Difference between revisions of "Civitas and the Media"

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Choice in Welfare No.33 , Charles Murray and the Underclass:  The Developing Debate, IEA Health and Welfare Unit in association with The Sunday Times, 1996 with commentaries by Melanie Phillips and others.<ref>[http://www.civitas.org.uk/pdf/cw33.pdf Choice in Welfare No.33, 'Charles Murray and the Underclass: The Developing Debate'], IEA Health and Welfare Unit, 1996.</ref>
Choice in Welfare No.33 , Charles Murray and the Underclass:  The Developing Debate, IEA Health and Welfare Unit in association with The Sunday Times, 1996 with commentaries by Melanie Phillips and others.<ref>[http://www.civitas.org.uk/pdf/cw33.pdf Choice in Welfare No.33, 'Charles Murray and the Underclass: The Developing Debate'], IEA Health and Welfare Unit, 1996.</ref>
Other Reports include or earlier work such as Civitas 1993 Choice in Welfare No. 17, Reinventing Civil Society: The Rediscovery of Welfare Without Politics, by Civitas' director David G. Green,<ref>[http://www.civitas.org.uk/pdf/cw17.pdf Choice in Welfare No. 17, Reinventing Civil Society: The Rediscovery of Welfare Without Politics], David G. Green, Civitas, London, 1993</ref>or or works such as the 2000, 'Racist Murder and Pressure Group Politics', Norman Dennis, George Erdos and Ahmed Al-Shahi<ref>[http://www.civitas.org.uk/pdf/cs05.pdf Racist Murder and Pressure Group Politics], Norman Dennis, George Erdos and Ahmed Al-Shahi, Institute for the Study of Civil Society 2000.</ref>  The latter is an attack on the Stephen Lawrence campaign, and everything connected to it, and was published as a companion volume to Civitas' 'Institutional Racism and the Police: Fact or Fiction',<ref>[http://www.civitas.org.uk/pdf/cs06.pdf Institutional Racism  
Other Reports include or earlier work such as Civitas 1993 Choice in Welfare No. 17, Reinventing Civil Society: The Rediscovery of Welfare Without Politics, by Civitas' director David G. Green,<ref>[http://www.civitas.org.uk/pdf/cw17.pdf Choice in Welfare No. 17, Reinventing Civil Society: The Rediscovery of Welfare Without Politics], David G. Green, Civitas, London, 1993</ref>or or works such as the 2000, 'Racist Murder and Pressure Group Politics', Norman Dennis, George Erdos and Ahmed Al-Shahi<ref>[http://www.civitas.org.uk/pdf/cs05.pdf Racist Murder and Pressure Group Politics], Norman Dennis, George Erdos and Ahmed Al-Shahi, Institute for the Study of Civil Society 2000.</ref>  The latter is an attack on the Stephen Lawrence campaign, and everything connected to it, and was published as a companion volume to Civitas' 'Institutional Racism and the Police: Fact or Fiction',<ref>[http://www.civitas.org.uk/pdf/cs06.pdf Institutional Racism and the Police: Fact or Fiction?] [[David G. Green]] (Editor) John G.D. Grieve & Julie French, [[Michael Ignatieff]], [[Mike O’Brien]][[Robert Skidelsky]], 2000.</ref>which states that it contains a range of views as an aid to public debate. In that book, [[John Grieve]] of the Metropolitan Police and [[Mike O’Brien]], a Home Office Minister, describe their reactions to the Macpherson report, while Lord Skidelsky and [[Michael Ignatieff]] challenge Macpherson’s claim that the Metropolitan Police were guilty of ‘institutional racism’.  One of the more peculiar chapters is 'The Political Uses of Disruptive and Separatist Anti-Racism' which draws on Hayek's 'The Intellectuals and Socialism', and offers a long ''ad hominem'' attack on Karl Marx, “The ‘Marxism’ Of The Frankfurt School And The Student Politics Of The ‘Sixty-Eighters,’” [[Arthur Scargill]] and so on.
and the Police: Fact or Fiction?] David G. Green (Editor) John G.D. Grieve & Julie French, Michael Ignatieff, Mike O’Brien,  Robert Skidelsky, 2000.</ref>which states that it contains a range of views as an aid to public debate. In that book, [[John Grieve]] of the Metropolitan Police and [[Mike O’Brien[[, a Home Office Minister, describe their reactions to the Macpherson report, while Lord Skidelsky and [[Michael Ignatieff]] challenge Macpherson’s claim that the Metropolitan Police were guilty of ‘institutional racism’.  One of the more peculiar chapters is 'The Political Uses of Disruptive and Separatist Anti-Racism' which draws on Hayek's 'The Intellectuals and Socialism', and offers a long ''ad hominem'' attack on Karl Marx, “The ‘Marxism’ Of The Frankfurt School And The Student Politics Of The ‘Sixty-Eighters,’” Arthur Scargill and so on.
Of the authors of 'Institutional Racism and the Police: Fact or Fiction', in 1998 French was seconded to a  
Of the authors of 'Institutional Racism and the Police: Fact or Fiction', in 1998 French was seconded to a  

Latest revision as of 19:44, 1 May 2011

This is an analysis of the UK think tank Civitas' input into the UK print media using the fairly extensive Nexis database for both qualitative and quantitative analysis. The time frame of the results was 1987 to 2009. The basic idea of the analysis was to see what type of story and what general themes can be attributed to Civitas' influence in the print media. This was to be accomplished by examining the coverage when Civitas' reports were reviewed, when quotes from members of the organisation were used or when articles written by Civitas' directors were published. It also includes a short literature review of the type of material Civtas publishes or distributes on its website; and where appropriate, sets out some background details on the other think tanks, campaign groups and social networks that have some bearing on understanding a particular story.

The initial search term was simply 'Civitas'. Nexis calls up 1529 results if the search is narrowed down to 'UK national Newspapers', twice that if not, although it should be noted that a small number of incidences of duplication occurs. The 'Result Groups' break down into:

Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday (444), The Daily Telegraph (223), The Times (175), The Sunday Times (121), The Guardian (98), News International Newspapers Information Services Ltd. (90), The Express (81), The Independent (74), The Express Newspapers (68), The Observer (62), The Sunday Telegraph (49), The Mirror and The Sunday Mirror (21), The Sunday Express (12), The Business (7), Independent on Sunday (4).

Arguably that is more or less as we would expect it — if we went on the assumption that most of Civitas' work has a right-wing bias which is likely to be reflected in similarly inclined outlets such as the Daily Mail and Telegraph and so on. But even this simple assertion is problematic: Civitas sees itself as independent of political parties, while others might view it as ideologically driven to the detriment of the objectivity of its analysis. It could also be argued that Civitas conforms more to the description of a propaganda outlet, and this is touched on at the conclusion of the study.


On the face of it the level of press attention Civitas has obtained is very good for a small 'think tank' with as narrow an outlook as Civitas (a point we will come to later). But these are results for the word ‘Civitas’, which comes from the Roman legal term, meaning people living under the same laws: a community. To be a citizen, you had to live in a Civitas, a form of government based on the sovereignty of (some) the people. The papers, therefore, might be talking about all sorts of things: 'Sancta Civitas' by Vaughan Williams for example. But the relevant references to Civitas the think tank are much higher in proportion than the total of the anomalies (which rarely appears in the more low-brow press) and do not affect the pattern to any misleading extent—nevertheless there is a margin of error which could be estimated at about 1% to 5%.

Nexis cannot download more than 500 results at a time, but each individual result from the 'Result Groups' section can be downloaded: this divides the results into their respective newspaper all of which are less than 500. Nexis also has a facility whereby if ‘Show List’ is selected, only the headline, source and date, page number, word length and author appear, and this, together with the expanded list is useful in grouping and helping assessment in the initial stages—it provides an overview which can be used to form basic hypotheses of what patterns might be more thoroughly examined. For example, to begin a basic form of analysis, for each Newspaper we can take the first 100 of these to identify who was/is the writer most associated with, or amenable to Civitas, and to begin to examine the language used and identify any trends and patterns. Using a Word document we can paste in the list of headlines and use the ‘Find ‘ facility (with the ‘Highlight All Items’ section on), and this helps us to see the amount of times each of the particular author’s name appears, from there the task is to evaluate the language themes and so on.

