Assimilation - the only way

THE great pogroms of Eastern Europe in the 19th and 20th centuries – particularly in Russia and Poland – were driven largely by the refusal of the poor Jewish underclass to assimilate into the society in which they had settled.

THE great pogroms of Eastern Europe in the 19th and 20th centuries – particularly in Russia and Poland – were driven largely by the refusal of the poor Jewish underclass to assimilate into the society in which they had settled. They insisted on speaking Yiddish and generally lived in squalid ghettos.

There were never such problems in the west, particularly in the US, Britain, Spain and France – Jewish settlers were entrepreneurs, made pots of money, and became great benefactors and philanthropists. Even the less well off had no problem in integrating, adopting a British identity in return for the freedom to worship and continue with their long cherished traditions.

Current Conservative leader Michael Howard is the son of a Jewish refugee from oppression is Romania, and he is perfectly placed, using his family's experiences, to call for a greater effort to promote a sense of Britishness among immigrant communities.

"A good deal of soul-searching is in order about the role of minority groups in our society," he said last week in the continuing debate following the London terror attacks. He pointed out that minority societies in the US had been able to buy into the "American dream" that a boy from a log cabin could make it to the White House, whereas no one talked about the "British dream."


You may also want to watch:


He added: "Perhaps one of the mistakes we have made in recent years is a tendency to place too much emphasis on the need to encourage the retention of attachment to other traditions and not enough on the British identity we all share. Rather than cherishing the ties that bind us, we have been focusing on what divides us. Surely it is time to reverse this trend."

Remember the furore 15 years' ago over Lord Tebbit's "cricket test"? – settlers from Asia should support the England team instead of going to Lord's and cheering on Pakistan, India, and Sri Lanka.

Most Read

In an interview last week, Tebbit said multiculturalism was now in danger of undermining British society, and warned that London was "sinking into the same abyss that Londonderry and Belfast sank."

"I've been opposing the concept of a multicultural society for ten years or more and that's because a multicultural society is an impossibility. A society is defined by its culture. It is not defined by its race, it is not a matter of skin colour or ethnicity, it is a matter of culture.

"If you have two cultures in one society then you have two societies. If you have two societies in the same place then you are going to have problems, like the kind we saw on July 7."

In other words, the UK is multiracial and should be proud of it, but multiculturalism is doomed.

Up to a few weeks ago, the sentiments of Michael Howard and Lord Tebbit would have been branded "racist" by bleeding heart liberals. Not any more – and for an obvious reason.

Even the chattering classes – those preachers of political correctness at supper parties in upmarket Holland Park and second homes in Tuscany or Provence – travel on the capital's underground and don't want to die for a distorted vision of Islam.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter