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.
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.]
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