August 11th 2005
updated down the page, latest 17th October 2010

Summary: We have a multicultural world. This allows the nations to develop coherent individual national cultures, which are sometimes constructed from a blend of others. Good international relations are an important aim, but an incoherent multiculturalism within a single country is useless and a recipe for chaos. Tolerance for and integration of cultural minorities who support the nation state, which in turn supports and shelters them is, however, essential. That is the social contract and the basis of civilization.

The first thing to understand is why there are different cultures. The origins of the different cultures are a function of geography. The human race, as it grew from its basic family origins in expanding numbers, spread across the globe, either driven by environmental forces or seeking for environmental opportunities. Some moved to places they desired, some were driven out by those in possession. Some invaded and took over land occupied by other species of proto or near humans, some battled with existing humans. By every possible combination of the above, humans came to live, at various times, in all parts of the globe where they were able to survive. As climates changed, some stayed and died, some stayed and adapted, some moved on to take advantage of new opportunities. In each case the culture of a particular ethnic branch of the human race developed cultures that enabled them to survive in the geographical environment they inhabited. Sometimes people of one culture dominated those of another and enslaved them. This symbiosis was sometimes brutal, sometimes quite beneficial. Until systems of currency and wages were devised and applied, employment could only be by payment by provision of food, shelter and protection from external assault. For this reason slavery was the basis of most early societies and empires that left a mark on history

Human societies gradually enshrined their culture in formalised ideas of their origins, and as language developed the oral traditions became written down and each new generation was taught from the orthodoxies established by successful tribes and nations. These became Religions when the authority claimed by the leaders was claimed in the name of precedent going back first to ancestors, then to the sun as the life force, and then beyond physical nature to a presumed spiritual source. All these ideas were reasonable and remain compatible, However, religions and their specific cultural practices were related to life in the particular geographical situation they found themselves, since survival depended, always, on successful adaptation to and development of, the environment. Travel and trade modified the social environment, but the basic geography, geology and climate of a country and the people who came to inhabit and defend it, determined the character of the culture that emerged. The arctic and the deserts are extremes, in between are all sorts of variants of territorial and maritime cultures.

So the globe is multicultural precisely because it is geographically different, and ethnic differences are themselves related to environmental factors. Each culture specialises in its particular field, and the cross-fertilisation is excellent and productive. But just as he European Union can only thrive and evolve by the participation of individual nation states which can develop within themselves the knowledge and responsibilities of managing their affairs, so the Globe can only profit from multiculturalism provided these cultures advance and develop. It would be ridiculous to encourage French cafe society based on the free sale of alcohol throughout the Middle East, for example. While missionary Christians may have had great success in bringing a new religion and culture to some parts of the globe, there are other places where it has been inappropriate. The idea of Muslims turning Britain into an Islamic state absurd, as nearly all Muslims agree. That is not to say we do not have quite a lot to learn from them.

Bearing in mind all the above, it is in addition logical beyond reasonable dispute that any one country, subject to a a single legal system, must have a dominant culture on which laws are based, otherwise laws would become incoherent and contradictory. A recent attempt to introduce 'Islamic banking' for example, to pretend that different financial rules on lending, borrowing and interest can apply to Muslims, is just a fudge. The financial system the West has developed on is one which includes banking as we know it. That is not to say it cannot evolve but it must be coherent. Human rights as they affect women is another example. There are many others. Individuals who have built the UK, and those who come to live here and work here, do so by choice and take advantage of the culture we have built. I personally worked with refugees for some years and was disturbed by the fact that some who had come here to seek with admiration the culture we have (as opposed that of their country of origin where they were in serious danger because of the risk to the regime of their intelligent questioning of policy and customs) were treated with bad faith by the Home Office, while many who were culturally opposed to our entire way of life were able to establish themselves here without difficulty. Possibly this practice has been cleaned up a bit, but I am not up to date on it. It is also clear that there are limits to how many asylum seekers we can absorb on a temporary basis. The fact that there is a war going on somewhere cannot oblige us to receive those in danger. I should oblige the International Community to intervene and, collectively, to provide temporary refuge where it can be done on an equitable basis.

