Tony Blair formally declared Britain’s multiculturalist experiment over today 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.
More here, from the Times, and it’s encouraging:
[Blair] set out a series of proposals designed to strike the “right balance” between integration and diversity, some of which are likely to cause controversy among minority groups. First the Prime Minister said, all future grants to ethnic and religious groups will be assessed against a test of promoting cohesion and intergration.”In a sense, very good intentions got the better of us. We wanted to be hospitable to new groups. We wanted, rightly, to extend a welcome and did so by offering public money to entrench their cultural presence. Money was too often freely awarded to groups that were tightly bonded around religious, racial or ethnic identities,” said Mr Blair …New British citizens already have to pass a language test but from April the 150,000 to 170,000 people who seek permanent residency in the UK each year will also have to pass an English test before residency is granted. And visiting preachers would have to have a proper command of English as well as facing the existing test that the Home Secretary can ban them from the UK if their presence is judged not to be in the public good. In addition, the age at which a person can get permission to come to the UK to marry may be raised from 18.