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Action for Inclusion

Caroline Oliver has written a COMPAS blogpost on the Action for Inclusion in Europe project we are working on. Here is the opening:

You’ve had to deal with 30,000 refugees?….in the region?’

‘No…in the city’

This was how a ‘getting-to-know-you’ conversation began two weeks ago, as six senior officials responsible for migrants’ educational achievement at city or municipal level arrived in Hamburg for a new COMPAS initiative. We were meeting at one of a series of short but intensive action-oriented meetings, aimed at bringing together city officials working on migrant parental involvement in young people’s education, in order to develop plans for tangible reform in their policy or practice.

This activity is part of a wider body of new work at COMPAS, the Action for Inclusion in Europe Initiative, funded by the Open Society Initiative for Europe. In early October, we began with an Autumn Academy, for a five day residential workshop that brought together 19 policy officers and practitioners from European city authorities, an International Governmental Organisation and NGO. All were working in various capacities on migrant integration.

Over recent weeks, other thematic working groups were held that engaged senior officials working on migrant homelessness and civic participation, as well as last week’s event on migrant parental engagement in schools. The events have reached 35 participants from 26 European cities, including representatives from Antwerp, Aarhus, Birmingham, Dublin, Frankfurt, Geneva, Ghent, Glasgow, Hamburg, Helsinki, London, Rotterdam, Torino and Vienna among others.

new_logo_exchangeSo what were we doing? The process has been guided by a broad principle of ‘knowledge exchange’ central to the work of the new arm of COMPAS, the Global Exchange in Migration and Diversity. This knowledge exchange involves COMPAS researchers or associates (including myself, Ben Gidley, Jonathan Price and Sarah Spencer). Throughout the events, we offer insights from academic research, frame key themes and debates in the topics of the working groups and facilitate city participants to collectively consider their experiences in practice.

READ THE REST.


The Impact of Diasporas/Diasporas Reimagined

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The Oxford Diasporas Programme (and its sibling Leverhulme diaspora programme, based at Leicester) celebrated its fifth birthday at the Royal Geographical Society in September. A photo gallery is here, including two nice photos of me here and here.

The event launched our collection Diasporas Reimagined: Spaces, Practices and Belonging, edited by Nando Sigona, Alan Gamlen. Giulia Liberatore and Hélène Neveu Kringelbach. The book can be downloaded here, including my chapter, “Cultures of translation: East London, diaspora space and an imagined cosmopolitan tradition”, here.

 


Blogging migration research

All of my COMPAS blogposts, which I have featured on this website, have now been migrated to the new COMPAS website and archived in one place. Here they are, with links to the new permanent url:

Continue reading


It’s time to do much, much more to help Europe’s refugees

I was one of many signatories of this letter, published yesterday in the New Statesman. Thank you to Rob Ford and Maria Sobolewska for writing it. Continue reading


MIPEX UK press coverage

I helped provide the UK data to MIPEX, the Migrant Integration Policy Index, published this month. The UK findings are here.
mipex-united-kingdom
Here is some of the coverage of the UK findings. The first three pieces are by me.

The Conversation

The UK tumbles out of top ten in key immigration ranking

Jul 1, 2015

After five years of coalition government, the impact of tighter controls on immigration is beginning to register. In a global index of how committed countries are to integrating legal migrants, the UK has dropped out of the top 10. [By me. Original at The Conversation.]

It’s time to put integration back on the agenda

Jun 30, 2015

Since the introduction of the concept by then-Labour home secretary Roy Jenkins in the mid-1960s, integration has never been a priority for UK governments. [By me. Original at Left Foot Forward.]

Home

An evidence base for a rights-based approach to migrant integration policy

June 16, 2015
As we continue to see high migration numbers, is cutting integration wise? The new MIPEX findings raise the question of how much integration should be prioritised as UK slips in the international tables. [By me. Original at MRN Migration Pulse]

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Javier Muñoz: Extremismo.com

Dibujo que recrea el asesinato de la emperatriz Sissi a manos del anarquista Luigi Lucheni, a orillas del lago Quai de Mont-Blanc, en Suiza.

