Jan 25, 2016
Policy Exchange was delighted to launch the new Demography, Immigration and Integration unit. It will be headed by David Goodhart, founding Editor of Prospect magazine, former director of the Demos think tank and author of The British Dream: Successes and Failures of Post-war Immigration. David will also be bringing to Policy Exchange the Integration Hub website which stands at the centre of the UK debate on issues of ethnic minority integration and segregation.
Never before in the democratic era have these issues been so central to British politics. A rapidly growing British population, largely immigration driven, is evidence of economic dynamism and social/political openness. But it also raises issues of physical infrastructure and social cohesion.
David Cameron has recently stressed two very different failures of integration: the evidence of continuing discrimination against ethnic minority citizens in the labour market, and the parallel lives in some communities which may be contributing to the curse of Islamist extremism. The new unit will be launching research initiatives in both areas.
He has asked Louise Casey to review both issues of minority opportunity and ethnic segregation in her Casey review. Louise herself will feature on a small panel of experts at the launch along with Trevor Phillips, former Head of the Equalities Commission. David Goodhart will also introduce an original piece of research on the best and worst integrated areas in the country.
Introduction: Dean Godson (Director, Policy Exchange)
Ladies and gentlemen, good evening, welcome to the launch of Policy Exchange’s Integration, Immigration, Demography Unit. I still think we haven’t quite got the order of the words around the right way but we’re mixing them around, but the turnout tonight is a wonderful tribute to the importance of what David Goodhart has brought here to Policy Exchange and I always say that the measure of a success at any Policy Exchange event is the room is crammed like one of those campaign group meetings at the Labour Party Conferences of the 1980s, and has the heat to match it. I hope that people will take that remark in the ecumenical spirit in which it was meant, but of course the topics which David has brought to the table here and which he and his integration hub, now happily located here, are addressing, are some of the hottest button issues in British, indeed global, public life today and it is a measure of his courage that he put those issues on the table first as a journalist when he was with the Financial Times and then latterly of course as founding editor of Prospect and then more recently in his … I remember the BBC in the old days used to talk about the successful years of Morcambe and Wise at the BBC, so the successful years of David Goodhart forthcoming at Policy Exchange. We’re delighted to be able to welcome him, to address these key topics, and with the key experts in the area, people who have contributed so much to the public discussion: Trevor Philips, Shamit Saggar from the University of Essex, and of course Louise Casey, who heads up the government’s integration review and many other matters besides. So what we’re going to do is David’s going to introduce the topic, he’ll do some presentations of what some of the issues are; we’re then going to hand them over to a panel discussion of our distinguished panellists, and then Louise will respond on behalf of the government. Please give all our distinguished panellists and David the warmest welcome. Thanks.
Well, as ever, there is method in Dean’s flattery. The higher he raises the bar of expectations, the harder I’m going to have to work unfortunately!
Dean and me are not from the same political tribe, although Dean is I think a wonderful example of successful integration.
A combination of the shtetel and the British officer’s mess, elegantly combined in one human being. But I’m very happy to be here and thank you for that welcome, Dean.
Policy Exchange is a pretty broad church and also I think more to the point these issues, particularly the integration aspect of these issues, almost the further they’ve risen up the political spectrum, the less partisan they become. I do think much of this argument is now beyond left and right.
As Dean said, I want to make just a few general points and then actually going to make my very first ever PowerPoint presentation. You might wonder how I have got to the age I have, in my fifties, and I haven’t done one before, but anyway, I haven’t. So excuse me if it doesn’t go completely right. I know most of you are beyond PowerPoint, they’re all passé these days, but I’m having a first go. I’m losing my PowerPoint virginity. Anyway, a few points and then onto the slides.
I do think that this whole cluster of issues is particularly important for think tanks to be looking at, because with many honourable exceptions, some of whom are in the room tonight, I do think the academic world has got itself rather stuck in 1980s anti-racism, which was fine in the 1980s but society has moved on in many ways, and much of academia seems to me to be stuck in rather a retro agenda.
There is already good work being done by some of you here, IPPR, Compass, Civitas and others. I think we will bring a different flavour, perhaps more overtly integrationist than some of those others. Not however statist. I believe, we believe I think, that the promotion of more mixing across social and ethnic lines is very important. Legislation to promote it is also, we know, very unpopular. You just have to remember the whole history of bussing and so on, but there are lots of other techniques that can be used, nudge famously, just the power of good examples, and the expression, the use of political pulpits to express public approval and disapproval.
Why does all this matter? It seems to me absolutely obvious. Because there is such a thing as society, and I think that applies to the three legs of this unit: demography, immigration and integration. Tonight we’re focussing more on integration, partly because we’ve got Louise here, who as you know is doing this review on opportunity integration for the government. If society changes too fast, if trust and mutual regard, the we’re all in this together sentiment, declines too far, the I do think people become less ready to accept change, less ready to agree collective action and to share resources. I think one of the many ways in which Enoch Powell set back a sensible, rational argument about race, about integration, was in setting the bar so low. Since Enoch Powell, everybody’s gone around saying, ‘Isn’t it marvellous. Enoch Powell has been proved right. The Thames is not flowing with blood.’ That is setting the bar far too low. Peaceful coexistence between different groups really is not enough.