Arguably Civitas is part of a process where the media are extraordinarily subordinated to external power, with discussion eliminated, by the simple device of asserting the opposite on the pretext of neutralizing what it holds up as left-leaning news media. For many right-wing conservatives, it would seem a self-evident truth that the mass media have a left-wing bias, and that this requires an entrenched conservative 'punditocracy' backed and promoted by think tanks. This type of discourse seems to have an elective affinity with certain politicized 'Christian' groups, but it also seems to require a certain code, given fairly recent legislation aiming to tackle racism or permit civil partnerships. Consequently there seems to be a need by right-wing groups to create myths around key areas such as social security and the wellfare state, sensationalize street crime, normalise the discourse of religious right groups which interpenetrate —media reporting of Civitas tends to avoid examining the personal and ideological connections between these groups and aid in the denial of connections to the conservatives, which we have tried to reinstate here.

Civitas' website states that its own research breaks down into sections: Crime, Constitution, Education, Europe, Family, Health Reform, Immigration and Welfare, although it should be noted that most of these operate as informal codes and shibboleths.[1]These sections also include support material from various media outlets: Crime, for example contains articles from the Telegraph, Times and Sunday Times, exclusively written by David Green, Civitas' director, together with material attacking the Stephen Lawrence Campaign and the findings of The Macpherson Report into the Police.[2]

The Daily Mail

For the Daily Mail the Nexis results breaks down like this: Steve Doughty 23/100, James Slack 21/100, Matthew Hickley 7/100, Laura Clark 5/100. The commentators tend to the 'Social Affairs Correspondent', so this gives us a rough idea of who to look for in a wider search.[3]

This is unfair to the Mail in relative terms, with the dates looked at only going back to fairly recently, but for the Newspapers which yielded around 100 results it covers the entire range (supplied by Nexis) since Civitas was set up, and again it should be noted that some results appear more than once. But what this does give us is an indication of recent activity: if Steve Doughty has 23/100, this, when compared to the overall average of 446 results, might provide some indication that he is writing Civitas-inspired material more frequently with more recency. When we search within the entire Nexis 446 results for the Daily Mail and the Daily Mail on Sunday, the term 'Steve Doughty' will provide 164/446 results (nearly a third); Laura Clark 28/446; Matthew Hickley 19/446 (mostly with Doughty); James Slack 63/446; David Green the Director of Civitas appears 106 times, which is not unusual given he runs the organisation.

If we then go back and conduct the search using the term 'Steve Doughty' 1000 results are returned, meaning (on the face of it) that Doughty has written 1000 articles, not necessarily connected to Civitas (although we know that 164 of them are). The task here is to find out what general themes he might write on with some key terms. Combining 'Steve Doughty' and 'Islam', 292 results are provided; replacing Islam with 'Muslim' will return 303 results (nearly a third), but bearing in mind these go back much further to 1993 (do not necessarily involve Civitas) and we have no real qualitative assessment of his treatment of such themes.

Doughty's work goes back to October 11, 2000 with the headline:

RACISM SLUR ON THE WORD 'BRITISH'; And Empire is linked to the Holocaust.

This cites Civitas as a providing a "scathing analysis of the Macpherson report into the Stephen Lawrence murder"and the think tank is used to contest the idea that a "rethinking of the national story and national identity" should "reflect the views of Asian, black and Irish people" in relation to a report was produced for the "Runnymede Trust race think-tank with the blessing of Home Secretary Jack Straw". Why Runnymede is labeled as a race think-tank and Civitas not, is not explained.

With headlines such as 'Britain 'Should Take In Migrants When The Jungle Is Razed (Daily Mail, September 19, 2009), a certain studied ambiguity marks Doughty's work. This refers to "a shanty town in Calais known as The Jungle", but makes the point that:

Britain accepted and gave four year work permits to 1,200 migrants who had been waiting near the Channel Tunnel mouth in the hope of making a crossing and claiming asylum. But three months later it emerged that the great majority had refused work and were costing taxpayers £100,000 a day in benefits. Many were living in hotels, including the four-star Adelphi in Liverpool. None of the Sangatte migrants is thought to have left the UK since.

The Civitas connection is simply the use of Robert Whelan, to support Conservative immigration spokesman Damian Green and introduce a related story that "Ground-breaking 'ancestral' DNA analysis is being used to try to spot migrants who pose as genuine refugees by lying about their nationality."

As stated, typing Steve Doughty into Nexis (and limiting this to UK national newspaper) provides 1000 results, most of these (994) are from the Mail, 2 of the Guardian results are for someone with the same name and 1 which sets forth some analysis. this is Diane Taylor's (2001) 'Parents: The Mary Whitehouse experience', wherein Taylor describes the process whereby: "self-appointed guardians of traditional family values are extending their influence." This sets out a list of organisations:

These groups are small in number but vocal and proactive. The most visible among them include Family and Youth Concern (FYC), the Christian Institute, the Conservative Christian Fellowship (based at Conservative central office), Civitas (Institute for the Study of Civil Society), the Evangelical Alliance, Families First and Friends of the Family. What they perceive as a national moral decline only serves to shore up their energetic defence of nuclear family values. Professionally produced policy documents regularly land on the desks of Whitehall mandarins in charge of public consultation exercises, and their spokespeople are ever eager to participate in adversarial media debates about promiscuity, teenage pregnancy, homosexuality, single parent families and the right to smack.

This also observes that Family and Youth Concern (FYC), shares an office with Civitas, whose deputy director Robert Whelan also runs FYC. It mentions Steve Doughty in explaining the regular opportunities to expound these views offered to Whelan in newspapers such as the Daily Mail and how Whelan returns the favour by giving Doughty an honourable mention in the summer 2001 issue of the FYC bulletin. According to Taylor, the FYC feed material to Doughty, and the article draws on the work of Martin Durham, a senior lecturer at the University of Wolverhampton, described as "one of the few academics to study moralist pressure groups in Britain and America," who believes that: "One of their biggest issues has become a campaign against single parents."

The article also cites the work of Frank Furedi, "who has studied the way lobbyists attempt to influence the media and public policy", and who believes that organisations such as FYC and the Christian Institute, have misjudged the public mood.

"There's a difference between having a media profile and having real social influence," he says. "You can have two people and a dog in your organisation and still get access to certain bits of the media. I have been struck by how isolated they are and by their sense of isolation from the world. 'They often mean well and have understandable concerns about certain issues, but their world is part of this constellation that circulates around the media, government and think tanks. These organisations don't really represent anyone."

Other non-Mail mentions of Doughty outline the Mail's "campaign of intimidation and xenophobia", such as David Aaronovitch's (2002) article on the campaign by the Daily Mail against the National Lottery Community Fund, in the Independent, October 15, 2002 (two mentions of Doughty appear in the Independent):

Steve Doughty, the social affairs correspondent, had put together a series of potted biogs of fund committee members, written so as to make them sound as elitist and weird as possible - if not a bit crooked. Take this example of the technique: "Richard Martineau: Suffolk farmer, former Whitbread executive and educationalist. Caught up in A-level rigging scandal as a director of Oxford, Cambridge and RSA exam board." This, incidentally, given the context, is almost certainly actionable, since the clear inference is that Martineau is a bit dodgy.

We can assess the quality of Doughty's analysis fairly simply if we search within the Mail via Nexis we can using other terms such as 'Romanians and Bulgarians' and also compare them to the results Google might present us with. If 'Romanians and Bulgarians + Steve Doughty' are used as search term[4] things go astray by about 30 results. Only a few are returned via Nexis all of which engage in a negative portrayal of Romanians and Bulgarians reinforced by using statistics, such as his denouncement of the Government's use of statistics:

The number of jobs being snapped up by migrants has been greatly underestimated, Ministers had to admit yesterday. An official figure was virtually doubled - but critics said the true total was higher still. [...] The row followed a claim by Work and Pensions Secretary Peter Hain that 2.7million jobs had been created under Labour, of which only 800,000 had gone to people from overseas. Challenged by former Labour Minister Frank Field, however, Mr Hain revised the figure to 1,100,000 [...] 150,000 Romanian and Bulgarian migrants arrived last year [...] Official figures show more than 8,000 Eastern European arrive in Britain every day, taking advantage of freedom of movement within the EU.

