Multicultural Maze

February 10, 2011 at 10:18 pm (Anti-Racism, BBC, Education, Islam, islamism, Jim D, multiculturalism, religion, Tory scum)

I have placed a self-denying ordinanance upon myself as far as Cameron’s “multiculturalism” speech is concerned: it’s a sensitive issue in which terminology plays a crucial role and I have no desire to rush into print and be misunderstood. Plenty of bigots and hysterics on both sides of the argument have been spouting rubbish over the past week, and I have no wish to join them.

For now, I merely note that:

1/ Cameron, for all his avowed wish for unity and shared values, had nothing whatsoever to say about the single most divisive source of of racial and religious tension in British society today:  the “faith” schools that his government (like Labour before it) is so keen to promote. Perhaps before delivering his sanctimonious lecture, he should have read the  Cantle Report or Lord Ousley’s Review, or the Ritchie Report. Or this devastating report on “faith” schools from 2001. 

2/ Whatever you think of the speech, it really isn’t acceptable (whether you’re black, white, muslim or anything else) to be lectured about the need for national unity and shared values by an ex-public school hooray who leads a government dominated by other ultra-privileged upper-class hoorays, which is apparently incapable of doing anything whatsoever about bankers’ bonuses.

I will return to multiculturalism in due course. In the meanwhile, last night’s ‘The Moral Maze’ (see Sarah AB’s report at That Place ) was quite good on the subject, with Kenan Malik once again far more thoughtful and persuasive than his fellow-RCP’er Claire Fox.

Listen to it here.

10 Comments

  1. Clive said,

    It seems to me Cameron’s speech can’t be treated simply as words: it’s context. There’s been a left-wing critique of ‘multiculturalism’ for years (the A Sivanandan version, which isn’t a million miles from the more recent Kenan Malik kind) which is persuasive and forceful. But it counterposes to ‘multiculturalism’ a critique of power and the advocacy of anti-racism.

    Cameron, plainly, isn’t approaching things from that point of view. And most of his audience will assume that what he means by multiculturalism is just that people of different ‘cultures’ – religions, ethnicities, nationalities, etc – ought to try to get along. Cameron surely knows that *this* is what he is appearing to attack, not some more complex notion. And he does it on the day the EDL is marching. It would be ‘dog whistle’ politics, only you don’t need to be a dog.

    There is, I think, something wrong with ‘multiculturalism’, and there’s much in Kenan Malik’s book, ‘From Fatwa to Jihad’ which is interesting and persuasive. (I don’t agree with the whole argument, and in particular think he doesn’t give enough weight to international developments).

    Cameron’s argument, though, is something else. And the left needs to be able to distinguish these things. To put it mildly.

  2. SteveH said,

    Or, Oh shit Cameron agrees with us! That would have been a better title actually.

    “Cameron, for all his avowed wish for unity and shared values, had nothing whatsoever to say about the single most divisive source of of racial and religious tension in British society today: the “faith” schools ”

    Fuck me, just when you think this site couldn’t get any fucking worse you dive headlong into shit. JimD you will be shot come the revolution.

  3. jim denham said,

    So you support faith schools, eh?

  4. SteveH said,

    No, just the idea that they are the single most divisive source. A ridiculous statement.

    P.s. The last bit of that answers your question on the Egypt and lets all be afraid of Islam post.

  5. jim denham said,

    “A ridiculous statement”; oh yeah? Read the Cantle Report. Think about the education/indoctrination of kids and its effecdt on the future. Think about Northern Ireland. Then ask yourself whether it’s a “ridiculous statement.”

    What I find “ridiculous” is someone who (now) claims not to be a supporter of faith schools putting himself in the position of apparently defending them. Just like a supposed “atheist” defending religion.

    Ah: I forgot about relativism and its corrosive effect on sections of the white middle class SWP-influenced “left” who were once Marxists.

  6. SteveH said,

    Jimbo, where did I support faith schools?

    You are from the Glenn Beck school of argumentation I see. Actually I have never seen the 2 of you in the same room together!

  7. jim denham said,

    “… where did I support faith schools?”

    (Quoting me): “Cameron, for all his avowed wish for unity and shared values, had nothing whatsoever to say about the single most divisive source of of racial and religious tension in British society today: the “faith” schools ”

    (Back to Steve): “Fuck me, just when you think this site couldn’t get any fucking worse you dive headlong into shit. JimD you will be shot come the revolution.”

    So what, exactly, *did* you mean by that, Steve?

  8. SteveH said,

    “So what, exactly, *did* you mean by that, Steve?”

    As I have already said Glenn Beck/Jim Denham, “No, just the idea that they are the single most divisive source. A ridiculous statement.”

    Someone pass me the chalk!

  9. jim denham said,

    Name something *more* divisive in its effect upon young people , Steve.

  10. SteveH said,

    Parents, economics, war, TV and media, housing policy, racism and imperialism, culture.

    Like the EDL have been influenced by faith schools!

    I am not in favour of faith schools but to assert they are the “single most divisive source of of racial and religious tension in British society today” is not only glaringly stupid but hints at a sinister denial of real conditions. What is your agenda, that is what I am thinking with statements like this.

    Now change the title to, “Oh shit Cameron agrees with us!”

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