Today's blog post was written by Runnymede's deputy director Sarah Isal
Any general election or presidential campaign is interesting for many reasons, not least the fact that this is the time when different parties and candidates lay out their plans, vision and aspirations and put forward their case for being elected. The upcoming French presidential election campaign is particularly important to keep an eye on from the perspective of race equality and immigrants’ rights.
This is partly because ever since 2002, when Jean Marie Le Pen, then leader of the extreme right party Front National made it into the second round of the election at the expense of socialist Lionel Jospin, French politicians, especially on the right, know all too well that they need to capture his electorate to win the election. In order to do so, they have to make sure that certain themes are central to the campaign, namely immigration, law and order and of course more recently Islam and Muslims.
Today's post was written by Runnymede's public affairs intern Farrah Sheikh
Home Secretary Theresa May has announced that Prevent - a scheme introduced by the last government to prevent violent extremism - is to be re-evaluated in the counter terrorism review later on this year.
The Guardian had originally reported that the scheme was to be scrapped altogether. However, May clarified the Home Office’s position on Prevent in a response to a parliamentary question from Alan Johnson MP, saying that she wanted to separate the community cohesion and integration elements of Prevent from the counter-terrorism strands. Stating that it was “right and proper” that the two elements be separated, she told the House that Prevent was being rejected by those it was supposed to help because it currently merged the integration aims of the Department of Communities & Local Government and the Home Office’s counter terrorism measures.
Elsewhere in the House, MP’s called for any change in the Prevent strategy to include all communities. Kris Hopkins and David Davis both said that many Muslims felt that Prevent was targeted specifically at them. They highlighted the importance of moving away from this position and ensuring that all communities were engaged in any new counter terrorism policy.
Fifty years ago Martin Luther King Jr spoke in London at St Paul's Cathedral on his way to receiving the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo. Runnymede is delighted to have supported an anniversary lecture on 4 December on how we can end racism today and work towards Martin Luther King's dream.
St Paul's have written up the event here, with Runnymede's Director putting it in current context here.