They're not voting because...
- Perhaps this is not the right place ...
Perhaps this is not the right place for me to post a comment as most comments are from our youth, at 69 I guess that category is no longer mine:-)However, I will not be voting, not out of apathy, I have very strong convictions, but because I see no party that represents even 50% of my views.written 18th Apr 2005
There are many problems that need tackling in this country, yes education, hospitals, transport etc, yet these are really the result of other problems which we are not treating seriously enough because they are seen as political hot potatoes.
The real problem is the massive rise in immigration, legal and illegal, this put a strain on our resources which reflects all the way down the line. It is not just the rise of Islam, although this is a real danger, it is the very shift in our British culture. How can I support any British government that does not support the British culture, that talks of pluralism and multiculturism? Visit Malaysia and see how well (or should I say badly), it works there.
We should have a vetting system, allow, even encourage it, from some countries, we already have many Philippino nurses, and Chinese and Indian doctors, and they do a worthwhile job. Then, dare I say it, refuse further immigrants from countries which are basically anti-british, if they hate us and our way of life so much, why do they choose to live here?
cjj replies: Ukip maybe?written 18th Apr 2005
Ian replies: As I said, no party satisfies me, I am, with a few reservations a supported ot the EU. I travel the worls a lot and have become very much aware of the global impact the EU is making, Britain should not lose out on this.written 18th Apr 2005
Jax replies: "if they hate us and our way of life so much, why do they choose to live here?"
A lot of the seekers, prefer England and the way of life here to the country they are coming from. That's why they come here, they seek asylum from persecution in their own country.
Oh and btw out of the 150,000 eastern european immigrant to this country over the past 3 years, only 23 of them (not percent, just 23) are on benefits.written 18th Apr 2005
Ian replies: You are confusing the issue, a very common tactic, shift the ground and argue about something else:-) Can you tell me where I have mentioned Eastern European countries? Also 150,000 is a piddling amount compared to the influx from Asian, Middle Eastern and African countries. However, if you wish to discuss Eastern European figures, why are all these 23 people in my town? :-) Also why do the Metropolitan police attribute the rise in crime, particularly in the sex and drug industries to Eastern Europeans, that is why they are not on benefits, they are working hard at their jobs:-)written 18th Apr 2005
Vici replies: The whole immigration proble is based on ignorance and propoganda! There is no problem!! We need migrant workers and asylum seekers in the main (I am not naive enough to suggest that there aren't some who come for economic reasons) are here because they are fleeing persecution they would rather be at home in a country where they can speak their own language and live in their own culture! They in the main, want to work and to pay their way but due to current government policy are not allowed to do this!!written 18th Apr 2005
Ian replies: Yet another person who seeks to confuse the issue:-) I stated quite clearly in my first posting that I supported immigration, with a few reservation, perhaps you did not notice?written 18th Apr 2005
As to "speaking their own language and living their own culture, in their own country", that is no problem. However, when you decide, for whatever reason, to live in another country, one should adopt the language and culture of that country, not change it to suit yourself.
Brian replies: Veritas?written 18th Apr 2005
Stuart Robinson replies: The United Kingdom, is in my opinion, blighted by its focus on British-ify-ing immigrants. Multiculturism does not lead to a loss of culture, just look at Australia, or Canada. They have maintained, or enriched, their cultures. The very idea of trying to enforce a British ideal upon its residents in shortsighted. What are you going to do? Have a Britishness police squad, scowering the neighbourhoods? Are you going to deport people for having the temerity to speak a language other than English or Gaelic? In that case maybe we should deport Americans, and demolish all McDonalds resteraunts, as they definitely are not do not display British culture or propper use of the English language.
The very idea of regulating culture is tantamount to introducing the thought-police of George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four. Perhaps we should make those not of British descent wear a distincive symbol, so that these thought-police will know who to look out for when serching for non-Britishness?written 19th Apr 2005
Ian replies: It would seem that everyone on this website chooses to attack my comments, and most of these criticisms are more emotional than reasoned.written 19th Apr 2005
There has been much debate about multiculturalism as opposed to integration, neither seems to work well in the long run. Particulary when one of the cultures follows a religion which is intolerant of any other belief and refuses to amicably coexist with other life styles/religions.
I suggest you read about the problems in Denmark recently, the ongoing problems in Holland, France and Germany. Read the "Straits times" or the "Singapore times", see how badly multiculturalism works in Malaysia, or how many cities in Australia have problems with roaming street gangs of Asian youths. Even better visit these countries, as I do, and see for yourself.
