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Today’s UK: A mess of multiculturalism

Today’s UK: A mess of multiculturalism

DIESEL BALAAM reviews Bonfires On The Ice – The Multicultural Harrying of Britain by Jon Gower Davies – from the  September, 2007, Freethinker

 

JON Gower Davies is a former Labour councillor, academic and communicant Anglican. He has also written a timely, scholarly and devastating critique of multiculturalism in Britain. Published by the Social Affairs Unit, this is a book that will cheer and challenge genuine freethinkers.

So, before some shrill individual starts screeching about “racism” or “bigotry” can I just say at the outset: “Calm down, dear!” – Jon Gower Davies is neither racist, nor bigoted. His quarrel is not with the presence of ethnic minorities or minority religions in Britain, but the way that self-selected leaders and spokesmen from immigrant groups have profited at the expense of the public purse by denigrating indigenous history and institutions, while stoking up ill-founded resentments, unreasonable demands and a culture of endless complaint.

Davies identifies multiculturalism as the progeny of Lord Parekh’s report into the future of multi-ethnic Britain, originally published in 2000, the culmination of a two-year commission funded by the notorious Runnymede Trust (it was they who unilaterally extended the definition of the term “racist” to describe anyone who disagrees with, or resists, incessant Muslim demands).

But in spite of pouring scorn on the Parekh Report, this is no cut-and-paste rant from the Daily Express. On the contrary, Davies is remarkably restrained, possessed of a dry wit, and he references well-chosen literary sources from Daniel Defoe to the Gettysburg Address to advance his case. Like an enthusiastic professor, he takes us on a brisk but thorough field-trip around our military and imperial history (the good, as well as the bad), the Act of Settlement and the role of the Church of England, an admiring chapter on India’s history since independence, as well as, inevitably, a chapter on Islam.

The thrust of his argument is that multiculturalism is bogus, inconsistent and dangerous. Nowhere is this more cogently argued than in the section “Nation State: Do the British exist?” in which we see how the British people, at once, are dismissed as not really existing at all in any meaningful, cohesive way, as a nation, while at the same time being held responsible for every evil in the world, past and present!

Evidently, the multiculturalists want their chip-on-the-shoulder – and to eat it. And don’t go thinking that our parents and grandparents bravely standing up to Hitler counts in our favour, either. As one multiculturalist conference in Bristol, 2006, dismissively put it:

They were just the fascists who won.

Davies asserts:

Multiculturalists … find allies in the purely secular critics of the role of religion in Britain.

And he takes us all to task for our witting, or unwitting, complicity. This is not without justification. Like multiculturalists, but for different reasons, secularists seek the uncoupling of the English Church from the English State, usually with little understanding of why they were coupled, under the Crown, in the first place.

The guiding principle here must be “Do not break what you cannot mend” and Davies constructs a cogent, if not wholly convincing, argument, for at least understanding how, through centuries of struggle, Britain has slowly (painfully slowly) evolved into the modern miracle it is today – stable, democratic able to manage decision making, freedom of expression and dissent, while at the same time providing more prosaic necessities like pavements and tap water.

We meddle with its foundational institutions – or allow others to do so – at our peril, Davies warns.

Happily, though, he believes that the high watermark of multiculturalism is behind us. In the wake of the July 7, 2005, bombings in London, it evidently dawned on the more able and honest of the political class that the purposeful dissolution of our nation state, the handover of legal jurisdiction and our border controls to a supranational European bureaucracy, and the naive assumption that immigrants are all as amiable, tolerant and generous as their British hosts, was hopelessly optimistic.

Here was the disastrous consequence of our mismanaged post-war immigration policies writ large in bloodied flesh.

Holland, Germany and France had already ditched their failed multicultural policies by the time Trevor Phillips, chairman of the Commission for Racial Equality, famously executed his own U-turn, publicly calling in 2004  for “the end of multiculturalism” and referring to our society “becoming more divided by race and religion” creating “deeper division and inequality”. [Phillips later insisted that Muslims must learn to accept free speech.]

