CAN THE ANSWER TO A SENSIBLE AND EFFECTIVE POST-BREXIT IMMIGRATION POLICY BE FOUND MUCH CLOSER TO BRITAIN'S SHORES?

Many post-exit models have been examined and hotly debated as the right path for the UK - the Australian points-based system, the Norwegian model of integration, Switzerland’s special status, or even a unique combination of all. Is a winning strategy closer to Britain's shores, at the heart of which is prioritisation of the domestic electorate and their needs, concerns and aspirations, first and foremost, in all policy choices, rather than those of external stakeholders.

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Child Poverty and Neoliberalism

For their latest project, Social Vision examines policies on child poverty and their implications over the past two decades, how it developed under successive Tory and Labour government, how deprivation of children was socially prioritised. We will discuss the ways “inequalities” were addressed – social measures relevant to economic policies and political ideologies, a driving force behind policy actions. Defining child poverty is not a simple statistical narrative, considering the most serious problem areas and direct policy measures for alleviating child poverty. In order to understand the policy making process and their legacies, our analysis deals with its courses, developments and last, but not least, the ideological origins that aggravate poverty, more often than not as a direct result of macroeconomic measures.

 

To start with, in order to appreciate the dynamics and causes of poverty, we have examined the emergence of Thatcher-ism - her myopic view of society, what it means and its base – Hayekian neoliberalism. The definition was simple and effective. It captured the imagination of not only intelligencia but influenced many common people – libertarian aspirational individualism. Thatcher gave shape in different aspects in her economic policy framework. “Thatcherism” produced a new meaning for child poverty.

 

In our second paper, we have outlined the legacy of Thatcherism and implications of neoliberalism – austerity and child poverty – economics of poverty strategies. Also, we have discussed political philosophy and identity: politics and its impact on child poverty - “Osbornomics”.

 

In the third stage, a seminal paper is devised based on a comparative social policy analysis – between Blair/Brown, Cameron/Osborne, and the Coalition, and the social implications of their respective policies.

 

These papers, with others, will be discussed in our forthcoming policy briefing seminar (date and venue to be announced soon) on child poverty policy issues. For details, you can email us at socialvision06@gmail.com.  

The New Frontier for Global Development: the power of biometrics and biotechnolgy

Biometrics and biotechnology are very well researched fields, but their appeal and vast potential for development purposes is still in embryonic and probationary stages. 

Biometrics refers to identifying individuals based on distinguishing physical or behavioral characteristics. This includes fingerprints, irises, face and hand geometry, gait, voice, signatures, DNA, and other traits. 

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The arts should be for everyone, or is it? - a diversity crisis on the British theatre scene

Is the arts industry in Britain today 'a class thing'? There is a manifestly low non-white workforce in UK's visual and performing arts industry. Still the vast majority of those employed permanently or temporary in British productions come from a white and middle class background. 

 

According to leading industry insiders such as the multi award-winning composer Andrew Lloyd Webber 'It is very concerning that there is a very noticeable lack of non-White performers in British productions'. In an attempt to raise awareness of this problem his Foundation - the Andrew Lloyd Webber  Foundation is commissioning a Report, led by Donuta Kean, to address the issue and find possible solutions. The current situation is so bad that it risks becoming a full-blown crisis of marginalisation and inequality. The arts industry needs to reflect the changing make-up of the modern British society, which is turning increasingly diverse and multicultural and no segments of the populations should be marginalised - 'the arts is for everyone'. 

 

New figures from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport show that the number of Black, Asian and other ethnic minorities performing arts workers has risen sharply by 60% over the past five years. Around 19,000 non-white workers were employed in the music, performing and visual arts in 2015, compared with 12,000 in 2011. However these statistics represent just 6.6% of the 286,000 people employed in those industries1.

 

Far more needs to be done to encourage and inspire young people to get involved in arts either by watching programmes or taking up activities from an early age at school, which will invigorate their interest and their willingness to perform themselves later on in their adult lives. Along with diversifying the school curriculum, the repertoire of productions needs to be modernised to reflect the changing times and new tastes, that aren't necessarily all about classics. 

 

There are some glitters of light. The US musical Hamilton, created and performed by an entirely non-white company, has had a huge success on Broadway, that is set to be mirrored in the West End next year. But sadly such productions remain the exception, not the norm in theatre.

 

The major challenge is the lack of opportunities for many talented young people from a working class background with a lot of potential to achieve great things and innovate the arts industry. This lack of diverse arts goes hand in hand with socio-economic opportunities. Many are marginalised in specific music genres such as RnB and Hip Hop or black music musicals. 

 

The study conducted by the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation will examine the shortcomings of the hiring process of new talent, often manifested in the unconscious bias during the castings of performers and auditions. The research chief also points towards the all whiteness of backstage crews and lead roles. 

 

As for the long-term future of the performing arts, there can be an unfavourable impact on the audiences as well. If people from ethnic minority backgrounds aren't drawn as viewers, the audiences will be predominantly white and elderly.  And where would that leave the arts? Will it be a thing of the past or still 'a class thing'? 

