Saturday, November 05, 2005

The lessons of November 5th

400 years ago 70 years of religious strife culminated in the gunpowder plot. It came about because among Britain’s significant minority of Catholics were a tiny minority who were prepared to embark on treason and bloodshed.

Britain’s Catholics were badly treated. They were officially prevented from holding office or taking a degree and fined heavily for taking mass. Catholic priests faced a brutal death.

Yet despite this the vast majority of Catholics were loyal British subjects and went out of their way to show it. Prominent Catholic leaders condemned outright the Gunpowder plot because they were loyal to their country, and perhaps because they knew that bombing innocent people would create a backlash against them- as indeed it did.

400 years later our freedom is once again under threat from religious fanatics. Unlike 17th century Roman Catholics they are not oppressed, indeed the state has fallen over backwards to accommodate their needs. Whilst there are few who are willing to blow themselves up there are a significant number who appear unwilling to condemn outright their actions.

Those who govern the country should be aware that history teaches us that a country containing groups of people sharing no common loyalty is a country heading for instability and strife. Multiculturalism which encourages people to define themselves by their differences has to be replaced by an emphasis on integration and shared loyalty.

At every opportunity we should be saying to British people, it doesn’t matter if you are black white asian. Muslim Christian Hindu Sikh or Jew you are also British and with the rights that come with British citizenship also come responsibilities.

If we fail to do so, then like our 17th century forbearers we face many decades of religious strife.

2 Comments:

Blogger Ceri Grafu said...

"Multiculturalism which encourages people to define themselves by their differences has to be replaced by an emphasis on integration and shared loyalty." - Is this not what the French have been practising over the years, by not allowing religion into schools etc.? Doesn't seem to be working too well over there, Mr Davies...

7:41 AM  
Blogger Lee63 said...

Ceri,

I think you are half right and half wrong. I am no expert on France, but this is how I see it:

They have followed David half way - refusing to allow differences, but they have failed to match this with the second half - integration. For the immigrant population to integrate, they have to feel that it is a shared socity, to which they contribute. The unemployment rate among these groups means that they cannot contribute and join in society, so they feel totally alienated. France has to follow through with proper integration for David's policy to work.

Back to the UK - there is a lesson across the Channel and we have to integrate as well. Underlying this, we have to limit immigration to a level we can properly integrate. No control and we will not integrate then we will end up like France as well.

2:13 AM  

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