Cameron on multiculturalism

The Daily Telegraph reports:

Entering the debate on national identity and religious tolerance, the Prime Minister declared an end to “passive tolerance” of divided communities, and say that members of all faiths must integrate into wider society and accept core values.

To be British is to believe in freedom of speech and religion, democracy and equal rights regardless of race, sex or sexuality, he will say. Proclaiming a doctrine of “muscular liberalism”, he said that everyone, from ministers to ordinary voters, should actively confront those who hold extremist views.

I like the concept of muscular liberalism – not accepting extremist views as valid. And by this, I don’t mean taking away the right for people to hold such views – but to make sure such views do not get funded by the state.

He warned that groups that fail to promote British values will no longer receive public money or be able to engage with the state.

In other words if you promote sharia law, don’t expect the taxpayer to fund you.

That means abandoning the notion that different communities should be able to live according to their own values and traditions as long as they stay within the law. “Under the doctrine of state multiculturalism, we have encouraged different cultures to live separate lives, apart from each other and the mainstream,” Mr Cameron said. “We have failed to provide a vision of society to which they feel they want to belong.”

All Britons should believe in basic values of freedom and equality, and actively promote them, he said. That means ensuring that immigrants learn to speak English and that all schools teach “elements of a common culture and curriculum”.

I don’t think it is a black and white choice between multi-culturalism and integration. We would be a very boring country if we had no variety of cultures. But what Cameron is referring to is making sure there is some common culture and subscription to core values of democracry, freedom of speech, freedom of religion, non-subservience of women etc.

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