My writings are not based on any mealy mouthed dogma or political doctrines, but on personal, direct experiences.
You introduce another red herring in the form of McDonalds, I also don't like American capitalism and their worl-wide junk food marketing. Yet, they exist here because people use them, take your custom elsewhere and if enough people do the same they will cease to exist.
Unfortunately, unlike McDonalds, ignoring immigrants will not make them go away.
Mark replies: Its not unreasonbable to exepect a person working in the service industry to be able to speak the native language. The fact a person can speak another language is also a boon.written 19th Apr 2005
Work hard pay your taxes and we will love you while I sit in the dole queue with my ten kids thanking the lord I was born in a country that has a government that benefits ME so very very much.
Patriot replies: I agree entirely with the original poster...
Controlled immigration is fine.
But it really annoys me having to deal with people who cannot speak a word of the language of the country they're living in....
And it really annoys me that any support / celebration of being white and anglo saxon is deemed racist etc..
I suppose partly because our heritage in that respect has been hijacked the racist factions of society....
Oh but if it's a black only or muslim festival etc etc then it's fine.
And no i am not racist in any way-written 19th Apr 2005
I just would like to see my heritage represented in equal share in the media and the country as a whole.
Ian replies: Hi Patriot, it is nice to find a supporting voice, I was starting to dispair of ever finding one:-)written 19th Apr 2005
I think the Nottinghill Gate festival is perhaps the best example of cultural integration in this country, but even that has had its problems. However, West Indians speak our language, howbeit with a often incomprehensible slang to me:-) They dress like us, well perhaps not their youth:-) They obey the same cultural rules as us. I have no problems with seeing them as part of English culture.
What I cannot accept as British are people who force their women to wear clothes that derides their femininity, are unable to speak the English language, demand special treatment in schools, hospitals and prisons. Who sees nothing wrong in their people joining foreign armies and fighting British soldiers, who forces young girls to marry old men. Who believe that their laws and their God are superior to our laws and beliefs.
I don't care what passport these people have, to me they will never been seen as British.
It is not just a cultural divide, it is one of ethos, unfortunately the British ethos of tolerance and humanity becomes a weakness when we allow the intolerant and fanatical to flourish in our midst.
What is even stranger is that if it was not for the forthcoming General Election, I might have run the risk of being arrested for publicly expression my opinion on these matters. Probably most of the previous posters would be happy to see that :-))
Matt B replies: one of my best friends is croatian and he believes in controlled immigration. He was asked if he wanted British citizenship when he came here; he replied he was Croatian and that was fine. He's working here for a few years and then going home - with his english wife.written 20th Apr 2005
Ian replies: Hi Matt,
I can understand that, Croatia is a lovely country, although poor, the Dalmatian coast reminds me of the Scottish isles, only with much warmer and clearer water:-) Get him to invite you to visit there you will love it:-)
While you are at it don't miss Slovenia:-)
However, I don't think we are talking about these kind of people when we talk about an immigration problem.
Ianwritten 20th Apr 2005
Stuart Robinson replies: Ian:
I live in Australia. Trust me, there aren't any roaming street gangs, and even if there are, they arent race based, but socio-economic class-based.written 21st Apr 2005
Multiculturalism works perfectly in this country, you should give it a go. Starting by teaching the young, as we do here, how it works and why integration and assimiltaion both failed. Australia used to believe in integration, but when you think aobut it, it makes no sense. You can't force people to adopt your culture, and discriminating based on culture is just as bad as on race, gender or socio-economic class.
Ian replies: Hi Stuart,written 21st Apr 2005
Like many countries what you perceive depends upon where you are in them. But whom should I believe, you or the Australian press, available on line. Should I believe you or my oldest daughter just returned last year after living there for 30 years. Or Should I listen to another daughter who has an australian husband, or to her australian father-in-law? Should I listen to several of my Asian friends studying at university there? Because they are my sources of information. Incidentally, I think you left out the aborigines in your cultural, racial integration. Oh yes, and what about the hopeful illegal boat immigrants, didn't they end up stuck on an island, now that is a very enlightened approach to immigrants, perhaps we should do the same, we have plenty of barren islands in Scotland.
Adam replies: As a Londoner living in Australia, I can also confirm an absence of 'roaming gangs of asian youths'. I think Stuart's point about intergration was, ironically, exactly what you have picked up on - they tried it with the aboriginal population, made a terrible mess and are still trying to repair the damage, but at least they learnt the lesson.
I'm afraid your views on Islam as 'a real danger' do betray a little ignorance of what it is actually about. I am also not aware of any countries where all the people are 'anti-British' - I presume you are talking about Muslim countries....