In summary, Multiculturalism is a vital property of the planet. Travel and cross fertilisation is vital, but within any given country alien cultures can only be tolerated if they do not cause or preach a status of independence form the laws of the land which have been developed to suit that country, its environment, history, institutional coherence and the wishes of those who have traditionally made it their home by birth or immigration.

Those who do not accept this will have to find somewhere else to live that is to their liking and will accept them. If such a country indulges in rather tougher treatment of detainees, and it is the only country that will accept them, then they have a problem, but their problem cannot logically become ours, no matter what international obligations we have, if they reject the sovereignty of our state over their personal religion. As has been said countless times since Thomas Hobbes coined it, the Social Contract is only valid if enforced by the sovereign power. This is ultimate foundation of social philosophy, the SINE QUA NON. There is no possible argument to that unless you want to erase all human history and start again, and even then you would eventually arrive at the same point.

There are special cases where a clash of cultures is temporarily unresolvable. That is where the same geographical environment is disputed by societies who have a different approach to the same environmental circumstances and, instead of one overcoming the other, the situation is constrained by a context that has arisen outside the field of conflict. The Israelis were planted in their present geograhical state by an International Community that restrains them from total war against Palestinians. Their own history also constrains them against genocide. Individual Palestinians, however, cannot always be restrained from suicide bombing.  In Nothern Ireland the British Army, sent originally to protect Catholics from Protestants, prevents the triumph of any one side while being unable to stop individual acts of terror. But it is to be noted that both sides aspire to the same human rights and cultural ambitions which are are not incompatible. In these two examples, we are looking at a dispute over territory, not dispute over ideology for the majority of the citizens involved.  The only solution is an equitable sharing of territory.  In Nothern Ireland, catholics do not now see protestant civilians ans invaders, so there is a chance, however elusive, for peace. In Palestine, Palestinians still see Israelis as invaders. Therein lies lies the problem.

Is the attempt at multiculturalism in BritIain a reason for the breakdown of culture as a whole and the rise of crime and violence? The evidence is contradictory and paradoxical. Scotland is not particularly multicultural but has become the most violent country in the developed world, followed closely by England and Wales we are told according to a BT Yahoo Sky News report today:

Scotland has been named the most violent country in the developed world.A United Nations report claims more than 2,000 Scots are assaulted every week - almost 10 times official police figures.The study - which does not include figures for murder, muggings or sexual assaults - claims that together, England and Wales are the second most dangerous countries.

Experts say Britain's heavy-drinking habits are to blame.

The UN claims the attacks have been fuelled by a "booze and blades" culture

in the west of Scotland with the worst offenders being males aged between 15 and 25.

Violent crime has doubled in the country over the past 20 years to a level comparable with crime-ridden cities like Rio de Janeiro.

By contrast, Japan was named in the UN report as the least violent nation, followed by Italy and Portugal.

Only 0.1% of Japanese have been victims of assault compared with 3% of Scots, 2.8% in England and Wales, and 2% in America.

The study is based on phone interviews with victims of crime in 21 countries.

UN spokesman Jan Van Dijk said: "Our survey is more accurate than the official figures because there is a huge proportion of crimes that go unreported.

"We have seen a trend in Scotland and the proportion has almost doubled since 1989 and risen 1.9% in 1996. This is very significant and is a clear upward trend."

Is it any wonder, then that if our indigenous culture fails, and our Protestant Christian religion is abandoned, then immigrant cultures with traditional customs will be forced to keep to their own way of life in order to set acceptable standards and even for their own protection.

In other parts of the country, immigrant elements who have degenerated to gun law and gangsterism are a threat to themselves as well as their neighbours. The rule of law has always been dependent on two things: the support of the community and enforcement by the sovereign power. The social contract depends in these self-supporting strands. The threads by which our civilisation hangs have been woven over centuries but have to be respected and maintained, and it has to be a collective and coherent effort or we risk retiring behind protective walls. This article is from the Daily MIrror.

