Long Live Multi-culturalism!

Ken Livingstone has launched a high personalised attack upon Trevor Philips, Chair of the Commission for Racial Equality. Trevor Philips, a critic of multi-culturalism since the North England riots, said last week-end that the Notting Hill Carnival was not a multi-cultural event because it does not “represent the everyday culture of most of London’s communities”. This spurred the London Mayor to accuse him of “pandering to the right…so much so that he will soon be joining the BNP.”However, Ken Livingstone is hardly a shining example of tolerance. He made insensitive comments to a Jewish reporter (Comments the CRE reported him to the Standards board for), he told two Jewish businessmen to “go back to their own country” and has promoted the visits of a controversial a Islamic cleric .

  • Brian Boru

    I think multiculturalism is a project of the elites, extremely difficult to work in practice. Indeed some cultures are too different to live together in a peaceful way. The most obvious example of this is Islamic fundamentalism and Western democracy. I think the UK made a huge mistake in allowing millions from hotbeds like Pakistan to come to the UK. A number of the London bombers were from this community, and while I don’t want to tar people with the one brush, it is daft to assume that importing huge numbers from such countries will not create problems down the road. Islamic fundamentalist countries are just too different from the West in terms of value-systems especially women’s rights (need I mention ‘honour-killings’?) and other moral issues. Gay people are executed there, as are those convicted under so-called ‘adultery laws’. We need to protect Western democracy from this threat. Many Muslims in the UK in polls demand Sharia law according to polls there.

    As such I think that the West needs to block Turkey from joining the EU. It’s people are nowhere nearly as secular as the State, and only the army keeps the politicians in check (the current govt has Islamist roots). It cannot control its people after they leave Turkey, which has 80 million people.

    Another problem with multiculturalism at a wider level is that it can undermine indigenous national-identities and set the stage for Yugoslavia-style scenarios, as other ethnic-groups demand the right to break away. Also since the Left are so comparatively (especially here in the Republic of Ireland) enthusiastic about multiculturalism, they need to consider how they would see the welfare-state surviving with an influx of so many people.

  • Jo

    I think one of the more bizarre – not to say barking mad – allegations I heard in recent times was the the blaming of the 7/7 bombings on the policy of multi-culturalism.

    The flexibility of thinking that can perceive a wide-ranging “live and let live” policy to be a determining factor coercing brainwashed young men blowing themsleves and 50 others to pieces escapes the capabilities of my small brain.
    And I thank God for that.

  • Anna Dale

    “Another problem with multiculturalism at a wider level is that it can undermine indigenous national-identities and set the stage for Yugoslavia-style scenarios, as other ethnic-groups demand the right to break away.”

    Brian Boru

    Multiculturalism pre-Milosevic did work in places in the old Yugoslavia, Sarajevo and Novi Sad are just two examples of cities where more than one *ethnic* group lived together side by side and harmoniously.

    The main reason for the various ethnic wars in the region was that Milosevic was able to take advantage of the fact that in certain places the “indigenous national identities” hadn’t been undermined enough by multi-culturalism which had been developing in much of Yugoslavia up to the early 1980s.

    A bit more multiculturalism and a weakening of “indigenous national identities” would have saved a lot of bloodshed.

  • Brian Boru

    Jo, the “live and let live” policy unfortunately involved – in practice – allowing Muslims to have separate schools in which anti-Western mullahs could transmit their hatreds to their children resulting in increased support for Muslim terrorism and extremism. An assimilationist policy would work better, as it has in the US.

  • Jo

    BB

    “Allowing” Catholics to have separate schooling here where the passionate anti-Britishness of certain teaching orders might be said to have been a contributing factor to the continuity of republican paramilitarism?

  • Brian Boru

    Jo, I disagree. I don’t think that happened in Catholic schools. If it did, then why did it take 40 years for the emergence of the PIRA? The PIRA grew out of decades of pogroms against Catholics, in which the security-forces either participated or refused to act e.g. expulsion of Catholics from H+W shipyards, burning down of streets such as Bombay St. (Irish President Mary McAleese was a victim of such a pogrom), the gerrymandering of constituencies such that Derry was 66% Catholic but controlled by Unionists, and not one single Corporation employee was Catholic etc. Don’t pass the buck.

  • Jo

    “decades of pogroms”

    Hardly, BB. Consider the numbers affected by the 1920s incident and the other rioting (48 years later).

    The point about education I made was in direct response to your view that the indoctrination of some people by zealots was a reason to reject multiculturalism.

