Thursday, October 21, 2010

Multiculturalism, Separatism: Serious Issues for Countries!

Ignatieff says kirpan should be allowed in all legislatures
Jan 20 2011
MONTREAL — The Liberal party has defended the right of devout Sikhs to wear religious ceremonial daggers in legislatures, chiding a Bloc proposal to ban their presence in Parliament.
The announcement by Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff on Thursday, which echoes the position of the NDP, makes it clear that any attempt to ban the kirpan would face resistance in Parliament.
That puts Ignatieff at odds with the Quebec legislature, which earlier this week barred entry to a group of Sikhs who were wearing their kirpans.
It now appears clear that the Bloc Québécois would never receive the all-party consensus it needs to have the Commons’ board of internal economy declare the kirpan a security threat.
“The kirpan is not a weapon,” Ignatieff told reporters in Montreal. “It’s a religious symbol and we have to respect it.”
Those comments leave the Conservative government as the only remaining national party that has yet to take a position on the issue.
Requests for comment from Jason Kenney, minister responsible for multiculturalism, were met with a response that he was travelling on Wednesday. On Thursday, there was no immediate response to a request for comment. Meanwhile, the Prime Minister’s Office declined an invitation to comment Wednesday.
The issue surfaces on the same week that the Tories have made a visible display of wooing the Sikh vote in suburban Toronto.
A party candidate in Brampton-Springdale issued a news release this celebrating defections from the riding association of his rival,
Liberal MP Ruby Dhalla, and declaring that the Conservative party cared about delivering results for new Canadians.
At the same time the Conservative party is hoping to gain ground in Quebec — where the kirpan ban has ignited no major opposition and, based on initial reaction, may be quite popular.
If the kirpan issue causes political dilemmas for some, the Liberals and NDP have taken an unequivocal line. New Democrats have already called the Bloc move shameful.
When asked about the issue Thursday, Ignatieff replied that it should be treated as a question of religious freedom rather than simply a security matter.
“All Canadians have the right to have access to democratic spaces and legislatures,” he said in French.
“I was sorry to hear about the Bloc’s proposals on the issue.”
Ignatieff was in Montreal as part of a cross-country tour of ridings the Liberals will target in the next election.
Among those ridings is Jeanne-Le Ber, which Liberals narrowly lost to the Bloc in 2008.
"Diversity" is an Admission of Cultural Defeat
By Henry Makow Ph.D.
October 26, 2010
Apparently Jews can have a country where they are the majority and set the cultural standard. So can Indians, Arabs, Africans, Japanese and Chinese. But Europeans cannot.
You'd be forgiven if you thought Gurvinder Singh Chal, 35, (left) belonged to the Punjabi Police Force.
In fact, he's the latest recruit to the Winnipeg Police Service.
He wears the turban "for cultural and religious reasons" and, with the blessing of Chief Keith McCaskill, it'll be part of his standard uniform. It's a "symbol of Diversity."
The former 7-Eleven clerk has been in the country for just three years but his cultural needs trump those of the 136-year-old Winnipeg Police Service. Apparently the WPS has no identity, no cultural tradition worth preserving; its uniform has no significance whatever.
The move isn't uncommon in Canada, with Sikh officers in cities such as Ottawa and Vancouver wearing turbans. We have no cultural identity in Canada. Perhaps this is the reason.
I hope the Filipinos, Somalis and aboriginals who make up Winnipeg's rich cultural mosaic also will be able to modify their uniform.
Isn't Diversity Great?
I expect that if I were 35 again and joined the Punjab police, they'd let me blow off the turban and wear a Jewish skullcap or Mountie hat.
I'm sure I could take Saturdays or Sundays off to celebrate my religion. To help me remember my homeland, they'd allow a Beaver Insignia and Tim Horton's logo on my uniform. That's multiculturalism!
And I expect that if 20 million people of European Christian extraction moved to the Punjab, they'd move heaven and earth to ensure we got our proportionate share of good jobs.
I know Punjabis value "Diversity" as much as we do.
[This is where I insert my Disclaimer: I like racial minorities. I like their restaurants and cooking. They have strong family values and this is more important now than ever. I was married to a Filipina for two years. I am not a racist in the negative sense of believing in a master race.
I'm all for people being treated fairly. That means hiring on the basis of qualifications and ability, not quotas for color and gender.]
European Christian Dunces
This article is just to marvel at the stupidity of the fast-shrinking European majority and the perfidy of the traitors who pass as their "leaders."