19 September 2005
Race chief warning after Katrina
By Rosa Prince Political Correspondent

RACE relations chief Trevor Phillips will warn that Britain is "sleepwalking" into New Orleans-style segregation.

In a speech this week, the head of the Commission for Racial Equality, will argue racial divides are growing, with black and Muslim ghettos emerging in urban areas.

He will claim this "nightmare" is being fuelled by the aftermath of the July 7 terror attacks in London.

And, in a stark warning to Tony Blair, Mr Phillips will tell the Prime Minister his race relations policies are failing to tackle alienation and a drift towards extremism among minorities.

On Thursday, he will tell the Manchester Council for Community Relations that the experience of Hurricane Katrina is a lesson for Britain about the dangers of failing to integrate.

He will add: "We are becoming more unequal by ethnicity. If you look closely at the campuses of our most distinguished universities you can pick out the invisible 'No blacks may enter' messages."

Mr Philips will say that because of the so-called "white flight" from the cities, parts of Britain were "literal black holes into which nobody goes without fear".

Without action, we could end up in a "New Orleans-style Britain" of "ethnic and religious communities, eyeing each other uneasily over the fences of our differences. America is not our dream but our nightmare.

"When the hurricane hits - and it could be a recession rather than a natural disaster - those communities are set up for destruction."

Northern Ireland Secretary and former anti-apartheid activist Peter Hain said the situation is "worrying".

The MP, who was born in Kenya and grew up in South Africa said: "Compared to 20 years ago, when I came to Britain, there is much more racial tolerance and much more integration.

"But there is a tendency to congregate on a residential basis by ethnic group."

Lib Dem president Simon Hughes said: "We shouldn't generalise - it isn't a crisis."

NOVEMBER 5th 2005
For a week there have been riots in the northern suburbs of Paris. These events have important lessons, not just for France, or for the UK, but for the whole world.

When people move voluntarily as immigrants, to a country where the cultural history is different, they do so by choice. This is true even if they are refugees. They may well feel disposessed, even exploited in their new domicile. The may find themselves in a situation of underprivileged status with regard to the populaton as a whole. Others may find themsleves much in demand, with a perceived status higher than that they left behind them. Whichever is the case, they have chosen to leave their homeland and take advantage of admission to another country.

This is not the case for their children. They did not make that choice. Some will find themselves born into a world which their parents have chosen but which may have a culture other than that practised within the family home. While some wil get the best and make the best of both worlds and thrive, many will get their culture from neither, at least not at a level that prepares them for life in the community. There are those who do not fit in with the culture of their adopted country but will not find the culture of their homeland provided in their new environment. The beginning of this web page on Multiculturalism explains that cultures have to be internally consistent. That is why, in a multicultural world, nations, geographical and political boundaries came into being. That is also how and why on continents, contiguous nations came through wars and peace treaties, occupations and rebellions, to share cultural assets and experiences, to eventually coalesce into areas of linguistic homogeneity. The language carried the culture and still does. Music is also a medium of importance in this process. So, while there is a French culture, there is also a European culture which is substantially different from non-European culture.

At a certain level of education people of different cultures find compatibility because their experience has touched external nature and related to the life of the planet, with its trials and woes, joys and loves, achievements and disasters. These are understood within an educated framework. But if this level of education is not reached, there can be incompatibility and antagonism between cultures. When this happens, the religions associated with those cultures are sometimes called in aid by those who wish to rally their forces.  This is when fundamentalism enters the equation and economic deprivation is confused with religion as the cause of social breakdown. Many of the Paris rioters have no understanding of anything. They call themselves racists, meaning they are against the gang in the street next door. But there are always those who thrive on the ignorance of others and the suppliers of drugs form a chain where those nearer the top have an understanding which, though horribly limited, is attuned to their personal survival and profit.

There is no painless answer to this situation, or to any other where adult human beings decide to have children in circumstances which are not ideal, not to their liking or not even adequate. These days, many young people appear to have children without even deciding to - things just 'happen' to them. They are not in control of their lives. Thousands of years of civilization and experience are not introduced to them before they are let loose in the world, stimulated by the media and uncontrolled by their families.  The correction to this will come, as it always has done, through pain. This will be felt by those who cause it and also by those who by connection or propinquity will just suffer from it.

