David Cameron will speak to residents of Lozells today on what he believes prevents community cohesion: extremism, poor educational standards, multiculturalism, uncontrolled immigration and poverty.
Our ten highlights of the excellent speech are below (Download full speech):
The British way of resolving tensions: "When there have been tensions, when things threaten to divide us, we’ve always reacted in a very British way. We haven’t been hysterical. We haven’t lost sight of the British way of doing things. We’ve been calm, and thoughtful, and reasonable. That is the British way, and that’s the way we should face the challenge of this moment, today."
Inspiring not coercing (Sun instead of Wind): "Yes we must demand from everyone in this country that they obey our laws. But loyalty is not just about laws. Loyalty is about giving people something to believe in. So we must inspire loyalty by building a Britain that every one of our citizens believes in."
Sharia law advocates are equivalent to BNP supporters: "For the BNP, racism isn’t a scourge, it’s a political philosophy. They prey on voters who are disillusioned with mainstream politics. And those who seek a sharia state, or special treatment and a separate law for British Muslims are, in many ways, the mirror image of the BNP."
Multiculturalism as it stands is a divisive force: "For many years, the ruling class in this country believed in something called multiculturalism. Multiculturalism sounds like a good thing: people of different cultures living together. But it has been manipulated to favour a divisive idea – the right to difference… instead of promoting a unifying idea – the right for everyone to be treated equally despite their differences."
And its proponents have undermined national unity: "Together with the extremism of the BNP, they created a situation in which many people were even scared to be proud of their country, because to say you’re British was practically the same as being a racist. We’ve got to stop all this. We’ve got to make sure that people learn English, and we’ve got to make sure that kids are taught British history properly at school. I believe that the Government should redirect some of the money it currently spends on translation into additional English classes."
Immigration and integration need to go at the same rate: "We wouldn’t be half the country we are without immigration. But you can’t have a situation where a country doesn’t know – and can’t control – who is coming in and out, and who is settling here. That puts pressure on housing, on public services, and helps create division, fear and resentment – among British people of all ethnic backgrounds."
Social mobility is one of the lowest of any wealthy country: "The problem is that many of the consequences of poverty; family breakdown and fatherlessness, drug and alcohol addiction, unemployment, ill-health, and crime… are also its causes. It’s a self-perpetuating cycle. In some of our urban areas people are living in conditions of multiple deprivation. Not only is this an affront to social justice; it’s also a breeding ground for resentment and division."
Educational apartheid, between good and bad schools, breeds prejudice: "Without a proper education, many people will be stuck for their whole lives in poverty and ignorance… instead of becoming productive citizens who can make a constructive contribution to the community and the country. Some make it despite the obstacles – but too many don’t. Those who get left behind are prime targets for extremists who offer easy explanations and point the finger of blame at other people."
Cultural sensitivity mustn’t prevent championing women’s rights: "In certain sections of the community women are being denied access to education, work, involvement in the political process – and, surprisingly, even denied access to mosques. I’m told time and time again by women that the denial of these opportunities is not because of their Islamic faith but because of current cultural interpretations in Britain."
Lacking hope, wealth and opportunity is the real barrier: "The things that divide us are not the differences in our faith or colour. We know in this country – because we have done it so well in the past – that people of all faiths and none, people of all colours and backgrounds have the compassion and the wisdom to know how to live together. No, it is not these things that divide us. What divides us are the barriers."