I am all for having racial minorities but it should be obvious that "Diversity" is a ruse. Europeans are being
sweet talked out of their national birthright. They're fast becoming the next minority in Europe and North America and, with all the guilt trips, I'm not sure they'll be treated with the same "tolerance."
Apparently Jews can have a country where they are the majority and set the cultural standard. So can Indians, Arabs, Africans, Japanese and Chinese. But Europeans cannot.
Europeans have a sense of political and economic entitlement, and represent the last potential resistance to Illuminati control. They have vestiges of Christianity, the thing the Illuminati hate more than anything. According to Christianity, man has a Divine soul; they obey God and thereby become more Godly. The Illuminati see people as animals trained to obey them.
Many "minorities" and "women" are beholden to the Illuminati who put them in power. They are their trained seals.
Were "Multiculturalism" or "Diversity" ever major election issues? No. They were never debated. They entered the world in the form of "political correctness.' To question them exposed you to charges of bad taste and racism.
Multiculturalism and Diversity are social engineering programs introduced by the Illuminati (Masonic Jewish) central bankers. They are designed to change the European and Christian character of Europe and North America. They prevent us from maintaining and celebrating our cultural identity and traditions. Take school prayer for example.
Similarly, feminism was an excuse to undermine marriage, heterosexuality and males in general. The school prom, virginity and even courtship went the way of the dodo. Marriage and birthrates plummeted.
Europeans have been sweet talked out of their national birthright. Our politicians work for the corporations or unions which are all controlled by the central bankers. They're not our leaders. They're our managers at best. Chief McCaskill and all the other clarions of "Diversity" are of the same ilk.
So I'd like to suggest a traditional head covering for the future European minority. It's the Dunce's Cap. It's for people who don't appreciate their blessings and don't protect them. It's for people who don't have the smarts to perpetuate themselves, their values and traditions, and as a consequence become extinct.
And if you're feeling resentful, don't blame the minorities. Let's blame ourselves and our so-called leaders -- the politicians, pastors, academics and pundits who sold us out for a profit to the Illuminati bankers and their satanic New World Order.
Multiculturalism Displacing Europeans: Americans Following Like Sheep
By Frosty Wooldridge
October 21, 2010
This past week, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said, “Our attempt to have ethnic groups and religions live side by side and enjoy each other has failed, utterly failed."
Surveys show 30 percent of Germans believe the country is overrun by immigrants. An equal number believe the foreigners come to feed off German welfare—and they do! The same figures grow in the United Kingdom, Belgium, Holland, France, Norway, Sweden and Austria.
Merkel noted that the Muslim Turks, that arrived as “gastarbeiters” or guest workers, in the 50s and 60s, grew to 2.5 million in Germany. Arabs and East Europeans arrived later. Surveys place the Muslim population at five million.
"Multikulti is dead," says Horst Seehofer of Merkel's sister party, the Christian Social Union of Bavaria. He dreads further immigration of "alien cultures." Aliens fail to learn the German language and do not assimilate to become Germans.
9/11 A Big Party Bash for German Muslims
Washington pundit Patrick Buchanan said, “Awareness of deep differences with Turkish neighbors became acute for Germans when, grieving in solidarity with America after 9/11, they learned that Turkish sectors of Berlin were celebrating Islam's victory with barrages of bottle rockets. Like all of Europe, Germany grows nervous.
“This summer, Thilo Sarrazin, who sat on the Bundesbank board, published "Germany Abolishes Itself," which sold 300,000 copies in seven weeks. Sarrazin argued that Germany's Muslim population is intellectually inferior and unable or unwilling to learn the language or culture, and mass immigration is destroying the nation.”
Buchanan, author of Death of the West, said that mass immigration from third world countries to first world countries destroys western culture, intellectual excellence and values. He said, “Across Europe, there is a resurgence of ethno-nationalism that is feeding the ranks of populist and anti-immigrant parties that are gaining respectability and reaching for power. Austrian nationalists triumphed in 2008 when the Freedom Party of Joerg Haider and the Alliance for the “Future of Austria” together took 29 percent of the vote. The Swiss People's Party of Christoph Blocher, largest in Bern, was behind the successful referendum to change the constitution to outlaw minarets and prohibit the wearing of burqas.