Trevor Phillips

Trevor Phillips

As Davies concludes, the multicultural Titanic, extravagant, way off-course and forging ahead far too quickly, has already collided with the iceberg of Islamic terror its policies did so much to facilitate. For the moment, British multiculturalists, only slightly chastened, are still partying on board the ship, whilst freethinkers (among whom we must now count, or co-opt, Jon Gower Davies), get buffeted in the lifeboats escaping the long night of this ill-fated social experiment.

No prizes for guessing who’ll still be afloat in the morning, though.

Editor’s note:  John Gower Davies has since published A New Inquisition: Religious Persecution in Britain Today.

Here’s the Amazon description:

Open societies in which we try to settle our differences without violence have been a great human achievement. However, because freedom of speech is the prevailing view in Britain, we are not as alert to the risk of its overthrow as we should be. In A New Inquisition, Jon Gower Davies, former Head of the Religious Studies Department at the University of Newcastle, examines the new legal concept of religious hatred and provides striking examples from recent legal cases to reveal the oppressive and bizarre nature of judicial attempts to regulate such things.

Hate legislation removes an increasing quantity of matters traditionally dealt with in civil society, to the domain of the state and the courts. Furthermore, the exercise of such legislation seems to create the very atmosphere it was designed to prevent – hatred.

Jon Davies warns against developments which will make traditional public debates about religion and its critics impossible. He hopes for a British culture which validates a public seeking for religious truth and is more or less at ease with jokes and ribaldries, and he is profoundly ill at ease with censorship of them or with threats made against their authors. The freedom to speak our minds without fear or favour is worth fighting for. In A New Inquisition Jon Davies shows why the liberal majority needs to reassert the convention that the law should be used not as a weapon to suppress unpopular opinions, but rather as the protector of free speech.

• Picture at the top of the page shows Muslims performing the Friday Prayer of Jumma in the housing estate on Brune Street, Spitalfields, in 2012.

16 responses to “Today’s UK: A mess of multiculturalism”

  1. L.Long says:

    Multiculturalism is a con used by the bigots to gain power.
    Yes I do enjoy the feel of various cultures BUT….
    take the picture as the example. I am an active drummer of middle east dance and music but that culture is NOT their religion nor does that religion give them leave to fill a street and cut off others in the UK culture from doing stuff.
    Now what do the other people have to do to block off a street to do an activity??? Get permits, announce that the street will be closed for this time and for this reason, and it would not be unreasonable to force you to put up signs stating this far enough away as to relieve traffic problems. The muslins SHOULD do the same and not scream about violations to their BS religion.
    When I lived in England my 1st thought was a very bigoted ‘WTF! these dumb asses should be doing things my way!!’ Yes it was a silly idea. But that’s the point that’s what the various peoples do! The main difference was two months later I looked around and realized I AM NOT in USA!! This is England and I MUST CHANGE to some extent and be somewhat English. At this point I had a ball living my next 9 yrs there. But I was also culturally an American, and I did not change that, I changed enough to fit in. Too many of your new comers are insisting that England change to accommodate them. And to a smaller extent they are trying to do the same here in USA as well.

  2. The Vicar says:

    Aw, how sad. England went out and killed huge numbers of people and installed military dictatorships all over the world, in order to ransack those parts of the world which they conquered for treasure, calling it an Empire. Most of those places are still disproportionately impoverished; some are outright hellhole dictatorships. (The entire modern mideast mess is in a very direct sense the fault of the British empire, who came in and split up land arbitrarily and installed rulers who would let them get at the oil. Half of those rich “royal families” were just brigands and thugs until they got British backing.) The ONLY benefit you idiots promised all your subjects was that their countries were now part of the British Empire, and that the British Empire welcomed everyone.

    Now the Empire has collapsed; turns out your upper classes took the money and ran (what a surprise!) and screwed the rest of you over. You were gullible morons, frankly, because you thought they would hesitate to do to you what they were doing to the rest of the world. Naturally, in the post-collapse world, when your own economy has been cannibalized by the same sociopaths who stripped India bare, who deliberately introduced opium to China in hopes that drug addicts wouldn’t resist being taken over, you look around and blame… the people you conquered, for having taken you at your word when you made promises. You’d be better off looking in a mirror.

    If you don’t like multiculturalism, you shouldn’t have had an empire. (Same goes for the French, who are having many of the same problems.)

