16 May 2019 - 18 May 2019

The rise of populism: crisis of democracy or noisy renewal?

Chair: The Rt Hon David Davis MP

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Executive summary

We explored the current rise in political populism in the US, Europe and other parts of the world, asking whether we are witnessing noisy democratic renewal or a fundamental challenge to democracy. If there wasn’t a clear definition of populism, were there at least common features in different countries that we could discern and then address? Are expressions of populist politics a rational response to failures of conventional political parties? And, is it possible that the use of the Internet and social media, a feature of current political populism, could also point the way to newer forms of democracy?

Populism continues to rise in different parts of the world. We are living through these changes and don’t yet know what the outcomes will be. For some, understanding the drivers of populism was the first step to diffusing what is seen as a dangerous challenge to the long won values and institutions of liberal democracy. For others, understanding could help define what needs to happen as part of an overdue and radical renewal of democratic systems. Inequality was said to be distorting democracy and addressing it must go hand-in-hand with righting democratic systems. Challenges to the establishment are not necessarily a challenge to democratic systems and rule of law. But increasing authoritarianism could be a dangerous challenge to both.

Ideas but not consensus

  • The use of citizens’ juries, assemblies and other on-line mechanisms were welcomed as a means to augment democratic institutions and representative democracy.
  • Leadership and compromise and civility must be re-cultivated within politics.
  • New explicit social contracts between government and citizens at local level might be a way to rebuild trust in systems, with the Wigan Deal cited as an example.
  • A proposal for an independent but publicly regulated social media platform – a kind of BBC for social media – focussed attention on what is distinct about the Internet, its role in politics and society and how it differs from technological innovations of the past.


Political populism is not a new phenomenon (the roots of US populism were traced back to the 1930s), but its rise in democracies across the world is clear and coincides with (amongst other things) a lawless period in the lifecycle of the Internet and the economic transformations brought by further digitisation and AI. It also coincides with existential challenges of climate change and a dramatic realignment of global powers. Populism is here to stay as an expression of values that have been at odds with a widespread political consensus of recent decades. Themes of identity, the economy and politics and the media framed the discussion.


Chaired by David Davis, MP, this conference brought together one of the most diverse groups at any Ditchley conference. It included data scientists from different kinds of media companies, politicians, civil servants, journalists, representatives from Internet platforms, academics, business leaders, campaigning groups and new leadership networks.



What is driving populism? Economic factors, immigration – or something else?

Right wing populism was the main theme of the conference. Discussion focussed on how far right-wing populism could be explained by economic failure and how far it derives from an expression of values, particularly in response to immigration. There was no consensus. For most, economic conditions must be part of the story; the backdrop that allows populist sentiment to take hold. For others, an attempt to explain populist expression as a response primarily to the consequences of economic failure was to miss the point. Immigration, it was argued, has prompted an assertion of majoritarian identities and an expression of values primarily linked to identity. To expand this debate in more detail:

The systematic dismantling of workers’ rights, an increase in fake self-employment, pressure on wages and home ownership, new concentrations of wealth and power, a lack of social mobility and the slow burn effects of the 2008 financial crash, described as the moment when the establishment wrecked the economy – and fundamentally, the failure of the market, were all put forward as part of the story of populism.

Whilst the economic context was accepted as important by most participants, a strong case was made that economics is not the full story. Income and personal economic circumstances are not uppermost in explanations of populist sentiment and do not, for example, correlate as strongly with a vote to leave the EU in the June 2016 referendum as views on the death penalty, or a nostalgic sense that life in the past was better. These preferences (although not in and of themselves populist) correlate with personal values more than they do with personal economic circumstance. Concern about immigration is the strongest predictor in voting for the populist right. In general, people overestimate the number of immigrants and are very sensitive to it. Populist sentiment was thus linked to a perceived threat to identity.

We explored the nature of attachment to identity and populist support for it. Should a perceived threat and response to it be understood as a racist response or not? Does an attraction to ‘sameness’ necessarily amount to the same thing as a rejection of ‘otherness’? For those on the right, a primary focus on people from their own ‘group’ is natural; for those on the left, it is often seen as an expression of racism. We explored the role of the state. What responsibility should it bear for creating and sustaining national consensus around identity?

