I rather think that I have to – with some reluctance – describe myself as ‘antimulticultural’. Travelling the world as a fly on the wall allows exposure to a number of different cultural identities. Here in France, the sense of identity is firm and well-developed but in Britain, this is far less in evidence. Having been born and brought up there, one reason why I left was that I had less and less idea what it meant to be ‘British’ any more. Multiculturalism is a moral vacuum, and “into a moral vacuum always bad things creep.” Of course, I felt guilty, because pluralism or multiracial societies seem to me to be good and desirable things – learning from others, and so on - but a multicultural society where group differences are actually encouraged, especially when such differences are in moral, spiritual or even legal conflict, seems to me to be a very bad thing. It leads to a defensive, ghetto mentality which, if threatened, spills over into antisocial behaviour, or worse, defence of the prevalent mentality in the ghetto which spawned it. According to Douglas Murray, Director of the Centre for Social Cohesion, a London-based think tank, the problem is “that the British government has pushed young Muslims into becoming young Muslims when it should have pushed them into becoming young Brits. In other words, the direction of travel it sent them in has been deeply backward.”
British Muslims might ask ‘You tell me to integrate, but what are we integrating into? What is Britain, what are British values?’ It’s very hard to tell people to integrate if you don’t tell them what they are integrating into. It’s very hard to tell them to be British if they don’t know and you don’t know what Britishness is. The fact is that we have been very poor in saying what we are and we have also been very poor is saying what we expect people to be. We’ve been very good in stressing what rights people get when they come to Britain and very bad at explaining what responsibilities come with them. Once so-called multicultural societies decided that they didn’t have a locus, that they didn’t have a centre of gravity, anyone could ride in and teach the most pernicious things,” Murray goes on. “It didn’t matter. It was just another point of view.
Saul Bellow once wrote “When public morality becomes a ghost town, it’s a place into which anyone can ride and declare himself sheriff.”