“Hungary's Jobbik Party, which to the Financial Times "sits squarely in Europe's most repulsive arch-nationalist tradition and which blames Jews and Roma for the hardships of other Hungarians," pulled 17 percent of the vote this year and entered parliament with 47 seats, up from zero seats in 2006.”
Additionally, “The Sweden Democrats just captured 6 percent of the vote and entered parliament for the first time with 20 seats, joining right-wing folk parties in Norway and Denmark.”
Another anti-immigration voice in Holland, Geert Wilders, a rising figure in Dutch politics, stands trial today for expressing his freedom of speech rights, but suffered charges of hate speech for equating Islam and Nazism.
"More security, less crime, less immigration, less Islam -- that is what the Netherlands has chosen," said Wilders.
Buchanan said, “In France, President Nicolas Sarkozy -- one eye on Jean-Marie Le Pen's National Front, the other on the 2012 elections -- rejecting cries of "Nazism" and "Vichyism," is dismantling Gypsy camps and deporting Gypsies to Romania. Milan is now following the French lead. What is happening in Europe partakes of a global trend. Multiracial, multi-ethnic, multicultural nations are disintegrating.”
Former Colorado Governor Richard D. Lamm spoke about it in his speech on October 3, 2004 in Washington, DC, “How to Destroy America.”
Lamm said, “Here is how they destroyed their countries: First, turn America into a bilingual or multi-lingual
and bicultural country. History shows that no nation can survive the tension, conflict and antagonism of two or more competing languages and cultures. It is a blessing for an individual to be bilingual; however, it is a curse for a society to be bilingual. The historical scholar Seymour Lipset put it this way, “The histories of bilingual and bicultural societies that do not assimilate are histories of turmoil, tension and tragedy. Canada, Belgium, Malaysia, Lebanon—all face crises of national existence in which minorities press for autonomy, if not independence. Pakistan and Cyprus have divided. Nigeria suppressed an ethnic rebellion. France faces difficulties with Basques, Bretons and Corsicans.”
Buchanan said, “Russians battle ethnic Muslim separatists in the North Caucasus. Seventy percent of Americans support an Arizona law to identify and expel illegal aliens. Beijing swamps the homelands of Tibetans and Uighurs with Han Chinese. India fights secession in Kashmir, Nagaland and the Naxalite provinces.”
"Wars between nations have given way to wars within nations," said Barack Obama in his Nobel Prize address.
The United States stands in the exhaust pipe of Europe while adding 3.1 million immigrants annually, including their 900,000 births within the USA via legal and illegal birthrates, i.e., jackpot or anchor babies. Cost to U.S. taxpayers: $346 billion annually across 15 federal agencies. (Source: Edwin Rubenstein Report)
Germany's condition may prove unsolvable. At 1.4 birth rate, it’s running out of native people while Muslims reproduce at an average in Europe of 8.1 children per female.
As one Muslim said, “We won’t have to use bombs or violence; we will out populate them as Allah wishes.”
The Roots of Quebec Separatism
The Canada eZine - Quebecois
By Charles Moffat - November 2007.
Before I go into great detail regarding the issue of the causes of the Quebec Separatist movement let us first look at the history and demographics instead.
A Brief History of Separatism:
Beginning in the 1960s Quebec was the center of terrorist movement attempting to separate Quebec from the rest of Canada and establish a French-speaking nation. As a result in 1969 French and English were both declared the official languages of Canada, where previously the whole Canada had one official language: English.
In 1970 a series of terrorist attacks by separatists ended with the kidnapping and murder of Quebec's minister of labor and immigration, Pierre Laporte. The federal government sent in troops and temporarily suspended civil liberties. In 1974 French became the official language of the province of Quebec.
In the 1976 provincial election a party sympathetic to separatism won the election and passed several measures to strengthen the movement. Under a controversial law adopted in 1977, education in English-language schools was greatly restricted. The charter also changed English names of towns and imposed French names as the language of business, court judgments, laws, government regulations, and public institutions.
A referendum in 1980 to become an independent country was overwhelmingly rejected by the Quebec voters. The Quebec provincial government opposed the 1982 constitution, which included a provision for freedom of language in education, and unsuccessfully sought a veto over constitutional change. In 1984 the Supreme Court of Canada ruled against Quebec's schooling restrictions and declared that English and other minority languages must be taught in schools where those languages are more dominant (ie. Italian in Montreal or Native languages in Native communities).