  3. remigius says:

    The Vicar, yeah right. We should be punished for the wrongs of our forebears. OK, but where does it end. Should my grand-children be punished for the Raj in India? If so how?

    How about punishing the Italians for the wrongdoings of the Roman Empire. Or the Spanish and Portuguese for the massacre in Latin America!

    How about we blame them bloody Vikings, or the fucking Normans?

    Eh?

  4. The Vicar says:

    @remigius:

    It is utterly ludicrous for you to have a system of hereditary privilege — the nobility and monarchy — where people are rewarded for what their ancestors did, and then turn around and say you shouldn’t have to accept liability for what your ancestors did as well.

    Get rid of your nobles, kick the overrated queen, her nitwit son, and her spoiled grandchildren out of their unearned wealth, knock the references to the empire out of your coinage and coats of arms, and THEN you can start to complain. Until then, if you like reward people for the past so much, you can suffer for it as well.

  5. Solage 1386 says:

    Jesus H Fucking Christ! Is it any wonder that many people consider Leftists to be lunatics? Stop Mass-immigration from the Third-World now, before its too late!

  6. RussellW says:

    Unfortunately, institutionalised multiculturalism is a widespread phenomenon in the West.The idea that it’s the duty of governments,whether national, state or local to actively encourage and reinforce societal divisions is completely crazy. As the author points out one of the most corrosive aspects of the multiculturalist ideology is that by implication,only members of the majority (ie “European”) society are racist. It’s blasphemy to suggest that immigrants might bring some toxic cultural baggage with them, particularly their religions.

    @remegius ,

    The notion that ‘Europeans’, whether in Europe or their descendants in the settler countries, have inherited the guilt of their ancestors is racist.
    No one seems inclined to blame the Arabs, Japanese or the Mongols for the atrocities their ancestors committed.

  7. Oh dear, it seems that this comments thread has rather wandered off the point, with some foreign lefties indulging in simplistic “Blame-the-Brits-for-all-the-world’s-ills” arguments. As the author of the review, I can tell you that both Gower-Davies and I acknowledge the stupid mistakes, monstrous cruelties and naked self-interest of Empire. We also recognise all the good it did – providing stability, security, lawful governance, railways, hospitals, irrigation, the BBC World Service, inoculation programmes etc etc. Lefties rightly criticise Britain for past atrocities such as the slave trade, but they ignore the fact that once Britain abolished its own slave trade in 1807, it spent a great deal of time, money and effort persuading (and forcing) the Americans, French and other nations to reluctantly follow suit. The Arabs were slaving right up until the mid-20th century, native Americans were some of the worst slavers, while the Maori slavers occasionally ate some of their slaves! This is rarely if ever acknowledged, because it doesn’t fit in with bogus left-wing narratives. Like Gower-Davies, I love the fact that modern Britain is multi-racial and multi-cultural. It is just the ideology of multiculturalism that galls.

  8. With regard to the juvenile and ill-informed comments of “The Vicar”, the United Kingdom is actually very fortunate that it was able to evolve into a modern, successful and liberal constitutional democracy. It just so happens to have a monarch rather than a President. Sure, if we were to design our society from scratch, a hereditary monarch would seem like a daft idea, but we have to deal with world as we find it (or, in our case, as we inherited it). Queen Elizabeth II has made mistakes and is known to be socially conservative in some ways (she has yet to utter the word “gay” in any of her speeches, for example). She is also head of the Anglican Church, of course. However, on the plus side, she is a remarkable person who has quietly used her influence to counter the ugliness of racism, and has won universal admiration for her efforts to drive forward the peace process in Northern Ireland (most of us would rather thrust our hand into a barrel of venomous snakes than shake hands with SinnFein-IRA leaders whose organisation had murdered a much-loved member of our family). She has won universal respect for this. I wonder if “The Vicar” will ever achieve as much, or for that matter, the head of his own country?