    Given that the explision of interest in Irish history co-incided with 1969, the dearth of Irish historical work between the 20s and 70s would tend to support my view that teaching of irish history during that period relied heavily on what I can only with charity call a somewhat selective, subjective teaching of Irish history.

    The product of such teaching was well manifest here and on other sites at the recent anniversary of the Easter Rising.

  • Brian Boru

    “Hardly, BB. Consider the numbers affected by the 1920s incident and the other rioting (48 years later).”

    Tens of thousands were affected in both cases, with tens of thousands were driven into the South, prompting Jack Lynch to talk about how we could not “stand idly by while innocent people are being attacked”, and the establishment of field-hospitals on the border. Tens of thousands still live down here and more of their descendents.

    “Given that the explision of interest in Irish history co-incided with 1969, the dearth of Irish historical work between the 20s and 70s would tend to support my view that teaching of irish history during that period relied heavily on what I can only with charity call a somewhat selective, subjective teaching of Irish history.”

    No I think it was just that the Northern Nationalists lost their patience waiting for equality they should have been given 50 years earlier. They were tired of the harrassment by the oppression of 50 years. For most people this led to support for peaceful protest such as the Civil Rights Movement (which the British forces fired upon and the security forces beat up) whereas for a smaller but large number of others it manifested itself in the creation of the PIRA. It was the fault of the oppressive authorities in the North and nothing to do with history classes or Catholic-controlled schools. I think you should try to see things from the other side’s point of view Jo.

  • JR

    “passionate anti-Britishness of certain teaching orders might be said to have been a contributing factor to the continuity of republican paramilitarism”

    I was taught by Christain Brothers in the 70’s. They never once taught me to hate any fellow human. They certainly never taught me any anti-Britishness. Jo, teaching is not done from the classroom alone. How many terrorists were brain washed from the pulpit?

  • pith

    And so another potentially interesting thread winds its weary way into the “It’s all about us” category.

  • Jo

    “I think you should try to see things from the other side’s point of view Jo.”

    Should I, now? Bit of a sectarian assumption in that one.

    My point is that Muslim zealotry is not unique, nor is a multicultural policy – allowing separateness – responsible for the extremism which may be tought either in schools, or as JR rightly points out, from Muslim (or Christian) pulpits.

  • heck

    “The point about education I made was in direct response to your view that the indoctrination of some people by zealots was a reason to reject multiculturalism.

    Given that the explision of interest in Irish history co-incided with 1969, the dearth of Irish historical work between the 20s and 70s would tend to support my view that teaching of irish history during that period relied heavily on what I can only with charity call a somewhat selective, subjective teaching of Irish history.”

    Jo, it is the teaching of British history that is the problem. Britain has refused to face up to what was involved in creating the empire and one only has to listen to the “imperialism is good” school of thought from people like Neil Ferguson to see the problem. (sp?) If the british were taught their without the “somewhat selective, subjective teaching” their would be less inclined to go half way around the world to start wars.

    Brian Boru

    It’s a bit much complaining about people from Pakistan in Britain when Britain use to occupy their country.

    The explanation of British history is easy. Britain invaded lots of countries and oppressed or murdered their people. Then the people fought back.

    As taught in Britain the first is called peacekeeping and the second terrorism. With Iraq the saga continues.

  • Les

    Brian Boru seems to have been caught out. One minute he is advocating assimilationist policies and deploring segregated Muslim schools; the next minute he is defending segregated schooling here in NI.

    You were right the first time, BB. Segregated schools are a disaster – and not just Muslim ones. How anyone can hope to create a united, harmonious society on the basis of separation and apartheid beggars belief.

    If the Catholic church had put the interests of its parishioners first, back in 1922 when the NI Government tried to set up a fully integrated system of education, instead of insisting on its own schools for its own recruitment centres, we might have been spared the social division, suspicion, animosity, tribal rituals, etc, that have been our lot ever since. But no, the hierarchy opted out and I am quite prepared to believe that their teachers, resenting the better facilities of the Protestant State schools, fostered a resentful, embittered attitude in their pupils. The rest is history.

  • eranu

    when teachers in catholic schools are talking to the kids, do they talk about northern ireland and being in the united kingdom? or do they only talk about ireland as if the 6 counties of NI were part of a single 32 county country called ireland?
    if so, then that is the anti britishness.

    ?

  • Jo

    Eranu

    I think that as the majority of teachers in Catholic schools are themselves Catholic, those teachers would be likely to use the same terminology as their pupils and the families of their pupils.

  • Brian Boru

    “Brian Boru seems to have been caught out. One minute he is advocating assimilationist policies and deploring segregated Muslim schools; the next minute he is defending segregated schooling here in NI.”

