The UK is increasingly divided, not just by economic status but by culture and identity. Mainstream parties are losing support and insurgents of many different colours are taking their place. New populist movements are offering simple solutions to complex problems and the extremes are gaining support. These trends in the UK are echoed throughout Europe, in the USA and elsewhere; in fact, they’re reinforced by these global echoes. Political division is now inherent in the political process itself.
Yet, something surprising is happening. A substantial minority – and particularly younger people – are developing an intercultural identity for themselves and now see others in the same way. They appear to be rejecting the way in which politicians offer them a binary choice between a national and global identity: they see themselves as citizens of the world. They also reject the calls to arms offered by many community and faith leaders, and appear to prefer a more layered idea of culture and identity.
Against this background, what can we do to ensure that hope and respect trump hate and fear?
About Ted Cantle
Professor Ted Cantle established the former Institute of Community Cohesion (iCoCo) in 2005 and this became the UK’s leading authority on community cohesion and intercultural relations. This work is continued by the iCoCo Foundation today. Ted is the author of Interculturalism, and has worked extensively with the Fair Admissions Campaign, which argues against religiously segregated schooling.
In August 2001, Cantle was appointed by the Home Secretary to Chair the Community Cohesion Review Team and to lead the review of the causes of the summer disturbances in a number of northern towns and cities. The groundbreaking report – known as ‘the Cantle Report’ – was produced in December 2001 and made around 70 recommendations. It also created the concept of ‘parallel lives’ to describe communities that had little in common and had no contact with each other, challenging the multicultural orthodoxy and giving birth to the idea of ‘community cohesion’.
About the Blackham Lecture
The Blackham Lecture is a new addition to the BHA’s annual lecture series, and is hosted in association with Birmingham Humanists, who previously organised the event independently. It joins the Darwin Day Lectures, the Rosalind Franklin Lecture, the Voltaire Lecture, the Holyoake Lecture, the Bentham Lecture, and the Shelley Lecture – all named for well-known figures in the history of humanist thought in Britain.
The Blackham Lecture is named after Harold Blackham, an ‘architect of the British and international humanist movements’ and the first Executive Director of the British Humanist Association.
Please note that doors open at 18:30 for a start at 19:00.