Friday, 11 February 2011

Multiculturalism has failed, David Cameron was right to say so

Mehdi Hasan, the political reporter at the New Statesman, seems to wilfully seek out controversy while provoking the anger of political opponents. Usually his smug, knowingly patronising tone can be ignored. However his ill-judged attack on David Cameron this week is of such shabbiness that a response is required.  

The Prime Minister's speech, at a global security conference in Munich attended by other world leaders, outlined the view that state sponsored multiculturalism has failed. He went on to say that the UK needed a stronger national identity to prevent people turning to extremism.  

Mehdi Hasan has duly attacked Mr Cameron for "cynical Muslim-bashing" and insinuated  that David Cameron was a Nazi for making a speech rejecting multiculturalism in Munich of all places. He failed to deny this deliberate slur when asked to clarify his words later via his Twitter feed, instead pointing toward his New Statesman article for justification. Earlier today he published a post Question Time clarifications article which sadly failed to withdraw his slur; instead diverting attention by justifying his anger toward the English Defence League and other far-right groups.     

This is simply not good enough and goes to the very heart of the issues surrounding multiculturalism as a policy. If multiculturalism is criticised then those being critical are immediately labelled as far-right racists. Furthermore it seems only the 'left' are allowed to discuss multiculturalism. They 'own' it as a concept and woe betide anyone who wants to question the success of this policy. 

David Cameron made the point that multiculturalism can unfortunately increase barriers between groups in society which allows extremism to grow. How can this be questioned when it follows that, if you don't feel part of a society then you wont feel any affinity toward it. Without affinity and connections suspicions grow and soon society is split and are isn't operating as a community for the good of all. Multiculturalism did many immigrants a great service in that in helped them and their communities to settle in this country and put down roots. What it didn't do is get these communities to rub shoulders with other communities enough. We may pass each other by on the street, or sit next to each other on the bus but these chance encounters are often all that link us.  

In South London where I live there are a wide range of different communities but how many of these feel that they have a connection with each other? How many of these diverse communities - who are British passport holders - if asked what nationality they are, would answer proudly that they are British? Celebrating cultural diversity is great, as the past has made us all who we are, but we shouldn't do this at the expense of all of our futures. It is right to recognise that, even though we may live - on the most part - happily side by side actually we need to find an identity that encompasses all of us. For that reason multiculturalism has failed and David Cameron was right to say so.      

1 comment:

  1. Of course it is always a little tricky to promote your culture over any other. Just when you turn your back it appears yours isn't such a one to boast about. Also: multiculturalism has not failed. Politics may have but multiculturalism is alive and kicking. Been to an Indian restaurant lately for a quick meal?


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