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  • State of the Nation (pt 1)

    by Sunny
    17th July, 2007 at 3:54 pm    

    In part of my article today on Comment is Free, I lay out the future for New Generation Network. Many of you have asked what progress that has made. My view is always important that we think long-term if we want a more socially cohesive Britain.

    Regardless of what journalists say about the politics of the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB), Hindu Forum of Britain (HFB) or Sikh Federation (SF), a political party at local level is still likely to make tacit or overt alliances with groups if they can deliver votes. All politics is local, as the saying goes. The opinion of journalists or liberals who want nothing to do with rightwing religious conservatives matters much less it seems.

    1) Making the intellectual argument and taking it forward
    The manifesto made various arguments explicitly in a manner that hadn’t been done before, in a national paper. It stated the obvious, yes, but that needed to be done. As the arguments become accepted, especially by its biggest critics, the agenda must be taken forward intellectually.

    My focus on Britishness (including integration and culture) and addressing the criticisms of multiculturalism are central to that. There is also the debate around what is in the public or private realm. And there is space to go even further later.

    2) Strategic intervention
    Such interventions are predicated on short-term legislative or policy goals. For example, the law and policy around forced marriages and domestic violence. This needs to be developed further, intellectually and politically. The scope should also expand to include civil liberties and terrorism.

    3) Grassroots mobilisation
    Over the long term, however, nothing beats grassroots mobilisation and voter turnout. If liberals are serious about pushing forward their agenda, then they cannot do so from behind computer screens or newspaper articles. People have to be mobilised and MPs have to be warned that their alliances could cost votes. For NGN, and the liberal movement in general, there is no other substitute. I’ll come back to this subject again, soon.

    Given this context, liberals need to listen to everyone (including minorities) and offer them a better alternative than they are being given by the likes of the MCB, HFB and SF, using this three-pronged strategy.

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    Filed in: Race politics

    3 Comments below   |  

    Reactions: Twitter, blogs

    1. Jagdeep — on 17th July, 2007 at 5:18 pm  

      Very good.

    2. Jagdeep — on 17th July, 2007 at 5:25 pm  

      Nice drama at CiF too.

    3. sofia — on 18th July, 2007 at 9:53 am  

      It’s a pity this is all happening 20 years after it should have. I remember grass roots Muslim organisations being refused funding because they didn’t follow the “ethnic” criteria. These same organisations are now being courted by newly appointed quangos that have no idea about local communities

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