It is abundantly clear that humanity has had need of its different cultures. Bettany Hughes excellent reminder on Channel 4 of how the Islamic Moors kept alive and developed the culture of ancient Greece, returning it, enhanced, to Christendom after the dark ages, is but one example. Yet it was historically inevitavble that for Spain to develop as a nation it would have to adopt one alphabet and way of writing for general use. We can definitely say that the development of western civilisation passed via the Islamic Moors while Christendom lost the plot temporarily. The Moors were given a very raw deal by all sides. They were attacked by fundamentalist Christians and fundamentalist Islamists and much of their good work and infrastructure destroyed. Once again we see that fundamentalism is the real enemy of civilization. But this does not in any way contradict the principle that from tme to time a coherent culture must be imposed on any country that is to take responsibility for its own affairs, even if it is part of a supernational organisation such as the EU.  No doubt the Chinese will one day contemplate how Europe kept civilization alive and advancing while China went through its dark age of religious rigidity and obscurantism, or Communism as we call it.

 If we are to avoid periods and places of 'ethnic cleansing' on this planet we have to ensure better education and birth control. Control may be by natural or artificial means according to taste, but control in all things is the basis of the avoidance, so far as we can, of undesirable situations.  What we are witnessing today is a lack of control by individuals of themselves, by parents of children, by teachers of pupils, by governments of economies, by the world of its energy and its climate. The control must start with individuals, if we are to maintain a truly free society. The tendency to overcontrol by governments is directly proportional to the lack of self-control of itheir citizens.

NOVEMBER 7th 2005
The troubles in France can summarised is a few words. The French system is perfect for handling immigrants who come to France by choice and are accepted. They have to accept French culture, and they have chosen to accept it.  It cannot deal with their offspring. No records are kept of the number of muslims as the French state ignores race. No provisions are made to deal with them. This is a real crisis, but it has to be acknowledged that France is facing a problem that the UK has avoided by a different approach which in time will lead to a different multicultural impasse. In the French case, unemployment as a result is causing the eruption at this time, so the French state will have to take steps not only to ensure fuller participation in the educational system but provide meanngful employment. It is notable that in the region centred n Marseille there have not been riots as this is the centre of illegal employment where the intervention of police is to be avoided at all costs.

SEPTEMBER 27th 2006
The debate on multiculuralism is moving on. But let us look back for a moment to 2003 and a discussion on democracy and its application in different historical and geographical contexts. Take a look at the input on a BBC web site:

Then consider this from August 30th 2005:

Muslims who want to live under Islamic Sharia law were told on Wednesday to get out of Australia, as the government targeted radicals in a bid to head off potential terror attacks.

A day after a group of mainstream Muslim leaders pledged loyalty to
 Australia and her Queen at a special meeting with Prime Minister John Howard, he and his Ministers made it clear that extremists would face a crackdown. Treasurer Peter Costello, seen as heir apparent to Howard, hinted that some radical clerics could be asked to leave the country if they did not accept that Australia was a secular state, and its laws were made by parliament. "If those are not your values, if you want a country which has Sharia law or a theocratic state, then Australia is not for you", he said on national television.

"I'd be saying to clerics who are teaching that there are two laws
 governing people in Australia: one the Australian law and another the Islamic law, that is false. If you can't agree with parliamentary law, independent courts, democracy, and would prefer Sharia law and have the opportunity to go to another country, which
practices it, perhaps, then, that's a better option", Costello said.

Asked whether he meant radical clerics would be forced to leave, he
 said those with dual citizenship could possibly be asked to move to the other country. Education Minister Brendan Nelson later told reporters that Muslims who did not want to accept local values should clear off.  ''Basically people who don't want to be Australians, and who don't want to live by Australian values and understand them, well then, they can basically clear off", he said.