A couple of final points. One of the things that we will try to do is make it easier to talk about groups and group cultures, much as we already do about social class. We ought to be able to generalise, backed by facts and, as I know from creating the Integration Hub, the facts are certainly there, there are clear patterns, we don’t have to essentialise or stereotype. Obviously everybody’s an individual, many people flow free of their ethnic and class backgrounds, but there are patterns of behaviour and groups matter enormously to people, which is why much of the most difficult balancing acts in this whole subject area is how does one accept the idea that there is a very strong impulse amongst people to cluster together with people that they know and are familiar with. On the other hand, acknowledging that a good society needs plenty of collective allegiance and contact across social and ethnic lines.
As we know, the integration story is a pretty mixed one, as indeed the next set of slides will show. We know there are a lot of problems in the former industrial areas, in Yorkshire and Lancashire, problems in the East of England with large Eastern European populations, but there have also been success stories in the last few decades: the increase in the mixed race population, the gradual decline in residential segregation, increase in friendships across the ethnic boundaries; also a much bigger ethnic minority middle class. A lot of these successes, as Shamit was saying earlier today at another gathering, a lot of these successes are quite invisible. The problems tend to be more visible, as is often the case with social problems, tend to be more visible than the successes.
Anyway, let me now have my very first go at a PowerPoint presentation. This is work, by the way, that has been done mainly by Richard Norrie, so boffins in the room can consult him or attack him about the methodology after the event.
So here we go. The aim. It’s very easy when talking about the subject of integration to get very abstract and fuzzy and woolly. What we’re trying to do with this small piece of research is to focus on places, to create a rather crude index of some of the best integrated places in Britain and some of the worst. We have taken only places with populations of 20,000 or more and only places with ethnic minority populations of more than 15% and all the data comes from the 2011 census.
We have created two little measures of integration, on relating more to personal identity, and you can see the different categories there, and one more to objective economic structures and where people live and so on.
As I say, for the boffins in the room, that’s a few boffin phrases. We have given more weighting to structure than identity, partly because, as you will have seen, some of the identity things set the bar quite low and we have more structure points in our weighting as a result. Now the next bit is very exciting ‘cause we’re going to show you very briefly –
It’s very, very small. I’ll tell you why it’s small. It’s because we’re not actually releasing this to the press until tomorrow for Wednesday, so we don’t want you to be rushing off telling all your friends where the best and worst integrated places in Britain are. So we’re going to horridly move on from that, but just to show you that we do have real places …
Now, a lot of this is not particularly surprising, to be honest, to anyone who knows Britain. The best places tend to be prosperous small towns and suburbs outside London and Birmingham, with relatively large shares of successful British Indians and Europeans. Worst places, the former mill towns, Yorkshire and Lancashire, and of course East of England, although in the mill towns the problem or the segregation is more in residence rather than work, and in the East of England it’s the other way round, although there is a fair amount of residential segregation too.
So conclusions and queries, again as one might expect from common sense, the places that are often most segregated tend to have a dominant minority, as in the mill towns. The places that are well integrated have more prosperous minorities in the south of England and the midlands. You see a clear link between greater integration and a greater share of ethnic minority people in top jobs.
One of the problems, of course, with this, and this has been poured over by the academics over the years, is that here is also a very strong correlation between segregation and deprivation, and there’s a huge argument about which way the causality goes. And of course there’s always inevitability a bit of arbitrariness about an outcome like this, because it depends partly on what measures you include in your criteria. Different measures would obviously produce different rankings.
Final slide … one of the things that we have said in our evidence to Louise’s review is that there should be a public duty on local authorities to promote social and ethnic mixing, as there has been historically to promote equality, there used to be for social cohesion, and a very important part of that should be, it’s a point that I know Trevor is very keen on, is publishing data on residential and school demography in different places, to the extent that it’s known or can be known. And that, particularly if as a country we are worrying more about this issue, then local authorities will want to do well in this area; they will want to be seen to be improving their ethnic mixes in schools and housing, we hope anyway.
And the final thought is just that at a national level, why doesn’t the government … it produces all sorts of indexes and measures of this, that and the other; why don’t we have an index of integration every three or five years?
That’s enough from me for now. Part two is going to be Shamit and Trevor and perhaps a little bit of me, making suggestions basically to Louise about what should be her priorities for this review she’s conducting into opportunity and integration. So Shamit is going to talk more on the opportunity side. He’s doing a piece of research for us on the glass ceiling for minority professionals, so if you wouldn’t mind going first, Shamit? And then Trevor, and as I say, I might kick in with another word or two myself.