    I was referring to immigration generally and Muslim immigration in particular, and to how the education system by separating immigrants from natives can encourage ghettoisation and anti-host-country attitudes. In fact, as the ancestors of Unionists were mostly English/Scottish settlers, it could be argued that many of their attitudes are a testament to the consequences of ghettoisation, as they were required to live in walled towns which Catholics were largely banned from for centuries, and came under the influence of their own ‘mad mullahs’ albeit Protestant ones. Would have been better had they assimilated like the Normans and Catholic English centuries before.

  • Brian, I think you will find the biggest opponents to integrated education in Northern Ireland do not come from the Protestant community.
    Integrate all schools. Gender, religion, ability.

  • eranu

    jo, such as pretending ni doesnt exist, by only talking about ‘ireland’, and not mentioning where they live is part of the UK? and that they are actually british citizens living in part of the UK? its all small things like this that contribute to the brainwashing of kids to think a certain way. just a sneaking suspicion i have, denying reality id call it.
    bit off topic.
    the end.

  • Jo

    Eranu

    I couldn’t possibly comment. Apparently. 😉

    But avoiding words like “Ulster” and “Northern Ireland” in a school setting is a far cry from indoctrinating young men into active involvement in violent jihad.

    It was left to “Murphy’s Law” the other night to introduce the watching public to the concept of jihad as “struggle.” Which is saying nothing more than what life is for many of us.

  • DK

    Phillips is quite right – the Notting Hill carnival is a celibration of one particular culture, not multiculturalism.

    Anyway, if he is such a big supporter of the festical, does anyone know why Ken Livingston set up an alternative to the Notting Hill festival on the same day? (attended by 20,000, while half a million went to the Notting Hill festival).

  • mickhall

    Brian boru wrote,

    “As such I think that the West needs to block Turkey from joining the EU. It’s people are nowhere nearly as secular as the State, and only the army keeps the politicians in check”

    Remind anyone of any other place a bit nearer home in the last 30 years. talk about those who live in glass houses. How a debate on multi culturalism and the carnival can immediately be turned into an anti muslim thread is worthy of debate itself.

  • Jo

    Mick

    It goes back to the original idea that multi-culturalism is, for some on the Right, the root of all evil and directly responsible for 7/7.

    That idea needs to be hammered.

  • I think multiculturalism as currently envisaged encourages a sense of transience – where descendents of immigrants feel not “both British and other country” but “other country resident in Britain” and while taking advantage of stuff like a British passport feel no obligation to keep Britain itself from harm.

    Maybe Tebbit’s cricket test wasn’t so crazy after all…

    I oppose separate *state supported* schooling for the South as well as the North (and Canada, where I live now) – I just don’t think there’s a Catholic or Protestant or Muslim way to teach French or Maths. Bigots can fund their own schools.

  • overhere

    I have read some of the conversation above but as always it strayed back to the “usums and themuns”.

    I do like Ken and I think on the whole he has been a really good mayor for us her ein London but this time I think he is wrong. In the past I have heard Trevor Philips and though you are talking a load of bull but recently he seems to be talking as if he has engaged the brain. Unfortunately Ken after all these years has not learnt this.

  • lib2016

    ‘allowing faith schools’

    Since the state schools, particularly those in North Down began to run short of pupils the attacks on faith schools have begun…..strange that!

    CAIN has a excellent section of discrimination in various fields, one of them being education. It would be nice if someone able to do the link thinggy would oblige but in the meantime I’ll trovide two quotes-

    Lord Craigavon 1923

    “The door is thrown open for a Bolshevist, or an atheist, or a Roman Catholicto become a teacher in a Protestant school”.

    Lord Craigavon again after the Education Act in 1930

    “It will be absolutely certain that in no circumstances will Protestant children ever be in any way interfered with by Roman Catholics”.

  • lib2016

    Sorry – my typing seems even worse than usual today. Must try harder!

  • mickhall

    Philips is Blairs boy always has been, he only got his present job when he failed dismally to unseat Livingstone. There is a debate to be had about the failures of multiculturalism, but not in the way the Blairites are coming at it. They see an attack on multiculturalism as a means to put a stop to talk about Iraq being to blame for the rise in islamic militants.

    They are talking rot for common sense alone will tell you if your government shits upon the place where your grandparents or parents live, or indeed where people who have the same religion as yourself, then you are going to be less than pleased. It is not rocket science its Afghanistan, Iraq and Palestine, solve these problems and the current wave of militancy will disperse.

