Posts Tagged ‘Cameron Munich speech’

Why do we tolerate these preachers of hate? Because we are British.

08/02/2011, 07:00:22 AM

by Dan Hodges

Sitting in a Luton hotel room on Saturday, listening to members of the English Defence League chanting boastfully, and slightly implausibly, about how they had, “fucked all of Allah’s wives”, my thoughts drifted to the issue of multiculturalism. Being surrounded by a couple of thousand tanked up Islamaphobes can do that to you.

My musings were given structure by the words of David Cameron, delivered that morning to the Munich security conference. British prime ministers have a poor record of departing that particular German city with the security of their nation enhanced, and I perused his speech with some scepticism. Once I’d finished it, scepticism had changed to bewilderment.

There must be a reason why the queen’s first minister chose to deliver a speech on the perils of Islam on the day a significant number of her subjects descended on a town with a large Muslim population and malice in their hearts. It was just that at that moment, as the first beer bottles started to land, and the riot squad began to don their helmets, I couldn’t for the life of me think of one. (more…)

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What Cameron actually said, and why it was cynical cant

07/02/2011, 05:00:39 PM

by Victoria Williams

“Go Home Muslims” signs still littered the streets of Luton as the prime minister took to the podium at the Munich security conference to address the “threat” of Islamist extremism. Attacking New Labour’s policy of “hands off tolerance” to those who choose not to subscribe to Western values, he called for a “more active, muscular liberalism”, to counter what he views as a lack of integration among immigrant communities.

Warming to the theme, he said:

“A passively tolerant society says to its citizens: as long as you obey the law, we will leave you alone. It stands neutral between different values“.

If he’d stopped speaking then, you could be forgiven for thinking “what a sensible man, perhaps I’ve misjudged him”.  After all, what on earth could be wrong with leaving people to their beliefs so long as they don’t break the law?

So many were left scratching their heads wondering what Cameron’s definition of the word “liberal” actually is, when he continued:

“A genuinely liberal country does much more. It believes in certain values and actively promotes them… It says to its citizens: This is what defines us as a society”.

So then “liberal” means “forcing your beliefs onto others and excluding them from society if they disagree”.  You learn something new every day.

Who, other than Cameron, says that multiculturalism and integration are mutually exclusive? It is hard to disagree with Margaret Hodge when she says that a higher uptake of English lessons among recent immigrants would beneficial to all of us. Outside of that, though, how does having personal faith exclude one from society? The UK is only nominally a Christian country;  should those who subscribe to a secular set of values also find themselves on the fringes of society?  A society is shaped by those who live within it. It cannot be dictated by the state.

Cameron has quite rightly been accused of playing into the hands of extremist anti-immigration groups such as the EDL and the BNP. He has also humiliated his deputy, Nick Clegg, whose own party favoured a more lax approach to immigration, including extending an amnesty to illegal immigrants.

It remains to be seen whether this will deepen the rift in the Tory-Lib Dem government, already on shaky ground after a number of Lib Dem walkouts over the decision to raise tuition fees. Either way, it will boost the opposition in the long run.

Victoria Williams is a freelance journalist.

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Peace in nobody’s time – Why David Cameron will come to regret his Munich moment

07/02/2011, 07:00:40 AM

by Atul Hatwal

The English Defence League marches through Luton and David Cameron pops up attacking multiculturalism. Coincidence? Yeah, right.

Tackling radicalisation and its root causes is enormously important, but blaming the right’s favourite bête noire, multiculturalism, is lazy and wrong. Wrong about the reality of multiculturalism in this country and wrong about what will make us all safer.

In Britain there are nearly 11 million people from minority ethnic communities. The minority population in towns across the Northwest, Yorkshire, the Midlands and Bedfordshire where there have been problems constitute a small fraction of the total in Britain.

In these areas, the muslim population tends to be from the British Pakistani community and numbers about 500,000, of whom the vast majority will be utterly opposed to extremism. The problems that Cameron was referring to are real but are manifest in less than 5% of Britain’s minority communities.

The reality is that in most of the country, people from different communities get along fine. No conflict, no protests, they just go about their business, day in, day out. Because it’s so prosaic, it doesn’t make the news. But it’s what happens. (more…)

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