Professor Shamit Saggar
I’m going to cover the point that Trevor is not going to cover, which is to do with opportunities, but let me make a few preliminary comments. First of all delighted to be here and congratulations on this marriage between Policy Exchange and the Goodhart show. I mean David has obviously altered us to issues that have been dormant for a long time and I think it’s quite important that we maintain some sort of focus in this area. A couple of things I just want to say to start with. There’s nothing new about this challenge. I fully appreciate that the Prime Minister of the day, like his predecessors, is concerned about these issues, but we’ve been sort of at this, on and off, for a couple of generations. The issue is, in a sense, is it front burner or back burner, and also, as I’m going to say, we tend to agree on quite a lot but we tend to disagree on the policy measures or what should be done in response. For me it’s very simple. This isn’t about minorities or kids of migrants and so on and so forth settling or integrating per se. It would be a huge mistake if all our energy, all our commitment, was put in that direction.
Actually it’s about the preparedness of a society to live with difference, to live with pluralism, which for demographic reasons, some of which have been by design, some by accident, this country is unavoidably on the road to that sort of outcome. Middle twenty-first century Britain is going to be a mixed place. It already is in large part. And I think some degree of preparedness on that front, without overdoing it, without the government necessarily acting like it knows all the answers, is probably the best rational I can think of. Clearly if we’re going to be a mixed society, it goes with that statement that we ought to be a tolerably fair society, an inclusive society and a society where there is a degree of mutual respect. So I agree with this point about Powell having set the bar too low.
Having said that, in the interests of caution I suppose, we are not a sectarian society thus far. The differences between us, with some few exceptions, do not make me think that we need a response that in a sense has something remotely to do with former Yugoslavia, or perhaps closer to home in Northern Ireland. I may be persuaded on that, but my instincts are that we ought to start from a more optimistic place, rather than one in which the dashboard was turning red.
High-level point: most of this immigration and what it’s led to and its integration and so on, most of it most of the time it’s unquestionably worked. Two generations ago people came to this country, my parents came to this country and it would be fair to say that we would have been described as pariahs at that time. We were accused of pushing house prices up, pushing house prices down at the same time, of marrying the local women and not marrying the local women – that was the allegation. Having smelly food and … you know where I’m going with that. It was a pariah group. In fact in the early 1970s a then Conservative government came close to fracturing on this question of whether or not it would allow a group of political refugees into the country in relatively small numbers.
That pariah group has gone on to become a paragon group in the society, nothing less, and for the most part it has to do with the fact that people have got on with whatever opportunities that have been in front of them and they’ve eeked out a living. And they may have had an advantage, they may have had disadvantages, but broadly speaking there have been some successful integrated groups that are now well settled. But with important exceptions, and let me just pick out two; one is the obvious concern that we have of the left-behind groups who have not, as it were, shared in economic prosperity, in social mobility, in all forms of interaction, and those groups have disadvantage for sure. The more difficult corners of Bradford and Oldham are not like suburban North London by any stretch of the imagination. Second of all, they’re inward-facing. There’s a tendency for people to congregate and look to their own without looking towards wider opportunities and experiences in society. Thirdly, there’s a lot of bad political leadership, if I can just go on the record to say that it’s pretty poor by any stretch of the imagination. And then lastly, there is the introduction of a set of kind of global dynamics: what’s happening on the other side of the world suddenly is important in downtown Leicester or Oldham. And the only reason why I’m making that point is the first two or three things, the first two or three things that I’ve identified are things that we can do something about. We can’t really do a great deal about what’s happening in Indonesia or the Middle East directly, albeit we perhaps can do indirectly.
The second exception, very quickly, is there is unfinished business in relation to discrimination. Some of the most sophisticated studies that I’ve had the privilege to be involved in, others are involved in this room, have to do with what we call ethnic penalties. A little bit of jargon. It essentially describes how far people get typically in the labour market when you account for all the things that we know about them. So statistically what we do is we treat the minority groups that we’re studying in these very large studies, these very large surveys, and we treat them statistically as if they were just like whites, the white majority; except of course they’re not. And we still discover that their labour market performance in terms of pounds per week, unemployment risks, progression and so on and so forth is not what it should be. These are unexplained patterns of performance in the labour market. There is hidden disadvantage and it makes me think, as I was going to refer, that there are clearly some forms of glass ceilings in operation, particularly in the professions, particularly with those who are now quite well skilled and quite educated, in terms of taking those educational skills and qualifications and making the most use of them in the labour market. There is unfinished business and I think it’s very important for us to think about how we address that and attack that, because some of the older methods we’ve had, very much based upon employment tribunals and so on, are unlikely to succeed in that area.
Last two minutes if I can?
At the end of the day, all public policy, and all government intervention to the extent that you have an appetite for it, involves one of three things, maybe a combination of things, and I invite you to think about what that would mean in this field. The first is authority. We can mandate certain things to be the case but we should be very careful about what those things are and very careful about the monitoring and enforcement regime. In Denmark there’s a proposal to take the assets of refugees off them – fine if you think that’s kind of important to be integrated into the Danish welfare state culture – you can have your own opinions, but I’d want to be certain that you had a monitoring and enforcement regime that was not going to be counter-productive, in other words create more problems than you started with; point one.
