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.