Cameron still needs to give 'values' language more content

As David Cameron at last offers some - albeit tentative - leadership on the questions that have long beset us (identity; 'multiculturalism'; learning to discriminate between kinds of citizen - i.e. those that love their country and those that seek to destroy it; a common home, all of which I've written about ad nauseam since 1989), it is time also to recover not just our own voices on these vexed issues, but invest the language of values about which Cameron remains wilfully vague, with some meaningful content. 

We have learned to use a double mind, too often abandoning Muslims and other minorities to their own cultural blocs both territorially and psychically, indifferent to the fact that such apparent 'hospitality' was often simply hypocrisy, or worse.  A double mind creates a divided country.  A house divided against itself will fall.  We would not ourselves accept forced marriage for our own children, or veils for women, but we have accepted it for others within these shores, entailing a massive relinquishing of rights.  We do not call polygamy a barbaric tribal custom, but instead indulge the men who bring multiple wives to this country and perpetuate this abhorrence by paying benefits to all concerned.  We dare not use the word 'love' in public discourse because it smacks of religion (so I'm told).  And love of country without which we cannot gel as a people or a parliamentary system, is still viewed as the next thing to fascism and the concentration camps. 

A desire not to cause offence is the golden rule of Christianity: do as you would be done by.  But that merges into more than cowardice when not tempered by an equal desire for justice and truth.  In the end, without a sense that there is a truth to be known, disclosed for all time to everyone without favour, it ceases to be possible to debate or even think.  And those who suffer the most are those who came here to get away from the poverty and hopelessness that arbitrary values entail.

 

David Cameron's Speech »


 

 

Featured Publication

  • The Story of the Jews: Finding the Words 1000 BCE– 492 CE.

    IF ONE IS LOOKING for a critique of Judaism, or an ethnography of the Jews, Simon Schama's book is not the place to find it.  This is a broad panorama of Jewish history which traces a remarkable love affair with words, argues Lela Gilbert.