Second of all, if we don’t like authority, because it contains those sorts of problems in liberal society, we can transact, we can do something for people as long as they do something in return, a something for something approach, and there’s obviously kind of an appetite for that, but again you want to be careful that you in as sense don’t incentivise people to transact and do things they should be doing in any case. Certainly they should be following the law in relation to discrimination.
And then lastly of course, we can persuade people, and most policy most of the time of course involves clever ways of trying to get people to at least pay attention to certain things; whether it’s publishing these integration scores at local level or national level, it may well be that it leads to a certain sorts of positive outcomes.
But my larger point is ultimately that’s all you really can do in a liberal society, and my preference, of course, is to reach for the authority lever sparingly but only when we have real sense that everything else is either likely to fail or indeed has failed. Enough said.
I’m slightly intimidated. I’ve never been in a meeting this packed about this particular subject, so I’m wondering if there’s something I’ve been missing for the last twenty years.
You just haven’t been invited!
You’ve been excluded, [25:29].
Thank you Louise! I knew somebody was going to bring that up.
Let me first say, I agree with several things that Shamit said. In my experience at the Commission for Racial Equality, people from minorities, well most of the bits were about their experience, were not young black men were arrested by the police. They were highly-qualified professionals, particularly in medicine and law and academia, because they felt [26:03] that they had done all that’s been asked of them, yet they still didn’t become judges, they still didn’t become consultants and they do not become professors. There are 17 non-white female professors in this country. So I agree with that.
What I think I’m probably surprised to hear you say, Shamit, and I think I don’t agree with, is that this situation we’re in is not new. I think it is new. We are historically pretty good at acculturation in this country, but I think we’re facing a challenge that we haven’t faced before, as is most of Europe. I spent 48 hours locked in a room with some people in other European, [26:48] and other European countries who have responsibilities for these things – I want to come back to that right at the end, and I will tell you that the emotion that characterised that room could only be described as hysteria, to the point where there was almost a fist fight between a German minister responsible for these matters and a Greek minister responsible for these matters. I think the only thing that held them back was that one of them was female and one of them was male, so it felt a bit embarrassing.
So why do I think this is new? Well you asked me to say what I think I should like to say to Louise. Well, the first thing I’d say is abandon the orthodox theory of integration and what you might call organic integration, which this country has lived by. It’s based on a single premise, that we’re all basically the same under the skin, and there are two factors that make different ethno-cultural groups behave differently. One is power, that is to say unequal treatment, discrimination and so on will make somebody behave in a particular way that isn’t natural to them, and secondly time. That is to say, if we are all stuck together for a long time we’ll get to know each other, we’ll rub along and then we’ll all become pretty much like each other, and that groups will converge in values, behaviours and outcomes, which is essentially what I would describe as the technical definition of integration.
Well, there are different ways of reading this. A negative way of looking at that use of power by a dominant majority is assimilation and its brother, if I can put it that way, inauthenticity. That is to say, groups have to behave in a particular way in order to get themselves invited to meetings like this, or that they become somebody other than the people they want to be. And the other negative interpretation of my time point is that it’s just laissez faire. We let it happen and it will happen. Well, second point, let’s look at realistically about how that’s worked out. This may seem an odd way to approach it but the latest race spat is Hollywood. Well the big assumption there is that there’s something absolutely with the Oscar [29:17] Academy, because black actors are down there, white actors are up there. Well, the numbers here are incredibly important and significant. In 1960s the highest earning actor in the latter part of the 1960s was Sidney Poitier. Bill Cosby in the 1980s was the highest paid and highest earning entertainer in the world. Samuel Jackson claims, and I’ve got no reason to doubt him, that his films are collectively the highest grossing packet of films of any actor in film history. And I know this is kind of below, vulgar for this kind of gathering but Halle Berry, Oscar winner, brilliant actress, got paid a quarter of a million for being able to reveal each of her breasts, so the issue at Hollywood is not about marketing, it’s not about capacity to have equality in the market. It is that equality, economic equality, financial equality, doesn’t necessarily deliver parity of esteem. So my point here is really a simple one. Equality is important, but it doesn’t get you to the place where what we think of as integration is delivered – and we see that. David’s point about residential segregation, both here and in the United States extremely wealthy people from my minorities still tend to live next to extremely wealthy people from minorities. Right next to Compton in Los Angeles there is a district called [31:01]. The average income per head including children is $180,000, it is 80% African American. Anybody who knows Northwest London, Pinner, Northwood, will know how that particular part of the world has changed. So my basic point is that the notion that integration automatically follows dealing with issues of discrimination and economic inequality really doesn’t correspond to the world that we’re living in. And the question of time, let’s let time happen – well, the United States, Brown versus Board of Education legal integration happened in 1954. Today American schools are more racially segregated than they were 60 years ago. David wrote in The Telegraph this morning something similar about the United Kingdom. We know the numbers for example on differential success in schools, Chinese compared to Pakistani compared to white. My colleague over there, Richard Webber, and I, who do a lot of work with big data, can give you a lot of stuff about the way different ethnic groups for example shop, and shop several generations down. We’ve done work for the National Health Service, which tells you some really interesting things about the way that different groups behave, even amongst those generations who have never lived anywhere else. My point about this is that the idea that we’ve always had, give it time, sort out discrimination, that will all get fixed, just is wrong. It doesn’t correspond to the world we live in.