    The interesting point is not that a number of young Britons have joined groups like Al Queada, but so few have done this; and this is despite the fact that a majority of UK muslims oppose Blairs middle east strategy. As indeed do people of all races. The overwhelming majority of British muslims would no more be a suicide bomber than you or I; and we all need to get our heads around this fact.

    As Cp Jones often said, don’t panic!

  • Jo

    Succinctly put, Mick. Yay!

  • lib2016

    mickhall,

    I don’t want to sound too much like Candide but things have a way of correcting themselves. The rise of Iran and the growth of Islamic and Arabic confidence after Hizbollah’s successful resistance may be the best things that could have happened.

    There could be no longterm peace while the Muslims were being systematically humiliated by Blair and Bush. Hopefully there will be changes in attitude now – the Democratic Party in the States certainly have reason to think so.

  • mickhall

    Thanks Jo

    lib2016

    I think you may have a point, history has taught us when people are humiliated, brutalized and continuously defeated they lash out all over the place, seemingly not caring who they hurt as their own pain is to great to consider others.

    I thought it was stunning and very informative that hezbullah did not engage in any victory parades at the end of the recent war. Time and again we have seen in the middle east, defeated people fire their guns in the air and parade through the streets as if the had won some great victory.

    There was none of this with Hezbullah, they got down to the real work of rebuilding. Which is a sign in itself if you think about it and it is not an offensive sign. One rebuilds homes etc in the hope of peace.

    Still what we lack at the moment is a politician in the White House who will pick up the olive branch, even if at first it may look more like a twig.

    regards.

  • Yeah right

    Jo:

    “Multiculturalism pre-Milosevic did work in places in the old Yugoslavia, Sarajevo and Novi Sad are just two examples of cities where more than one *ethnic* group lived together side by side and harmoniously. ”

    Nearly spat my cornflakes over the PC there when I read this. Do you know anything about the history of the Balkans? What happened in the 90s was, if anything, unfinished business from the earlier 20th century and before. Pre-Milosevic there was peace only because of the ‘benign’ dictatorship of Tito. .

    Recommended reading for you:
    The Balkans, 1804-1999: Nationalism, War and the Great Powers by Misha Glenny

  • Garibaldy

    Yeah Right,

    Clearly there was an undercurrent of nationalism in Yugoslavia. However, from talking to people I know from Yugoslavia, they said that people had a Yugoslavian identity but that that changed fairly rapidly in the years after Tito’s death, particularly once the first republic sought to leave. Germany of course recognised its independence before the rest of the EU. I wonder why. A lot of the push for rejuvenated national identities stemmed from the local elites seeking greater power for themselves, as happened in many parts of the former socialist countries. To say that Yugoslavia was held together only by Tito is to presume that what did happen was inevitable, without taking account of the massive changes in the world in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

  • Fer fecks sake

    eranu

    “jo, such as pretending ni doesnt exist, by only talking about ‘ireland’, and not mentioning where they live is part of the UK? and that they are actually british citizens living in part of the UK? its all small things like this that contribute to the brainwashing of kids to think a certain way. just a sneaking suspicion i have, denying reality id call it.
    bit off topic.
    the end. ”

    Eranu,

    Thanks for displaying your ignorance for all to behold. I assume you haven’t been educated in a Catholic school spouting rubbish like that.

    Right lets go:
    1. Catholic teachers in Catholic schools dont deny northern ireland exists.
    2. Catholic teachers in Catholic schools do mention that northern ireland is part of the UK, (see the GCSE history cirriculum for NI, which is taught in Catholic schools)
    3. Catholics know that they are British citizens living in Northern Ireland. However the vast majority which to change that scenario, anything wrong with having a different political persuasion to yours in this grand democracy?
    4. Given that the first three points are all FACTS, how have you come to believe the exact opposite. Are you a Catholic pupil that has attended a Catholic school and has had a different experience to myself? Or if you havent, how have you come to hold those beliefs? I wont dare to use the B word.

    “just a sneaking suspicion i have, denying reality id call it”

    Describing yourself?

  • Jo

    Yeah Right

    I did not make thse comments. My knowledge of the Balkans is probably on a par with your own.

  • Greenflag

    ‘To say that Yugoslavia was held together only by Tito is to presume that what did happen was inevitable, without taking account of the massive changes in the world in the late 1980s and early 1990s. ‘

    Yugoslavia was an ‘artificial ‘ construct developed post WW1 along with Czechoslovakia. Both Yugoslavia & Czechoslovakia’s attempts at creating a ‘national ‘ identity finally succumbed to the external pressures of imposed totalitarian regimes -nazism and communism and then to the economic realities of post 1989 Europe.