Separately, Howard angered some Australian Muslims on Wednesday by
 saying he supported spy agencies monitoring the nation's mosques: "IMMIGRANTS, NOT AUSTRALIANS, MUST ADAPT. Take It Or Leave It. I am tired of this nation worrying about whether we are offending some individual or their culture. Since the terrorist attacks on Bali, we have experienced a surge in patriotism by the majority of Australians."

"However, the dust from the attacks had barely settled when the
 'politically correct' crowd began complaining about the possibility that our patriotism was offending others. I am not against immigration, nor do I hold a grudge against anyone who is seeking a better life by coming to Australia. However, there are a few things that those who have recently come to our country, and apparently some born here, need to understand. This idea of Australia being a multicultural community has served only to dilute our sovereignty and our national identity. As Australians, we have our own culture, our own society, our own language and our own lifestyle."

"This culture has been developed over two centuries of struggles,
 trials and victories by millions of men and women who have sought freedom. We speak mainly ENGLISH, not Spanish, Lebanese, Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Russian, or any other language. Therefore, if you wish tbecome part of our society, Learn the language!"

"Most Australians believe in God. This is not some Christian, right
 wing, political push, but a fact, because Christian men and womenon Christian principles, founded this nation, and this is clearly documented. It is certainly appropriate to display it on the walls of our schools. If God offends you, then I suggest you consider another part of the world as your new home, because God is part of our culture."

"We will accept your beliefs, and will not question why. All we ask
 is that you accept ours, and live in harmony and peaceful enjoyment with us."

"If the Southern Cross offends you, or you don't like 
'A Fair Go', then you should seriously consider a move to another part of this planet. We are happy with our culture and have no desire to change, and we really don't care how you did things where you came from. By all means, keep your culture, but do not force it on others.'' 

"This is OUR COUNTRY, OUR LAND, and OUR LIFESTYLE, and we will allow
 you every opportunity to enjoy all this. But once you are done complaining, whining, and griping about Our Flag, Our Pledge, Our Christian beliefs, or Our Way of Life, I highly encourage you take advantage of one other great Australian freedom, 'THE RIGHT TO LEAVE'. If you aren't happy here then LEAVE. We didn't force you to come here. You asked to be here. So accept the country YOU accepted."

Further details -

A religious belief must never become the law - discuss? Of course religion was the origin of law, but early monotheistic religion was really empirical and ecological, even when tribal or nationalistic. Science is the evolution and extension of this based on enhanced observation. It is perfectly possible to have a rational construct, with a secular state that respects its traditions - the very traditions that made possible the development to a secular society that respects religious beliefs that are not in contradiction with observation and logic.

Have another look at comments just after a Panorama programme in 2001 after the Twin Towers attack.
I recommend reading all of them, not just some, to get a picture of how varied are the perceptions

NOVEMBER 27th 2006                          Trevor Phillips is doing his best to bring sanity and logic to the discussion
'No limits' to UK's race debate
The UK's debate over ethnic segregation should have no limits, the chief of Britain's race watchdog has said.

Opening a major conference in London, Trevor Phillips said difficult questions on the future of British society were going unanswered.

The build-up to the event's opening was overshadowed by a boycott by London Mayor Ken Livingstone.

Some 900 delegates are attending the two-day event which will hear from 160 speakers from around the world.

Mr Phillips said that the Commission for Racial Equality's convention would look back on 30 years of race relations action - but also bring into sharp focus critical problems building up today.

If we want to change Britain then all of Britain must be part of the debate and part of the solution
Trevor Phillips

Mr Phillips, soon to head a new equalities super-watchdog, said the challenges included fears of growing ethnic segregation and isolation in some inner cities - and little contact between white people and those of other backgrounds.

"If we truly want to create a nation at ease with its diversity, are we facing up to the challenges of the future?" he said. "How do we cope with the rising frictions between people of difference races and faiths?"

'Real politics'

Mr Phillips repeated and defended his controversial warnings following the 2005 London suicide bombings that the UK was experiencing rising segregation.

"As a nation we are becoming more ethnically segregated by residence - and inequality is being amplified by our separate lives. It is true that some areas are more integrated, but only in the sense that one black person joining an all-white tennis club integrates it.

