It’s vital we make this distinction between the religion and the political ideology.
He might say that, but the full content of the speech suggests otherwise. His theory is that multiculturalism breeds terrorism in the UK. He attempts to build an argument to justify this theory which goes something like this: young Muslims feel isolated and un-rooted because of the Muslim community’s apparent self imposed isolation from the rest of society. This isolation, Cameron claims, is multiculturalism which he maintains has bred terrorism. He’s wrong.
Multiculturalism has always been a part of the fabric of our society. Just think of the various communities that grew in Wales during the height of the industrial revolution, English, Scottish, Cornish, Jewish, Romany, Irish, Chinese, Somali, Italian, and Polish. These varied cultures have enriched Welsh life and contributed to modern Wales. Our songs, dance, languages, sport, have all been influenced by these cultures. Or look at the growth of London with its various communities.
Under the doctrine of state multiculturalism, we have encouraged different cultures to live separate lives, apart from each other and the mainstream.
Where does this leave Wales and Welsh culture in relation to the British State? Is encouraging Welsh culture part of a state multiculturalism doctrine separate from the English mainstream? Where does it leave the Romany who live largely independent from the UK ‘mainstream’?
It is clear that ‘multiculturalism’ has nothing to do with terrorism.
To my mind the speech shows the duality of Cameron’s politics, and ironically the very root of the terrorism that he says he wants to tackle.
Cameron and his Conservatives loathe diversity. They can’t understand it. In their neo-imperial mind-set they cannot fathom why people should want to be different from them. Their aim, much like their Victorian forebears, is to shape society to their understanding. Though Cameron claims to support the devolution of power to the most local level possible he’ll not let go of power unless it is exercised in the way that he wants it to be exercised, and he cannot control this unless he can influence and understand those that would exercise that power. Anything different is deemed as a threat to his vision of a homogeneous British society, an imaginary sepia society (which probably looks like a cross between Jane Austen’s Pride and Pred and the Hovis Advert), but is nevertheless very real in the collective memory of Cameron and his ilk.
Various semi-independent communities live side-by-side in a more-or-less peaceful co-existence across the globe. However it is also the case that cultures live cheek by jowl in what seems to be perpetual war. What’s the difference? Respect and equality.
Cameron’s attack on multiculturalism is part of that neo-imperialism. He attacks something which he doesn’t understand nor respect. Though he doesn’t say so in as many words his thinking implies that he considers other cultures inferior and less equal to that of his own.
It is not multiculturalism that’s the problem but the converse, monoculturalism, an uniformed existence which is the very thing that Cameron and neo-imperialists like him strive for and why many feel threatend.
That is what is at the root of the so many of the terrorist attacks that we’ve seen curse imperial powers.
History shows that when an over-powerful culture, such as the virulent Anglo-American culture of today, threatens the existence of other cultures and peoples, then people react.
I’m no scientist but I know that every action has a re-action.