With no accurate count of how many return after short visits and how many stay on seeking employment, the Home Office has little idea of the real scale of the influx.[5]

This term also connects with Civitas, with Doughty's Daily Mail, May 10, 2007 article stating:

The Home Office predicted that 13,000 people a year would come to live in Britain from Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia, Slovenia, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia. Although there is no accurate estimate of numbers who have actually arrived, ministers accept that it is more than 600,000. Among these, 400,000 are thought to be Polish. Critics of the Government's immigration policies were scathing about the new figures yesterday. Robert Whelan of the Civitas think tank said: 'We just don't have an immigration policy. Anyone who wants to come, can come. 'Everybody knew that expanding the European Union would lead to a flood of new migrants. 'The Government kept denying the numbers would be significant, but they are significant. 'This is not a sudden boom that will die away. This is permanent.[6]

A previous (2006) story quotes from Sir Andrew Green, of the Migrationwatch think-tank, who bolsters Doughty's assessments of the Government's limits:

'The measures cannot possibly work.' He added: 'Nobody has any real idea how many people will come from Romania and Bulgaria. The real problem is how much more is to come in what has been the largest wave of immigration in 1,000 years. It is vitally important that politicians focus on an effective policy to get the huge numbers down.'[7]

The fourth story draws on Ruth Lea of the "centre-right think tank" Centre for Policy Studies.[8]

When we begin to compare these articles to those provided by the Google search, the first result casts doubt on Doughty's use of these statistics. reAct! was established by the Romanian community in the UK to "counter and respond to factually inaccurate or grossly distorted news coverage about Romanian’s in Britain." Its findings are that "Typically this will involve a journalist’s presentation of official data on the scale or impact of immigration to the UK."[9]They argue that in a 10 May 2007 Mail article:

Steve Doughty of the Daily Mail misquotes an Office of National Statistics Report to grossly overestimate the number of visitors from Romania and Bulgaria to the UK.

Other online results have Doughty arguing along the lines of:

More than 100,000 children in one Eastern European country are suffering depression since their parents fled west in search of work. The extent of damage to families in Romania was revealed yesterday in a study of the children left behind by mass emigration.[10]

Other Bloggers such as 'Five Chinese Crackers' and Obsolete argue that the Mail assists the BNP with its approach and rhetorically asks:

How then does the Mail spin getting it so completely and utterly wrong? Why, by implying that the figures themselves are hiding the reality, of course![11]

The Observer

For the Observer, Anastasia De Waal, who works for Civitas dominates practically all of the 102 results (21 out of 25 of those dating back to 2007). So we have to have some consideration of the relevance of the time span we are looking at—this can distort a little bit depending on what we are trying to establish. De Waal’s dominance is still in evidence going back to 2005 (with the occasional contribution from Martin Bright and Nick Cohen, which one might expect given their social networks and outlook.

Out of all 62 results De Waal has written 34 (which really should be seen as 34/46) and this does not seem to include repetition. De Waal’s work tends to be in the ‘Comment’ section of the paper and her position at Civitas is usually noted, although she also appears on what is called the ‘Observer Panel’ (this seems just another way in introducing De Waal as she is the common contributer or lone contributor). Most of these ‘Comment’ articles are little more than what could be termed 'moaning' in the sense of complaints that are perceived as trivial and not taken seriously by others or entirely frivolous in nature. One with the headline “Comment: Does spelling matter?: Lecturer Ken Smith has suggested that we should relax and stop worrying about the difference between 'their' and 'there'”, consists of this:

What matters is that we're all reading off the same page, so to speak. Although much English spelling is hopelessly frustrating (gauge?), this DIY approach sounds problematic. It might start off with just ignoring the 'e' in ignore but plans could soon go awry. Not all being au fait with the phonetic alphabet, who's to say I'd understand your spelling and you'd understand mine? Apparently there's some method in the madness when it comes to English spelling. So while it might seem utterly illogical, at least there's one set of rules we can all refer to —if we can be bothered.[12]

De Waal also writes for The Independent, Sun[13] is probably representative</ref> and The Guardian, which she also writes for are gathered at De Waal's Page, which notes that she is: “A qualified primary school teacher.”

In a BBC interview De Waal states the methodology of the Civitas reports did not want to present evidence of people “with an axe to grind”, and is quoted as saying “criticism of Ofsted was nothing new but despite its new approach, it was still considered "unnecessarily punitive".”[14] And of course the Centre for Policy Studies led the way for the right with Baroness Cox and John Marks findings that schools and the Sociology Depts. of universities were controlled by the KGB and perverted to serve the interest of the Soviet Union.[15] Both Cox and Marks still write for Civitas.[16]

The (2007) Media Standards Trust ‘Journalisted’ profile on De Waal finds that she writes similar articles to Steve Doughty (of the Mail) but this might be the Civitas connection swaying things.[17] Their cloud tag states the topics De Waal mentions most: was Conservative, Labour and Civitas. But De Waal’s work, tends to have a focus on the right-wing fundamentalist Christian conception of 'The Family', and is also sponsored, on occasion, by The Iona Institute[18] which is a right-wing Catholic fund[19]

The Sunday Telegraph

As with the Observer, if you are reading an article which makes reference to Civitas, you are likely to be reading the opinions of one of their employees. In the Sunday Telegraph's case it is the director of Civitas, David G. Green with 14/49 (roughly a third) with the first article appearing in 2006, Robert Whelan, the deputy director of Civitas also appears, and we can also note that Green appears more frequently than staff writers who use Civitas (which many of papers, such as the Sunday Times have a working relationship with, which we'll discuss below) for background material such as Patrick Hennessy (5/49) and Alasdair Palmer (6/49) who also write together, on a more qualitative level of analysis, it is worth looking the methodology of Hennessy’s writing, particularly with the sources and instigation of the pieces and how they connect to other right-wing think tanks.

Take one example: "Navajo on the war path over town hall gay rights charter" from 2007,[20]for example, this headline harked back to the stereotypes of the old Hollywood westerns, with its a vivid scene of the whole “Navajo nation” becoming incensed. A precise definition of what this story is 'about' is slightly complicated. It outlines that Councils, the Police, Health Trusts and the Probation Service are all using the word 'Navajo' in a project to promote the 'well-being' of gay men, lesbians and bisexuals, largely because of the idea that the Navajo accepted homosexuality until the missionaries suggested otherwise.

The story is based on a letter, passed to The Sunday Telegraph, expressing 'great concern', and is tied in with a story of: "Christian leaflets next to council leaflets promoting homosexuality" distributed by an elderly couple, the Roberts, and presents its outrage and sympathetic understanding at their treatment by police (they successfully sued for harassment and oddly police pay-outs normally annoy the Telegraph).

This also adds that “Louis Denetsosie, the Navajo attorney-general, says in a letter to the Roberts…” so presumably the Christian couple passed this on to the Telegraph, after sending material to Denetsosie. In a sense the story is a spin on ‘Charter for Gays’ formula; and one feels that Denetsosie was looking for a trademark infringement. The Civitas connection is simply a quote from Green, which accused the Navajo project (and all homosexuals) of an obsession with victim status: "It's got Wyre council and the whole Navajo project into an embarrassing mess, distorting facts to promote their agenda."