    Imposed ‘Unionism’ in Northern Ireland has had a similar ‘break up’ effect on the NI State . Without HMG economic and military intervention -NI would have ‘balkanised’ 30 years ago . Peter Hain’s ‘Redistricting’ of NI will in effect ‘balkanise’ NI for all practical purposes. The eventual outcome will effective repartition followed by ‘official’ de jure repartition.

  • Garibaldy

    Repartition London!

  • Yeah right

    eeek, sorry Jo!

  • Greenflag

    ‘Repartition London! ‘

    Londin has no crisis of constitutional identity . It appears to be quite happy to be part of England and the UK and last time I checked half of the population did not want to split off and join with France or Germany or Bradfordstan .

  • Garibaldy

    No but it’s full of Islamic people who want sharia law apparently

  • Jo

    I think the extent to which Islamic people would favour Sharia law in the UK is somewhat akin to the number of people of Irish descent living there who would like to see a United Ireland.

    Its aspirational and they are unlikely (highly unlikely) to see it in their lifetime.

    Let’s not get carried away with the ATW-type scaremongering and prejudice against all Muslims – lets think more about substituting the term *Irish* for *Muslim* more often in our thinking and statements about Islam – and see if we are happy with what we say about Islam.

  • Garibaldy

    Jo,

    Perhaps I was (very poorly) satirising the tendency for all threads to end up at repartition. In this case the thread was sparked by comments on multi-culturalism by the mayor of London yet we ended up at repartition. I did say apparently on the Sharia thing, indicating I had hoped that I was sceptical about it.

    I have no time for Islamophobia. Neither do I have any time for theocrats of whatever persuasion. And especially no time for those who carry out religiouslly-motivated terrorism, in any country.

  • mickhall

    ?

    Mick

    “No but it’s full of Islamic people who want sharia law apparently

    Posted by Garibaldy”

  • Garibaldy

    Mick,

    The repartition of London thing, and claiming that Sharia law would be an excuse for it, was being deliberately absurd.

  • Jo

    Gari

    Okies, no problem 😉

  • Greenflag

    I have to believe that the vast majority of Muslims in Britain do not want to see the introduction of Sharia law in the UK . I can understand the concerns of people in the UK and Ireland as regards ‘theocracy’ We’ve seen some of the side effects in Northern Ireland when religion is mixed with politics.

    That said why is it ok for a mosque to be bulit in Dublin whereas it’s not ok for a Catholic Church or a Protestant Hall to be bulit in Riyadh ? Why is it ok for a Muslim to travel to Ireland or England carrying a ‘Koran’ whereas to bring a bible into Saudi Arabia is a criminal offence ?

    We did’nt get rid of medieval Catholicism and Victorian Protestantism to have either replaced by Stone Age Sharia Law Islam .

    Women in Ireland or England should be looking forward to Sharia law with the same enthusiasm as turkeys look forward to Christmas ! .

  • Jo

    Don’t forget that for most of my (and other bloggers lifetimes, a majority of people in the UK would support legislation to bring back hanging.

    It doesn’t happen.

    Parliamentary democracy mediates populist demands: thus would it be with Sharia Law.

    Anyway, notwithstanding some of the features which are unpalatable to Westerners, could we not ask whether such law is actually effective?

    Poeple are quick to point out the barbarity of certain practices in Muslim countries and rightly so. Its not as if barbarity was unknown in the West. One of the more common practices in a Christian state, such as the USA, is the widespread and largely unpunished crime of rape with millions of instances of that crime each year in the USA alone.

  • Greenflag

    ‘Parliamentary democracy mediates populist demands: thus would it be with Sharia Law. ‘

    Ridiculous assertion – Where you have Sharia law you have no democracy .

    ‘ Its not as if barbarity was unknown in the West. ‘

    True . keeping somebody in prison for 20 years and then executing them is barbaric. Presumably it helps to increase the earnings of the legal and judicial fraternities 🙁

    No answer to my question then ?

    ‘Why is it ok for a mosque to be bulit in Dublin or London or Berlin whereas it’s not ok for a Catholic Church or a Protestant Hall to be built in Riyadh ?

    Are we talking Islamic intolerance here or not ?
    Where are all those intelligent, reasonable and tolerant Muslims when you want them to answer a simple question ?

    Just another bunch of fundamentalist gobshites albeit of the Middle Eastern variety !

  • Jo

    O course intolerance exists of the Islamic variety, it is no more to be confused with the majority of Muslims than is the intolerant “Christianity” that has no problem with racial attack right here in NI.