Tuesday, February 08, 2011

David Cameron - Still Not a Nazi

Having got over yesterday's sulk, (it runs in the family - my four year old great niece can sulk even more spectacularly than me), it's back to business today. So, David Cameron. What a cock. No, really. I was left astounded by his recent speech in Munich, (speeches in Munich never bode well), in which he declared that 'multiculturalism has failed'. Now, every time I hear statements of this kind, I'm left wondering exactly what the speaker means by 'multiculturalism'. Because, invariably, it doesn't tally with my understanding of multiculturalism, which involves such things as respecting and tolerating each other's cultures. Indeed, when I was growing up, multiculturalism was considered to be a 'good thing' - we all embraced the idea that we could learn from the cultures of immigrants, even adopting some of the best aspects of their cultures and assimilating them into our own. W e were told that this was what had made Britain great - the melding of disparate cultures which had been going on since the Romans had arrived here.

I suspect that white, middle class, middle England Dave understands something different when he says 'multiculturalism'. He probably equates 'tolerating other cultures' with 'putting up with these bloody foreigners and their irritating ways'. I suspect that he and his ilk think that immigrants should conform to some notion 'Britishness' whilst out in public - their own cultures are something only to be practiced in private, where their observance can't offend the eyes of good English patriots. To be fair, Dave tried to qualify his comments by saying that it was 'state-sponsored multiculturalism' which hadn't worked. Unfortunately, this just makes his comments worse. By 'state multiculturalism', is he referring to the equality and anti-racism legislation enacted since the late 1960s? Does he think this a bad thing? As he seemed to be blaming multiculturalism for breeding Islamic extremists, by extension, does he think that the Race Relations Act has encouraged terrorism?

The he went and compounded it all with a call for a greater assertion of 'British values', which sounds suspiciously like state-imposed Britishness. After all, who defines 'Britishness'? Is there such a thing? Strictly speaking, 'British' is merely a national identity, created as a result of the Act of Union with Scotland, which resulted in there being only one nationality, in legal terms, in the UK - British. However, it doesn't define any overall cultural identity for the denizens of these islands - the individual regional and ethnic identities of the English, Welsh, Scottish and Irish weren't subsumed into an overarching British culture. Consequently, being British isn't dependent upon culture or ethnicity: you can be British English, British Scots, British Black, British Sikh, even British Muslim, for instance.

But enough of the lecture and back to the point. Is this yet more evidence that Cameron is a Nazi? Is it just coincidental that within days of his Munich speech, Cameron's pals at the Institute of Directors were calling for workers rights to be curtailed - the right to strike withdrawn from some public sector workers, an end to collective wage bargaining in the education and health sectors and curbs on employees ability to sue employers for unfair dismissal. Taken with the ongoing dismantling of the NHS, mass library closures and the distinctly fascistic-sounding 'Big Society', it makes you think. But obviously, I exaggerate for satirical effect. That said, one phrase Cameron used still has me scratching my head: 'muscular liberalism'. What the Hell is that? Does he want Nick Clegg to get oiled up and strike various macho poses? Sounds like the kind of thing Brown Shirt leader Eric Rohm would have liked...

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