Blair to Immigrants: Adopt Our Values or Stay Away
Tony Blair has sent out a message to would-be British immigrants: assimilate or stay home.
Tony Blair formally declared Britain’s multicultural experiment over yesterday as he told immigrants they had ”a duty” to integrate with the mainstream of society.
In a speech that overturned more than three decades of Labour support for the idea, he set out a series of requirements that were now expected from ethnic minority groups if they wished to call themselves British.
These included “equality of respect” – especially better treatment of women by Muslim men – allegiance to the rule of law and a command of English.
If outsiders wishing to settle in Britain were not prepared to conform to the virtues of tolerance then they should stay away. He added: “Conform to it; or don’t come here. We don’t want the hate-mongers, whatever their race, religion or creed. “If you come here lawfully, we welcome you. If you are permitted to stay here permanently, you become an equal member of our community and become one of us. The right to be different. The duty to integrate. That is what being British means.”
It seems rather self-evident not only that societies would want immigrants to conform to the basic requirements of the culture but that those who are migrating elsewhere would want to do so. Blair’s formulation is just right: “The right to be different. The duty to integrate.” Without the former, you get fascism. Without the latter, anarchy.
How this rhetoric will translate into policy, however, remains to be seen. Steve Bainbridge is likely right that the schools are part of the answer. In recent years, American schools, at least, have overemphasized “The right to be different” and ignored “The duty to integrate.”
Full text of Blair’s remarks here.