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The Bruges Group spearheaded the intellectual battle to win a vote to leave the European Union and, above all, against the emergence of a centralised EU state.
The Bruges Group spearheaded the intellectual battle to win a vote to leave the European Union and, above all, against the emergence of a centralised EU state.
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Multinationalism vs multiculturalism

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The very concept of the United Kingdom of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland is multinational.

As with any "coalition", there are tensions between states, not least due to historical disagreements but fundamentally the commonality of historic Anglo-Saxon Judeo-Christian values has made for a tolerant, inclusive nation.

The United Kingdom has a proud history of embracing migrants fleeing persecution and whose lives were in danger in their country of domicile from the French Huguenots through to Afghan translators who supported our armed forces. Our heritage is richer for it.

My school years through to adolescence were spent within a 6 mile radius of Birmingham. I was fortunate to play sport, predominantly cricket, with second generation peers of Caribbean (predominantly Christian) and South Asian, (predominantly of Indian (Hindu, Sikh, Muslim) and Pakistani (Muslim) heritage.

Despite the endemic problems with racism and bigotry that pervaded major multiracial cities in the 1980s, I rarely encountered significant tensions (beyond the competitive variety) between players from different ethnic backgrounds, either between themselves or towards white British players.

I was aware that some players would be united more by their faith than their nationality but even so there was considerable mutual inter faith respect, including enduring friendships. Fundamentally, we had much more that united us (desire to win games of cricket) than divided us.

Leaving school at 16, I entered the world of work in 1987 and worked as a trainee motor insurance broker in a number of areas of inner city Birmingham. Customers would stand in front of a Trade Counter, which dependent on the crime rate in the area, would also have floor to ceiling perspex screens.

In 18 months, across 5 branches of this insurance broker, the world was rather different in the South Asian adult community. Whilst there were no issues between most communities, those from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh who were Muslims rarely (I don't recall ever) shared space with others, regardless of their ethnic or religious background.

Having been invited in to both a Sikh Gurdwara and Hindu temple in my teens, I was made to feel incredibly welcome. Both faiths were respectful of others and very much part of multinational Britain. Sadly, I have never been in mosque.

I have lived in London for most of the last 30+ years. Whilst my cricket playing days are long gone, my experience of the success/failure of multiculturalism, including community integration, with few exceptions, has been replicated.

It would be naive (and a falsehood) to articulate that the entire White, Black and Asian British population lives in absolute peace and harmony. From sectarian issues in Northern Ireland and Glasgow to non-faith differences, not least around certain sporting events, there are flashpoints. However, there is (far) more that unites than divides and "allegiance" to Great Britain is rarely questioned.

Generally, the exception to the rule, in England and particularly in our major cities, is in the Pakistani Muslim community, where a strict interpretation of Islam, knows as Wahhabism is prevalent. From hate preachers to picketing schools, attitudes towards women and girls to non-faithcommunity engagement, Wahhabi Muslims are the least integrated in and aligned with British values.

This has accelerated dramatically since the Twin Towers terrorist incident and morphed further with the emergence of Islamic State. Bangladeshi immigrants (formerly East Pakistan) provide the vast majority of staff to the almost 10,000 curry houses or "Indian" restaurants (as they are erroneously referred to) and whilst their faith is unimpeachable, Bangladeshis are overwhelmingly Muslims (along with their Indian counterparts who are a small minority in their country of origin) yet on the whole have integrated far more successfully into British society than their Pakistani counterparts.

It is far too reductive to say that all Pakistani Wahhabi Muslims are unwilling to engage with British societal and cultural values.

It is reasonable however to say that issues ranging from death threats against a teacher in Batley for showing children a cartoon of the prophet Muhammad to incidents of domestic terrorism, rape and prostitution of often underage White British girls and travelling to war zones to join extremist Islamist terrorist organisations including Islamic State, emanate substantially in Wahhabi (often Pakistani) Muslim communities.

British stuff upper lips may be less prevalent than in days of yore and many fear the lazy tropes of racism or bigotry that come from articulating what I have said here. I have no such fear.

I have highlighted the lack of successful British societal harmony by Wahhabi Muslims in an attempt to illuminate the wider issue of the failure of successful integration of a small but growing minority of immigrants who have settled in the United Kingdom, yet would never view it as home.

The perceived threat of domestic terrorism from dissident Irish Republicans diminished appreciably after the signing of the Good Friday Agreement and is now essentially limited to Northern Ireland.
Since the Twin Towers, the biggest single threat of domestic terrorism (perceived and real) is from Islamist extremists.

The British population has grown by almost 10M since Freedom of Movement was embraced wholeheartedly by Tony Blair's government.

Despite a flat birth rate within the indigenous population, immigration more than filled the gap.
Brexit saw the end of free movement but 2021 has seen (to date) a more than trebling of migrants arriving illegally and undocumented by crossing the English Channel. 87% of arrivals are men of fighting age from predominantly Islamic states, including Iraq, Sudan and Somalia, all of whom pursue a strict interpretation of Islam.

I fail to comprehend why so many claim asylum when if they face persecution in their country of origin, they would leave their women and children behind.

Along with their Pakistani counterparts, migrants from these backgrounds are typically Wahhabi Muslims and have been less successful in embracing British culture and values.

Over 40,000 people are on the Security Services terrorism watch list. There are also estimated to be 1.5M immigrants living illegally in the United Kingdom.

75% of domestic terrorist incidents arise from those born in the United Kingdom, yet they do not view this country as "home".

It is time for pusillanimous British politicians from all parties to acknowledge the threats to security and community cohesion of our previous immigration policy and instead both identify and deport those who wish us harm and prevent the arrival of those who share their, not our, values.

These views are not controversial. They resonate with the vast majority of the indigenous British population. We remain (rightly) welcoming to genuine asylum seekers and immigrants that mirror national economic need. This is underscored by the 5.6M EU nationals who have applied for settled status in the UK.

The first duty of government is to protect the safety of its citizens. It is time that duty became reality.

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