Drawing heavily on the article I wrote for La Vanguardia earlier this year, El Correo columnist Javier Muñoz has written a piece on online extremism which quotes me extensively. Here are some extracts.

Ningún país escapa al goteo de jóvenes que un día abandonan la delincuencia, dejan de fumar porros o mandan los estudios y el trabajo a paseo para luchar por el califato en Mesopotamia. Un profesor de la Universidad de Oxford, Ben Gidley, se fijó en uno de esos individuos; una chica criada en el barrio londinense de Lewisham que se marchó a Siria durante el verano de 2014, cuando las cancillerías europeas empezaron a tomarse en serio al Ejército Islámico. Gidley se interesó en el caso porque él reside en Lewinsham, un lugar en su opinión anodino. Revisó lo que la yihadista escribió en Twitter mientras su cuenta se mantuvo activa y lo primero que comprobó es que el perfil era la foto de un niño con un fusil.

Los tuits estaban impregnados de una violencia extrema. La muchacha aseguraba haber visto cómo se esclavizaba a mujeres yazidíes (herejes según los yihadistas) y cómo se decapitaba a prisioneros. Buscaba enlaces para contemplar el asesinato de un periodista británico en la web y expresaba el deseo de ser la primera combatiente del Reino Unido en matar con sus propias manos a un cautivo occidental.

Con relatos como ése, dice Ben Gidley, se pone en cuestión el modelo británico de integración de los inmigrantes basado en el multiculturalismo. Sin embargo, a su modo de ver, los hechos desmienten esa teoría. “En realidad -escribe el docente en un artículo publicado en La Vanguardia Dossier-, los reclutas británicos que han viajado recientemente a Siria para luchar con el Estado Islámico presentan a menudo un alto nivel educativo y unas trayectorias profesionales de éxito”.

Gidley duda de que la chica de Lewinsham pueda ser catalogada como una musulmana no integrada. Se educó en una sociedad libre, se topó con los “comportamientos patriarcales de los ancianos de su mezquita” y se sintió “aburrida por la vida londinense”. Conocía la jerga de las redes sociales, hablaba de tiendas, del tiempo y de su círculo de amigos.

El Reino Unido ha contabilizado más de 700 yihadistas locales, un colectivo que, según el primer ministro, David Cameron, ha surgido por la pasividad de la comunidad musulmana. Sin embargo, su ex ministra Sayeed Warsi, abogada de origen pakistaní y miembro de la Cámara de los Lores (dimitió del Gobierno conservador en 2014 por su política en el conflicto palestino), no está de acuerdo. Admite que las familias y los clérigos musulmanes pueden hacer más, pero se queja de que se responsabilice a estos últimos de la atracción que la violencia despierta en ciertos jóvenes, un fenómeno que recuerda los magnicidios de algunos anarquistas de finales del XIX y comienzos del XX.

Asesinato de Sissi emperatriz

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With Arendt on 7/7: The left, social theory and terror

DissentI wrote this originally for the Centre for Urban and Community Research’s Street Signs magazine in September 2007. I re-wrote it for Dissent in September 2010. Dissent’s website migration means all the formatting has been lost, so I am re-posting it here, for the anniversary of 7/7.

When the September 11, 2001 attacks on New York happened, I was in my office in London, trying to finish a report that was overdue. A colleague came in to tell me what was happening. It seemed unreal; my first thought, of which I am now ashamed, was that this was a distraction I didn’t need. I went downstairs to the communal office where people were standing around the radio listening to events unfold on the BBC, then after a while returned to my office to try to finish off the report. It was only when I arrived home and started to watch the images on television that it began to feel more real. And then it began to feel painfully real when I spoke on the telephone to my mother—a New Yorker transplanted to Yorkshire.

Within hours of the attacks, I got an email from a friend describing them as “chickens coming home to roost” for American foreign policy, specifically U.S. sponsorship of Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda, as part of the final stages of the war on communism. In this sense, the phrase has a certain chilling accuracy. But the more general claim behind the phrase was the idea that America’s foreign policy would inevitably lead to “blowback,” to use another phrase that soon afterward appeared in an email from another friend—in other words, that the responsibility for the attacks was somehow America’s; responsibility and culpability shifted away from the terrorists themselves and onto a larger system. In the days and weeks after September 11, the “chickens coming home to roost” emails came thick and fast.