We may have been too ready in the past to focus on separate provision - and not ready enough to ask how to get people to come together
Ruth Kelly
Communities Secretary

"The real crisis lies in the areas which the middle-class minorities are leaving behind - areas which are becoming more and more ethnically concentrated and exclusive."

Mr Phillips said his warning was not made to grab headlines - but to alert people that those likely to lose out most were the very minorities stuck in these communities.

"If we want to change Britain then all of Britain must be part of the debate and part of the solution," he said.

"And that means that people of all races, all colours, all faiths and all stations in life have a role to play. This is what we mean by moving race from the margins to the mainstream - moving from protest to real politics."

The event is being boycotted by London Mayor Ken Livingstone.

Enoch Powell

Mr Livingstone, who has clashed frequently with Mr Phillips, had been expected to attend as mayor of one of the most ethnically diverse cities in the world.

But in a letter to the CRE chief, Mr Livingstone said Mr Phillips was using inflammatory language and alarming headlines which would damage community relations.

One conference session entitled 'Rivers Of Blood: did Enoch Powell get it right?' was dropped before the event opened.

The CRE said it was disappointed by the snub and said that the mayor's criticism was part of a sustained campaign against the commission.

Ruth Kelly, the Communities and Local Government Secretary, opened the conference saying ministers were now asking whether too much attention had been given to individual minorities rather than to projects to build unity in society.

"We may have been too ready in the past to focus on separate provision - and not ready enough to ask how to get people to come together," said Ms Kelly.

"It is not cultural diversity itself which is being questioned. The issue is one of balance between preserving a distinctive identity and closer integration.

"We must respect difference but this must not been at the expense of having a society and local communities without a common purpose."


Cameron praised for rejecting race card

By Nigel Morris

Published: 09 December 2006

Tony Blair has lavished praise on David Cameron for his refusal to exploit the issue of immigration since he became Tory leader.

The Prime Minister abandoned party political rivalries to call for a mature debate on multiculturalism.

He said: "It is great that in British politics today no mainstream party plays the race card. It is not conceivable, in my view, that this leader of the Conservative Party would ever misuse the debate on immigration.

"And that is both a tribute to him and to the common culture of tolerance we have established ... There will naturally be debates about the rules for migration - what they should be and how they are enforced.

"But I don't think in this country there's any appetite for turning such a debate into an attack - explicit or implied - on immigrants."

Mr Blair's comments are in stark contrast to his accusation at the last election that, under Michael Howard, the Tories played on fears over asylum and immigration. He said then: "The Tory party have gone from being a one-nation party to being a one-issue party."

A spokesman for Mr Cameron said last night: "It's important in politics that people are constructive and work together when they agree. But there will be plenty on times when we disagree with the Prime Minister."

Blair tells immigrants to integrate or stay away

By Nigel Morris, Home Affairs Correspondent

Published: 09 December 2006

Tony Blair has told immigrants they have a "duty to integrate" and said immigrants should stay away unless they are prepared to accept Britain's traditional tolerance of other faiths.

The Prime Minister said it was "plain common sense" to ban face veils in jobs that depend on communication, dismissed suggestions that sharia law should be adopted anywhere in Britain and called on mosques that excluded women to "look again at their practices".

He also announced a crackdown on public money for ethnic minority groups that did not promote integration and urged faith schools to build bridges with other religions.

In a strongly-worded lecture on integration, Mr Blair mounted a wide-ranging defence of multiculturalism, but insisted that its success depended on Britons of all backgrounds respecting the nation's "essential values".

He singled out a "new and virulent form of ideology associated with a minority of our Muslim community" for threatening racial harmony in the United Kingdom.

"Most Muslims are proud to be British and Muslim and are thoroughly decent, law-abiding citizens. But it is a problem with a minority of that community, particularly originating from certain countries."

He drew a parallel between white supporters of the British National Party and Muslims who shun integration. Mr Blair complained that public money had been too easily handed out to organisations "tightly bonded around religious, racial or ethnic identities".