So, last two points. We’ve got to turn back and think well, what would a new proposition look like? Well I think the first thing … I’m a chemist so this is the way I do things: first of all think what are the forces acting here? Well there are some forces that lead to convergence; some people would say the receding of the significance of class background in this country means that it’s easier for people to jump the hurdles. When my parents came here we lived next to poor white people, most of whom were Irish, and those were who we mixed with. We didn’t meet anybody else except our people and the Irish, which, by the way, explains something I’m going to say in a moment about intermarriage.
Public sentiment has changed and that’s one, and we can see that, that’s one place where I think the intermarriage indicator is useful, but there are huge levels of divergence, huge forces in divergence. First of all the speed of change; secondly, we’ve always had the convenience that immigrant groups arrive more or less one at a time. That is not happening now. The numbers and the differential groups turning up, it’s a very, very different story and I can bore you with many, many stories. Secondly, we now know there are some groups who are … Shamit’s point about the glass ceiling is right, but there are some groups who are stuck in the cellar. They just are not getting out of the cellar, and there is a question about whether they’re not getting out of the cellar ‘cause somebody’s closing the door, or whether they’ve got a load of baggage, cultural and otherwise, that they can’t lug up the stairs, and that’s something we’ve got to think about.
I want to just make two other new points on this particular question. First of all, some of the spikes of integration that we have always been used to that were really important in making people cross those cultural barriers, and I mean workplaces, I mean trade unions, I mean churches, are less and less significant in today’s society. They have less influence. Politics, by the way, is another element of that. And there are forces pushing us the other way: technology, all the work that we can see on the use of social media tells us that they’re fragmenting, social networks, rather than bringing different kinds of people together.
Yes, I’m going to come to that. So here are some things which I think we should do. First of all, tell people to stop assuming that their own experience reflects the aggregate reality. I had a really fascinating email from a well-known and really respected, I respect him, columnist who told me that quite a lot of Muslims (I’m quoting here) ‘are already like us’. I asked him how he, ‘How do you know that?’ He said, ‘The Muslims I know, and there are a few, are as well integrated as my Catholic and Jewish friends.’ That’s his evidence. Well, it’s [35:58]. I think we have to start treating this issue in the same way as we do anything else. We actually look for data and use it properly.
Secondly, stop policy-based evidence making. For example, people who want to get rid of independent schools and church schools deploy the integration question as an argument. It’s just not right. Those schools are actually typically more racially diverse than other state schools. We know that, you can look at the Independent Schools Council data, you can look at the Catholic schools’ data.
The Integration Hub as well.
And the Integration Hub has it all.
Thirdly, stop making policy by anecdote. Now intermarriage, which is one of my real bugbears, where people say, ‘Oh, there’s lots of intermarriage, we love each other’, if you come from an African Caribbean background, here’s something that you know. In my age cohort, the most typical intermarriage is me and Louise Casey, descended from Irish. Our children have a 50-60% change of growing up in a single parent household compared to a 25% chance for everybody else. Now is that the kind of integration we want?
Now a few things which we should do. Active integration, rather than organic integration, we need rules and limits, for example on school mix. We need to measure properly, for example, and we need the tools to do that. At the moment the big recruitment agencies say they cannot keep the data on ethnicity because of the Data Protection Act, so they can’t present integrated lists of candidates to people who want to recruit board members. We’ve got to sort that out. We’ve got to be transparent – David has made this point, reveal school numbers. I bet you if you start revealing the school mixes in London, smart middle-class parents will be looking for the schools that have the most South Asian and Chinese children and they’ll be going straight down there, because that’s how you get your children into Russell Group universities. Put them next to those groups.
And lastly, last point, spend! Spend! The Germans will this year spend how much on their integration programmes, language teachers, housing, cultural development? €8 billion. €8 billion is what Mrs Merkel is committing, and that’s before the million people who came in this year. That’s it. Thank you.
Excellent. Thank you both. We’re going to slightly change the order Louise, so you can wait for a sec. We want to bring other people in. I just want to make one very quick point. In the absence of [38:56] who isn’t here tonight, I just want to ask you really how important you think the whole question of white exit, white flight is. As we’ve referred to already, much of the integration that does take place in Britain, residentially and in schools, happens intra-minority. We’re seeing this great divergence in many areas between the white ethnic majority and minorities around the table as a whole, in residence and schools, which I think is very worrying trend and is there … considering how one can lean against that, and also please if it’s in your remit can we have better data? There are lots of areas where we need, we’ve got good data compared to many countries, we need better data. We need to distinguish between minorities not born here and those born here.
