Another attack on multiculturalism

David Cameron has launched another attack on multiculturalism as part of his attack on Islamist extremism. “Timid politicians with a ‘misplaced’ fear of offending Muslims have allowed Islamist extremism to take root in the institutions of Britain” he said going on to warn in the Daily Mail that“the policy of treating different cultures as ‘separate and distinct’ – known as multiculturalism – had been a ‘mistake’”.[i]


Sheffield MPs stoke up conflict with Roma migrants

Two police walking towards immigrant children

Nick  Clegg and David Blunkett ought to know better. Both Sheffield MPs have  attacked the Roma minority in the Page Hall area of Sheffield. Blunkett says "We have got to change the behaviour and the culture of the incoming community, the Roma community, because there's going to be an explosion otherwise. We all know that." Clegg’s view is that: "If you do things that people find intimidating, such as large groups hanging around on street corners, you have got to listen to what other people in the community say."

The most racist legislation in the last 30 years

Man holding protest sign outside Houses of Parliament

“The most racist piece of legislation in the last 30 years”. So said John McDonnell MP about the new Immigration Bill that the Coalition Government is currently ramming through parliament. The Bill had  its second reading on 22nd October and marks the culmination of months of disgraceful dog-whistle politics about immigration as the main parties follow UKIP and Lynton Crosby further down into the gutter.

Framing racism

I am an Immigrant flyer

Yesterday I went to a presentation by George Lakoff – the author of “Don’t think of an elephant! Know your values and frame the debate”. He is Professor of Linguistics at the University of California and specialises in understanding how we can use language to change the way in which debates and ideas are framed. We looked at how the issue of migration might  be reframed so as to accentuate its positive elements and to challenge the framing of migration as about numbers and “people feeling  rather swamped” – as Margaret Thatched put it in the 1980s.

More Home Office Confusion!

Black men being stopped by police

The Home Office's consultation on police powers of stop and search is a great example of really bad survey and questionnaire design. Many of the questions are unclear or leading and the logic baffling.

For example Question 3 "to what extent do you agree that the arrest rate following stop and search is a useful measure of the power's effectiveness"  We are then asked to fill in one of five boxes from “strongly agree”, through “neither agree nor disagree” to “strongly disagree”, and then “don’t know”.

The British Dream – a dangerous concoction of prejudices

The British Dream book cover

Sometimes so-called liberals can do more damage to “social cohesion” then more overtly racist commentators – their positions are less likely to be immediately identified  as contaminated with prejudice, assumption and false argument. They provide a complicit softerside to the dog-whistle politics now being employed by the Tories and UKIP.  After all, we all know where we are with those who express outright racism and xenophobia. Such views can be easily identified, critiqued and confronted.

A Call for Unity

People protesting Islamophobia

For some years it has suited the Government and the media to drive a wedge between, on the one hand the longer settled Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities - who settled here in the first of the post-War migrations (many from the “Windrush Generation” - largely from the “New Commonwealth” and their offspring), and on the other hand the more recent  migrant arrivals including refugees, asylum seekers and EU migrants often from countries that had no history of British colonial subjection.


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