Lord Taylor of Warwick (BBC)
Is Britain about to reassess the suicidal multiculturalism that allows jihadists virtual free rein? It is unfortunate that this is being addressed as a racial issue, since that plays into the hands of radical Muslims and their apologists, who cry “racism” at any sign of resistance to their agenda. It is, in fact, an ideological issue. Look at the statement from Lord Taylor of Warwick. He has trouble believing that some Muslims are anti-British? I suppose the flag-burning didn’t convince him, or the recent statements by Omar Bakri? In Britain as well as in America, it seems as if some corners of liberal opinion are simply impervious to the facts: anything inconvenient to their world view simply didn’t happen.
From the Sunday Herald, with thanks to Rosh:
Tony Blair has decided to place the almost-taboo subject of race in Britain at the top of his government’s agenda and ordered a “cross-government assault to tackle abuse of the immigration system”.
The Prime Minister has called a “race and immigration summit” for Tuesday, which will be attended by Home Secretary David Blunkett, senior Foreign Office ministers, ministers from the Department of Works and Pension, the Attorney General, Lord Goldsmith and senior representatives from the security services and top police involved in tackling organised crime.
The summit will also mark the official start of a major policy review of Britain’s post-war approach to multiculturalism. The head of the Commission for Racial Equality, Trevor Phillips, who is close to Blair, said yesterday that multiculturalism in Britain was “out of date” and encouraged “separateness”.
He said there was an urgent need to “assert a core of Britishness” because multiculturalism in the present political era “means the wrong thing”.
The summit’s aim is to ensure better cross-department arrangements on what Downing Street called “a complex and important issue of policy”.
By taking personal charge of the immigration chaos which has engulfed the Home Office in recent weeks — resulting in the resignation last week of the immigration minister, Beverley Hughes — the Prime Minister is said to believe he can confront a growing undercurrent of racial concern in Britain that could grow to dominate next year’s general election unless his government is seen to improve its handling of immigration, refugee and asylum issues.
Blair taking charge also points to a lack of faith in Blunkett’s ability to steer the Home Office out of the stormy waters it has found itself in recently.
Although a spokesman for Blair said he retained “absolute faith in David Blunkett’s drive and political instincts”, a large question mark now hangs over the Home Secretary”s position.
Any new hint that Blunkett knew of the eastern European visa scam at the same time as Hughes, and Blair’s new-found determination to get tough on dealing with immigration matters, would almost certainly lead to Blunkett’s swift departure from his current post.
Phillips”s comments have provoked the same level of outrage he expressed a month ago when he attacked a similar analysis of Britain’s race problems as “the jottings of a BNP leader’s weblog”.
The Muslim Council of Britain tried to conceal its anger , and general secretary Iqbal Sacranie said: “Multiculturalism is something to cherish and be proud of.” He said Phillips”s comments had been “too Muslim-specific”.
Robina Qureshi, director of a Glasgow-based anti-racism pressure group, said she was “disgusted” by Phillips”s comments and questioned what “Britishness” meant to Scots, Irish and Welsh as well as Asians.
Other Muslim leaders were equally sceptical that Phillips had contributed positively to a new and growing debate on race . The Glasgow MP, Mohammad Sarwar, said: “I don’t have a problem with multiculturalism and a multi-faith society. That diversity is a source of strength, not weakness.”
The former Europe minister Keith Vaz said Phillips had got it wrong. Britain’s multicultural society, he said, was to be celebrated and not exploited. “It is a great achievement and is the envy of Europe.”
The black peer and former Tory candidate, Lord Taylor of Warwick, branded Phillips “too right-wing for me.” Taylor said Phillips”s motivation seemed to be driven by a belief that some Muslims were “anti-British” and he branded any suggestion of abandoning multiculturalism as a “backward step”.