 

1 https://www.gov.uk/government/policies/arts-and-culture

Is the UK Losing its Christian identity as Christians become less religious?

There is a frightening trend that is occurring in the UK for British citizens who state that they have no religion, or belong to a non-Christain faith, despite the fact that they were raised as Catholic, Anglican or Protestant and have identified as such throughout their earlier life.  
According to the Census data since 2014 the proportion of the population who identified themselves as having no religion - 'noones' reached a record 48,5% in 2014, and this figure has almost doubled from 25% in 2011. There is a clear growth trend of 'no religion' according to the data collected by the British Social Attitudes surveys over the last 30 years. 
The main driver of this change is caused by people, who were brought up as religious but later on in their lives have stopped practicing their faith on a regular basis. Even in the traditionally most religious part of the British Isles like Northern Ireland, an increasing number of citizens claim they belong to a non-Christian religion or to no religion.
These remarkable developments of the modern society we live in seem to point towards a scary phenomenon that is lying underneath – that of a shared disinterest and disengagement with the Churches, similar to the sentiments towards the political establishment. 
The real concern should be for the Christian leaders of this country about the growing indifference to organised religion. This year the Church of England said it expected attendance to continue to fall. Moreover According to Bullivant’s report, Contemporary Catholicism in England and Wales – which will be launched at the House of Commons next week, both the Anglican and Catholic churches are struggling to retain people brought up as Christians. Four out ten adults, who were raised as Anglicans define themselves as having no religion, and almost as many “cradle Catholics” have abandoned their family faith to become “nones”. 
Neither church is bringing in fresh blood through conversions. Anglicans lose 12 followers for every person they recruit, and Catholics 10. (Guardian - People of no religion outnumber Christians in England and Wales, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/may/23/no-religion-outnumber-christians-england-wales-study)1


The vast majority of converts come from other Christian denominations, rather than non-Christians or people with no religion. 
The proportion of the population who describe themselves as Anglican plunged from 44.5% in 1983 to 19% in 2014. Catholics made up 8.3%, other Christians 15.7% and non-Christian religions 7.7%.

The disintegration of society and the loss of a common identity
One crucial observation is tantalising - Are foreign religions taking over the British society?. The first Muslim mayor in the Western world was elected in London. Traditionalists will voice their concerts that there is a danger that the British identity will eventually be lost. Or that it has become irreversibly interwoven with new fluid forms, variations and modifications from the influx of people from a vast range of faiths, traditions and customs, who settle here and make Britain their home, and have their children here who become the new UK generations, and replace the orthodox religious practice and affiliation and traditional rapport.

There is a frightening trend that is occurring in the UK for British citizens who state that they have no religion, or belong to a non-Christain faith, despite the fact that they were raised as Catholic, Anglican or Protestant and have identified as such throughout their earlier life. 

According to the Census data since 2014 the proportion of the population who identified themselves as having no religion - 'noones' reached a record 48,5% in 2014, and this figure has almost doubled from 25% in 2011. There is a clear growth trend of 'no religion' according to the data collected by the British Social Attitudes surveys over the last 30 years. 

The main driver of this change is caused by people, who were brought up as religious but later on in their lives have stopped practicing their faith on a regular basis. Even in the traditionally most religious part of the British Isles like Northern Ireland, an increasing number of citizens claim they belong to a non-Christian religion or to no religion.

These remarkable developments of the modern society we live in seem to point towards a scary phenomenon that is lying underneath – that of a shared disinterest and disengagement with the Churches, similar to the sentiments towards the political establishment. 

The real concern should be for the Christian leaders of this country about the growing indifference to organised religion. This year the Church of England said it expected attendance to continue to fall. Moreover According to Bullivant’s report, Contemporary Catholicism in England and Wales – which will be launched at the House of Commons next week, both the Anglican and Catholic churches are struggling to retain people brought up as Christians. Four out ten adults, who were raised as Anglicans define themselves as having no religion, and almost as many “cradle Catholics” have abandoned their family faith to become “nones”.

Neither church is bringing in fresh blood through conversions. Anglicans lose 12 followers for every person they recruit, and Catholics 10. (Guardian - People of no religion outnumber Christians in England and Wales, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/may/23/no-religion-outnumber-christians-england-wales-study)1


 

The vast majority of converts come from other Christian denominations, rather than non-Christians or people with no religion.

The proportion of the population who describe themselves as Anglican plunged from 44.5% in 1983 to 19% in 2014. Catholics made up 8.3%, other Christians 15.7% and non-Christian religions 7.7%.

 

The disintegration of society and the loss of a common identity

One crucial observation is tantalising - Are foreign religions taking over the British society?. The first Muslim mayor in the Western world was elected in London. Traditionalists will voice their concerts that there is a danger that the British identity will eventually be lost. Or that it has become irreversibly interwoven with new fluid forms, variations and modifications from the influx of people from a vast range of faiths, traditions and customs, who settle here and make Britain their home, and have their children here who become the new UK generations, and replace the orthodox religious practice and affiliation and traditional rapport.

 

1 Guardian - People of no religion outnumber Christians in England and Wales, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/may/23/no-religion-outnumber-christians-england-wales-study