Other reports which picked up on the Telegraph’s tale noted that the Navajo nation have recently reversed their tradition:

“The majority of laws in the reservation are made and passed within their own governmental frame-work and in 2005, they overwhelmingly passed a law forbidding same-sex “marriage”.”[21]

If one types the names of the two Christian pensioners, Joe and Helen Roberts, into Google it transpires that they complained to their council about its promotion of civil partnership ceremonies and the distribution of gay rights leaflets in public buildings and were interviewed by the police for about an hour—that is really all that has happened here. So we have to realise that some stories are spread across other papers who extend and eke out the story to 'give it legs'. Arguably the 'facts' of the matter have to sensationalised to a certain degree to make the story 'newsworthy' but what of even basic facts in this process. According to the 'Gay hate laws threaten free speech, warn MPs' in the Daily Mail, January 8, 2008, by Simon Caldwell, the couple's compensation is put at £10,000 rather than the £70,000 mentioned by Hennessay (which included costs). The Express, December 23, 2006 (Lancashire Edition) has £40,000 costs and notices that the settlement was out of court and the Roberts were to have given their money to give their compensation money to a Christian charity once they received it from the State. Again, this kind of robbing-Peter-to-pay-Paul normally annoys the Express and the Telegraph.

The more local press, such as the Blackpool Gazette, January 10, 2007, 'Row erupts over use of tribe name', indicates that the couple tipped off Denetsosie, the Navajo attorney-general, and used the letter he sent them to annoy Council staff, noting that “Roberts spent 10 months searching on the internet to find Navajo officials.” So we have other considerations here. The couple had the backing of The Christian Institute, a think tank which helped the Roberts with legal backing, and are quoted by Steve Doughty in the Daily Mail as saying: “the council had been running a homophobia incident reporting system in which all council officials together with police officers and GP surgeries had been asked to call in when they came across instances of prejudice.”[22] given the duration of the coverage and the 'news management' of the story, i.e. what it is extended into, it could be argued that Doughty and others are joining in this campaign, and he quotes the The Christian Institute's (CI) Colin Hart who seems ungracious:

'I hope that this will encourage councils to stop setting up Sovietstyle homophobia reporting networks and that town halls will start respecting the right to free speech.' The police action against the Roberts, which was revealed by the Daily Mail a year ago, was part of a campaign of harassment by several forces against individuals seen to be homophobic.

So for a year or more certain aspects of the press, who we have identified via their connection to Civitas have used this story for various purposes. Doughty also mentions that “London police also investigated former Muslim Council of Britain chief Sir Iqbal Sacranie for remarks in a radio interview that expressed criticism of homosexual practice.”

The Daily Mail of December 23, 2005 also mentions Colin Hart of the Christian Institute, with much the same story put together by Jonathan Freedland in ‘Comment & Debate: How police gay rights zealotry is threatening our freedom of speech: When lawmakers decide what we can and can't say, good intentions quickly tip over into something sinister’ in the Guardian (final edition) January 18, 2006.

According to their 1999/2000 report[23] The CI has Baroness Young as a patron, Lord Griffiths of Fforestfach uses their material, others surrounding the group and who have acted as Speakers include: John Burn, Baroness Cox, Ranald Macaulay, Revd Prof John Mackay and Paul Yeulett. It is run off a £261, 833 ‘gift’ which rose to £496,581 the following year and much the same the next year with a jump to £730, 032 in 2004 and £805,708 in 2005. Director, Colin Hart worked with the Christian group CARE, campaigning against the Conservative Government’s plans to introduce no-fault divorces, working with Edward Leigh MP and the group also has connections to the Centre for Bioethics and Public Policy.

Another spin on the story, which introduces the Islamic dimension to it, is Olga Craig's in The Sunday Telegraph, September 10, 2006, 'Time to fight the good fightback Christians are fed up with the assault on their religion from political correctness and Islam.'

Some 22 results on the story of the couple are returned via Nexis, several of which focus on the CI with a marked anti-Moslem spin.

Sunday Express & The Observer

Some of the more opaque coverage of Civitas’ reports occurs in the Sunday Express, one might as well say that the Express is used and allows itself, to simply to puff anything Civitas says, yet the details of the reports and who wrote them rarely features. Although occasionally Green or his deputy are mentioned when quoted, only one headline, ‘Asylum Seeker Flood 'Higher Than Feared', February 15, 2004, by an un-named writer mentions the Civitas report’s author, Mervyn Stone, that the article is based on. One of the questions that arises in the process of analysis of Civitas' output and reception is who and what social forces benefit from their work? To what usage could the material be put, are there unforeseen consequences and do they trouble Civitas? Stone’s work, for instance, is also approved of by the British National Party (BNP) who note:

In a remarkable report, titled “How not to beat the BNP! — A critique of the EHRC report on social housing allocation” by Professor Mervyn Stone of the Department of Statistical Science, University College London, Civitas has exposed the nonsense behind the widely publicised claims by the EHRC that immigrants do not get put in front of British people for social housing.[24]

The BNP offer a link to the report, which barely mentions the BNP and is more orientated as an attack on the New Labour Institute of Public Policy Research, and the Equality and Human Rights Commission.[25]

Stone’s work was also picked up and promoted by MigrationWatch UK in their Submission to the House of Lords Select Committee on Economic Affairs on ‘The Economic Impact of Immigration’[26]

MigrationWatch UK is run by Sir Andrew Green, with advisers that include Baroness Cox who also works with Civitas' director David Green on Christian Solidarity Worldwide and Mervyn Stone himself at least from 2003.[27]So here we are back to a small unacknowledged network—one wonders what the statistical probability of this happening by chance is— who's activities are obscured by the usage of their work and representation of it in outlets such as the Sunday Express.

MigrationWatch also promoted Stone’s complaints that “Civitas was given a Right-of-centre sticker, but the Government's favoured think tank, the Institute for Public Policy Research, was left untarnished.”[28]

Amidst the ‘flood’ of results Google will provide for the search term ‘Mervyn Stone migration watch’ some commentary by Oscar Reyes contextualises their work:

Migration Watch provides the figures, which are rarely scrutinised, and news angles – which, without being straightforwardly racist, nevertheless play upon racist fantasies and associations linking immigrants to the spread of disease, exploitation of welfare services and sham marriages. Since 2002, it has argued that asylum seekers with HIV or hepatitis should be removed from the country; that immigration checks should be a routine requirement before medical treatment is given; that foreign students and overseas visitors should pay a financial bond before coming the UK; and that marriage between British citizens and foreigners should only be recognised where both partners are aged 24 or over.[29]

This from a left-wing perspective, but the point that Migration Watch's out put is uncritically used by the press would seem to hold for Civitas, and possibly other think tanks, judging by the Nexis search.

The search term ‘Mervyn Stone Civitas’ provides numerous connections to MigrantWatch and Civitas in a self-reinforcing quality redolent of these right-wing little groups. These are reinforced by articles such as Rod Liddle's in the Spectator,' There are lies, damned lies — and statistics about the housing queue', which even adds a caveat before uncritically accepting the Civitas report it links to:

Newspapers swallow these sorts of stories because they make good copy, even though they are lies of a kind. And also they swallow them because the journalists who write them have had the bit of their brain which deals with science hacked out by a claw hammer and replaced with lime jelly [...] Intuitively, you know that these figures are disingenuous; luckily, Professor Mervyn Stone, from the University College of London, in a pamphlet for the think-tank Civitas, has exposed them for the lies they are.[30]

Liddle questions the political bias of some institutions:"This figure comes from a joint study by the left-leaning Institute for Public Policy Research and the even lefter-leaning Equality and Human Rights Commission" (as he puts it), but makes no mention of the leanings of Civitas. Readers of the Spectator, might well be of the opinion that the IPPR has been caught out taking money to provide ‘facts’ which suit a desired outcome, normally for big business— but another bone of contention might be that if these organisations are politically biased, to really understand things we do not need the findings of another politically biased think tank's opinion dressed up as fact.

