The Guardian reports:
Migrant communities must be compelled to do more to integrate to help combat the rise of “far-right bigotry”, Tony Blair has warned.
The former prime minister said that successive governments had “failed to find the right balance between diversity and integration”, while the concept of multiculturalism has been misused as a way to justify a “refusal to integrate”.
This is spot on.
I’m pro-immigration and pro-multiculturalism. But both are contingent on the migrants and cultures being able to integrate with existing populations. Integration is not assimilation. It is critical to harmonious society.
If Europe didn’t have such a problem with non-integration with some (not most) immigrants, then the populists and nationalists would not have gained so much support. When mainstream parties fail to deliver, it is the extremes that prosper.
“Without the right to, for example, practise one’s faith, diversity would have no content; but without the duty to integrate, ‘culture’ or ‘faith’ can be used as a way of upsetting that basic social contract that binds us together.
“Government cannot and should not be neutral on this question. It has to be a passionate advocate and, where necessary, an enforcer of the duty to integrate while protecting the proper space for diversity. Integration is not a choice; it is a necessity.”