He added: "In the future, we will assess bids from groups of any ethnicity or any religious denomination, also against a test, where appropriate, of promoting community cohesion and integration."

The Prime Minister said that "equality of respect and treatment for all citizens" was a key British value.

He spoke of the frustration of some Muslim women at being barred from certain mosques and insisted: "Those that exclude the voice of women need to look again at their practices."

Mr Blair said that no British citizen could legitimately expect to stand outside the law as set down by Parliament. "There is no question of the UK allowing the introduction of religious law in the UK."

He said it was important faith schools taught "tolerance and respect" for other religions and announced that the Department for Education and Skills would examine ways of ensuring that happened. He added: "We will also encourage all faith schools to construct a bridge to other cultures by twinning with schools from another faith."

The Prime Minister re-entered the controversy over women wearing face veils by pointing out that Jack Straw's disclosure that he asked for them to be removed in constituency surgeries had been backed by the Mufti of Egypt, its interpreter of Islamic law.

"It is really is a matter of plain common sense that when it is an essential part of someone's work to communicate directly with people, being able to see their face is important."

Mr Blair defined British values as "belief in democracy, the rule of law, tolerance, equal treatment for all, respect for this country and its shared heritage".

Dominic Grieve, the Tories' community cohesion spokesman, described the speech as a remarkable turnaround. "Many of the problems ... he addresses are at least in part the consequence of a philosophy of divisive multiculturalism and political correctness that has been actively promoted by the Labour Party over many years at both national and local government levels," he said.

FEBRUARY 20th 2007

Today we were treated to an examplen of the twisted logic of those who think that multiculturalism means 'anything goes'. A proposal has emerged from a government department studying the problems of integration, that immigrant workers and spouses should be required to learn English and to know some basic English before they came to live here. As someone who 30 years ago went to live in France for over 15 years I find this reasonable - I would not have dreamt of doing that without speaking fluent if initially grammatically substandard French. But today we heard spokespersons for immigrants claiming this was absurd on the grounds that we now have a multicltural and multilingual society!

If logic and reason are to have any meaning, that should mean that people should be prepared to be, at the very least, knowledgable of the language, culture law and history of the country in which they choose to live and which is good enough to accept them and allow them to benefit from its services, facilities, job opportunities and protection. I think the proposal is long overdue.

FEBRUARY 14th 2008

It is a year since I had anything new to add here, but two events give rise to quite a lot of feeling in the UK public.

The first in the Archbishop's lecture to some legal eagles that was overheard by the press, in which he was understood to have said that elements of Sharia Law would inevitably, eventually, be incorporated into UK law. Unsurprisingly this caused a rumpus - see SHARIA LAW IN THE UK

The second is the proposal by Muslims in Oxford that a mosque in that city should broadcast through loudspeakers the traditional Musllim call to prayer. I can't think of anything more certain to irritate the rest of the citizens, including all other religions and agnostics and atheists, than that.

FEBUARY 15th 2008
This morning's Woman's Hour (BBC Radio 4) on Multiculturalism is the subject of comments in the ETHNICITY file

FEBRUARY 8th 2010

Sikh judge criticises dagger bans
By Poonam Taneja

Sikhs should be allowed to wear their ceremonial daggers - known as Kirpans - to school and other public places, Britain's first Asian judge has said.

There have been a number of cases of Sikhs being refused entry to venues because they wear the Kirpan or other religious artefacts.

A comment to the above news item says:
"It is the right of every young girl and boy to be educated at the school of their choice. For him or her to be refused admission on that sort of ground, as far as I'm concerned, is quite wrong.

It would seem to me that if a school has rules on dress, or the carriage of knives, with which a student disagrees, then it would not be the 'school of their choice'. It is impossible to insist on choice of schools unless there are schools to choose from. To choose a school, or even a country, in order to change it to your own way of thinking and living, is not an idea that makes a lot of sense to me, let alone a right.

OCTOBER 17th 2010
Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor, announces Multiculturalism has failed.
Her critics say her remarks are "Unhelpful". They also happen to be true.