David Cameron, the Tory party leader, wrote an article in the Times a few days ago. He talked about his manifesto and vision for the Conservative Party.
Of course no politican worth their salt would omit to mention the key topics guaranteed to get British people going. So Mr Cameron used buzz words such as Terrorism, Islam and Multiculturalism. Anyway, he couldn’t have mentioned one without the others because these days the three have become inexorably linked.
Post 9/11, we have been fed this notion by politicians (especially Mr Blair and his dear friend George Dubya) and the media that allowing immigrants to live in their own communities, wear their own clothes and speak their own languages has led to separate pockets in society (the focus being on Muslims) who are now so angry that they all just want to blow everyone up.
Somehow, if – and this is what Mr Cameron hopes – multi-culturalism can be eradicated and everyone made to live in a British way (whatever that means), everything will be hunky dory. The sub-text here being that that immigrants have their own (read: inferior) cultural values which somehow are at odds with British (read: superior) values.
Well what a load of hogwash! It is easy to use multiculturalism to justify any societal problems that are in any way linked to racial or ethnic groups. It is easier than looking at, for example, the quality of the education, work opportunities and housing that is offered to some ethnic groups. I am not against a critique of multiculturalism, so long as it is kept in perspective and not intrinsically linked to emotional topics such as terrorism.
Of course, by lumping everything under the multi culturalism banner, Mr Cameron (and his supporters, who include promiment Black british figures) provides a one stop shop of an answer for those, including the far right British National Party, who want to point the finger at an easy target. Oh, and with that he can also sell any anti-immigration or terrorism policies that he wishes to.
I see no reason why we can’t all respect (not just tolerate) each other’s ways of being, ways of dressing, ways of speaking and whether or not we choose to live within our own communities. If people who come to England want to live amongst each other and speak their own language, what is the problem as long as they respect British laws, pay their taxes and respect their neighbours? In fact, to me, it seems like a natural thing to do – if you live outside of your homeland you are likely to seek out others like yourself.
I believe all cultures, and all cultural values are equal. British values are not necessarily better than any others, nor do they necessarily promote peace, love and harmony. You can’t tell me that Pakistanis, Poles, Ghanians, Kurds and other groups do not essentially share the same intrinsic human values that British people do?
Britain is a country whose very foundation is made of many cultures… It would not be what is today without a multi-cultural input. I would challenge anyone to even come up with a definition of what it really means to be British without the diversity inherent within it.
David Cameron’s ideologies show me that the Conservative Party is still thoroughly out of touch. In today’s day and age, in our increasingly international and globalized world, is it realistic to continue to promote this idea of a homogenised, monocultural ‘British’ society that we should all somehow aspire to? Why does integration have to mean assimilation? Why does multi culturalism have to be positioned as being at odds with social cohesion?
People do not commit acts of terrorism because they live in their own distinct racial groups. As 9/11 and other terrorist acts have shown, fanatics can be perfectly well integrated into society. So let’s address the root causes and leave multiculturalism alone!