In 1987 the Meech Lake constitutional accord recognized Quebec as a "distinct society" and transferred
extensive new powers to all of the provinces included Quebec. The provincial government of Quebec promised that it would accept the 1982 constitution if the accord was approved by all the rest of the provinces. The House of Commons ratified the Meech Lake accord on June 22, 1988, but the accord died on June 23, 1990, after Newfoundland and Manitoba withheld their support. A new set of constitutional proposals hammered out by a parliamentary committee was agreed upon in 1992. They called for decentralization of federal powers, an elected Senate, and special recognition of Quebec as a distinct society.
In a referendum held in October 1992, Canadians decisively turned down the constitutional changes.
In the 1995 referendum to separate from Canada again Quebec voters declined by a narrow margin of 50.58% "No" to 49.42% "Yes". The premier of Quebec Jacques Parizeau blamed the no vote on minorities and immigrants.
Since then the Separatism movement has been searching for strong leadership (including the dramatic rise and fall of Andre Boisclair) and Quebecers have started shifting their views towards voting for the Conservative Party and back to federalism, but the movement is hardly dead. It is just leaderless for the time being.
Language Statistics and Demographics:
Precise statistics of what languages people speak in Quebec vary depending on what government agency or political group you are talking to.
According to one source the language breakdown of mother tongues is as follows:
French speakers: 82.0% English speakers: 7.9% Others: 10.1%
According to another it is
French speakers: 72.3% English speakers: 20.9% Others: 6.8%
The most reliable numbers I could find is the 2001 Census by Statistics Canada which states of a total population of 7,125,580 there is:
5,761,765 French speakers. (80.86%) 557,040 English speakers. (7.82%) 709,420 Other. (9.96%)
An additional 97,350 identified themselves as bilingual, including 50,060 who said they spoke both English and French which places English/French bilingualism at 7.02%.
Other sources claim bilingualism is as high as 41%, but this is not true according to the 2001 Census.
The Roots of Separatism:
What is not mentioned in the above statistics is the amount of immigration Quebec has received over the years. The metropolitan city of Montreal for example has seen huge immigration and has become a mecca for English speakers and people who speak English or French. In the 1951 Census only 3.7% of Quebec's population spoke a different language, but the number has since risen to approx. 10%.
Thus it starts to become clear why former Quebec Premier Jacques Parizeau blamed immigrants and Natives for the success of the Non vote and we get an inkling of why Separatism started in the 1960s. Between 1951 and 1976 the number of minority languages in Quebec almost doubled to 7.2%.
Following World War II Quebec became a haven for NAZI war criminals who addition to speaking German also spoke French. They fled Europe and arrived in Canada speaking fluent French and hid inside Quebec, which at the time was predominantly caucasian. The exact number of NAZIs who came to Quebec is unknown, but it is quite likely they found sympathizers here in Canada.
There has been decades of hatred in Quebec towards the strong Jewish population in Montreal, the waves of immigrants in the 1960s, 1970s & 1990s, and the ever growing population of non-White / non-French speakers. Today we hear about incidents of intolerance almost daily coming from Quebec.
The roots of Separatism start to become abundantly clear: It is about culture and race.
For years Quebec Separatists have been making their arguments that they are attempting to preserve their culture, that they are a distinct society and that they only want French speakers immigrating to Quebec, but there is a problem with that: France (and other Francophone countries) have become quite multicultural over the years and as is the case with many immigrants they speak multiple languages.
Thankfully Canadian immigration laws cannot discriminate based on race, but we do keep very careful track of language (and we make exceptions for refugees), but with the rise of English as an international language means that it is becoming increasingly easier for immigrants from all over the world to come to Canada through several convenient rules in the system: A higher level of education, practicing a trade and business opportunity for entrepreneurs. The latter of these three is the biggest one because it means that any immigrant who wants to start their own business just has to pass a basic language test and they're in.
One of the key features of Quebec Separatists is their desire to control their own immigration, but even if
they did gain more control over their own immigration immigrants would still find a way to jump through the rules. Make it too difficult and there won't be enough skilled labourers to do all the work, because Quebec has a low birth rate.
Which brings us to another issue: Low birth rates of Francophones. French speakers are not having enough children, whereas immigrants tend to have large families. The overall result is more multiculturalism in schools and a growing block of voters who were raised in Canada, proud of being Canadian and aren't so concerned about about the issues of "French Culture" in Quebec.
We can't just eliminate centuries of tension between English-Quebec and French-Quebec by restricting immigration to only French speakers however, because there is another issue at stake: English-Canadians moving to Quebec.