In July 2005, when my adopted hometown, London, was attacked, exactly the same pattern of responses followed. I received my first email from a friend with the words “chickens coming home to roost” within hours of the 7/7 bombs—while I was still waiting to get through to close friend who lives very near Tavistock Square and who I feared had been caught up in the rush hour atrocity. Now it was not American international policy in general, but the Iraq War specifically, and Britain’s involvement in it, that was the chicken that had come home to roost.

At the other end of the spectrum, of course, were those describing the bombers in terms of evil. The focus on the terrorists as evil, common in politicians’ speeches and newspaper editorials, removed the attacks from any kind of social or geopolitical context. It focused responsibility for the act squarely on the moral agency of the terrorists themselves.

These two responses—chickens coming home to roost on one side and pure evil on the other—demonstrate two opposite failures of thought, or, more precisely, failures of understanding. The claim that the attacks were evil was often accompanied by an insistence that seeking any explanation beyond the purity of evil was illegitimate and would somehow violate the sanctity of those who had been killed in the attacks. The concept of evil comes from moral—and more specifically religious—language, connoting the ineffable, the incomprehensible. To insist on this ineffability is to deny the possibility of rational analysis. The insistence on ineffability is a refusal to think about the attacks and shows a rush to judgment. In these statements, the attacks are a moral outrage, and to think about them, to try to understand their causes, is tantamount to excusing them.

For those whose drive is to analyze, particularly for those of us with a commitment to secular values, there is a basic reaction against the use of the concept of evil itself. Intellectuals, trained to refuse such moral categories, naturally reject this sort of rush to judgment. But there is no doubt that, if the word evil has any meaning, the indiscriminate mass murder of civilians—regardless of age, gender, race, religion, politics, or any other category—qualifies precisely as evil. To deny the evil status of the terrorist attacks is to deny the possibility of moral judgment.

The refusal of moral judgment typical of secular intellectuals does not, however, shy away from apportioning blame. The formula of “chickens coming home to roost” however, apportions blame not to evil individuals but rather to the underlying structures of global society. This has the effect, I believe, of removing the events from the agency of their perpetrators. The bombers cease to be protagonists but become pawns in some much larger game: global capitalism or Western imperialism. Such a refusal may be an intellectual strength, allowing us to reach for a deeper analysis than the politicians and newspaper editors, but it can be a moral failure, too. Continue reading


The right to have rights: children and destitution

My June COMPAS blogpost was on safeguarding children from destitution. The original is here. This is an extract.

The legal framework that governs how a child in Britain with migrant parents can access welfare rights is incredibly complex: on the one hand, a century of immigration and nationality legislation that has created a seemingly endless proliferation of statuses and entitlements short of those of full citizens; on the other hand, the sedimentation of case law, of European and UK legislation on the rights of children and families, and the heritage of a welfare system based on universal provision.

foldersWhile public opinion deals in terms such as “illegal migrant” and “bogus asylum seeker”, for service providers working with migrant families, the categories are infinitely more complicated. An alphabet soup of acronyms and initials that specify who has rights to which benefits – NRPF, s17, ARE, ILR, LLR, DVR, and many more – spell out the formula by which a family may claim housing benefit or carers allowance, or not, and under which conditions. Navigating this complexity is left to local authorities, and specifically to the frontline workers (“street level bureaucrats”, as they are called in the research literature) tasked with granting or denying families access to the welfare state.