Crises of political legitimacy are a recurring feature of the rise of populist movements. Examples given included the French National Front, the Austrian Freedom Party or the emergence of Vox in Spain, with the political and constitutional crisis over Catalonia. Questions of legitimacy are also linked to corruption, to trust in institutions and to the competency of government. A sense of a loss of government control drives insecurity and that feeds into populism. Failures to tell the truth about immigration (in UK) and failures to construct effective immigration strategies have contributed to the sense that immigration, in particular, is out of control. The 2015 migration crisis in Europe was highlighted as inflaming a sense of unease and chaos across Europe. When migrants crossed the border from the US to Canada, even Canadians questioned control. Such events signal the failure of political systems to cope with new realities. While the surface of political campaigning may have got slicker, the process of government has not changed fast enough in response to global challenges.

Despite the 2015 example from Europe, the conference found it hard to isolate specific causal factors for the timing in the rise of concern about identity. Trust in politicians has been low for decades. Immigration has been on the agenda in the US for 30 years. Wage stagnation pre-dates the financial crisis. The debate, we were reminded, is about power not just money: immigration and the identification of scapegoats has long been a tool in the pursuit of power. Was this just a question of opportunism taking a particular form?

The Internet has had a massive impact on the viability of populist politics. Social media and on-line networks have created alternative information outlets and accelerated the speed of exchange. Social media is used strategically and explicitly by populist political campaigns to appeal to particular subcultures and to local, regional and on-line cultural identities. Engaging in shared outrage on social media was described as a pleasurable ‘pull factor’ that works alongside the ‘push factors’ over fears of loss of identity and status. The Internet makes it possible for extremist groups to tap into narratives that majorities have otherwise been unable to express. One example given was of the Burmese majority in Myanmar.

There may be good reasons that drive rational and justified populist expression. But difficult questions remain: when does fear become hatred and when does hatred stir genocidal impulses? Is it helpful to consider tipping points?

In what ways is populism good and bad for democracy? How can we capture its energy for good?

The rise of populism was not seen as a crisis of democracy or a noisy renewal but as containing the seeds of both.

Whilst democratic institutions were mostly believed to be resilient, there was a sense of shared values under pressure. Current public debate was eroding tolerance, respect and civility. From this perspective, the response to populism must include a reassertion of democratic values in the education system, in the media and in the attitudes of public officials. Populism’s anti-elitism was in danger of becoming anti-culture and anti-science and of leading to an erosion of shared bodies of common ground knowledge.

There were four substantial and different responses to the analysis: first was to point out that the norms of democracy, if not the institutions, are being specifically targeted by insurgent populists. Attempts to capture public institutions (e.g. the US supreme court) and to roll back hard-won rights (over abortion, voter registration) are an explicit part of a populist battle with the liberal elite that has been brewing since the 1960s. From this view, people are fighting so hard because the battle is over fundamental tenets of society and everything that liberal democracy has built.

A second response was to welcome populist challenge as the means to shake up a complacent establishment. The election of President Trump was described as a democratically grounded revolution. Populists were asking good questions about how power is exercised. Populist challenge could drive reform in democratic institutions. For example, the question of ‘who regulates the regulator’, points up the limits and weaknesses of current institutions, their lack of transparency and demonstrates a need for greater democratic accountability. Should democratic processes be introduced for the appointment of positions of power, such as the election of judges? Many nationalist populist movements are arguing for more direct democracy and this is striking a chord with portions of the electorate that feel, with some reason, that they have been misled and manipulated by elites.

Third, it was argued that liberal democracies have mistakenly neglected the nation-state and the positive power of nationalism, fearing its negative side. In embracing globalisation, markets and individual competition, national governments have withdrawn from the project of creating national social solidarity. The repercussions of these actions are now being felt and a strong case was made that the state must pay attention and make amends, harnessing nationalism as a positive force.