As a province of Canada any Canadian can at any time move to Quebec, travel there, start a business there,
get married and have kids there. Since 1951 however its actually been the reverse. In 1951 approx. 14% of Quebecers were English-speaking and quite a few have since moved to other parts of Canada (perhaps sensing they were not welcome there).
The biggest change occurred in the 1980s and 1990s, periods of political turmoil with two referendums and the Meech Lake Accord.
But while English speakers have dropped in porportion, they have still grown in overall number thanks to population growth and urbanization. Most English speakers live in metropolitan areas, as do many immigrants, and so it really comes down a conflict between rural regions of French speakers and urban regions where multiculturalism is dominant.
If we compare on a map for example where people voted yes and where they voted no in the 1995 referendum we see a very clear distinction.
The Native regions (mostly in Northern Quebec and along the border of Ontario) voted No because their land treaties are with the Canadian government (which makes an interesting argument as to whether Quebec can even separate from the rest of Canada because it would violate a number of land treaties).
The areas surrounding Montreal (where many English speakers and immigrants live) voted No as well.
Indeed it is really only the isolated and more rural regions of eastern Quebec that voted overwhelmingly Yes.
We can conclude therefore that it is really matters of isolation, intolerance and ignorance that are driving the separatist movement.
Multiculturalism and the ‘war on terror’
Britishness, multiculturalism and globalisation
Bob Cannon
University of East London
Rising East Online: Issue No. 4, May 2006
The London Bombings on July 7th 2005 provided another opportunity for its opponents to attack multiculturalism. The British National Party issued thousands of anti-Muslim leaflets with a graphic illustration of the devastated No. 30 bus. According to the BNP, multiculturalism was to blame. In the opinion of Melanie Phillips (Daily Mail, July 14th 2005), the bombings arose from the ‘disastrous doctrine of multiculturalism’ because it ‘… refused to teach Muslims… the core of British culture and values. Instead, it has promoted a lethally divisive culture of separateness…’ William Pfaff writing in the Observer (August 21st 2005), argued that ‘… these British bombers are a consequence of a misguided and catastrophic pursuit of multiculturalism’.
Perhaps more surprisingly, this explanation was endorsed by the chair of the Commission for Racial Equality (CRE), Trevor Phillips. He warned that Britain is ‘sleepwalking into separatism’. Again the culprit was multiculturalism. Unlike his namesake in the Daily Mail, Trevor Phillips provided a well-informed, nuanced and evidence-based analysis of multiculturalism. Nevertheless, he not only agreed that the London bombings were the result of multicultural separateness, he also seemed to agree that the remedy is monocultural Britishness. In what follows I want to critically assess these interrelated claims, beginning with the claim that multiculturalism promotes rather than impedes separatism.
The first problem one encounters when discussing multiculturalism is the lack of agreement on its meaning. On the one hand, the term refers to the situation in which nation-states contain a number of ethnic identities. To this end, multiculturalism highlights a range of ethnic, racial, religious, linguistic and national differences (over economic, sexual, gendered and political ones). On the other hand, multiculturalism refers to set of policies which regard ‘cultural’ diversity in a positive rather than negative light. As a set of policies multiculturalism emerged in Britain from post-war debates over ‘non-white’ immigration. The trajectory of these debates went from ‘keep Britain white’ through ‘assimilation’ and ‘integration’ to multiculturalism. According to Trevor Phillips this trajectory has overshot, taking us away from integration in the direction of separatism.
But is it fair to identify multiculturalism with separatism? If so, this would make Northern Ireland a multicultural society. Here we find just the kind of separate schools, separate housing, separate religions, separate loyalties, etc., to which multiculturalism is putatively taking us. Yet few regard Northern Ireland as a beacon of multiculturalism. For this reason, Phillips does not criticise multiculturalism as such, but reserves criticism for an ‘anything goes’ multiculturalism of his own defining. This allows him to attack multiculturalism without having to address what most people think it is. But even this straw man is hard pressed to explain the July 7th bombings.
