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3 November 2013updated 26 Nov 2013 12:37pm

Watch: Peter Tatchell, George Galloway, and David Goodhart on equality, identity and democracy

With society more liberal toward minorities than ever before, many believe identity politics need no longer hold such sway. But is this a mistake?

By New Statesman

Do minority groups need to go beyond equal rights, and campaign proactively in their own interests, or would this be a threat to democracy?

Respect MP George Galloway is known for courting controversy in his quest for a fair society and his interest in the treatment of Britain’s Muslim communities. The right of the individual to choose his or her mode of living without pressure to conform to national, social or cultural norms is central to his philosophy.

Peter Tatchell is perhaps the UK’s most prominent campaigner for the rights of minority groups, particularly the LGBT community, having interrupted a sermon given by the Archbishop of Canterbury and attempted to arrest Robert Mugabe in the process. He does not see mere equality as the final word for groups that have suffered oppression, and while he echoes Galloway in his plea, ‘Do not conform’, he sees the unity of diverse equality-seekers as a powerful force.

Contrarily, the director of the Demos think tank, David Goodhart, values cohesion within the nation’s population as a whole. His divisive book on immigration, published this year, sees integration as the best way forward for minority groups.

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To what extent has equality been achieved? How can we all be treated equally when each group has different needs and expectations? Can positive discrimination have a place in an equal society? And if absolute equality must be abandoned, for what, then, should identity politics strive?

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The speakers seek out common ground and fundamental frictions in this debate from IAI TV, chaired by journalist and presenter Shaun Ley.

Patrick Driver