Britain under the colonels

“Amid all the multiculturalism-bashing and Muslim-baiting that has become part of our daily media diet, yesterday’s report on Britain’s security risks stood out – a glaring example of just how wrongheaded Britain’s political thinking has become.

“The Royal United Services Institute report, drawn up by a panel dominated by military historians and former top civil servants and forces chiefs, said Britain has become a ‘soft touch’ in combating the threat of terrorism, owing to ‘our loss of cultural self-confidence’. It went on: ‘In misplaced deference to “multiculturalism”, [the majority has] failed to lay down the line to immigrant communities.’

“At best such language and attitudes are a throwback to the intolerant days of the 70s and 80s. At worst, they have the colonial air of white masters barking orders at the ‘uncivilised’. The phrase ‘immigrant communities’ itself has come to be the modern-day euphemism for black or brown people – never used for the Australians of Earls Court, for instance. Worse, it traps all racial minorities as permanent outsiders, the not quite British, regardless of how many generations have been born here.”

Joseph Harker in the Guardian, 16 February 2008