Fourth, a concern was articulated that whilst populism might have been driven by fears about the future, the full impact of economic transformation through AI and automation has yet to take effect. What might be the effect of yet deeper disruption of economies, job markets and work-based identity on populist sentiments? All this change will be happening when the values and norms of liberal democracy have already been shaken. Existing democratic controls over the emerging digital economy are under pressure; digital monopolies operate outside the legal framework of anti-trust. Technologies are coming into play without a consensus over data property rights. Entirely new technologies are emerging without regulatory frameworks and at a pace that regulators and legislators have little chance of matching. This is the context for a playing out of new expressions of politics across the world. Will previous norms reassert themselves or have we seen nothing yet in terms of change?

Politics, it was argued, must therefore actively shape the course of coming economic transformation to minimise the impact of new inequalities. This is a political and social priority but not yet fully addressed in mainstream political manifestos. We did not arrive at answers for how politics can control such strong economic forces.

The effects of climate change will also bring further sets of overriding challenges. Fears about immigration will be magnified by the projections of mass migrations from areas of the globe in which, as a result of climate change, it will become harder to sustain stable human societies.

Perceptions and expectations

Psychological understanding is central. People’s perceptions and expectations emerged as core to the discussion. In western liberal democracies since the Second World War, the public expectation has been one of continuous improvement in health, wealth and quality of life – where each generation does better than the last. The escalator of social improvement, it was argued, had come to a stop but our expectations that governments should be able to do more and do better, continue. Even though ‘happiness’ surveys show some improvement, there is persistent dissatisfaction with social outcomes. For some, this is a shocking let-down of liberal democracy and a failure to sufficiently maintain the nation state, its culture, values and institutions. The welfare part of the welfare state is particularly under pressure and is experienced as such by citizens. The people know intuitively that the whole system is in trouble and they doubt that politics as usual has the power to reverse it.

The social contract between citizens and governments is losing legitimacy and therefore power. For deprived communities with few resources, even modest, basic, limited expectations are not met. Their concern is to protect the little they have. Even when unemployment is low, people feel they’re struggling to live a good life.

There is a lack of political language that addresses the real anxieties of the people. We need to recreate a social contract with a stronger sense of ‘we’ the people. One answer put forward as a modest proposition was for governments to adopt a less arrogant approach and to admit what they found difficult. There was a call for honest, competent and decent government that recognises the role of the nation-state (and the necessity of functional nation-states that can collaborate in an international framework of nation-states).

But, as was pointed out, the reason immigration has such impact is that the national ‘we’ is contested. The notion of global citizenship and human rights means those seeking asylum or better life chances see themselves having a right to the opportunities promised by western societies, which they can read about in detail online.

Politics and the media

The idea was put forward that the Internet is yet another terrain over which liberal democracies have lost control.

Internet platforms are a core tool for political populism. Online networks can be used to target specific communities and amplify narratives. As well as connecting different people across distance and building common understanding, they also connect similar minded people across distance, creating echo chambers and, increasingly, strong inward-facing communities which assert their identity. Fear and conspiracies can travel almost instantaneously online. Populists can align transnationally. Malevolent states can add to the noise through an industrial ramping-up of the amplification of political messaging (aiming to influence electoral outcomes).

There is another side, of course, more in line with the intentions of the Internet’s inventors. Platforms and networks can also be used to increase people’s exposure to a wider diversity of views. The #MeToomovement was said to have finally got around media gatekeepers and gained traction on-line.

The idea that monopolistic platforms could be broken up and competition (as currently understood) inserted into business models, is to only half understand the fusion of form, content and behaviour that has come to define the current operation of the Internet. Nobody believed that the Internet platforms could be broken up. They might be superseded by newer companies offering novel experiences but under current conditions, new entrants might soon become new monopolies.

Giving voice to everyone (disintermediation) was central to the design of the Internet. The opportunities to downplay the negative qualities and to support the Internet as a terrain of public debate were, in this discussion, centred on gatekeeping. Can gatekeeping functions be introduced to help overcome the proliferation of misuse and misinformation? Opportunities for ‘gatekeeping’ have pros and cons. Gatekeepers can help filter truth from fiction and help users towards trusted sources. Proxies could be added to websites that might help users make judgements about their validity. The idea of using independent fact checkers was also put forward.

