Cameron’s multiculturalism rant: dogwhistle of a worried man?

For a speech on such sensitive issues – segregation, Islam, terrorism, Britishness, multiculturalism – Cameron’s speech at Munich was like throwing a grenade into the system.   Devoid of any ideas for developing policy, it nevertheless by its timing gave very regrettable succour to the EDL marching through Luton – surely Cameron must have guessed the likely impact of juxtaposing these two events?   It was one of those speeces which didn’t say anything new, but was clearly designed to influence the political atmosphere by playing to the anti-Muslim gallery and telling the Hard Right that he understood their feelings and sympathised with them.   Opening up a Pandora’s Box in such a mindless way can only unleash the forces of racism, suspicion and hostility that he purports to oppose.

The truth is that the increase in immigration and mixing of culturesover the last three decades or more is a by-product of the intense promotion of globalisation by an economic elite seeking to maximise its own economic interests.   Capital roaming the world to find the highest returns has been matched by the ever-growing demand by UK employers to import cheap labour to compete with low-priced products from the developing world, especially China.   Multiculturalism has been been a social aspiration, more successful generally than is often recognised, to accommodate the cultural consequences of an influx from which the economic elite is insulated by its own self-imposed residential segregation.  

Cameron complained that “we have encouraged different cultures to live separate lives”, so why doesn’t he end faith schools?   Does he not realise that in towns like mine (Oldham) Asian people mostly live in segregated districts, not for religious or ethnic reasons, but because they can only afford the housing in poorer areas?    Does he not appreciate that his advocacy of integration is rather compromised by his party’s Thatcherite championing of individualism over all things?

What is really contemptible about Cameron’s outburst is that he ignores the two key toxic factors that fundamentally drive segregation – racism and poverty/inequality.   Both of these are still deeply rooted in British society, and Cameron whether consciously or unconsciously is giving latent encouragement to the former and with the spending cuts and non-action on bankers and their bonuses is fostering the latter dramatically.   Cameron has often been seen as shallow, slick and opportunistic.   This Munich speec also reveals him as anxious about his declining popularity and all too ready to resort to populist demagogy to salvage his fortunes.

5 thoughts on “Cameron’s multiculturalism rant: dogwhistle of a worried man?

  1. Thanks for writing this blog on Cameron’s ‘multiculturalism’ speech, sums up what I’m feeling about it. I particularly liked this;

    Cameron complained that ”we have encouraged different cultures to live separate lives”, so why doesn’t he end faith schools? Does he not realise that in towns like mine (Oldham) Asian people mostly live in segregated districts, not for religious or ethnic reasons, but because they can only afford the housing in poorer areas?

    Yes there was no mention from Cameron of ending the faith school system, if he had at least that would’ve been one positive thing (too much to ask for!). It’s quite obvious that Tory policy doesn’t involve helping the poor/vulnerable, so segregation is a big part of their plans… this includes the general segregation of the very rich from the poor!

    As much as I can’t stand the conservatives stance on having a diverse, cosmopolitan UK, I feel just the same about what New Labour did to collapse it! Remember Gordon Brown’s “British jobs for British workers” phrase that the BNP used? Obviously New Labour did a whole lot more damage to multiculturalism in their 13 years in power!

  2. For god sake!! and New labours Policy did allow for the poor, look if you want to bring people into the UK fine by me Asians, Muslims, catholics I do not care but if you open the doors and do not build to ensure that influx can live your asking for serious problems.

    In my area our influx was from Poland, we have no housing with about a five to six year waiting list if your lucky.

    We had people building a squat on land and the council did nothing even though we reported it, until we reported it to the news papers and then they found them council housing, which annoyed the people at the top of the waiting list.

    Immigration without the infrastructure is serious

  3. Your last sentence is particularly significant… that Cameron feels the need to blow the dog whistle only 9m into this government means that he is feeling the pressure of the criticisms of the flawed NHS reforms, schools, forests and the economic policies. I hope that the ‘sensible wing’ of the Conservatives are finally beginning to be frightened enough to stop this notion of ‘creative chaos’ otherwise known as anarcho-capitalism.

  4. I really don’t think multiculturalism is the problem of failed Labour policies. But on the other hand when I look at the benevolent rules of Britain as far as its immigration policies are concerned I believe there needs to be a better system implemented in order to reduce the growing number of those who come to live in Britain without even the basic knowledge of the language or culture of the country.

  5. I’m glad to hear that you identified with this post about Cameron’s speech, and feel that you raise an extremely good point about segregation.

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