Civitas’ more loyal supporters see nothing wrong in an association with the BNP for commercial reasons, such as this advice by Roger Scruton, reported by Oliver Marre in the Observer (2009):

Vera Lynn's decision to consult lawyers over the British National Party's decision to sell a CD which includes her music draws criticism from Roger Scruton. The philosopher has a book on sale in the same BNP online shop and says Lynn, aged 91, should "grow up". "We live in a strange climate of fear, in which public figures hasten to dissociate themselves from any view or attitude that has been stigmatised as 'racist'. If they sell a book of mine, that's nothing to do with me. I wrote the book for think-tank Civitas from whom I assume they purchased it in bulk." Some people may feel uncomfortable about the fact that the BNP's making money out of their work, however.[31]

'Blocking the way to social cohesion' (2007) by Mervyn Stone and Donald Edwards, offers an attack on the Refugee Council gainsaying the organisation and arguing that "the increasingly respected" organisations are Migration Watch UK, and voices like Robert Rowthorn, who also writes for Civitas.[32] who is quoted as saying "all the research suggests that the benefits [of immigration] for the existing population as a whole are either close to zero or negative". This is clearly in error: 'all the research"? On the question of Immigration Stone & Edwards report divides the nation into two (presumably by England it means the UK):

On the question of immigration, England is a moral maze with no entrance or exit but with two entwined areas each accommodating its own section of the population. On one side of the hedge separating the two areas are the “pros” — those who openly, tacitly, or hypocritically, give broad support to very liberal immigration policies, either through personal conviction or because they are employed to do so. That category embraces the Refugee Council, the Commission for Integration and Cohesion and a host of quangos, pressure groups and charities (not forgetting the Guardianistas of the Today programme). On the other side are the “cons” — the largely silent majority rejecting what it sees as the excessive liberality (open borders, generous welfare, etc) of the present state of affairs, whose opinions are largely articulated by a minority of journalists and academics and who have not wished or been able to join the many thousands of Brits who have emigrated in response to the increasing number of immigrants in their area. Only two political parties can be said to be wholeheartedly on this side of things — UKIP and the BNP.

The work goes on to attribute wrong thinking in the debate to the inclusion of women in the debate:

One of the current taboos of political discourse is against conceding that men and women share some of the behavioural characteristics of the higher primates. But if we do make that concession, we can say that, in matters of the heart, the motherly instincts of the female clearly trump those of the male. We have already suggested discreetly that this may be a factor in why the pro immigration business. [...] Is it out of the question that the difference between the two sexual drives may also be a relevant factor? [...] Mixing genes to avoid inbreeding is a Darwinian plus in most situations — but the plus cannot be taken to overide other social consequences when these may be harmful.

In the Observer, De Waal writes on football and Nick Cohen uses Civitas material to convey the impression that Police Chief Constables pay more attention to Civitas than the government or the Home Office[33]

In 2006, the Observer also ran a correction on the political status of Civitas, saying: "(Comment, last week), described Civitas as a 'Conservative' think tank. There is no such connection. Civitas is steadfastly independent of all political parties."[34]

For the purposes of supporting this assertion one would have to use sophistry to imagine Civitas as some sort of being in itself, that, technically, is not funded by a party directly, and ignore the connections of the people who work there and write for it and its history. To support the claim of no connection (i.e. no evidence of any form of linkage in terms of a relationship in which a person, thing, or idea is linked or associated with something else) we would have to disregard most dictionary definitions of the word connection. But on reviewing Civitas' material as presented by Nexis, such fancy is not really born out in any analysis of the weight of its out-put, even a cursory glance at this would confirm suspicions that it is of the far-right, with many writers, staff and advisors having direct connections.

According to the Observer, there is no connection—here is one from the Observer's Chief Political Correspondent, Gaby Hinsliff, back in 2002:

Tim Montgomerie was one of a handful of insiders allowed to help write Iain Duncan Smith's speech in Bournemouth last week […]. 'Christianity is his driving force, but he is a champion of civil society and of an ethos of public service outside politics,' said David Green of the thinktank Civitas, which works closely with both Montgomerie and the Tory leader's office.[35]

To add to this confusion, in 2008, Civitas was cleared by the Charity Commission of carrying out party political activities on behalf of the Conservative Party, according to Third Sector Online:

An MP, who has not been named, complained to the commission in February 2007 that Civitas, whose objects are "to advance the study and understanding of religion and ethics in society and other charitable purposes", was too closely affiliated to the Conservatives. The regulator cleared Civitas of bias but advised it to amend its website to more accurately reflect its activities. The charity was also told to remove its Guiding Philosophy and Research Agenda document because, according to the commission's regulatory case report, it contained "a number of statements on controversial issues that could be perceived as directing the work of the charity".[36]

This adds that the Commission accepted Civitas trustees' assertion that a particular document had never been "dictated or restricted" the charity's research programme or the outcome of any of its findings. Earlier in 2008, the Commission cleared two think tanks, Policy Exchange and the Reform Research Trust, of being affiliated to the Conservative Party[37], but warned them to work harder to avoid perceptions of political bias. It also criticised trustees of the Smith Institute for not doing enough to protect it from the perception that it was too close to the Labour Party.[38].

The only counter to this type of thinking, accommodation, apologia, utility and defence, that can be found in any of the Nexis results, is Will Hutton’s mild 'You call it PC. I call it courtesy: The British are not in thrall to 'political correctness'; they just tend to temper prejudice with tolerance,' in the Observer, January 8, 2006. Hutton calls Civitas a "Conservative think-tank", stating:

The Civitas pamphlet marshals the usual counter-argument; we are living under the liberal jackboot, self-policing our thoughts, denying ourselves free expression and privileging undeserving minorities etc. All this is paranoid nonsense. Even its author, Anthony Browne, acknowledges the advances in tolerance that 'political correctness' - i.e. courtesy - have fostered. But he adds a twist to the standard conservative criticism. Minorities are increasingly sheltering under the protection of political correctness in order not to confront truths about themselves.

Other than the denial that it has connections to the Conservatives (and a counter assertion from the past), that is all (in any depth of discussion) an Observer reader would have to go on to assess Civitas' political orientation. Other usage of Civitas represent simple glib advertisements, such as ‘Think-tank Civitas will today publish a report claiming EU membership costs Britain £20 billion a year.’[39] However there is this mordant observation by Faisal Islam in the Observer's Business Pages:

At a recent Civitas seminar, even as the participants expressed incredulity at the need for low-skill immigration, their coffee was being poured by one of the army of African workers that underpin the London catering industry. Thatcherites complaining about the social side-effects of immigrant workers, while not noticing their refreshments being served by a member of the capital's new servant class, says it all. People will believe the economic evidence that they want to hear. Even when the opposite is staring them in the face.[40]

The Times & the Express

For the Times, Civitas' director, David Green is again one of the more frequent contributors. If we search within the broad 1529 results which searched for 'Civitas' in the 'UK national Newspapers,' for 'David Green', 279 results appear. With the ‘Expanded List’ enabled, and some examination, we can find that he is variously described as a 'Criminologist' (for example: Daily Mail, September 5, 2009) 'David Green, the economist' (for example: The Sunday Telegraph, July 15, 2007), simply, 'the founder of Civitas', (for example: Times, February 2, 2007). This tends to modulate depending on what Green has written or what subject matter he is being quoted on, and ‘Criminologist’ consistently by Steve Doughty in the Mail.

With Civitas itself we have this range of description within about 200 results:

"independent think-tank Civitas", Times, July 21, 2009.
"the Right-leaning think", Daily Telegraph, July 23, 2009.
"social thinktank Civitas, Daily Mail, April 20, 2009.
"social policy think-tank Civitas", Daily Telegraph, March 27, 2008.
"Centre-Right think tank Civitas", Sunday Telegraph, August 5, 2007.
"centreright think tank Civitas", Express, February 19, 2007.
"Civitas, the Right-of-centre think, Sunday Telegraph, September 11, 2005.
"Right-wing Civitas, Mirror, March 21, 2008.
"think-tank Civitas", Mirror, August 17, 2009 .

On a more qualitative rather than quantitative analysis, the first thing that strikes the viewer of all the headlines together is the sheer hysteria of the language, secondly it is how dated it is, quasi-Victorian: the ‘scourge’, Families at risk as Labour 'wages war on wedlock'[41] And indeed the point of view, with headlines such as this from The Express, February 20, 2009:

MUSLIM SCHOOLS BAN OUR CULTURE; Shakespeare, Harry Potter, cricket, music, Ludo, Monopoly and chess are all forbidden.