But this path was also recognised as having serious risks. Gatekeeping could quickly lead to suppression and suppression by algorithm. There were concerns about how 'harm' might be defined, and by whom, and whether attempts to shut down 'unacceptable' debate will in fact fuel it further or drive it out of reach of oversight or regulation. The major platforms are private companies. They have struggled to apply current laws over the legality of content such as hate speech and death threats. How far can private companies be relied upon to protect minorities or to define the parameters of public discourse? There are questions about how satisfactory it is for Facebook, for example, to be the arbiter of political advertising.

There is an assumption that with sufficient intellectual effort and judgement we can transfer the balance we struck in the pre-Internet world between freedom of speech and chaos to the Internet world, mitigating the very mixed bag we find today but avoiding becoming China. Is this true?

Traditional media was described as struggling within a changing political landscape, unable to adequately challenge those who tell lies, hampered (for example at the BBC) by an outdated concept of balance and left behind by politicians who use social media to communicate while avoiding engaging in difficult conversations with political journalists. In fact, traditional media are not just struggling but are now part of the problem. Driven by economic concerns they have become a vector for populist opinion and part of the bigger story of a gradual weakening of traditional political institutions. Meanwhile, responsibility has shifted to consumers to cope with ever increasing sophistication in political messaging.

Deliberate misinformation was seen as a separate serious problem. It was suggested it could best be tackled by a focus on responsible ‘behaviour’ by mainstream actors rather than a search to rout out untrue content. Could codes of conduct for example be agreed with political parties/campaigns and journalists in order to reduce the amplification of news from fake accounts and unverified sources?

But it was noted that this soon could become a danger in itself to the vitality of democracy. We were reminded that political activity on-line is an important tool for political challengers. Defence against misuse, misinformation and unacceptable narratives should not be confused with a defence of political/establishment incumbents.

The waters are muddied by confusion between the interests of elites with democratic norms and conventions. Would it help to convert norms and conventions into law and make them explicit and transparent – rules for all? Those that respect unwritten rules were considered disadvantaged compared to actors without any such scruples. While elites, it was suggested, once led and participated in struggles over identity and values especially at the level of the nation-state, they have now withdrawn and left the field to others.  Where the elites have disappeared to is the international arena (whether for work or for holiday or for a vision of the future). This is noted and resented by the rest of the populace.


Ethnic majorities feel that they are in decline, particularly in the US. Seen from this perspective, the civil rights movement for minorities has now developed into new forms of identity politics. Meanwhile, from the civil rights perspective, it is noted that genuine equality is still far from achieved.

Differences between achieved and ascribed identities were explored. Ascribed or inherited identities (family history, national, ethnicity) transfer across individual lifespans and can endure. Achieved identities (careers, social status, marital status) are more uneven and perhaps harder to realise as social mobility has reduced. Even the achieved identity of being married reflects new patterns of inequality (that is, marriage is now linked to class). The loss of employment and therefore social status takes place in a culture that implies an element of personal fault – a failure to work hard enough or to be flexible enough to find work. Some men are challenged by the loss of traditional male roles and the arrival of very effective competition for roles from more women in the workplace. In response, some men are turning to other sources of identity, including nationalism and, at the extreme, misogynistic groups such as “Incel”, an Internet trend of “involuntary celibates”.

Political leadership

The question was asked whether representative democracy remains the right vehicle for modern politics. The growth and increased sophistication of opinion polling has led to assumptions about the possibility of reading the public mind. The weakening of leadership has gone hand-in-hand with a reduction in the possibility of political compromise. Others argued that it was the liberal democratic reforms of the 1960s that have led to the current populist response, as what was once quiet, unofficial pluralism and tolerance has hardened into a matter of official rights and laws, resented by those outside metropolitan elites.

A fundamental question is whether the sophistication of opinion polling, data analysis and precision-crafted canvassing (when mixed with echo chambers, fake news and the rapid transmission over the Internet of rumour and fear) is really compatible with a representative electoral democratic system as cast at present? What should be the limits for data acquisition and analysis? Could there be a code of conduct for political analysts and operatives and how would it be policed? How can we ever put the technological genie back in the bottle?