  9. […] Today’s UK: A mess of multiculturalism […]

  10. Patricia Norman says:

    It is very clear that multiculturalism has moved into areas that were not intended like taking over our school system, insisting that we all eat religiously certified meats which is contrary to our belief that animals should not suffer and they are no matter what has been said. The picture is a clear indication that one section of the community is allowed with impunity to clog up streets to perform rites that could be performed elsewhere but that would not gain them a funding for a new mosque. We have lost any semblance of a rational government who are never likely to suffer any of these issues until they themselves are fighting for their existence. We need to be quite clear what we expect from migrants and we need to put realistic targets on migration so that we can afford to pay for the infrastructure.

  11. The Vicar says:

    @Diesel Balaam:

    “She has won universal respect for this.” Well, no, actually. Were I not anonymous (and unwilling to violate the anonymity of those around me, as well), I could give you a list of people without even having to stop to think who do not respect her. So “universal” is at least an exaggeration.

    You are, however, committing a grave error of logic which people often fall into when defending something questionable. “X let to Y — therefore we would not have Y if we did not have X”. (The most common example of this is “Funding for NASA led to materials sciences advances, therefore we would not have those advances if we had not funded NASA!”) You have absolutely no reason to believe that the leadership of England, if you had not maintained your idiotic system of hereditary privilege, would not have made peace with Ireland.

    Worse, though: it is precisely BECAUSE of your boneheaded nobility that the Irish were eventually whipped up into such a frenzy. If your incredibly stupid government had simply let them go back in, say, 1800, you wouldn’t have had to deal with the mess in the first place. You get no points for solving a problem you yourself caused, and your system of hereditary rulers caused the “Irish problem”.

  12. Dear, oh dear, “The Vicar” has got a chip on his shoulder, hasn’t he? A lot of former colonials do, I suppose. There is much to be said for the British system, which, in large measure, influenced the development of other countries like the USA and modern India. That is why ours is often referred to as “the mother of Parliaments”. Our unwritten Constitution does at least allow for change, and will allow, eventually, for the separation of Church and State. Contrast that with the written-in-stone constitution of the USA, which allows some gun-toting lunatic to run riot killing scores of school children every couple of months (or so it seems). And you think the British system is bone-headed? Reality check!

  13. With reference to the “Irish problem” this is far too complex an issue to deal with adequately here, but if “The Vicar” knew anything at all about Irish history, he would know that it was under Cromwell (not the Crown) that the first significant influx of Protestants from the British mainland arrived – the painful legacy of which we are still sorting out today. This rather undermines his argument about monarchy and hereditary nobility. When I say that the Queen has won “universal respect” for her efforts to heal the sorry mess left behind by the British Army, Irish Government, Ulster Defence Association and SinnFein-IRA, I should have added “among rational, informed, good-hearted people “.

  14. RussellW says:

    @Diesel Balaam,

    “Our unwritten Constitution does at least allow for change,”Nonsense, written constitutions allow for change, usually by democratic vote, they’re not “written in stone”, and they’re not some arcane system presided over by a political/legal elite. BTW As a ‘former colonial’ myself I value my country’s inheritance of British institutions, although we’ve democratised them, of course.

  15. The avoidance of a written constitution in the UK has already allowed for a transition from feudalism to a modern liberal democracy, thank you. It also allows for the reform (or abolition, perhaps) of hereditary peerages, Bishops sitting in the Upper House, and – it is hoped by freethinkers – the uncoupling of Church from State. Even the role of the monarch can change – witness the recent change allowing a female first-born to ascend the throne. Written constitutions are dangerous because they make it harder to respond to unforeseen changes and necessities. The USA’s idiotic “right to bear arms” probably made sense in the 18th century, but with the advent of automatic weaponry, now leads to regular senseless shootings (in Texas, last night, for instance). Britain was able to tighten its already strict gun-control laws after the Dunblane massacre, but the Americans’ hands are tied by their written constitution. Avoid, my friend.

  16. RussellW says:

    I agree that the “right to bear arms” is anachronistic in the 21st century, however that’s not the issue. You’re still flogging the ‘written in stone’ idea, it’s a straw man, written constitutions can, and are, amended from time to time. If the Americans wanted to change their constitution they would.
    Based on the evidence you presented Britain has been rather behind democratic developments in its former colonies, about a century at least. Hereditary peerages, how quaint. Is there a democratically elected Upper House yet, or do their Lordships still have the last word on legislation?