This distills (presumably English) culture into two books, and largely indoor pastimes involving board games probably imported from the US. The Express headlines (results are split into Express Newspapers and the Express which is a little misleading) which are provoked by Civitas Reports, or draw from them in some can be assembled in isolation, in total and bear in mind that several of these are the leader column and thus generate a weltanschauung from an anschauung (a world view from a perception). If we arrange the headlines in chronological order and highlight those which refer to Islam and related matters, we can see if Civitas' reports have increasingly taken on this particular subject in the past few years:

Once a thug, always a thug . . .pampered robber jailed again
I want to give out harsher sentences but my hands are tied says judge
Are Sir Dexter's four rules the key to school success?
We'll curb Mickey Mouse school courses, say Tories
Now non-Muslims seek 'justice' at the sharia courts
Storm over 'myth' that migrants jump queue
Lawless Britain top of the league for violent crime
Cameron backs ban on burkhas
There is no place for sharia courts in modern Britain
Britain 'has at least 85 Sharia law courts'
Bad enough that we need this report on Sharia law
Taking law in their hands
Muslim clerics ignore human rights
Britain 'has at least 85 Sharia law courts'
Bad enough that we need this report on Sharia law
Taking law in their hands
Muslim clerics ignore human rights; Dozens Of UK Sharia Courts Sit In Judgment
1 in 5 UK births is to a mum from abroad
Rise in school class sizes
Marriage Is On Way Out; Weddings fall by 40,000: Women put babies first
Marriage Is On Way Out; Families at risk as Labour 'wages war on wedlock'
Half of Britain's babies now born outside marriage
Fury over database with 1.1m DNA samples from children
Muslim Schools Ban Our Culture; Shakespeare, Harry Potter, cricket, music, Ludo, Monopoly and chess are all forbidden
School web report finds extremist propaganda
Britain must stand up for its time-honoured values
Marriage rates lowest since 1862; And Labour does nothing to help
2 children should be limit, says PM's aide
More opt to live together than marry
Britain's shame over crowded classrooms
GCSE success as 20 per cent get top marks
Sats tests bogus say teachers
Now killers 'will get away with murder'
Free our police officers to get back on the streets
Public lose faith in police forced to meet targets
Marriage rate falls to lowest since 1862
'No hope' on time targets
Results add up to a failure
School results add up to a global failure
And don't jail yobs who flout Asbos
Marriages plunge to an all-time low
How Labour massages the crime figures
Proof Labour massages the crime figures
Immigration amnesty risks pushing Britain to the point of no return
Mothers forced back to work as family bills soar
Now can we fight the peril of these crime invaders?
Racist BNP will benefit if main parties fail to address our concerns
Our leaders must not ignore public anger at rising immigration
Immigrants 'Ruining British Way Of Life
End this death tax and help families
Learn English or lose your benefits; Labour's latest promise, but will it ever happen?
Labour is bankrupting Britain by buying the votes of scroungers
Britain's handout culture; 1 in 3 homes now get most of their income from state
Lesbians to win right to IVF
Shoplifters to be let off if they say sorry; But parents will face £50 fines if children drop litter
300,000 empty homes to be seized
Stores say no to free condoms on the High Street
NHS billions wasted
Revealed: Why we don't send enough criminals to prison; We lag behind Europe when it comes to locking up offenders
How can this be tough justice?
'Slap in the face for all families'; Outrage as this meddling Government orders town halls to seize empty homes
The law that lets council seize a dead mum's house
Suspect In Killing Of WPC Should Have Been Deported; More shame for Clarke
Criminals freed to murder
Criminals released to murder
Majority 'sick of soft justice'
Angry Britons 'sick and tired of soft justice'
Why was it called The Dark Ages?; The sale this week of a rare gold coin shed a little light on Britain's most mysterious period, when slavery was rife, vicious warring tribes roamed the countryside and law and order was only in its infancy
Revolt after the PC brigade kills Radio 4 theme
Britain must stamp out PC cancer in its midst, report warns
PC craze 'ruining fabric of society'
We will fight the scourge of political correctness
99 per cent of all crimes unpunished
Starkey wants boring history left in the past
Don't prosecute our young thugs, say family 'experts'
Government race policy spawns hate
Race policy spawns hate

So on this evidence it looks as if Civitas' reports have increasing encouraged mostly negative headlines in The Express. One of the (many) curiosities within the call for a more authoritarian society, which tends to prevail, is the denouncements of the perceived authoritarianism of a section of society deemed antithetical to an essentialism which is located in an imaginary past. On analysis of the contents of the headlines, another peculiarity is this alienation finds blame in anything the Labour government does: if they fund they squander, it is the government which foster racial hatred not a series of racial headlines and demonisation of Moslems — this might well be the case, but it is by no means established in the newspaper reports or the Civitas reports which inspired theme. But we should note the upsurge of race stories almost exclusively connected to Moslems that appear as the headlines: a great deal of these are by Macer Hall, the Express’ Political Editor, which is a small indication of the polticization of Moslem identity as treated in the right-wing press. The breakdown of the other writers include Sarah O'Grady, Social Affairs Correspondent (13/81) and Tom Whitehead, Home Affairs Correspondent (11/81) who also show a similar influence drawn from Civitas’ material, with others such as Patrick O'Flynn, Chief political commentator (5/81).

The Mirror

Much about the Mirror’s coverage is not particularly revealed by the headlines, which are often anonymous and oblique, Richard Stott’s ‘Stotty On Sunday: Days Of The All Blacks’, June 26, 2005, expresses his delight that Civitas is to republish Our Island Story:

“It gave thousands their first taste of Britain's rich and wonderful heritage and is a first-rate read and full of great, if bloodthirsty, stories. Its companion, Scotland's Story, is even more bloody, full of intrigue and royal bed-hopping, proving that history does repeat itself.”

This doesn’t contextualise Civitas’ work, the reader might assume they simply publish old children’s books. Ironically the Civitas inspired reports tend to be of the "A Monkey could be trained to sit modern A levels, according to a survey of teachers." (August 17, 2009) or given a difficult spin, such as this from September 1, 2006, titled 'ASBOs in the womb':

Mr Blair's plans worried Anastasia de Waal, head of the family and education unit at think tank Civitas. She said: "It is teetering on genetic determinism - this is kind of saying that before children are even born they are labelled as problematic."

It should be pointed out the De Waal (and indeed Blair) is sponsored by organisations who insist on a doctrine of 'original sin'.

Civitas' Reports

We turn now to examine the nature of Civitas' reports, many of which can be downloaded from their website. But if we first have regard to their Newsletter, we can note that Issue One (20 January 2004) presents the usual gathering of influences such as the Heritage Foundation, Manhattan Institute and the promotion of the work of Charles Murray (working with Civitas and the Sunday Times) and American Enterprise Institute, together with an appearance by Mark Leonard, then director of the Foreign Policy Centre then next to Civitas in the Mezzanine their shared office space.[42]Charles Murray's somewhat rambling speech was reported in the next issue. We also find that David Green is quoted as saying "Reliable statistics are a cornerstone of democracy."