Responses – not consensus but ideas emerging

Responding to populist concerns must be part of democratic renewal. Listening in all its different forms would include radical options to augment democratic and constitutional processes. Use of Citizens’ Juries and Citizens’ Assemblies that facilitate discussion and questioning over campaigning, public appointment by lottery, greater transparency in the appointment of judges and codification of the constitution (in the UK) were seen as obvious measures.

Localism, gaining political representation and learning leadership in local institutions, are part of the new political responses at work. There is a new burst of political energy at local level, especially among minority communities in order to achieve better representation in local institutions of state power.

Breaking down isolation of decision-makers from the wider public. Relocating major departments to other cities in the UK for example could help mitigate against tendencies for group think amongst civil servants and government bureaucracies currently concentrated in Whitehall. Does the current system sacrifice national cohesion for bureaucratic efficiency? Can’t government be more distributed and more local?

Political parties and government need to find new ways to listen and to engage with people on points of principle. This might include more serious use of on-line petitioning and careful use of referenda supported by super majorities.

New social contracts between nations and their citizens: new agreements between local government and their residents could be a way to begin this process. The Wigan Deal (between local government and the citizens of Wigan) was a good example of a new agreement. Are control, trust and competent government best re-built from the local level up?

Hope was expressed that new forms of leadership amongst immigrant communities in engaging with local institutions will lead to better bridge-building and new coalitions.

The opportunities of Universal Basic Income to provide better security should be reviewed.

Is a publicly regulated independent social media platform that protects individual rights and offers better personal data control and security possible and desirable in the light of current technology and business trends?

Themes not discussed

The conference did not discuss leftist populism sufficiently.

Issues of gender and masculinity in populist expression were not sufficiently discussed.

The role of wealth and global finance was marginal to the conference conversation.

The potential to transition to newer forms of digital democracy was frequently raised but left undeveloped.

It was noted that an explicit discussion of class was missing. And, religious identities were raised but not sufficiently developed.

Despite the diversity of the group, age did not come up explicitly as a characteristic that influenced populist sentiment. But it was clear that expectations of what states can and should deliver are changing and could stoke future dissatisfaction.


This Note reflects the Director’s personal impressions and reflections on the discussion. No participant is in any way committed to its content or expression.

The Rt Hon David Davis MP 

Member of Parliament for Haltemprice and Howden (Con), House of Commons (1997-). Formerly: Secretary of State for exiting the European Union (2016-18); Chair, The Future of Banking Commission (2010); Shadow Home Secretary (2003-08); Shadow Lord Chancellor (2002-03); MP for Boothferry (1987-97).


Ms Julia Ebner 
Research Fellow, Institute for Strategic Dialogue, London; author, 'The Rage: The Vicious Circle of Islamist and Far‑Right Extremism'. Formerly: Senior Researcher, Quilliam; co‑author, 'The EU and Terrorism: Is Britain Safer In or Out?' and chapter in Routledge volume, 'Education and Extremisms'; Coordinator, Families Against Terrorism and Extremism.

The Honourable Stéphane Dion PC, PhD 
Prime Minister's Special Envoy to the European Union and Europe and Canada's Ambassador to Germany (2017‑). Formerly: Minister of Foreign Affairs of Canada (2015‑17); Minister of the Environment (2004‑05); Minister for Official Languages (2001‑03); Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs (1996‑2003); Member of Parliament (1996‑2017); Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada; Leader of the Official Opposition in the House of Commons.

The Hon. Pierre Marc Johnson Ad. E., LL.L, MD, PhD(hc), GOQ 
Of Counsel, Lavery Montreal. Formerly: Chief Negotiator, Quebec Government Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement between Canada and the EU (2009‑18); Premier of Quebec; Professor at McGill University Law School (1989‑96); UN Negotiator, Sustainable Development Conventions.