Researching the right to have rights

Understanding how this works in practice – how different categories of migrant families do or don’t access social rights – has been a key question for researchers at COMPAS for some time now. A series of projects have explored this for different groups. Undocumented Children in the UK, funded by Barrow Cadbury, explored experiences and everyday lives of irregular migrant children in the United Kingdom, including experiences of schooling and pathways to work. Service provision to irregular migrants in Europe, funded by the Open Society Foundations, explored the extent of, and rationales for, entitlements to service provision for migrants with irregular immigration status in EU countries, mapping entitlements to health and education for both children and adults with irregular migration status (see the blogpost by Sarah Spencer and Nicola Delvino on the Italian part of the research). An OSF-funded pilot study explored city-level responses to those without entitlement, focusing on Berlin and Madrid (see Jonathan Price’s blogpost here). Exploring Migration: Research and Drama in Schools used drama and the findings of the ‘Undocumented Migrant Children in the UK’ project to explore how school students understand issues around irregular migrants (see Ida Persson’s blogpost here). Continue reading


Some news items

Some items from May’s COMPAS newsletter:

 

Autumn Academy: Residential course on cities and integration
As part of the Action for Inclusion in Europe project COMPAS is running a five day residential course in Oxford, 5 – 9 October 2015, on cities and integration for practitioners and local policy makers working at city level. The course will cover a variety of issues including the role of cities and their partners in integration and the different approaches to policy intervention across Europe. See here for details and how to apply. Extended Deadline for application, 22 June 2015. [I am the course director for this.]

Breakfast Briefings
The COMPAS Breakfast Briefings Series continues its 5th session. The briefings present topical, cutting edge research on migration and migration related issues. These events are by invitation only, but if you would like to attend, just get in touch! In July the Migration Observatory team will talk about what the 2015 election means for migration to the UK.

UK Launch of MIPEX 2015
COMPAS is hosting the UK launch of MIPEX 2015, a global index of integration policy, on the afternoon of 11 June, in London. The last edition of the index was published in 2010 when the UK scored in the top 10. Five years later, after a period of fiscal austerity and changed political priorities, find out how Britain compares with other countries in areas such as citizenship, anti-discrimination, family reunion, migrant workers’ rights and the education of immigrant children. Coming shortly after the election and looking back over the five years of the previous parliament, the debate at the launch event will clarify the integration agenda for the coming parliament.

City Working Groups
This is a second initiative of the Action for Inclusion in Europe project. The City Working Groups element of this project aims to secure tangible reforms in city practices in Europe that address the exclusion of marginal communities via action-oriented learning exchange. Three working groups are being set up, each focusing on a particular area of city- or municipal-level policy and practice: 

  • Cohesion and belonging: building a shared civic identity [convened by Ben Gidley]
  • Education: engaging parents for better outcomes [convened by Caroline Oliver]
  • Homelessness: solutions for excluded migrants [convened by Jonathan Price]

DCLG integration round tables
As an initiative of the Global Exchange on Migration and Diversity, Sarah Spencer and Ben Gidley co-organised three closed-door roundtables on integration processes and integration policy with the Integration and Faith Division of the UK’s Department of Communities and Local Government, hosted at their London office. The aim was to inform understanding and stimulate debate on integration processes, outcomes and policy interventions. Three experts were commissioned to produce briefings on key evidence questions for each session: Professor Andrew Thompson, Varun Uberoi and Will Somerville on key concepts; Professor Anthony Heath, Nissa Finney and Professor Linda Platt on integration outcomes; and Professor Miles Hewstone, Professor Jenny Philimore and Vidhya Ramalingam on what works. The briefings are available on our website. Ben and Vidhya participated in a further informal workshop at the DCLG, giving evidence on what works in combating extremism.

Project Upstream
Upstream, a research project on municipal migrant integration policies across Europe whose UK research is led by Ole Jensen and Ben Gidley, will conclude this summer. The project’s new website is launching at projectupstream.wordpress.com. The website will soon feature Ole’s report on how UK cities are mainstreaming migrant education and social cohesion, and Ben’s report on comparing practices across Europe. In March 2015, COMPAS hosted a UK policy roundtable with participation from local and national government officials, and organised a study visit by integration experts from the city of Barcelona, hosted by the London Borough of Southwark and welcomed by the Mayor of Southwark (see Southwark press release).

