Sunder Katwala discusses immigration in light of Brexit (9 March)

Leeds Beckett University

Politics & International Relations Public Lecture


After Brexit how should we talk about Immigration?

Sunder Katwala, Director of British Future


Thursday 9 March 2017

17:30 – 19:00

Refreshments from 5.00pm


City Campus

Woodhouse Lecture Theatre 1 WHG01


All Welcome


Public attitudes to immigration and cultural diversity are polarised between ‘Rejectionists’ and ‘Migration liberals’ but with quite a large ‘Anxious middle’. There have been persistent majorities in favour of reducing immigration, and in recent years immigration has consistently been seen as one of the most important issues facing Britain. Immigration was a key issue in the EU referendum and was one of the main concerns motivating Leave voters. Consequently, Brexit has been interpreted by the government primarily as a vote in favour of controlling, and reducing, immigration. British Future has been at the forefront of efforts to promote an open and constructive public discussion of immigration, the need for which is now urgent. In this lecture the Director of British Future, Sunder Katwala, will discuss how to talk about immigration after Brexit.


Sunder Katwala is the Director of British Future. He has previously worked as a journalist. He was general secretary of the Fabian Society think tank from 2003 to 2011, and was previously a leader writer and internet editor at The Observer, a research director of the Foreign Policy Centre and commissioning editor for politics and economics at the publisher Macmillan. He was born in Doncaster, Yorkshire, to parents who came to Britain from India and Ireland to work for the NHS.


Register here




EU: In or Out? on Sunday 22nd May

The EU referendum is almost upon us. So: EU in or out?

If you’re turned off by all the talk and fed up with the facts and figures, join Unlock Democracy and Talk Shop on Sunday 22nd May. Come and meet with others trying to make up their mind, get the key info and talk through the issues.

Our event on 22nd will be practical politics in action: the chance to meet one another, debate the big questions and decide which way you’ll vote.

We’ll be joined by some speakers, but this is more about the participation than panel. After all, it’s your vote.

We are neutral on the referendum and we welcome all views.

The day is free and open to all, so sign up below to book your slot.

More about unlock democracy and event sign-up details are here 

More about Talk Shop here

Rustin and Massey reflect on the 2015 UK election

Michael Rustin and Doreen Massey, along with the late Stuart Hall, founded the journal Soundings, from which Taking Soundings has borrowed. In ‘Post Election Blues in Britain’ (probably the first article in this Lawrence and Wishart blog), they analyse Labour’s failure.

Readers like me with an interest in psycho-politics might look at the next article in the blog, ‘Reflections on the 2015 Election’, a longer piece from Mike Rustin, in which he discusses the unconscious splits and projections in the electorate that (he and his wife Margaret argue) were a factor in the result.

Followers of Soundings will know that Rustin, Massey and Hall were editors of the Kilburn Manifesto (2014).

Followers of Taking Soundings (it’s an open house) can hear Mike Rustin speaking about Labour and the election at one of our forthcoming events in Leeds, UK, on 16th July 2015.

Michael Rustin on Labour’s failure

Taking Soundings is pleased to have Michael Rustin speaking at our event in Leeds on 16th July 2015. He’s one of the founders of Soundings journal (with Dorren Massey and the late Stuart Hall) and one of the authors of the Kilburn Manifesto which we’ve featured here before.

Rustin and Massey have recently summarised their views on why Labour failed in this article for Il Manifesto, published here in English, as Post Election Blues in Britain 


Please join us at the meeting with Michael Rustin on Thursday July 16th, at 6PM. Sometimes we meet at The Tetley, but this meeting will be back at our old venue in Broadcasting Place (opposite the Fenton on Woodhouse Lane, Leeds LS2 9EN).

For more details contact Matthew Caygill at


After the UK general election: what next?

Leeds Taking Soundings

Monday, May 11th,  6PM Broadcasting Place BPAG02 (opposite The Fenton on Woodhouse Lane)

After the Elections 2015

The results are in, the post-election political shenanigans have started. Who knows what will happen!

But we think it worthwhile to make an early stock-take of how these elections have affected the broad left. We have speakers who are in the Labour Party, the Greens and Yorkshire First to discuss how the political world looks to them immediately after these elections. Hopefully, with the battle for votes over and hangovers quelled, there’s time for a deep breath and some reflexive analysis.

(in alphabetical order)

Richard Carter (Leader, Yorkshire First). Actually we don’t know that much about Yorkshire First, but are interested in a local version of a progressive regionalism after the showing of the SNP and Plaid Cymru.

Tim Goodall (Green candidate Leeds North West). We’ve had Natalie Bennett speak to us in the past – the Green Party is a lot bigger now than it was then. We’re hoping for an analysis of where Green politics goes next.

Sarah Perrigo (Labour Party). Sarah is a long-term critical and reflexive  member of the Labour Party, so we are hoping for a reflexive account of Ed Miliband’s Labour Party performance and prospects.

All welcome. Contact Matthew Caygill ( for further information.