The Hon Bob Rae PC CC OOnt QC 
Professor of Public Policy, University of Toronto; Senior Counsel, OKT LLP; Special Envoy to Myanmar for the government of Canada. Formerly: Canadian Parliamentarian and Premier of Ontario; Chair: Institute for Research in Public Policy, Forum of Federations, Toronto Symphony Orchestra and Royal Conservatory of Music.

Ms Anna Jahn 
Director of Learning Programs and the Action Canada Fellowship, Public Policy Forum, Ottawa (2016‑). Formerly: Centre on Public Management and Policy, University of Ottawa; Program Manager, The European School of Management and Technology, Berlin.

Professor Eric Kaufmann 
Professor of Politics, Birkbeck College, University of London (2011‑); author, 'Whiteshift: Populism, Immigration and the Future of White Majorities' (Allen Lane, 2018); editor, 'Rethinking Ethnicity: Majority Groups and Dominant Minorities' (Routledge 2004); co‑editor, 'Political Demography: how population changes are reshaping international security and national politics' (Oxford University Press 2012); author, 'The Rise and Fall of Anglo‑America: the decline of dominant ethnicity in the United States' (Harvard University Press 2004); editor, journal 'Nations and Nationalism'. Formerly: Fellow, Belfer Center, Harvard Kennedy School.

Mr Ken Manget ICD.D 
Formerly: Global Head, Relationship Investing, Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan; Vice‑President, Infrastructure; Head of Investment Banking, Desjardins Capital Markets; Managing Director, Equity Capital Markets and Head of Income Funds, BMO Capital Markets. Board member, Canadian Ditchley Foundation.

Mr Don McCutchan 
Director, Northstar Trade Finance; Senior Advisor, Navigator. Formerly: Partner and International Advisor, Gowling WLG LLP; Executive Director, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development; officer, Canadian Department of Finance. Vice‑President and Secretary, Canadian Ditchley Foundation.

Mr Timur Ohloff 
Rhodes Scholar and MPhil Candidate in Comparative Government, University of Oxford. Formerly: Research Consultant, Syracuse and Duke Universities (2014‑17); Internships with McKinsey & Company (2018), Bundestagsfraktion Bündnis 90/Die Grünen (2016), Office of Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (2015), German Embassy, Washington DC (2015).

Dr Yuli (Yael) Tamir 
President, Shenkar college of engineering, design and art, Tel Aviv (2010‑). Formerly: Education Minister; Minister of Immigrant Absorption; Vice Chairman/Speaker of the Israeli parliament; head, Association for Civil Rights.

Ms Alejandra Gomez 
Co‑Executive Director, Living United for Change in Arizona.

Ms Sonja Avontuur 
Scientific Advisor, Advisory Committee on Migration Affairs, Netherlands (2012‑). Formerly: Scientific staff, Immigration and Naturalisation Service, Netherlands.

Dr José Maria Lassalle 
Formerly: Secretary of State for the Information Society and Digital Agenda (2016‑18); Secretary of State for Culture (2011‑16); Member of Parliament for Cantabria; Cultural Spokesperson for the Popular Party (PP) in Congress; Professor of Philosophy of Law, King Juan Carlos University of Madrid; Professor, University of Cantabria and Carlos III University, Madrid; Director, Carolina Foundation, Ministry for Foreign Affairs (2003‑04).

Dr Kim Nilsson 
Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Pivigo, London; named Rising Star among the Top 100 Influencers of Big Data, and one of the Top 50 Most Influential Women in IT, in the UK. Formerly: Hubble Astronomer, Munich.

Dr Maryam Ahmed 
Data Scientist, BBC News.

The Lord Aldington 
Chairman, Machfast Group Ltd. Formerly: Chairman, Deutsche Bank London (2002‑09); Trustee, Institute for Philanthropy (2008‑14); Trustee, Royal Academy Trust (2003‑13); Chairman, Stramongate Ltd (2007‑11); Member, Council of the British‑German Chamber of Commerce and Industry (1995‑2008). A Governor and Member of the Council of Management and Business Committee and Chairman of the Finance and General Purposes Committee of The Ditchley Foundation.