Now let’s have ten minutes or so of questions. And then Louise can wind up in five or six minutes, yeah?
[40:06], Migration Watch
Thanks very much David. Congratulations. Fantastic. Can I take issue with you Trevor? You have been in a room like this, in Berlin. I arranged it and you came to talk about multi-[40:19].
Make it quick though, make it quick.
[40:18], Media Watch
Fair point, but Germans are smarter.
Unknown speaker, Media Watch
My question is, how do you achieve what you’ve described with the present scale of migration that we have, where the people that we’re seeking to integrate are being replaced by ever greater numbers?
You’re really meant to be addressing questions to Louise, not to the [40:44]. It doesn’t really matter. Lady at the back there. Stand up will you? Tell us who you are.
[40:52, Unknown Speaker]
I had a cold shower this morning ‘cause my boiler doesn’t work so I’m probably a bit cantankerous, but I do want to talk about the elephant in the room, which is we’re all talking about integration in a very lovely way, very lovely, and we’re assuming that when we talk about integration, that involves all the different kinds of groups, but the truth is the government’s narrative, the media narrative, is not about all the different groups. We’re not talking about Indian migrants, and that is an interesting question about how do they integrate but actually we tend to talk about Muslim integration and it was really interesting, David, your PowerPoint presentation, because what it brought back is it really is a question of how if you ask the question how successful is integration, it really depends on what the measures of integration are. So for instance I could say actually in some areas of London integration is very poor, but what I mean is social class integration, that the [42:02] are not living with people in social housing. That’s poor integration, but actually the government’s integration agenda isn’t about that, the media integration agenda isn’t about it; it’s always about Muslims. So it –
OK, thanks. Somebody right at the back –
I’m a Brit, I’m culturally a [42:25] and blended, homogenised as the Americans say. Quick question for you guys – instead of targeting Muslims with all these integrationist policies, why don’t we target everybody? In other words from the year dot, the age of four or five, teaching little kids British values, British culture. What is it to be British, what is it that defines a Brit in terms of free speech, democracy, rule of law, blah blah blah?
Christina Dykes [43:09]
I have been in this game for a very long time as I think the panel will all be aware and I have studied Louise. I think, Louise, you’re going to be able to study the behaviour of political parties, because in the last 30 years I have found the [43:25 IA] in the name of gaining votes. I think that cannot be left unaddressed.
Sonia Sodha, The Observer
I wanted to ask whether you think the impact of local government policy has been segregationary or integrationist overall, and if you think it sometimes has a segregationary impact, which I think some people do, what can we do about that?
Unknown speaker [43:58]
[43:59 IA] It’s anybody who looks like that, whether or not they are.
Matthew Wilkinson, SOAS, University of London
One of those maligned academics. I take the point that I think has been very well made that organic integration has left serious shortcomings and people locked in the cellar or unable to get out and there’s other very good metaphors that were used, but have we not suffered as well from the fact that the efforts of active education from Centre have also been very clumsy and very badly designed? So we’ve had a whole agenda based around muscular British values, which has been trumpeted from the rooftops but a lot of the ethnic minorities in this country wouldn’t accept many of the things that go with muscular British values. So my question is how is the government going to produce a much more philosophically robust and sensitive instrument to promote an active agenda?
Unknown speaker [45:38]
Speaking as a complete outsider, [45:40], to what extent does that data capture people’s background before they moved to the UK? [45:49 IA] African East to the African Asian communities who moved in. They may show up as first level [45:59 IA] but actually they came from entrepreneurial, essentially well-capitalised positions prior to immigration. So can we track back to that and adjust for our data or are we just categorising people by their [46:18 IA]?
Is there a danger in Trevor’s approach, which is we spend lots of money on certain immigrant groups which actually builds resentment amongst white working-class people, who statistically, [46:38], have been the worst performing educational group for several years? It’s not ethnic minorities, the left behind group could be white working class people.
The Prime Minister recently drew a link between tackling segregation with particularly the Muslim communities and tackling Islamist extremism and going to Iran and Syria. I’d like to know if you came across any examples where that link was present.
It strikes me that the challenge here is how does policy change culture? Most [47:16], particularly Afro-Caribbean [47:18] is a cultural thing and a cultural [47:20 IA] and that’s a challenge for [47:22]. You’re going to labour long and hard to [47:25 IA].
A quick comment from you Trevor, and then over to Louise.