Find the Leeds Taking soundings blog at:

Please follow the Leeds Taking Soundings Facebook at

The Kilburn Manifesto conference (21st Feb)

Soundings journal has published a series of articles on the current political conjuncture which it called The Kilburn Manifesto. This conference marks publication of the final chapter of the Manifesto.

Saturday 21 February 2014, 9.30-4pm

At the Human Rights Action Centre, London, EC2A 3EA

‘Although the neoliberal economic settlement is unravelling, its political underpinning remains largely unchallenged. The analyses in our manifesto call into question the foundational assumptions of the neoliberal order, and argue for radical alternatives that are capable of challenging the system as a whole.’

To celebrate the completion of After Neoliberalism? The Kilburn ManifestoSoundings  is organising a one-day conference to discuss and develop its themes.The day will combine plenary discussions with smaller breakout sessions to build on the themes of the Manifesto, and to debate ways forward. We welcome participants from all backgrounds, including academics, students, activists, journalists and commentators, or anyone interested in joining the conversation.

Following the conference, there will be a reception to launch the printed version of After Neoliberalism? The Kilburn Manifesto and to honour its co-editor, Stuart Hall.

Speakers include: Doreen Massey and Michael Rustin (editors of the Kilburn Manifesto and founding editors of Soundings), Beatrix Campbell (writer & campaigner), Jeremy Gilbert (UEL), Jo Littler (City University), Charlotte Millar (Finance Innovation Lab), Pragna Patel (Southall Black Sisters),  Marina Prentoulis (Syriza & UEA), Ewa Jasiewicz (union organiser & journalist), Mika Minio-Paluello (Platform), and Sirio Canos (Podemos & UCL).

Regular tickets – £30   Low income – £12

Find more information and buy tickets at

For ongoing programme and speaker updates attend the Facebook event:

Soundings is a journal of politics and culture, acting as a hinge between the world of academia and the wider political left.



What is Plan C? Taking Soundings event on Monday 16th March

Please note: our next event is at The Tetley (not our usual stalking ground at Leeds Becket University). It’s in the centre of Leeds, close to Leeds Bridge and the Adelphi pub. We are experimenting with a more convivial location – The Tetley has wonderful art exhibitions and an excellent bar and restaurant. More about The Tetley here.  And it’s on a Monday, not our usual Wednesday. And we are starting at 7pm, not our usual 6pm, so you might get there early to use the facilities and chat. 

Dr Keir Milburn answers the question:

What is Plan C?

The main government response to the financial crisis that began in 2006 has been austerity and repression. The crisis of neoliberalism needs… more neoliberalism! Our political and economic elites, the dominant fractions of capital, are incapable of new thinking. For them there is only one plan, Plan A. More of the same. They cannot solve this crisis, they can only displace it. In response some propose a Plan B. Indeed there have been many. But most of these remain too trapped by the past. They seek a return to the postwar years, the Keynesian deal. Yet there is no route of return, the world is too altered, that vision of change is too limited.

If we reject Plan A and Plan B then what should we call Plan C? The reopening of strategy, the making of plans, attention to what’s necessary, a rethinking of means. We want to use these lenses (Plan A, Plan B, and Plan C) to have a conversation about austerity and the responses to it. If a course of action is objectionable then we must do more than just object. Instead we pose the question: how do we make it stop? How do we exercise power? How do we build something different? How do we start from where we are, so together we can decide where we are off to?

Keir Milburn lives in Leeds and works at the University of Leicester. His research takes place on the boundaries between organisational theory, political theory and cultural studies. His recent focus has been on social movement organisation. Keir is a member of Plan C.  More about Keir here  More about Plan C here 

Time: 7 – 9pm

Date: Monday 16th March

Venue: The Tetley, Leeds. Directions here There is good parking and easy bus access.

All welcome. Free – but there will be a collection.

Devolution, co-operative democracy and the election (16 Jan)

Devolution, Co-operative Democracy, and the General Election

You are invited to the Yorkshire Co-op Party conference to discuss regional government, transport, migration, co-operatives, and Europe

Leeds Civic Hall, Friday 16 January 2015

Coffee & Registration from 9.30 am

10.00 am until 4.30 pm


Linda McAvan, MEP for Yorkshire & the Humber

Cllr Keith Wakefield, Leader of Leeds City Council

Cllr James Lewis, Chair of West Yorkshire Combined

Transport Committee

Paul Ellis, Chief Executive of Ecology Building Society

Barry Winter, Chair of Hannah Mitchell Foundation

Dave Brown, Head of Migration Yorkshire

All are welcome, lunch is provided, and places are free but must be reserved.

To attend please inform

John Drewery: – 0794 6913703 or

Mike McGowan: email:

0113 2621654 or 0788 0743034

David Howell on Oswald’s Odyssey: Mosley and British Politics (21st Jan)

The next Taking Soundings meeting is on Wednesday 21st January 2015. Professor David Howell (Politics, York University) will explain the relevance for today’s turbulent times of the maverick British fascist Oswald Mosley.

At 6pm in Broadcasting Place, Room BPAG03 (ground floor) Leeds Beckett University, Woodhouse Lane, Leeds LS2 9EN (opposite the Fenton pub).

More detail here (downloadable flyer):

Oswald’s Oddysey