History and political science are odd subjects. I recently posted on an Arab dictator who was universally acknowledged as a hero. But now I am forced, somewhat belatedly, to write about a leader of the western world – the British Prime Minister – whose politics are too plutocratic for this day and age. While one can agree with Prime Minister Cameron that there are too many foreigners in this country, one must emphatically reject his assertion that Islamic fundamentalism is a threat to Britain’s survival. In fact nothing could be further from the truth. Moreover, while there is some substance in relation to the “too many foreigners” issue, no right-minded person could possibly agree with Mr Cameron’s methods to achieve a balanced immigration policy for Britain.
Realistically, one cannot expect Mr Cameron to understand what migrants make of Britain. The truth of the matter is that Muslims, and one could add to that “immigrants”, in Britain are undivided. Muslims living in Britain are not Shia, Sunni, Wahabi, Arab, Somali, Pakistani or Indian: they are simply “Muslim”. The case for “immigrants” is identical. The prime minister’s historic connections to the British Monarchy dilute his connections to the commons and he instinctually seeks to exclude immigrants (who are on the periphery of British society) to keep the core (people like himself and his financiers) hail and hearty.
In fact Mr Cameron’s speech in Munich had no depth or substance at all. It was mostly empty words which we have become accustomed to: the Muslims this and the Muslims that. The argument that young British Muslims do not feel any patriotism for their homeland is patently incorrect. In a local barbershop opposite the Islamic Cultural Centre in Hornsey (in very close proximity the Finsbury Park Mosque where Abu Hamza once preached hatred) – ancillary to heated political debates in Arabic between a Somali customer and the Moroccan barber – the message is one of peace. Ali (the barber), a Belgian national of Moroccan descent, explained to me that “jihad must never be conducted on innocents, only a Kafir would undertake something like that to give us Muslims a bad name.” Ali, who had the pleasure of living in France described it as “very racist”. Ali said that he moved to London because “unlike France or Belgium in the British system people have more rights”.
Contrary to what Mr Cameron said in Munich, Ali does not “find it hard to identify with the traditional Islam practiced at home by” his “parents, whose customs can seem staid when transplanted to modern Western countries.” Ali and his Somali customer Gibril decidedly did not “also find it hard to identify with Britain too, because we have allowed the weakening of our collective identity.” For British, European and other Muslims, Mr Cameron’s statement that “the doctrine of state multiculturalism” has “encouraged different cultures to live separate lives, apart from each other and apart from the mainstream”, is only an expression of the prime minister’s disconnectedness from his own country and people.
This country owes its fortunes to the contributions made by immigrants and rather than saying that “We’ve failed to provide a vision of society to which they feel they want to belong. We’ve even tolerated these segregated communities behaving in ways that run completely counter to our values,” Mr Cameron really ought to consider how shallow the above language of “us” versus “them” is. It really is quite stale and boring and in any event George W Bush was much better at being a cowboy. And Mr Cameron should also give consideration to the fact that immigrant communities have also suffered untold hardships in Britain while contributing to the economy here. To put up with long years of British racism was no easy task for Asian and Black communities – “Paki bashi” etc. Suleiman, a friend in Leicester, says that in the mid-1980s while working as a taxi driver he was routinely beaten and robbed by racists in Leicester and the police never seemed even remotely interested in doing a thing about it. And now the racists are cheering Mr Cameron; maybe he ought to give Mr Griffen a cabinet position now that Lord Oakshott has resigned. In France the repugnant character of Marine Le-Pen has showered praise on Mr Cameron’s “speech”.
We do not disagree with Mr Cameron when he says that there are large immigrant communities in Britain. These remain British assets: Mr Cameron is quick to forget the way Mohandas K Gandhi helped Mr Cameron’s predecessors in the Boer War and the World Wars – African and Indian blood coloured the Earth red to protect Britain.
If Mr Cameron wants to control immigration he should follow the established legislative routes to amend existing laws. However, immigrant communities have gravely objected to the prime minister’s inflammatory language, segregationist politics and unlawful methods in containing what he inappropriately considers the interconnected spectres of radical Islam and immigration.
Kashif, a barrister friend whose family settled in Manchester in 1958, reports that people are very concerned about the type of Britain the Mr Cameron is pushing. State multi-culturalism is very much what cities such as Birmingham, Manchester, London and Leicester are all about.
Contrary to all that the prime minister has said, if anything, Britain is a very successful example of a multi-cultural state which far outshines all other examples in Euro-America by a long-shot. But the real question is whether the approximately venal Conservative Party, which is so heavily funded by the City, can be trusted to keep this country’s dignity intact?