Events and talks

  • Ben Gidley contributed to a major parliamentary inquiry into antisemitism, held by the All-Party Parliamentary Group Against Antisemitism. Ben was invited to give oral evidence to the inquiry, and then commissioned to write a sub-report to aid its deliberations. Ben’s sub-report focused on antisemitism in relation to protests during the conflict and was quoted extensively in the inquiry’s final report.
  • Ben Gidley was invited to speak at the Centre on Migration, Refugees and Belonging at the University of East London in April; his talk was entitled “I’m not racist but some of my best friends are: Paradoxes of xenophobia and structures of disavowal”.
  • In addition, Ben was invited to deliver a one-day intensive “MobilityLab” at Bilkent University in Ankara on migrant integration. The Lab series was organised by Professors Saime Ozcurumez and Can Mutlu of the Departments of Political Science and Public Administration and International Relations at Bilkent, with the support of the British embassy in Ankara.
  • In May, Mette Louise Berg and Ben Gidley were invited speakers at CRASSH in Cambridge; their talk was entitled “Welfare, neighbourhood and new geographies of diversity: rethinking the ethnography of superdiversity at the margins of the city”.
  • In the same month Ben hosted a study visit by Year 8 students from King Solomon High School in Ilford, as part of, “Jewish Migration Routes: From East End to Essex”,  an intergenerational oral history project led by Eastside Community Heritage, funded by the Rothschild Foundation Europe. The project explores Jewish migration into and out of the East End of London and Essex.
  • In October, Ben was also an invited speaker at the I International Conference on Cultural Diversity and Conflicts in the EU at the University of Valencia; his paper was entitled “Understanding conflict and conviviality in diverse European urban neighbourhoods: putting human rights and social justice back into the integration debate”.
  • At the end of April, Caroline Oliver spoke at the Key Concepts Roundtables series at the Institute for Superdiversity (IRiS) at Birmingham University. She spoke on “Intersectionality and superdiversity: What’s the difference?” together with Eleonore Kofman, Middlesex University and Ann Phoenix, Institute of Education.
  • Ida Persson and Vanessa Hughes participated in the Goldsmith’s Grad Fest 2015. The students from Capital City Academy who participated in the “Exploring Migration: Research and Drama in Schools” project revived their performance of “Undocumented Migrant Children’s Lives and Stories” for the festival. In June Ida and Vanessa will start work for this project with primary school students in Birmingham.

The experiences and concerns of white working class communities: Not racist, just resentful

My latest COMPAS blogpost, as part of my series on the Breakfast Briefings I organise for COMPAS at the Institute for Strategic Dialogue in Westminster:

In continental Europe, governments, civil society and academics are increasingly likely to repeat the mantra that integration is “a two-way process” involving both migrants and receiving society. All too often, though, governments place the emphasis on only one point side of the equation: on the duty of migrants to fit in. Similarly, integration scholars relentless scrutinise migrant and minority communities. The Open Society Foundations’ At Home in Europe programme wanted to address the other side of the coin: what about ordinary members of majority populations, those amongst whom migrants are enjoined to fit in? In particular, what about marginalised members of majority populations – those who might feel dislocated or left behind by the processes of change that migration has come to stand for?

This group – conventionally categorised as “the white working class” – is a constituency often spoken for in the migration debate. In an early COMPAS Breakfast Briefing, Ben Rogaly and Becky Taylor describe this as the discourse of the “beleaguered natives”. British politics has since provided no shortage of illustrations of this discourse. In 2011, David Cameron, talking about “a kind of discomfort and disjointedness in some neighbourhoods” created by migration, invoked the image of “the chat down the pub” to signal which kinds of neighbourhoods he meant. In 2012, David Goodhart wrote of “certain places, like the working class suburbs of south London… where the liberal tolerance of metropolitan Britain was not embraced”. In 2014, immigration minister James Brokenshire claimed that “a wealthy metropolitan elite” of “middle class” households have benefited from immigration while “ordinary, hard-working people” have suffered. In April, Dulwich College-educated former banker Nigel Farage claimed that UKIP “represent[s] the interests of working people… We are speaking for these people. They have got nobody else to speak for them.”

