Many of Britain’s towns and cities have been transformed “out of all recognition” by mass immigration, turning parts of them into ghettoes which successive governments have ignored “for fear of being branded racist or Islamophobic”, and which are creating “escalating divisions and tensions”, says a government report, the Casey Review.
And what is the author Louise Casey’s proposed solution?
Why, that immigrants should be required to swear an oath of allegiance to their host country.
Yeah, that’ll really make a difference.
To be fair to Casey, she has had a very decent stab at a very difficult job. Though she doesn’t actually use the word “ghettoes”, her report is perfectly clear on the huge social cohesion problems in Britain – mainly caused by the accumulation in monocultural “pockets” of people following one religion in particular…
There are parts of Blackburn, Birmingham, Burnley and Bradford where the population is between 70% and 85% Muslim.
In January 2015, there were 511 schools across 43 local authority areas with 50% or more pupils from Pakistani and Bangladeshi ethnic backgrounds.
Economic inactivity levels remain unusually high among women from Pakistani and Bangladeshi ethnic groups – 57.2% are inactive in the labour market compared with 25.2% of White women and 38.5% of all ethnic minority women.
In some of these ghettoes, Muslims are so isolated from the broader society that they believe Britain is actually an Islamic country where 75 per cent of the population follows Islam.
The correct figure is 4.8 per cent – and growing fast.
In 2001 the Muslim population in Britain was 1.6 million. By 2011, it had nearly doubled to 2.8 million.
None of this would necessarily matter if this growing religious minority population showed any inclination to adhere with the values of the broader host society. But according to Casey’s report, what we actually have is two cultures heading in opposite directions.
As a nation, we are getting older, more secular and more open about our sexuality, while the growing ethnic minority population is younger and more likely to identify as religious (particularly among Pakistani and Bangladeshi ethnic groups).
This isn’t helped, she notes, by the fact that we effectively have two parallel legal systems operating in Britain: one English Common Law which applies to everyone, the other the shadowy Sharia courts which lay down the law on civil issues in Muslim areas and mean that Muslim women, especially, end up being treated as second class citizens.
However, we heard about discriminatory practices against women which, in some cases, are causing serious harm. Some women’s rights groups have accused Sharia Councils and other parallel legal systems of denying vulnerable women and children access to equality and human rights. There have been claims that some Sharia Councils have been supporting the values of extremists, condoning wife-beating, ignoring marital rape and allowing The overriding principle is that these rules, practices and bodies must operate within the laws of the UK. Some women’s rights groups have accused Sharia Councils and other parallel legal systems of denying vulnerable women and children access to equality and human rights. 133 forced marriage. It has also been claimed that their influence is growing.
So, short of ducking the “ghetto” word, Casey’s report could hardly have been clearer about the nature and scale of the problem.
Her difficulty is that she is operating in a climate of such rampant political correctness that no one in any position of authority really wants to deal with the issues her report raises. Or even to admit – except in the vaguest, most mealy-mouthed way – that these problems actually exist.
Nowhere is this climate of denial better illustrated by the BBC’s treatment of the report on Radio 4’s Today programme this morning.
Sure Louise Casey was allowed on to have her say and – having first dutifully mouthed the usual pieties about what a jolly good thing immigration had been for Britain – she proved really quite robust on issues like the veil, which she said she believed shouldn’t be worn, by policewomen, midwives, and suchlike: “I want to see their faces. Most of us do.”
But the BBC, in true BBC style, insisted on preceding the interview with a report by journalist Sima Kotecha, who visited the Muslim ghetto of Oldham to demonstrate just how wrong and offensive Casey’s report actually is.
One woman she interviewed was said to be “angry at the suggestion that Muslim men are misogynists”. The woman said with a giggle: “I’m married myself. My husband does not control me.” [Phew! So that’s that canard laid to rest, eh listeners?]
Kotecha went on: “Some have labelled the findings ignorant, racist, and ridiculous.”
With an intro like that, is it any wonder that Casey was on the defensive when finally given her chance to explain herself.
“You can get as many right-on people on the radio as you want today, you can get as many community leaders as you like to say I’m wrong, but you cannot deny an uncomfortable truth which is that inequality in certain communities in these highly segregated areas is getting worse not better.”
And she’s right. But here’s a prediction. It’s going to get a lot, lot worse still before any agency of government has the balls to do a single thing about it. This, after all, is why the utterly useless David Cameron commissioned that Casey Report in the first place: to give the illusion that something was being done, prior to kicking the issue into the long grass.