Thursday, August 24, 2006

UK - Integration and how to achieve it

I watched Ruth Kelly's, the Communities Secretary, speech today. I got the overall impression that this is just another "government being seen to be doing something" program, without any substance. We'll have to wait and see what they come up with.

Here are a few things that caught my eye.

One of the first things she, and just about anybody in the government, talked about was how immigration was such a good thing for Britain. On some levels that's true but uncontrolled immigration is not. She cited as examples, of how Britain gains from diversity, people visiting Nottinghill Carnival and Brick Lane.

Immigration has helped enrich our cultural life, with the capital's diversity now commonly acknowledged to be one of its key attractions. A weekend spent at the Notting Hill Carnival or exploring Brick Lane are attracting tourists and residents alike.

That's your first clue Kelly isn't up to this job, for if this is the Brick Lane she's talking about, it's a good example of multicultralism failure.

Now comes the next clue - multiculturalism's failure, like just about all Muslims grievances - is our fault.

And as this complex picture evolves, there are white Britons who do not feel comfortable with change. They see the shops and restaurants in their town centres changing. They see their neighbourhoods becoming more diverse. Detached from the benefits of those changes, they begin to believe the stories about ethnic minorities getting special treatment, and to develop a resentment, a sense of grievance.

"Stories" Ruth? Come now dear. Are all these acts of Muslim appeasement just stories?

And if you have to ask...

In our attempt to avoid imposing a single British identity and culture, have we ended up with some communities living in isolation of each other, with no common bonds between them?

Gee, you think? Here's a suggestion for you Ruth. Go visit Beeston.

Here's the next clue that Ruth isn't up to the task or that this is just government lip service.

First she says this:

We must not be censored by political correctness, and we must not tiptoe around important issues.

Then she censors herself and tiptoes around the most important issue.

It is also clear that our ideas and policies should not be based on special treatment for minority ethnic or faith communities. That would only exacerbate division rather than help build cohesion. And as a society we have to have the confidence to say no to certain suggestions from particular ethnic groups.

One has to wonder, after dropping the censorship, PC and tiptoeing, why Ruth is still unable to name those she is planning on saying no to?

The bravado continues as Ruth tells us we must not be afraid to tell people to abide by our laws.

And I also want to see a clear understanding that although fundamental rights must be equal for everyone, with rights come responsibilities. Even within a framework of mutual tolerance, I believe that there are non-negotiable rules, understood by all groups, both new and established. We must be clear and unafraid to say that we expect these will be shared and followed by all who live here.

Ruth's telling us we should not be afraid to tell others to follow our "non-negotiable rules", while at the same time not telling us what those rules are. What's she afraid of?

Ruth then reverts back to the "it's our fault" meme.

But evidence at a national level, via the regular Government Citizenship Survey, which consistently shows that people who live in the most ethnically diverse areas are the ones that have the most positive perceptions of ethnic minorities. It seems that those who are the most frightened about change are those that have been least exposed to it.

Er, Ruth, wouldn't the most ethnically diverse areas by deffinition have the most positive perceptions about diversity? Duh.

Ruth must think the rest of us live in caves without televisions, radios, the Internet and newspapers. How else to explain the "least exposed to it" comment?

Diversity isn't the issue here. States within a state is the real issue. Remember, 40% of British Muslims want the UK to adopt Islamic law. And they want us to change our culture to suit them.

She ends by implying Muslims need to tackle the radicals in their midsts. No, she didn't say that outright. The dropping of censorship, PC and tiptoeing around the issues is gone already - if it was ever there.

Those who seek to cause conflict and tension in our communities must be marginalised by the responsible majority. That means everyone is involved.

Now, I wonder who on earth Ruth is talking about here?

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