I just wanted to say a word on, there’s quite a lot that seems to be bubbling under, what can we say about Muslims? Can I just say two sentences about this? if we are serious about this, then we have to look at what the data tells us, and it may be that it tells us that Muslim communities in this country are not in many ways that matter like other communities, and I know exactly how that sounds, but let me put it to you another way. Continuously pretending that a group is somehow eventually going to become like the rest of us is perhaps the deepest form of disrespect, because what you’re essentially saying is the fact that they behave in a particular way, some of which we might not like, is because they haven’t yet seen the light. It maybe that they see the world differently to the rest of us and part of the integration process is for the rest of us to grasp that people aren’t going to change their views simply because we are constantly telling them that basically they should live like us. I know that’s a tough thing to hear, but if we are serious about this, these are the kind of things we’re going to have to get into.
In the interests of fairness, Sharit, very quickly though.
Even if you sympathise with what Trevor just said a moment ago, someone like me would worry about the fact that you are essentialising things. It tends to become counterproductive. You start with the good intention of dealing with these problems, and there are some very serious problems to do with men of violence and people who turn a blind eye to that, make no mistake; but if the circumstances that you’re generally concerned about that are contributing to that appetite for let’s say denial within that community, if those circumstances are so very different, surely we should be trying to use some of our existing policies more cleverly. The moment you have something that remotely smells like national Muslim policy, it tends to be counterproductive. People will question your motives, unless you’re very, very lucky, and I don’t think we’ve been very lucky so far.
Thank you everybody. Thanks for your questions. Now Louise, you’ve got six or seven minutes.
I’ll just do thirty seconds and get out of here I think actually!
You’re all absolutely right about everything! Thanks very much. There we are
<Laughter and applause>
Jesus, Mary and Joseph … my dad would have said! I think my mum would have been delighted if I’d married you, it has to be said! Yup, anyway, there we are.
Is that a proposal?
Well, who knows. I never miss an opportunity … so anyway.
Sadly already gone to an Irish Catholic I’m afraid.
I know, lucky girl! Anyway, there we are!
So look, the first thing to say about the terms of engagement for the conversation is that I am not finished yet in terms of doing an interim report for the government into these range of issues, and that to be honest, though I understand entirely that people have been at this for a long time and a lot of people feel that lots of progress has been made, I feel that certainly since September/October time there feels to be a … how can I put it, a dissonance really between what we might be feeling in policy terms, whether that’s the government talking about extremism, strategies and into counter-terrorism and integration and immigration, and actually some of what I have seen, felt and listened to, in terms of some of the communities, so I think there is a job that needs to be done, that we’re just starting actually, about how do we find a way to agree what it is we’re worried about, what we’re actually talking about when we mean all of these words, and how do we go about sorting it out? Because as has just been shown, in a room full of SW1-ites, there’s not unanimity about how you go forward on this. And I think for myself, one of the things which I hope I’ve always managed to do is be utterly honest, so I think we will get to some things in the review where I think we will know what it is that we want to recommend and what needs to be done. We won’t get to some others, ‘cause we just haven’t had the timing capacity to get to them, and some of the are so complicated and so deep that to make some kind of recommendation or pronouncement would be frankly wrong, because if we get some of this wrong then that would be a real mistake. And I think for me anyway, this is the beginning of a process for all of us to think about how do we do it? So what I wanted to say is in a way answer some of the questions, which is I do think that we need to abandon the orthodox principles of integration as Trevor put it, and in fairness to him, not just because I’ve made a marriage proposal and been rejected all in one evening, that actually one of the first reports that looked into basically white lads in places like Fitton Hill and Liverpool [53:25] and the fact that they are not making any headway within British society was actually done by Trevor, and I think that we need to come afresh really at the issue of integration. I’m quite interested in looking at the issues of resilience.
I’ve just come out of four years running the Troubled Families Programme. What would you expect me to do when I look at this issue? I look at children growing up who do not have enough resilience to all sorts of things, to paedophiles frankly, to nasty groomers, let alone to the Daesh lot out there that are bloody good at this stuff. So I think we should be looking at the issues round personal resilience and I think we should be back in the space of what happens to every child as they grow up, whoever they are, whichever religion, whichever culture, we should be looking afresh at issues like educational attainment, god … Red Nose Day! Red Nose Days, under-ten-year-olds all over the country love doing stuff for it. That is a good thing. I’m not going liberal, don’t get any mistake, I’m going to come on to some tougher stuff shortly, but there is something there about how do we celebrate and reinforce and make sure kids are all growing up in a way that is resilient? And you can call that integration, you can call that rights and responsibilities, you can call it opportunities for all, you can talk about glass ceilings. Actually this Prime Minister made a speech at his Tory Party Conference this year where he used the world equality and got a standing ovation from Conservatives, and he talked about his 20/20 vision, who he wants in terms of in employment and in training. I think that’s extraordinary, I think it’s brilliant and I think that we now need to deliver that. Whitehall, everybody, needs to wake up to delivering that type of agenda again really. I do feel that one of the things we know is that if you spend time with people as you’re growing up then you’re less likely to be racist, you’re more likely to be able to rub along with each other, and it may not solve everything Trevor, but it’s a start.
