>A 'new identity politics' has emerged in Britain over the last decade or so. It has evolved from within Britain's liberal and social democratic traditions and maintains that we need to do more as a society to foster a common sense of belonging and shared civic identities. Shared identities are thought to contribute to a number of progressive goals, such as fostering communities in which people from different backgrounds get along well together, encouraging citizens to participate actively in public life and generating wider support for a more egalitarian distribution of wealth and income.

This new identity politics is not without its critics - some on the right claim that it is a typically corrosive left-wing attempt to meddle with tradition, while others on the left claim it amounts to a return to a conservative politics of cultural assimilation. In this short report we set out to test the claims of those who support this new agenda and interrogate its potential for furthering liberal and social democratic goals.