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Fear and HOPE: The new politics of identity

1 minute read. - 14 03 11

Searchlight Educational Trust commissioned the polling organisation Populus to explore the issues of English identity, faith and race. The Fear and HOPE survey gives a snapshot of current attitudes in society today. It explores the level of fear, hate and hope. It details what pulls us apart and what brings us together. With 5,054 respondents and 91 questions it is one of the largest and most comprehensive surveys into attitude, identity and extremism in the UK to date.

On one level it is not happy reading. It concludes that there is not a progressive majority in society and it reveals that there is a deep resentment to immigration, as well as scepticism towards multiculturalism. There is a widespread fear of the ‘Other’, particularly Muslims, and there is an appetite for a new right-wing political party that has none of the fascist trappings of the British National Party or the violence of the English Defence League. With a clear correlation between economic pessimism and negative views to immigration, the situation is likely to get worse over the next few years.

This report paints a disturbing picture of our attitudes towards each another and the unknown. It also graphically highlights the dangers that lie ahead if the issues highlighted in the research are not addressed. Fear and Hope throws down a challenge to the political parties to really understand what is happening in the body politic and then do something about it. Fear and Hope shakes the confidence of those who believe that all is well in Britain’s multiracial society. Fear and Hope should make all those working for a more peaceful, cohesive society think again about their strategy’s and the effectiveness of their work.

The future is unwritten and it is all to play for. The Fear and Hope survey clearly shows that the new centreground voter is receptive to messages of openness, acceptance and pluralism – but they also need social and economic reassurance. If we can understand the new politics of identity then we can win them over. If we fail to do so then we risk their fear turning to hate. That is the challenge we all face.

Fear and HOPE: The new politics of identity

Fear and HOPE: The new politics of identity

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