In short, lots of people speak for the white working class when it comes to migration. But how often are white working class voices themselves heard in the debate? Daniel Silver and Amina Lone of the Social Action and Research Foundation, in research presented to the May COMPAS Breakfast Briefing, set out precisely to listen to, record and communicate working class voices.

Higher Blackley

Daniel and Amina’s research took place in Higher Blackley in North Manchester. This is a mainly working class, mainly White British neighbourhood, where voter turnout is low but where the BNP took over a quarter of the vote in the late 2000s. What is behind that BNP vote? Are the white working class a beleaguered tribe of racists?

Daniel described a kind of triple marginalisation experienced by areas such as High Blackley. As a site of post-industrial unemployment (an ICI factory used to employ a large proportion of the area’s breadwinners), it experiences economic marginalisation; feeling neglected by the mainstream parties, it experiences political marginalisation; stigmatised in the media as feckless scroungers, it experiences social and cultural marginalisation.

Daniel cited the work of Tracy Shildrick and colleagues for the Joseph Rowntree Foundation on the “no pay, low pay” cycle in post-industrial communities (which more recent JRF research found affects one in five workers in the UK) to explain the dynamic in High Blackley. This cycle of insecurity affects people’s well-being (Dan presented a shocking chart showing the dramatic rise of prescriptions for anti-depressants in Greater Manchester since 2009).

Community resilience

But Daniel also argued that the media and politicians too often frame communities such as Higher Blackley as a “problem”, erasing the rich web of community support amongst families long-resident in the area.


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Multiculturalismo: pros y contras del sistema británico de integración no regulada

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Vanguardia

I’m published here, in Spanish, along with a few of my colleagues including Carlos Vargas Silva and Matthew Goodwin. Scroll down for the table of contents, and right down for how to buy. In due course, I’ll publish the English version.

VANGUARDIA DOSSIER Nº 55 | ABRIL / JUNIO 2015

El futuro del Reino Unido

Esta monografía de VANGUARDIA DOSSIER analiza el futuro del Reino Unido y sus cuatro naciones: Inglaterra, Escocia, Gales e Irlanda del Norte

IR A LA TIENDA Continue reading


The politics of mainstreaming and the role of the EU in migrant integration policy

The COMPAS blog has posted a piece by Helen McCarthy partly based on our Upstream research project. This is an extract.

Across the EU, there are wide variations between different countries in how they approach the question of integration of immigrants and their descendants. Whilst some countries (such as the UK and France) have long histories of and experience with migration, others (such as newer members like Poland) have relatively little (recent) experience with large migration inflows. In addition, different countries have very different philosophical/ideological approaches to integration, with the French Republican model that rejects group identities traditionally considered to be on one end, whilst the UK with a more ‘multicultural’ approach has been considered at the other. Continue reading


Miriam Elman: Cancelled Southampton anti-Israel conference was academic fraud

A piece in Legal Insurrection, by Miriam Elman (associate professor of political science at the Maxwell School of Syracuse University, where she is a research director in the Program for the Advancement of Research on Conflict and Collaboration), ends with a quote from me: Continue reading


From Eastern Europe to the East End to Essex and beyond

I’m very honoured to be working with Eastside Community Heritage on the wonderful intergenerational and interfaith oral history project, “Jewish Migration Routes: From East End to Essex”, on Jewish international and internal migration, funded by the Rothschild Foundation. Yesterday, a fantastic day with King David High School students in Oxford:

 

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How EasyJet and anti-Zionism are turning British Jews into Israelis

Ben Judah and Josh Glancy have been writing a fascinating series, A Polite Hatred, on Jews and antsemitism in Britain, for the US-based Jewish magazine The Tablet. Part 5, “We Are All Zionists Now: How EasyJet and anti-Zionism are turning British Jews into Israelis“, was published on 30 April.