Civitas was originally the Institute for Economic Affairs (IEA) Health & Welfare Unit, founded by the IEA towards the end of 1986. Civitas says it became independent of the IEA in 2000 (when it moved in with Demos, the Foreign Policy Centre and others to work together in the Mezzanine). But the advisory board don’t really suggest any particular independence, and Civitas promote old IEA reports such as Choice in Welfare No.33 , Charles Murray and the Underclass: The Developing Debate, IEA Health and Welfare Unit in association with The Sunday Times, 1996 with commentaries by Melanie Phillips and others.[43]

Other Reports include or earlier work such as Civitas 1993 Choice in Welfare No. 17, Reinventing Civil Society: The Rediscovery of Welfare Without Politics, by Civitas' director David G. Green,[44]or or works such as the 2000, 'Racist Murder and Pressure Group Politics', Norman Dennis, George Erdos and Ahmed Al-Shahi[45] The latter is an attack on the Stephen Lawrence campaign, and everything connected to it, and was published as a companion volume to Civitas' 'Institutional Racism and the Police: Fact or Fiction',[46]which states that it contains a range of views as an aid to public debate. In that book, John Grieve of the Metropolitan Police and Mike O’Brien, a Home Office Minister, describe their reactions to the Macpherson report, while Lord Skidelsky and Michael Ignatieff challenge Macpherson’s claim that the Metropolitan Police were guilty of ‘institutional racism’. One of the more peculiar chapters is 'The Political Uses of Disruptive and Separatist Anti-Racism' which draws on Hayek's 'The Intellectuals and Socialism', and offers a long ad hominem attack on Karl Marx, “The ‘Marxism’ Of The Frankfurt School And The Student Politics Of The ‘Sixty-Eighters,’” Arthur Scargill and so on.

Of the authors of 'Institutional Racism and the Police: Fact or Fiction', in 1998 French was seconded to a strategic unit responding to the findings of the Public Inquiry into the Death of Stephen Lawrence before joining the Racial and Violent Crime Task Force in 1999. Grieve is Deputy Assistant Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, the first Director of Intelligence for the Metropolitan Police, and led the MPS Intelligence Project and the Anti-Terrorist Squad as National Co-ordinator during 1996-1998 and O’Brien is also a former parliamentary adviser to the Police Federation. The source for this is the book itself.

Ignatieff’s contribution (previously published in Prospect magazine) takes the prize for most insufferable tone:

Everyone talked as if the Lawrence family and a larger fiction called ‘the black community’ had been ‘let down’.

Civitas has published more recent work, such as James Brandon’s, (2008) 'Virtual Caliphate, Islamist Extremists and their websites', for the Centre for Social Cohesion, which is described as a Civitas project itself:

“This study is based on an online discussion on the password-protected forum of the islambase.co.uk website in which many of the website’s most active users discussed their favourite Islamic websites. The discussion was initiated by one of the website’s most active contributors, ‘Hamza’, and resulted in many of the most-active members of the forum listing 40 other sites.”[47]

It would be interesting to examine the Centre for Social Cohesion's effect on the media along the same lines as Civitas, and indeed if most of Civitas' work on Islam has been sectioned off to the Centre for Social Cohesion, this should be taken into account as a factor which would most likely enhance the general finding of the type of discourse Civitas promotes.

Civitas' reports also include 'America’s Social Revolution,' a long essay based on a series of three articles by Melanie Phillips which appeared in the Sunday Times on 17 June, 24 June and 1 July 2001, first published September 2001.[48]This has one reference: 'Himmelfarb, G., One Nation, Two Cultures, New York: Knopf, 1999'. And it would be interesting to trace the circularity of this Heritage Foundation-type material, where press and think tank simply merge. Civitas' (2002) Do We Need Mass Immigration? The economic, demographic, environmental, social and developmental arguments against large-scale net immigration to Britain by Anthony Browne, notes that Browne is the Environment Editor of The Times, and that he had previously been Health Editor at the Observer, Deputy Business Editor at the Observer, Economics Correspondent at the Observer, and Economics Reporter at the BBC.

Civitas’ David Green and Robert Whelan (the Deputy Director of Civitas) as we have noted write for the press themselves, as does Anastasia de Waal mostly (and recently) for The Daily Telegraph. This seems part and parcel of what a think tank does. Green, who moved from the Labour party to the right in the 1980s had previously published (1985) Challenge to the NHS: A Study of Competition in American Health Care and the Lessons for Britain. London: Institute of Economic Affairs, 1986; The New Right: the Counter-Revolution in Political, Economic and Social Thought. Brighton: Wheatsheaf Books. (Published in USA as The New Conservatism. New York: St. Martin's Press.) This was when Heritage Foundation money was promoting their ‘Mandate for Change’ and the organisation was starting up a network of right wing think tanks via Anthony Fisher’s network (encouraged by the man Reagan appointed to run the CIA, William Casey).

Green was also involved with Centre for Independent Studies, in 1988, this was the Australian-based policy institute which emphasizes the role of the free market in an open society based on Friedrich Hayek and Milton Friedman; and drew on the Australian version of the Congress for Cultural Freedom, network such as Peter Coleman, former editor of the CCF’s Quadrant Magazine.

Civitas trustees include Lord Vinson was a co-founder of the Centre for Policy Studies, for which he worked between 1974 and 1980, and Kenneth Minogue who wrote for most of the networks organizations including the Institute for European Defence and Strategic Studies. In its early days Civitas was really an offshoot of the IEA and Lord Ralph Harris of High Cross was its patron and he stayed on till his death. Harris is the author of the witty ‘The Plan to end all plans’ on the Mont Pelerin society, which introduces his concept of the ‘phantom academy,’ based on Hayek’s plans.

Hayek, Harris argued, deliberately defined “intellectuals” by going beyond academic knowledge to opinion, describing an intellectual group Hayek defined as:

“professional second-hand dealers in ideas” who are attracted to socialism by the benevolence of its intentions and the excitement of its sweeping Utopian aspirations.[49]

The second hand dealers should be sold an anti-socialist utopia in a ‘war of ideas’:

The message of hope for all Mont Pelerinians was this: “Once the more active part of the intellectuals have been converted to a set of beliefs, the process by which these become generally accepted is almost automatic and irresistible.” This was the plan Hayek proposed setting in motion with the establishment of the Mont Pelerin Society. It was to be a kind of dispersed worldwide academy of uncompromising liberal scholars and students. It was a mobile, almost phantom academy. It had no base or permanent staff. Instead, over the next half-century, a growing number of carefully vetted members would meet in private conclave every year or two, at agreeable venues around the world.[50]

These conclaves would comprise the presentation of papers would be read, discussion, on what are perceived as “endemic disorders” of modern societies (inflation, monopoly, protectionism, trade-unionism, lobbying, and state “welfare,” the cumulative growth of government, taxation, regulation, and “all the other mischiefs to which “majoritarian democracy” is prey”). Here an ideological weltenshauung hoves into view which (although ‘freedom’ is said to be the focal point) serves to delimit possibility. There is also a lacuna in this formulation: the Society eschewed publicity. It wanted more “second-hand dealers in ideas” to spread its vision, but “their recruitment and re-education” would be undertaken “spontaneously” (in Hayekian terminology):

…by individual members through their lectures and writings or through the burgeoning of “think tanks” following the pioneering example of the Institute of Economic Affairs, established in 1957 by Antony Fisher, one of the minority of early business members of the Society.[51]

Harris also played a minor role in Brian Crozier's “full counter-subversion programme, using the enemy’s own methods” to join with David Hart and Tim Bell to evolve strategy and tactics against the Miners Strike of the 1980s, according to Croziers memoir 'Free Agent'. Indeed Anthony Fisher's Atlas Economic Research Foundation's Quarterly Newsletter for 2002, notes that it funded Civitas and seems to view it as part of this 'Phantom Academy.'[52]