Mr Hardip Begol CBE 
Director for Integration and Communities, Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government. Formerly: Director, Department for Education (DfE) (responsible for independent education and counter‑extremism) (2015‑17) and curriculum, qualifications and school accountability (2012‑14); Deputy Director for Special Educational Needs and Disability, DfE (2007‑10); Prime Minister's Strategy Unit.

The Hon. Thomas Borwick 
Director, Kanto Systems. Formerly: Chief Technology Officer, Vote Leave (2015‑16).

Professor Roger Eatwell 
Emeritus Professor of Comparative Politics, University of Bath; co‑author (with Matthew Goodwin), 'National Populism: the Revolt against Liberal Democracy' (Pelican Books, 2018), a Sunday Times 'Books of the Year' choice; co‑founder (with Cas Mudde) and co‑editor (1999‑19), Routledge book series 'Extremism and Democracy'.

Mr Jonathan Hellewell LVO 
Special Adviser to the Prime Minister for faith communities, No10 Downing Street.

Mr Edward Luce 
Financial Times (1995‑): Chief U.S. Columnist. Formerly: Washington Bureau Chief (2006‑11); South Asia Bureau Chief, New Delhi; Capital Markets Editor; Philippines Correspondent. Author, three books including 'The Retreat of Western Liberalism' (Little, Brown UK, and Grove Atlantic, U.S., 2017), 'Time to Start Thinking: America and the Spectre of Decline' (2012) and 'In Spite of the Gods: The Strange Rise of Modern India' (2006).

Dr David Maguire 
Postdoctoral Fellow, Centre for Education in the Criminal Justice System, University of London. Formerly: Lecturer in criminology, Oxford Brookes.

Ms Binita Mehta‑Parmar 
Head of UK Office, More in Common.

Mr Ben Nimmo 
Senior Fellow for Information Defense, Digital Forensic Research Lab, Atlantic Council of the United States. Formerly: Institute for Statecraft, London (2015‑16); NATO press officer (2011‑14); journalist (2004‑11, including as EU and NATO correspondent for the German Press Agency, dpa).

Ms Nazek Ramadan 
Executive Director, Migrant Voice UK, London.

Miss Manveen Rana 
Investigative Reporter, The Today Programme and BBC News.

Ms Jessica Brandt 
Head of Research and Policy, Alliance for Securing Democracy; Fellow, German Marshall Fund of the United States. Formerly: Fellow, Foreign Police Program and former Special Adviser to the President, Executive Office, Brookings Institution. A member of the Advisory Council of the American Ditchley Foundation.

Mr Nathaniel Gleicher 
Head of Cybersecurity Policy, Facebook, Inc. (2018‑); Senior Associate, Strategic Technologies Program, Center for Strategic and International Studies (2016‑). Formerly: Head of Cybersecurity Strategy, Illumio (2015‑18); Director for Cybersecurity Policy, National Security Council, The White House (2013‑15); Senior Counsel, Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section, U.S. Department of Justice (2010‑13).

Ms Julie Gonzales 
State Senator for District 34, Colorado General Assembly; trainer, New American Leaders (encourages immigrants and people of color to run for elected office); community organiser active in advancing immigrant rights across Colorado through the state legislature; member, Democratic Party of Denver Central Committee. Formerly: co‑founder (2009), later statewide board Chair, Colorado Latino Forum.

Ms Brittan Heller 
Technology and Human Rights Fellow, Harvard Kennedy School (2019‑). Formerly: Director for Technology and Society, Anti‑Defamation League (2016‑18); Honors Attorney, Criminal Division, U.S. Department of Justice (2011‑15); postdoctoral fellow, Afghanistan Legal Education Project, Stanford Law School (2010‑11); Luce Scholar, Korean Public Interest Lawyers' Group (2009‑10); member of the prosecution team, Office of the Prosecutor, International Criminal Court, The Hague (2008‑09).

Dr Peter Skerry 
Professor of Political Science, Boston College; contributing editor, ‘The American Interest’. Formerly: Senior Fellow, Brookings Institution; Research Fellow, American Enterprise Institute; Legislative Director, Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan; member, Advisory Council on European/Transatlantic Issue, Heinrich Boell Foundation.