According to Melanie Phillips, the bombers were British born, played cricket, helped disabled children and murdered their fellow citizens without anyone in the Muslim or wider community having the slightest suspicion of what they were planning. Similarly, Trevor Phillips notes that the people who planted the bombs ‘stood alone, without the comfort of any community that would support their actions’. But is this evidence that multicultural separatism caused the bombings? If multiculturalism promotes separatism and separatism accounts for the July 7th bombings, then the bombers should have received community support for their actions. The community in question would be so alien in its cultural separateness from the norms and values of British society that murdering and maiming innocent Londoners would appear legitimate. But this is not the case. No family member, no member of the local community, no Muslim representative regarded these actions as legitimate. Compare that to Northern Ireland where the IRA had hundreds of members, thousands of active supporters and tens of thousands of passive supporters for whom bombing campaigns were a legitimate war tactic.
Neither can the IRA’s preparedness to murder indiscriminately be explained in terms of cultural separatism.
Separatism may create feelings of alienation but the IRA grew out of years of social oppression coupled with systematic cultural, economic, political and legal discrimination. This still does not justify their murderous tactics, but it does put into perspective the view that multiculturalism can explain why people turn to such tactics. This suggests it takes a lot more than cultural separatism to explain the indiscriminate bombing of innocent civilians, some of whom were themselves Muslim. So where does this leave the prescribed remedy of monocultural Britishness? Few would suggest that the solution to Republican violence in Northern Ireland is a stronger dose of British Loyalism. On the contrary, this is likely to be counterproductive. What, then, of countering the putative dangers of multicultural separatism with monocultural Britishness?
It is worth remembering that multiculturalism emerged from the failures of monocultural Britishness, not least its tendency to institutionalise rather than challenge racism. According to the report On the Future of Multi-Ethnic Britain for the Runnymede Trust, Britishness has ‘racial’ connotations (Parekh 2000). In the popular press this was reported as Britishness is ‘racist’. The subsequent backlash then drowned out the report’s constructive engagement with Britishness – which was no doubt the intention. Multiculturalism was developed precisely to combat the narrow terms of integration offered by a Britishness that refused to confront racism, especially institutional racism. To this end, it sought to enhance mutual understanding between, across and within cultures. And in many ways it has been a successful policy. Within a short space of time it not only became normal for people to describe Britain as a ‘multicultural society’, it was also something they took pride in.
Far from ‘sleepwalking into segregation’ as Trevor Phillips claims, indicators of segregation fell between 1991 and 2001 for all ethnic minority groups identified by the National Census. And they fell fastest for people of black and 'other Asian' origin to which Phillips refers, according to Professor Danny Dorling writing in the Observer (September 25th 2005). Given the lack of empirical support for Phillips’ claims of separatism, Lee Jaspers sees something more at stake here (Guardian, October 12th 2005), namely an attempt to blame multiculturalism for the problems of racism.
Attempting to return to a policy of integration on the basis of monocultural Britishness not only fails to tackle racism, it also obscures the lack of agreement over what Britishness means. This raises the spectre of imposing a notion of Britishness that millions of British people do not themselves subscribe to or identify with. Thus, in the preface to the Runnymede Trust Report (2000) Bhikhu Parekh observed that ‘the term “integration”… implies a one-way process in which “minorities” are to be absorbed into the non-existent homogeneous cultural structure of the “‘majority”.’
The exercise may even prove counterproductive, given that by imposing a disputed account of Britishness,
you are likely to create the very separatism which you are attempting to overcome. Who can forget David Blunkett’s crass suggestion that Asian people should not speak their own languages at home because it promotes ‘schizophrenia’? This not only comprises the worst kind of cultural intolerance it also arises from an erroneous analysis of the problem (in this case the BNP-provoked ‘riots’ in Bradford).
Blunkett appeared to argue that the cause of the disturbance was the lack of integration by Asians into British life, rather than the violent attempts by British Nazis to exclude them. Despite paying lip service to questions of social exclusion, whenever something goes wrong the tendency is to blame the excluded for living separate lives. But the problem of monocultural Britishness goes deeper than this insofar as it comprises two (mutually inconsistent) elements: one particular and substantive, the other universal and procedural.
The particular and substantive sense of Britishness relates to a specific culture, set of institutions, and national history, at the heart of which lies the Empire. This is summed up by Patrick West in his Civitas pamphlet The Poverty of Multiculturalism. ‘By Britishness’, writes West, ‘I mean the understanding that this nation is underpinned by its imperial Protestant past…’ (2004: 69). From this perspective, Britishness is grounded in a benign even laudatory account of imperialism. Gordon Brown makes a similar linkage, declaring ‘the days of Britain having to apologise for its colonial history are over. We should talk… about British values… tolerance, liberty, civic duty, that grew in Britain and influenced the rest of the world.’ This confirms the Runnymede report’s identification of Britishness with a sense of racial superiority, to which many in Britain (and not just ethnic minorities) do not subscribe.
