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“The idea of being bothered about immigration made me laugh! I’m from Birmingham. It’s never been a concern of mine. I can’t imagine caring about someone else being born in a difference place to me. (Black British born female participant).”
The Runnymede Trust has launched a new report about British ethnic minorities’ views on immigration and Europe. The publication entitled ‘This is Still About Us – Why Ethnic Minorities See Immigration Differently’ used high-sample surveys and focus groups across several different areas of the country to gauge opinion.


Produced by the UK’s leading independent thinktank on race equality and race relations, its findings show:



  • Immigration is seen more positively by BME groups, because they focus on the economic and cultural contributions an immigrant can make to British life.
  • BME people are more likely to feel that the public debate around immigration negatively impacts on them personally, even if they or their parents were born in Britain;
  • They feel sometimes they need to ‘prove’ they are British;
  • Most broadly share concerns of the wider population around the pace of immigration, but they are more worried about the pressure on services than on cultural impact;
  • Participants were more ambivalent about Europe and are less likely to take advantage of free movement within EU borders;
  • People were more concerned about Britain being a ‘hostile environment’ for immigrants;
  • BME people are more likely to be concerned about the impact of benefit cuts on immigrant families;
  • On citizenship and the immigration system, BME groups are more likely to be concerned about the cost of the citizenship process, family visa policies and Home Office responses to immigration queries;
  • There were variations between different BME groups: Long-settled communities were more likely to believe newer migrants had easier experiences;
  • BME people are more likely to view Europe in explicitly ethnic or racial terms.


You can read the full report here.

British Future’s Sunder Katwals and Steve Ballinger went along to Wembley to hand out La Marseillaise songsheets and watch the England v France friendly.


This blog was originally posted on the British  Future website.



“I’m not sure I can pronounce any of it, but I’ll give it a go…” England fans were well aware of our nation’s difficulties with foreign languages when we handed out lyrics to La Marseillaise to them at Wembley this evening, under the watchful gaze of Bobby Moore’s statue. But we  still ran out within a few minutes, writes Steve Ballinger – everyone knew straight away why we were doing it.


They all knew they would sing two anthems this evening – and that this was no ordinary football friendly.


On Wembley Way, as we walked towards a Wembley Arch turned red, white and blue with ‘Liberte, Egalite, Franternite’ illuminated below, merchandise vans had sold out of ‘half n half scarves’ in the colours of England and France. An anomaly at most matches – who supports both teams? – they felt entirely apt at tonight’s game.


The atmosphere inside the ground was hard to describe. In many ways it didn’t feel that different – though the Englishman in front of me probably wouldn’t usually wrap himself in France’s Tricolore flag. We sang ‘God Save the Queen’ with gusto. And then the French anthem, the words displayed on Wembley’s giant screens after a campaign on social media and asking the FA to help us all sing La Marseillaise. The French fans nearby us sang it loud and proud; the English joined in gamely, as one might with an obscure hymn at a wedding. But then the bit we could all get right – “Aux armes, citoyens! Formez vos bataillons! Marchons! Marchons!” – rang out from every voice in Wembley stadium – tens of thousands of voices singing together and reminding us why it was so important that this game should go ahead.


The match itself, only ever a friendly to give Roy Hodgson’s team a taste of playing higher quality opposition,  was wholly overshadowed by the events that proceeded it, as one might expect. England’s opening goal, the first in England colours for Tottenham’s Dele Alli, was a beauty. It was typical of England to win a game where the score didn’t matter.


There was a standing ovation when France’s Lassana Diarra took to the field in the second half, just days after learning that his cousin had been killed in the Paris massacre; and a brief reprise of the French anthem in the 89th minute, as supporters from France waved their flags. A rousing applause followed the final whistle.


Then we all tramped off to queue for the tube home. News that another friendly, in Germany, had been called off due to another security alert, provided a grim reminder that the atrocities in Paris were not a one-off – and that tonight’s game,  important symbol though it was, would not be enough on is own to keep us all safe. But we were glad, all the same, that we had been at Wembley tonight,  part of this important moment of solidarity between two nations.

In recent decades the dominant assumption among foundations has been that the main role of foundations is grant-making, supporting existing organisations or operating their own programmes. Indeed, many foundations prefer not to impose their values and goals on society or appear to add competition among existing voluntary organisations.


In reality, however, many foundations have chosen to create new organisations in order to achieve their goals in pursuit of social change. Beyond their inherent role, foundations choose to act as ‘institutional entrepreneurs’ involved in the conception of something new which the foundation backs financially and supports in other ways.


The ‘inventive foundation’ is the subject of a new pan-European study by Diana Leat, supported by Barrow Cadbury Trust, Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation (UK Branch) and the Paul Hamlyn Foundation. This study examines nine examples of foundation generated organisations of varying size and purpose across Europe and intelligently explores the fears, trepidations, challenges and opportunities of foundations in acting as social entrepreneurs.


The short report argues that foundations, with their knowledge, networks and resources, are well positioned as institutional entrepreneurs and reveals why foundations decide to create new organisations, the processes and the issues arising in this activity in a range of different settings across Europe. The nine case studies included are each based in different countries with differently developed non-profit sectors, are engaged in different fields of activity, and have generated different types of organisations.


