About Sunder Katwala
Sunder Katwala is director of British Future, the new think tank dedicated to issues of identity, immigration and fairness.
Articles by Sunder Katwala
Crisis in Ukraine
The main biographer of George Orwell never became a global figure like his subject. But Bernard Crick, who has just died at the age of 79, was a strange influence on New Labour and like many political thinkers on the left around the world, he struggled with the fate of socialism and its relationship to democracy. Here, Sunder Katwala, the current General Secretary of the Labour Party's oldest and most distinguished pressure group, the Fabian Society, lays claims to Crick's legacy of sharp engagement combing intellectual overview with practical (or potentially practical) politics. And in a brief comment openDemocracy founder Anthony Barnett differs in his estimation.
Black and Asian candidates are making real progress up the British political ladder, argues Sunder Katwala.
Nobody can say when we might see a British Barack Obama. In many ways, Obama could be a once in a lifetime strike of political lightning.
But Obama’s election will throw the spotlight on progress on race in British politics. The question we can try to answer is this: how far do candidates from ethnic minority backgrounds still face higher hurdles because of their race?
The conventional wisdom on this subject is pretty gloomy. There are currently 15 non-white MPs: there would be 60 if the House of Commons was to reflect proportionately the ethnic mix of the country. So the fact of under-representation is clear.
Beyond that, most of the conventional wisdom turns out to be wrong.
Some may now hail the legacy of Enoch Powell's British nationalism, but his pessimistic vision was a recipe for greater strife, argues Sunder Katwala.
UKIP - the United Kingdom Independence Party - is led by Nigel Farage who has become the modernising voice within his Eurosceptic party. His party conference message in early September got little coverage. But he insisted that UKIP needed a more positive vision of Britain's 'sceptic future:
"I think we have got to change some of the things that we have been saying and some of the things that we have been doing. Because I think too often it's been easy to characterise UKIP as people who just knock and knock and knock and knock. We have not been offering good positive alternatives.
Now he has given an interview to the new British magazine Total Politics. It shows how uncomfortably his mission of shedding his party's image as an organisation of backward-looking naysayers sits oddly with Farage's nomination of Enoch Powell as his political hero.