If kids grow up and they meet somebody who’s black, they’re less likely to be racist, and I think we should be in that space. I think we should be back in that space. On the negative side we should look at hate crime, at anti-Islamophobic stuff, we need to come afresh at some of those things, but the building blocks surely are around integration and resilience, which is about education, employment and opportunity, and it doesn’t really matter who you are, you have the same right to an opportunity. And I think in some ways, some second generation families would feel their parents put up with it, living in terrible housing, shutting up, feeling so grateful to be here they put up with it; well the next generations aren’t quite so prepared to put up with it and actually I think that’s a good thing. And I think that that changes the debate. So I do feel that we need an integrational resilience strategy.
I also feel that we need to talk about the elephant in the room that nobody’s really talked about tonight apart from yourself at the back that said this is basically the government just targeting Muslims. In my middle space, integration and then my middle space here, we need to talk about equality. I am not happy that women growing up in this country are not treated as equal by anybody – they could be a Muslim Imam, they can be a bloke I just met on the bus, I don’t really care, but I am a woman in the twenty-first century and I’m equal to any man, and that’s the message that we need to hand out, and if there are particular religions that don’t sign up to that or particular parties or particular anything, why do those things trump? Why do any of those things trump what we fought bloody hard for here in this country to actually make sure every woman had a vote? Well, if we mean it, we should mean it. For me, I think this isn’t a Muslim issue, it’s an equality issue. Social and economic injustice, whichever language you want to drive it up into … and I spent an hour, I hope you don’t mind me saying Jasvinder, early this afternoon, who’s one of the leading experts on forced marriage, they bloody happen and they’re appalling and we let some of that happen because we’re so politically correct in wanting our multicultural Britain that we forgot to talk about equality, we forgot to talk about women’s rights, we forget to talk about that girls should not, from the age of eight, be promised to somebody else, and I don’t care if that’s five girls, it’s five too many. And if we had a bit more of that about some of this, rather than this, Tip-ex-ing out the word Pakistani on children’s files in Rotherham, because we were so bloody awkward to talk about it. That’s where we went wrong. This isn’t just about particular communities needing to integrate. It’s about the people on the other side that have actually been hand-wringing and I feel I will come at that with some force in our review. And also we’re sat here, you’ve got Jasvinder who is national expert on forced marriages, you’ve got Naz Shah (I hope you don’t mind me embarrassing you) who basically leading MP for Bradford, struggled in all sorts of political environments to get to where she is today and is an absolute pin-up … I suppose we’re supposed not to use those words anymore actually, but you know I mean it in a good way.
An absolute role-model for basically other young women growing up in this country, whether frankly they’re Muslim or non-Muslim, and actually took me to the Bradford Literary Festival, which is not some specialist Muslim festival or specialist Asian festival – it’s a bloody big festival about literary world in Bradford, and that’s where we need to be, and that’s where I want us to be and that’s probably where my report will come.
And no, I’m not going to ignore the fact that there is a window of things called evil, paedophiles, groomers, ISIS lot, they go for our children and we need to talk about it. So just saying Prevent’s a busted brand isn’t enough. It’s just not enough. We’ve got to be more sophisticated and have more honest debates about how we do it. So I will also come at where the window between the very, very difficult things then come back into the community and where they overlap back up again, ‘cause we have to.
I’ve not met anybody yet that thinks they want their children to go off and either kill us here or kill us over there. I’ve not met anybody so far, so let’s find a way to get this sorted really and stop these sorts of things. But I think it’s fair to say that if I can try and describe a kind of … obviously it won’t be at the sophisticated level that everybody’s talked about tonight, but integration resilience agenda, a social-economic injustice agenda, which should be about equality regardless of who you are. And there’ll be some communities that are less good at that than others, and we need to go for it. It’s alright to say it’s not alright to treat your girls badly. It doesn’t matter who you are, that’s not OK. That’s simply not OK in twenty-first century Britain and it’s OK for a white woman to say it. Do you know what I mean? Otherwise we end up in a Rotherham place.
And I think the third thing I’m going to look at, gently and carefully, is how do we get this … difficult overlap, which is always difficult in any crime I can assure you, it’s difficult in all forms of crime to talk about what’s going on in your own community and what you think is happening, regardless of whether that’s frankly gang culture back in Brixton from years ago where you and did stuff a long time ago, or whether that’s Naz trying to sort out families in Bradford before things go violently wrong. we need to talk about it and it’s OK to.
So they’re the sorts – sorry, you got me all wound up ‘cause I’m nervous, I’m not used to being in a room with so many intellectuals for such a long period of time!
I think on behalf of everyone here I just want to thank the A team for a superlative performance here tonight. Thank everybody for their questions. No further proposals of marriage tonight, no Tipp-ex-ing either of anything for the future of this project. We’ll present things in the unvarnished way that David and his colleagues have always done and we’re proud to have them on board and we’re honoured to have had this team here tonight. Please join me in expressing our appreciation to them all.