Briefing: Manifestations of Intolerance Against Muslims: Public Spaces, Political Narratives & Media in the UK – 10th Anniversary of OSCE’s Cordoba Conference & Declaration, Vienna Austria

reportIn preparation of my presentation at tomorrow’s conference in Vienna, Austria marking the 10th Anniversary of the OSCE’s Cordoba Conference and Declaration, I drew together a short briefing paper which expands on the main themes and ideas that I will be putting forward. Reflective and drawing on many of the issues that I have explored previously in my research, the paper can be downloaded by clicking here.

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ARTICLE: Political Approaches to Tackling Islamophobia: An ‘Insider/Outsider’ Analysis of the British Coalition Government’s Approach between 2010–15 – Social Sciences

socsci-logoYou can download my new article “Political Approaches to Tackling Islamophobia: An ‘Insider/Outsider’ Analysis of the British Coalition Government’s Approach between 2010–15” by clicking here.

As you will be aware, I try to ensure that as many of my outputs are freely available whenever possible. The good news is that Social Sciences – the journal this is published in – is entirely free to everyone !

Below is the abstract:

Soon after the Conservative-led Coalition government came to power in 2010, Baroness Sayeeda Warsi announced that Islamophobia had passed the ‘dinner-table test’ in contemporary Britain. Resultantly, the need to address Islamophobia was identified as a priority for the Coalition. This article critically analyses how the Coalition sought to achieve this and the extent to which it was successful. Focusing on the period 2010–15, this article initially frames what is meant by Islamophobia, before briefly setting out how it had been responded to by previous British governments. Regarding the Coalition, a threefold approach is adopted that considers the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Islamophobia, the Cross-Government Working Group on Anti-Muslim Hate, and the political discourses used by the Coalition about Muslims and Islam more generally. Concluding that the Coalition failed to meet the high expectations set by Warsi’s speech, this article considers why this might have been so.

Download here.

Thatcher: state funeral or all night party…?

The recent story about whether or not Thatcher should have a state funeral made me recall an old friend of mine – ‘Dave’ – who I saw just a few weeks ago. On the subject of Thatcher – and because of his intense loathing of her and her legacy – he has always claimed that when she finally dies, he will ‘party like it’s 1999’ or at least something like that.

Personally, I’m with him (‘Dave’ is his real name…) and can’t believe that we are even contemplating giving Thatcher a state funeral – not even the Queen Mother or Princess Diana had one of these (although I hasten to add that I’m no monarchist and definitely not advocating that any or indeed every two-bit royal is given some pomp and ceremony send of…!!!).

So to prove the point that she should not have a state funeral, I set out my case below (in no particular order)…

  • She was Britain’s first – and only – Prime Minister yet was described by Jennifer Baumgardner and Amy Richards from ManifestA as:

“Politically, Margaret Thatcher was Reagan with ovaries. Women didn’t gain much under her prime ministership in terms of equality”

  • Her policies discarded too many Britons like unwanted waste and destroyed the notion of the ‘working classes’.
  • Economic policy was wound down and her policies destroyed Britain’s manufacturing industry.
  • Unemployment tripled.
  • She eradicated the subtle threads of neighbourliness and common interest that ties a society together, famously announcing the end of society.
  • ‘Greed was good’ and seemed to replace compassion as a core value.
  • She widened – and further agitated – the gap between Britain and its European neighbours.
  • She abolished the Greater London Council (GLC).
  • She took away free milk in schools.
  • She was hell-bent on personally destroying the trade unions and the power that workers had through these.
  • She undertook a far too wide reaching programme of privatisations that the utilities and others such as the Post Office are still finding it impossible to recover from today.
  • Through her programme of privatisations, she established a culture of ‘popular capitalism’.
  • She removed state socialism from the British political mainstream.
  • She championed the supremacy of financial values over human ones.
  • During her prime ministership, 28% of British children were living below the poverty line.
  • She introduced the poll tax.
  • Civil unrest occurred in places such as Brixton, Toxteth and Handsworth…
  • She decreased the size of the welfare state and shifted more and more emphasis onto the ‘market’.

And two final arguments that surely clinch the case for her not having a state funeral…

  • She created the monster that is/ was Tony Blair and New Labour.
  • And, in the height of the ‘Girl Power’ movement, Geri Halliwell described Thatcher as the “Original Spice Girl” – what more evidence do you need…???

And so, in the words of Prince…”they say two thousand [add the numbers of the year when she actually dies] party over oops out of time, And so tonight I’m gonna party like its Thatcher’s funeral time”.

Yeah.