News that The Proclaimers discography had been mined as the inspiration for a jukebox musical left me with mixed feelings. Could the movie adaptation called Sunshine on Leith, which the BBC has been calling ‘McMamma Mia’, ever be anything more than cringeworthy, asks Duncan Stewart Muir.
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Englishness is on the rise. On Wednesday 20th November a wide range of people came together to debate this question in Manchester as part of the Festival of Englishness, co-hosted by British Future, IPPR and the Social Action and Research Foundation. Listen to what various speakers at the event had to say.
The Discovery Museum in central Newcastle was full with over 100 engaged local people who had travelled from Newcastle, Sunderland and Middlesbrough on a cold night to debate what – if anything – it means to be English in the 21st Century north-east, writes Matthew Rhodes.
Anthony Clavane’s most recent play - Playing the Joker - which performed at the West Yorkshire Playhouse, once again addresses the themes of identity and belonging, northerness and class, framed within the context of the game of Rugby League, writes Matthew Rhodes.
The issue of northern identity has resurfaced recently. Since the deindustrialisation of the 1980s – and with social mobility reversing at a disturbing rate over the last 30 years – the gap between north and south has grown bigger. With London’s rise as a political and cultural superpower, what are the chances today of another Eddie Waring breaking through and rising to the top, asks Anthony Clavane.
In British Future's latest report, Do Mention The War, we highlight why the first world war remains a pivotal cultural reference point for understanding the last century and how it shaped the country we have become today. It draws on original research into what the public know and don’t know about the first world war, why they think next year’s centenary will matter and what they want it to be about.
One artist’s plan to paint every inhabitant of St Davids, Britain’s smallest city, will act as a valuable social history of an integrated Welsh community. Grahame Hurd-Wood, 55, has already spent 14 years producing pictures of people in the city, ranging from councillors and bishops to children and students, and plans to spend the next few years painting the remainder, writes Jemimah Steinfeld.
On 10th November thousands of bikers dressed in red rode around the 117-mile clockwise carriageway of the M25 to pay tribute to the war dead on Remembrance Sunday. Anton Shelupanov was one of the participants. Here he tells British Future about what it was like to join the so-called M25 poppy and why commemorating the first world war remains important today.
On Monday 11th November, I have been selected to read The Exhortation at my school’s Remembrance Day service. Are the sufferings of those who lived during the first world war lost on my generation, who are living almost 100 years after its outbreak, asks Matilda Neill.
"This is not a celebration; it is a commemoration. There will be no triumphalism or jingoism," Culture Minister Helen Grant concluded at the House of Commons debate on the commemoration of the first world war held on Thursday 7th November. The emphasis on getting the tone right, while seizing the opportunity of the centenary to deepen understanding of local, national and international history was a recurring theme, writes Sunder Katwala.
A year ago, I was angry. Female genital mutilation (FGM) had started to appear in the UK news more and more. In my community though, no one spoke about it. Back in Sierra Leone, where I come from, 94% of girls are cut; I wasn’t an exception. FGM changes you. They say they cut you so you become a woman. In a way it’s true: you lose your innocence in that one moment, writes Sarian Kamara.
As part of our research for our latest report, Do mention the war, British Future commissioned a nationally representative poll to find out which meanings of the first world war centenary people agree and disagree with.
Last week British Future director Sunder Katwala wrote an article in the Guardian arguing that people should not feel uncomfortable about celebrating their Englishness, in response to David Edgar's piece about the Festival of Englishness making him feel "queasy". In this guest blog Eddie Bone, campaign director for the campaign for an English parliament, challenges Katwala's article and offers his own argument on the future of Englishness.
The public is often portrayed as opposed to migration, and opinion polls do show it is a key issue for voters. But new research by NIESR, published today, finds that members of the public who work with migrants recognise the need for skilled migration. They also willingly acknowledge that they have benefited, writes Dr Heather Rolfe.
Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles yesterday announced the winners of a nationwide competition to design a special paving stone to commemorate each of the Victoria Cross (VC) recipients of the first world war, writes Steve Ballinger.
The most surprising aspect of David Edgar's engaged but sceptical take on the Festival of Englishness hosted by British Future and IPPR is his fear that anxious public debates about immigration may reinforce "the idea that deep down, there still ain't no black in the union jack," writes Sunder Katwala.
As part of the Festival of Englishness co-hosted with IPPR, British Future commissioned ICM to conduct polling about English identity to decipher how people feel about the England flag and other hallmarks of English identity. The headline figures make for interesting reading.
The leader of the English Defence League (EDL), Tommy Robinson, has announced that he is leaving the organisation, as is EDL co-founder Kevin Carroll. British Future director Sunder Katwala has the following response to the resignations.