Saturday, 5 February 2011

The essence of Britishness

We believe in tolerant democracy.

We believe that we settle our differences by wrestling words and votes, not arms and bullets

We believe that the majority has the right to prevail, but it does not have the right to oppress the minorities

We believe that the minorities have the right to free expression and the quiet enjoyment of their differences. They do not have the right to resort to violence or illegal means to try to get their way

We do not believe that any creed or ideology has sole right to lord over us all, but we do believe we all have the right to our creed and ideology to enjoy without upsetting others

The sovereign principles are those of tolerant democracy, the best way to try to live in harmony, to settle disputes, and reach some common purpose.

Thus John Redwood, inspired by David Cameron's recent speech. To me, that phrase about "quiet enjoyment of their differences" is the essence of  true multiculturalism, ushered in by Cromwell's official readmission of the Jews to  Britain. But one implicit factor needs bringing out: the English language. As that great liberal, Katharine Whitehorn, points out, "Language [...] is a vital part of the interface between those who grew up here and those who didn't".

Where I do disagree with Mr Redwood is that active membership of the European community of nations is compatible with all the principles stated above.

3 comments:

Frank H Little said...

Meral Ece contributes at http://www.libdemvoice.org/meral-husseinece-writes-has-multiculturalism-failed-22992.html

Anonymous said...

Sorry this is a bit confusing. Does this mean you think that who didn't "grow up" in Wales should be required to learn Welsh, or what exactly. It's all a bit vague.

Frank H Little said...

No, it would have to be English, because that is the common language. Nothing to stop immigrants learning Welsh as well, of course.