While there has been much discussion over the years on ‘venture philanthropy’, this study instead focuses on the neglected topic of the venture entrepreneur and the importance of the role of foundations as ‘mother’, ‘father’ and ‘midwife’ to an organisation. It is a useful piece in highlighting some of the issues foundations may wish to consider should they decide to create their own organisation or institution and raises further issues on the role of foundations in civil society and their relationship with partners. The full report, ‘The Inventive Foundation: creating new ventures in Europe’, is available to read here.

Policy Network and Barrow Cadbury Trust have launched a two year programme of investigation into ‘Understanding the Populist Signal’.  The project will explore the drivers of populism through an events programme and think pieces.


Two new essays on the Policy Network Political Observatory open the project.  The first by Michael McTernan and Claudia Chwalisz ‘The rise of the populists: threat or corrective to the political establishment? looks at the rise of populism across Europe as a symptom of the contemporary crisis of governance and democracy.  The second by Tim Bale ‘Picking up on populism; playing with fire, or putting out the flames? investigates the signals the rise of populism sends to the mainstream.


The launch event ‘Beating populists in populist times’ is on 6 February in London with sessions on ‘understanding the populist signal’ and ‘The power of cities and community-building in the fight against populism’.  Speakers include: Tim Bale, Queen Mary University of London; Ernst Hillebrand, Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, Berlin; Alexandra Jones, Centre for Cities; David Marquand, University of Oxford; Alison McGovern, Labour MP; Matthew Taylor, The RSA; Frank van Erkel, City Development Director, Amsterdam.



Policy Network deputy director, Michael McTernan, examines how we should respond to the rise of populism across Europe.


Populism is a new force in European politics. Tearing up the ideological contours of the 20th Century, its exponents vary from the grievance politics of the radical right and the far left through to dangerous forms of extremism and nationalism, values-and issue-based campaigning and the virulent currents of anti-politics and distrust of elite political projects which are sweeping across Europe.


As the Policy Network and Barrow Cadbury Trust project into the relationship between populism, extremism and mainstream politics shows, underlying the growth of all these populist movements is a series of deep-seated stresses that come to bear on liberal democracy and its mainstream party systems. They are socio-economic, cultural and political in nature.


The conclusions of this extensive cross-European study into how the mainstream parties have responded, and where they have failed to date, underlined the importance of 3 related strategic responses:


Firstly, acknowledge the rise of populism as both a threat and a corrective to democracy. The rise of anti-immigrant and anti-EU populism, for example, should be taken as a signal that mainstream parties have not correctly acknowledged past mistakes or the levels of concern which surround these issues. Progressive political parties cannot simply evade or dismiss the perceived, imagined or real grievances related to identity, cultural dislocation and immigration. Acknowledgement is a precondition to countering myths, getting back in touch with voters and responding to the root causes of discontent. Reframing, ignoring the problem, or simply labelling “reluctant radicals” as ugly racists, fans the flames of populism.


Secondly, work extensively on a governing agenda driven by the acknowledgement of past failings. In essence, getting on with the difficult policy work of formulating strategies in relation to education; housing; social mobility; labour markets; skills and training; sectoral intervention; regulation, i.e. predistribution; community building; policing; public interest regulatory bodies; dispersal of power i.e mutual and co-operative councils; and tackling the EU legitimacy crisis.


Thirdly, ‘contact democracy’ as a strategic response to political distrust. This means championing initiatives, tools and organisations that engage citizens in political dialogue and participation.


The emphasis on acknowledging the problem and ‘improving government’ is nothing particularly new. Moreover, progressive governance has become even more difficult and complex in these times of crisis, with national governments holding less power due to the forces of globalisation and the constraints of the debt crisis on public finances. At the same-time, the digital revolution and technological innovation have left many mainstream political parties hollowed-out and lagging in the past. As The Financial Times commentator Philip Stephens points out, “the political mega-trend of recent decades has been the diffusion of power – from states to other actors and from old elites to citizens.”


The focus on contact democracy and new forms of voter engagement is therefore a crucial supplementary step to building new coalitions which can carry a popular and credible governing progamme. Politics needs to regain legitimacy and this means people feeling more ownership and engagement.


Amidst the cult reportage of the maverick figure-head Beppe Grillo, the often-missed point about the rise of the Five Star Movement in Italy has been their successful use of the internet to encourage grassroots co-ordination among activists at the local level. As Anthony Painter, the author of the final project report, puts it, they have “mastered a viral form of contact democracy”. Italian-based political scientist Duncan McDonnell has documented the use of new tools such as, which have been very successfully used by the movement to mobilise and empower supporters. The Five Star Movement has many faults, but their internet and activist engagement success cannot be ridiculed.


To be sure, micro-democratic solutions and deliberative democracy forums do not offer the answers to the complex governing questions around growth and economic rebalancing. But the point is that political elites will soon lose their mandates to take on these difficult challenges with-out opening-up old clientele power structures and dispersing power more widely, embracing the digital revolution and new forms of campaigning and contact democracy. Progressive politics has to focus on the party of the future, not the party of the past.


Michael McTernan is deputy director of Policy Network @mmcternan