  1. For the US version of this see: Stoney Burke at the 1992 Republican National Convention asking the late Robert Novak if family values is a code word for something. Novak responds by using Woody Allen as an example of someone who does not have family values, arguing that: "It doesn't have to be explained, they should just get it." The '90s Next Election Special #102 - Part 2 (1992), Tom Weinberg; Exec Producer, Joel Cohen.
  2. Civitas (2009) Civitas Crime Research. See also Civitas Crime Articles. Some of this seems to have been presented at the Police Federation Annual Conference May 2006. The (uncosted) Civitas plans to help the Police are social investment (both public and private) in institutions that encourage a law-abiding lifestyle, especially the family; reducing the net benefits of crime by increasing the risk of detection and punishment (i.e. ncrease prison capacity); personalised programmes to reduce reoffending by convicted criminals (mandatory drug testing & increased supervision of prisoners on release from jail); reducing the net advantages of crime through 'situational' change (including CCTV or 'Borstal with a human touch', see Civitas Press Release for Crime and Civil Society 'Britain's crime-reduction policies amongst the least effective in Europe'. This is much the same as Green's presentation.
  3. The mail has its own page on Steve Doughty Result Summary which states that there are 1032 results. Blogs seem to take a dim view of Doughty's work with labels such as ‘Devout racist Steve Doughty’ at Britishblogs.co.uk.
  4. 'Romanians and Bulgarians + Steve Doughty'
  5. Daily Mail, October 31, 2007, THE MIGRANT JOBS FIASCO; In 24 hours official estimate goes from 800,000 to 1.5million Figures that undermine pledge of jobs for British, Steve Doughty, Kirsty Walker.
  6. Daily Mail, May 10, 2007, 50,000 a month arrive from two new EU nations, Steve Doughty.
  7. Daily Mail, December 30, 2006, You can't stop us coming ...; As Romania joins EU on Monday, would-be migrants boast how they will get jobs here, Bob Graham, Steve Doughty.
  8. Why you've got less to spend even though wages are rising, Daily Mail, September 29, 2006, Steve Doughty.
  9. reAct! (2009) About, Current media complaints.
  10. Agony of children left behind in Romania who miss their parents in the UK, Steve Doughty, Daily Mail, updated at 22:00 04 October 2007. This states it draws on a survey by the Soros Foundation Romania.
  11. Taking our women and taking our jobs, Obsolete, May 22, 2007. The Runnymeade Trust's 2006 report also mentions Doughty as inflating the figures, and estimates a number of 27,659.
  12. The problem with such pedantry is that when it extends into questioning writing and language it automatically exposes its own shortfalls —when are things hopefully frustrating? should DIY be D.I.Y., we’re should be we are, “Not all being au fait with the phonetic alphabet” is bad grammar and au fait something of a pretentious phrase and confusing given she is talking about phonetics; method in the madness something of a cliché, the relation of logic and grammar somewhat confused and the rules unidentified and unexplained.
  13. Getting Wed is Still the best Option 7 Feb 2006
  14. BBC 'Superficial' inspections warning, 16 November 2008.
  15. The Guardian, January 15 reported on events at a conference in Prague organised by the Conservative Council of Eastern Europe in 1990, where Cox and Marks outlined their concerns at just how effective Communists had been in destroying the very fabric of British society:
    Baroness Cox explains how ‘the moral legitimacy of British society has been undermined by Marxists in key institutions, particularly educational establishments’. Universities, schools and training colleges have all suffered, she says. The social sciences and history have been ‘particulary infected’. The church, too, is suspect. ‘Many of our church leaders have been infected by liberation theology’. John Marks adds that the British know well ‘how much wrecking power Communist parties can have, even when small’.
  16. 'The West, Islam and Islamism: Is ideological Islam compatible with liberal democracy?' by Caroline Cox and John Marks is published by Civitas, 77 Great Peter Street, London SW1P 2EZ, tel 020 7799 6677 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 020 7799 6677 end_of_the_skype_highlighting.
  17. Anastasia De Waal (2007) Media Standards Trust.
  18. See 'Studies' (the web site of the Jesuits in Ireland Cohabitation, Issue 385, vol.97, Spring 2008, the article was based on a lecture, sponsored by the Iona Institute, in Dublin on 14th September 2007. This harks back to supporting 'traditional marriage and religion', although there is no marriage ceremony in the New Testament and the polygamy of the Old is just ignored. Frederick Engels' 'Origins of the Family', based on the writings of Lewis H. Morgan, in the Preface to the Fourth Edition, 1891 noted that:
    Before the beginning of the [1960s], one cannot speak of a history of the family. In this field, the science of history was still completely under the influence of the five books of Moses. The patriarchal form of the family, which was there described in greater detail than anywhere else, was not only assumed without question to be the oldest form, but it was also identified – minus its polygamy – with the bourgeois family of today, so that the family had really experienced no historical development at all; at most it was admitted that in primitive times there might have been a period of sexual promiscuity...
    The Iona institute is also known for its attacks on the Civil Partnership Bill 2009.
  19. About the Iona Institute, Sept 29, 2009.
  20. 'Navajo on the war path over town hall gay rights charter', The Sunday Telegraph, January 7, 2007.
  21. Meg Jalsevac (2007) U.S. Navajos Protest Use of Their Name for UK Gay Rights Project, Lie Site News, January 8.
  22. Steve Doughty, Daily Mail, December 23, 2006, ‘£10,000 apology by police to Christians hounded in gay row’
  23. Christian Institute Annual Report, 1999-2000.
  24. Social Housing: Trevor Phillips and the EHRC Caught out Lying Again, July 21, 2009 by BNP News.
  25. http://bnp.org.uk/pdf_files/Stone_EHRCSocialHousing2009.pdf
  26. http://www.migrationwatchuk.org/Briefingpaper/document/33
  27. See: http://web.archive.org/web/20030119072114/migrationwatchuk.org/default.asp?menu=profiles&page=profiles.htm
  28. See: http://www.migrationwatch.co.uk/pressArticle/66
  29. Eyes to the Right, Red Pepper, February 2007.
  30. Rod Liddle, Spectator, 'There are lies, damned lies — and statistics about the housing queue', 25 July 2009.
  31. The Observer (England) February 22, 2009, 7 days: People: Pendennis: Forces Sweetheart comes under fire, Oliver Marre.
  32. 'Blocking the way to social cohesion' (2007) by Mervyn Stone and Donald Edwards. On Robert Rowthorn see: The Economic Impact of Immigration (2004), Robert Rowthorn, published by Civitas.
  33. Nick Cohen, The Observer (England) June 1, 2008, Comment & Debate: A truly criminal approach to policing. Cohen uses Civitas’ statistics and report,s fairly regularly, and usually to decry the police: see: The Observer, July 24, 2005.
  34. The Observer, January 15, 2006, Comment: For the record,
  35. The Observer, October 13, 2002 Whiz-kid may be saviour of the Tory party: Devout Christian Montgomerie is backroom powerhouse.
  36. Commission clears think tank of Tory bias, Paul Jump, Third Sector Online, 27 October 2008.
  37. Third Sector Online, 22 July,
  38. Third Sector Online, 18 July
  39. The Observer, June 6, 2004.
  40. Faisal Islam, 'Foreign workers: fact and fiction: Immigrants are vital to the British economy, whatever the tabloids say, says Faisal Islam', The Observer, April 11, 2004.
  41. The Express, April 16, 2009.
  42. Civitas Report, Issue One, 20 January 2004.
  43. Choice in Welfare No.33, 'Charles Murray and the Underclass: The Developing Debate', IEA Health and Welfare Unit, 1996.
  44. Choice in Welfare No. 17, Reinventing Civil Society: The Rediscovery of Welfare Without Politics, David G. Green, Civitas, London, 1993
  45. Racist Murder and Pressure Group Politics, Norman Dennis, George Erdos and Ahmed Al-Shahi, Institute for the Study of Civil Society 2000.
  46. Institutional Racism and the Police: Fact or Fiction? David G. Green (Editor) John G.D. Grieve & Julie French, Michael Ignatieff, Mike O’Brien, Robert Skidelsky, 2000.
  47. James Brandon (2008) 'Virtual Caliphate, Islamist Extremists and their websites', Centre for Social Cohesion. This thanks Robin Simcox, Houriya Ahmed and Hannah Stuart of the Centre for Social Cohesion and Dominic Whiteman.
  48. 'America’s Social Revolution,' Melanie Phillips, 2001, Civitas: Institute for the Study of Civil Society in association with the Sunday Times, London.
  49. Ralph Harris, National Review (June 16, 1997), The plan to end planning.
  50. Ralph Harris, National Review (June 16, 1997), The plan to end planning.
  51. Ralph Harris, National Review (June 16, 1997), The plan to end planning.
  52. Atlas Economic Research Foundation's Quarterly Newsletter for the Atlas Network / Winter 2002, Think Tanks Tackle Health andWelfare Topics with Atlas’s Support.