But maybe this is unfair. Perhaps we can talk about Britishness in the particular and substantive sense without whitewashing Britain’s imperial past. This is certainly the view of Trevor Phillips. To this end, his particular and substantive version of monocultural Britishness evokes the novels of Dickens and the plays of Shakespeare. But is the teaching of such British (English?) novelists and playwrights likely to enhance integration amongst Britain’s Black and Asian youth, or further alienate them from a culture in which they
cannot find themselves represented? In the wake of the July 7th bombings Phillips added to his definition of Britishness so as to include ‘our common language, our good manners, our care for children’. But what is Phillips saying here? That ethnic minorities do not have good manners and do not care for their children, unlike British people who are world-renowned for both? If one is defining Britishness in a particular and substantive sense, then why cherry pick the bits of which you approve? What about binge drinking, road rage and football hooliganism? If integration is the primary aim then should not ethnic minorities also be encouraged to adopt our less savoury ways, less they stand out from the rest of us?
As the above examples demonstrate, the list of more particular and substantive characteristics begins to migrate towards more universal and procedural ones. To this end, Phillips adds to his list of Britishness ‘… an attachment to democracy, freedom of speech, and equality’. Similarly, Gordon Brown refers to ‘a commitment to liberty for all, responsibility by all and fairness to all’. The problem with such definitions of Britishness is that there is nothing specifically British about them. These values are shared by all modern liberal democracies. In which case, it is rather partisan of Brown to view them as specifically British contributions to world history. One could argue that France, for example, has a far stronger claim in this regard. But the point is that these are not narrow, nationalistic ideals. On the contrary, they are universal values – which challenge nationalism at its parochial core.
This suggests that rather than pursuing social integration on the basis of monocultural Britishness, we should
pursue social inclusion on the basis of modern liberal notions of social justice. At its best multiculturalism aims to balance competing claims to cultural difference with modern values of freedom, consent and equality. In which case, multiculturalism does not mean ‘anything goes’ as Trevor Phillips argues. Instead it comprises a pragmatic approach to diversity which aims to reconcile the latter with a modern sense of human rights. This specifically rules out cultural practices such as female genital mutilation, child exorcisms and forced marriages. Not because they are incompatible with Britishness but because they are incompatible with a modern sense of human rights. By the same token, but more controversially, multiculturalism also calls into question long established British institutions such as the monarchy, the House of Lords and the established Church insofar as they also diverge from modern principles of democracy, freedom and equality.
However, multiculturalism cannot resolve all the conflicts that arise between ethnic groups, because they are not all ethnic conflicts. The July 7th bombings fall into this category, despite protestations to the contrary by multiculturalism’s detractors. The intolerant version of ‘Islamism’ to which the bombers subscribed is shaped not by antagonism towards Western or modern values so much as antagonism to the West’s policies, and in particular the policies of the USA and Britain towards Muslims in the Middle East. Although the USA and
Britain cloak their action in high-sounding moral rhetoric, most of the world (including many in the USA and Britain), believe their governments’ actions are motivated by narrow strategic interests. In light of the disastrous war in Iraq, Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo Bay, the flattening of Fallujah, support for Israel’s illegal occupation of the West Bank, etc, the West appears at best hypocritical and at worst a primary source of global injustice. The danger is that American and British foreign policy will bring the values of western modernity into disrepute, thereby undermining the possibility of resolving these issues in a just fashion.
This suggests we need to stop thinking of multiculturalism in narrow, nationalistic terms, as a specific response to a particular country’s internal diversity. And start thinking of it more in global terms, as setting the normative framework though which different cultures, with different histories and different values accommodate one another in a just fashion. In this respect, multiculturalism goes hand in hand with globalisation and the modern modalities of diversity that it is creating. As the row over the cartoons of Mohammed demonstrates, multiculturalism today has a global dimension.
It might be argued that this is beyond the capacity of multiculturalism to deliver, hence a shift in the discourse towards cosmopolitanism. Perhaps cosmopolitanism is better equipped than multiculturalism to combine the local and the global, in order to interrogate, articulate and incorporate questions of global justice. But if that is the case, then the failure of multiculturalism resides not in its promotion of separatism over integration, but in its inability to do justice to the full panoply of global diversity.