segregation: a defense of separation" (Palgrave Macmillan).
The author points out that voluntary separation is not always a bad thing. However I found the chapter somewhat disappointing as compared with the others, and would have liked a sharper enunciation of the proposition.
Kris Hopkins is Minister for Housing and the Conservative Member of Parliament for Keighley.
I have met Kris on many occasions and think that he is an excellent role model for the modern Conservative Party. He is very frank in discussing the challenges facing the immigrant communities in Keighley.
“We need also to find ways to encourage more leadership by local women. We must challenge the male dominated culture in the South Asian community, and find ways to empower South Asian women and help them to gain more influence inside and outside the home. We need to do this, not only because it is right, but because the tradition of patriarchy in that community contributes to its economic poverty.”
Max Wind-Cowie is a Demos Associate and former Head of the Integration programme at Demos.
Tower Hamlets and Newham are adjacent, and often spoken about as if they were clones. Max points out how different their demographics are, and how this influences their politics. He is also willing to be bold, and proposes abolishing Tower Hamlets by splitting its territory and reallocating it to the surrounding boroughs.
David points out how often people’s emotional attachment to certain views makes it impossible for them to look at the facts objectively. He is willing to say things that many liberals find disquieting. For example:
“To give a simple example relating to differences in ethnic minority social mobility: people of East African Asian background in Britain invariably go to good universities and into well paid professional jobs and people of Kashmiri Pakistani background, whose families have usually been in Britain longer, are often still driving taxis or working in restaurants. This is neither a mass coincidence nor is it to do with genes or race, it is rather to do with different cultural habits and different starting points; as Shamit Saggar points out in his essay, East African Asians had many advantages over Kashmiri Pakistanis when they began arriving in the late-1960s.”
Integration is a controversial and highly contested subject. This short book offers some good data and some interesting perspectives. I recommend it to everyone who cares about a topic that is absolutely vital to the future of our country. It can be downloaded free from the Demos website.