Monday 6 October 2008

Ideas into action

Congratulations to Sadiq Khan on his promotion from the whip’s office to a ministerial role at the Department of Communiities and Local Government.

Sadiq - a member of the Fabian Executive and also currently Vice-Chair of the Society – now has the perfect role to seek to take forward the arguments and recommendations of his new Fabian pamphlet Fairness, not Favours: How to reconnect with British Muslims, published last month just before the party conference season.

The pamphlet contains an important, constructive critique of the lessons to be learnt from community engagement since 2001: the vexed question of who to engage with depends on government having clarity about what it is engaging for.

The pamphlet’s central message is not a Muslim-specific one, but rather about what is needed for a citizenship and communities agenda to be inclusive of all communities and legitimate across all communities. Hence the ‘fairness not favours’ argument – ‘we can only get it right for Muslims if we get it right for everybody’.

DCLG –a relatively new department – should have a central role in forging a coherent approach across government. I would hope that the pamphlet was already essential reading for officials and experts. But it may now repay a closer reading still.

And Sadiq can expect us to keep an eye on how he seeks to put his ideas into action too!

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