Question: What do foreign television channels, English, immigration, social networking and abortion have in common?
Answer: In various places around the world they have been cited as destroying national culture
The recent thinly-veiled racism in Leicester protesting about the local authority leasing a derelict scout hut to an Islamic prayer group highlights how confused people are. The oft-quoted arguments against immigration and multi-culturalism are the fear that accepting newcomers into the country erodes the values and way of life and that it takes resources away from those who have “earned” them. Thousands of them, after saying they are sick of what is happening to this country, emigrate to the Costas to do exactly the same while still claiming whatever benefits they can.
So what is this culture that is being eroded? I can’t take seriously a comment from some of the racist shaven chimps who say that this country is a Christian country. For one they would be the most unChristian Christians I have ever seen in terms of their words and actions – no church would want to be associated with them. Secondly their venom is targeted equally at Poles and Afro Caribbeans who have injected a new lease of life into practising Christianity in this country. Let’s accept there is history of Christianity but the vast majority of the population who don’t practise it have a healthy tolerance for those that do. Increasingly we don’t accept strict doctrine that it imposes (Catholic views on abortion, C of E views on homosexuality, and any attempt to impose a religious state) and that is a hint at some of the real values we hold – valuing freedom and tolerating difference. This goes right back to Magna Carta.
I wouldn’t trouble those same people with discussion of culture in artistic terms. I suspect they have been untroubled by literature, design, art, architecture, and theatre. They may well mistakenly believe Hollywood is in East London but I will concede they may have a reasonable knowledge of the last couple of years of popular music and television ‘culture’.
What stands the test of time is the British tolerance for difference. The London Olympics will be remembered for years as a catalyst for national pride after the traditional cynicism and . We would do well to look hard at why it has been unanimously praised and recognised as a great advertisement for Great Britain around the world. Look at the genetic heritage of more than 500 Team GB athletes who all had the choice of which flag to compete under. Where do they think the surnames of Grabarz, Bechtolsheimer, Louloudis, Maher, Ohurugu come from? Where do the bloodlines of Jessica Ennis and Zara Phillips lead – not just over the last one or two generations but over hundreds of years? Think of the virtues of fair play, hard work ethic, teamwork, respect for coaches and rules, gracious defeat and humble victory. We know what this country stands for – we don’t need lessons from feckless, undereducated chippy bigots upset that the benefit system isn’t being channelled to them and their family.
They should be grateful that our culture means that, while we are embarrassed and sorry for them, we tolerate them too.