Jul 29, 2005

Proud to be British, progressive version

Tristram Hunt enters "right-wing, jingoist territory" to hail Britannia. Pretty good, too. Of course, the evil neocons are mentioned, but not 'til the last paragraph.
Unfortunately, our otherwise progressive government has not always acted to protect these cultural traditions. The French newspaper Le Figaro rightly remarked on the irony of MPs outlawing fox-hunting - a historic component of British culture in art, literature and the very contours of our natural heritage - while happily allowing in Muslim clerics committed to destroying British values. At the same time, institutional political correctness in local government allowed notions of a sacrosanct multiculturalism to be placed above the rule of law in the tragic case of Victoria Climbie.

By bending over backwards to accommodate the cultures and religions of migrant communities, we have been in danger of undermining the very ideals that attracted immigrants here to begin with. One of the few politicians brave enough to confront this dilemma has been David Blunkett. The teaching of citizenship in schools, the introduction of citizenship ceremonies, and the publication by Bernard Crick of an official history of Britain have served to return the emphasis to British values. Meanwhile, Blunkett himself has happily broken with the left's usual reserve on these matters, speaking of his patriotic ardour for English music, poetry, drama and humour.

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