Ben Judah interviewed me for it. The article is really interesting. Here is the two sections that quote me:

benjudah-tablet20april2015These two kinds of Jews—heritage Jews and hummus Jews—increasingly struggle to grasp each other and may end up on opposing sides of the debates, especially at times of war in Israel, which means that British Jews are moving in two opposite directions at once. Ben Gidley is one of Britain’s leading experts on Jewish sociology. “What we saw in the last census,” he said, “was that there was an increasing concentration and an increasingly dispersion of Jews in the U.K. For the first time there are Jews in every local authority in Britain. For the most part those Jews thinning out are living religiously unaffiliated, assimilated lives, with practically nothing to do with Israel.”

“However,” he continued, “there is also a parallel greater than ever concentration of Jews into North West London—where they are living more than ever in some kind of bubble. What media Jews are reading plays a big part of that bubble: they are increasingly reading transnational Israeli or American English language Jewish publications.”

[…]

“The trouble for British Jews is the British don’t understand Jewish ethnicity,” said Ben Gidley. “Is it a race? Is it a religion? Are they the same ethnicity as the Israelis? Or is it racist to associate them with Israelis? The British don’t understand.”

It may well be the case that many British Jews don’t fully appreciate the complexity of their new identity either. Or what the implications of this will be if Israel does indeed become a pariah state to Europeans, as many of its detractors hope it will.

Continue reading


Upstream: On the mainstreaming of EAL provision in England

The COMPAS blog has posted a piece by Ole Jensen,  based on our Upstream research project. This is an extract.

[…]

My daughter’s primary school had its Ofsted inspection last month. With 87% EAL children – and the majority of these of Pakistani heritage – the ghost of the Trojan Horse had arrived, and the school management had done their homework on British values. I was one of four governors taking part in a group interview, incidentally illustrating the ethnic diversity of the school: One White British governor, one South Asian-Pakistani, one South Asian-Indian, one White Other. As it happened, all went well, the feared Ofsted inspectors proved entirely agreeable, and we are still ‘Good’. Continue reading


Thoughts on the forthcoming Southampton Conference

I wrote this piece for Engage – read the original here. Scroll to the bottom for some updates.

In the last decade or more, working in British universities, I have witnessed the growth of a zeitgeist in which antisemitism is not taken seriously by people who, in every other way, would be regarded as exemplary anti-racists. It has become common currency among many anti-racist academics to claim that allegations of antisemitism are made in bad faith, that such allegations are a way of closing down criticism of Israel – a manoeuvre my former colleague David Hirsh has aptly named “the Livingstone formulation”. Continue reading


The evidence on migrant integration in the UK

My March COMPAS blogpost was on Jon Simmons (of Home Office Science) who presented a Breakfast Briefing on what we know about the reasons for migration and the social and economic characteristics of migrants in the UK. The whole post is here. This is an extract.

Convergence over time

The third report, conducted with the Office for National Statistics, Social and Economic Characteristics by Length of Residence of Migrant Populations in England and Wales (published in September and based on detailed analysis of the 2011 Census), reveals some key features of newer and longer term migrants, and degree to which people coming from abroad retain their difference, whether through cultural effects or long-term disadvantage, and the degree to which they become more like the population of which they have come to be a part.

Jon’s presentation looked at this question in a series of domains: economic activity, housing tenure, language proficiency, national identity and naturalisation. In terms of economic activity, migrant outcomes converge over time with those of the UK-born. Newly arrived EU migrants are much more likely to be employed than UK-born and non-EU migrants are much less likely, but these gaps rapidly start to close after five years and eventually disappear. Similarly, newly arrived migrants are concentrated in the private rented sector and locked out of owner occupation and social housing but eventually overtake the UK-born in the owner-occupied sector. Unsurprisingly, longer term migrants become proficient in English, identify as British and become citizens.

However, Jon also showed that there are big variations to the picture when you look by country of origin. For example, Bangladeshi- and Pakistani-born people are less likely to catch up the labour market and in English language, but more likely to catch up in the housing market and most likely to identify with Britishness. Irish-born migrants are very likely to become owner-occupiers, but very unlikely to identify with Britishness or to naturalise. Continue reading


After Gaza: Contemporary antisemitism

My contribution to the latest report of the All-Party Parliamentary Group Against Antisemitism was quoted in, of all places, RT_com.

An extract: Continue reading


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