As far as voting goes, I would suggest the BNP - the normal choice for people who have a belief in 'britishness' that extends beyond the passport. Alternatively, you could try putting the Daily Mail down for four years and seeing whether you feel less frightened without being exposed to its shrieking propaganda at the next election.
Either way, regardless of our differing opinions, I absolutely support your right to have and express yours. If you feel so passionately, I would suggest you do vote for someone.written 21st Apr 2005
Tinks replies: To Ian's comment about West Indians..the whole reason Caribbeans speak English is because British slave traders raped the homeland of West Africans and shipped them off to the West Indies. Obviously they were forced to speak English because that is what the English people did when they went around colonising and ruling other people's countries. I'm not suggesting you condone slavery, I'm just pointing out to you the origins of the people you have "no problems seeing as part of English culture."written 21st Apr 2005
Ian replies: Hi Adam,
You will neither anger me nor shift my opinion by adopting a patronising tone:-) With regards to Australia I will stick by what I wrote, with regards to Islam, I understand it well and regularly travel and stay in Islamic countries....I would suggest rather that it is you who displays a little ignorance about what it is about:-) Your comment is typical of people who have been deluded by "British" apologists for this religion:-)You could well be a Moslem yourself:-) Not sure about your Daily Mail comment, have never read this paper, another one of your assumptions?
Ianwritten 21st Apr 2005
Ian replies: Hi Tinks,
I don't understand the relevance of your comment, perhaps you are just letting off steam. I think most people are aware of the reasons why West Indians speak English, French or Spanish. The point I was making is simply that they do. Why they do so is a different topic altogether from the one under discussion here. A common problem it would seem with both politicians and voters is that they cannot hold to a topic but rather try to shift it in a direction which concerns themselves. Fishing stocks are getting depleted but there is still an abundance of "red herrings" :-)
Ianwritten 21st Apr 2005
ryano replies: I'm a bit unsure as to what constitutes 'British Culture'. Is it Morris Dancers, Rambling on the downs, Fish & Chip suppers, Football, Village cricket? Please help.written 21st Apr 2005
Ian replies: Hello Ryano,
Another humourist:-) I think the simple answer is that if you have to ask this question, then you are not British. You name five items, yes these are all part of British culture, as are many more things. You left out playing darts at the local, football hooligans, the annual trip to the seaside (Ibeza?), and many more.written 21st Apr 2005
But you also left out freedom of speech, freedom of religious choice, the right to peaceful assembly, and a few other minor British qualities that some newcomers seem to be unhappy with:-)
Adam replies: Ian,
No intent to patronise, merely adding my view to the debate. My main assumption was that, by posting your opinions on a public page, you were inviting others to offer their comment.
As I said, if your views are so strong, vote for the BNP or perhaps Veritas.written 21st Apr 2005
ryano replies: Ian, thanks for the humourist comment, I'll take that as a compliment. I'm still unsure what unique qualities make up British Culture. You say freedom of speech, freedom of religious beliefs etc. These are common to a lot of countries and don't as such apply only to Britain.written 21st Apr 2005
Ian replies: Hi Ryano, some things are difficult to define, you recognise them more by their absence or their loss, rather like many people say about love:-) I think the concept of British culture is complex, I can say what it is not though easily enough, it is not wearing the hijab, it is not preaching hatred in places of worship against non believers, it is not volunteering to fight British soldiers. The first time I visited China people there expected me to carry a briefcase and rolled umbrella, this is a stereotype:-) Others see us as chanting football slogans and smashing shop windows. But these are extremes, there is a middle path that most people can point at and say, that is typically English. Read "Bill Bryson's" books, he sums it up quite well.
On freedom of speech etc, yes we are not the only country, but try walking through a Saudi town with a Bible under your arm, or publish the sort of comments about the Thai King that we often see printed about Charles. Try sending a government critical article to a newspaper in Malaysia. Best of all, travel the world for a few years, then you will really appreciate the essence of what we call British.
Ianwritten 21st Apr 2005
Betty Swallocks replies: Ian,written 21st Apr 2005
You seem to know your subject well enough that perhaps you should be starting up your own party. Veritas, BNP etc - NO, I vote Ian for PM!!!
Ian replies: Hi Betty,written 21st Apr 2005
From the wording of your reply and the tone of many previous letters, it is not clear if your comment it supportive or sarcastic:-) However, I will make this general comment. If more people developed their awareness, used their eyes, ears and brains, looked around them at was was happening in the world, then perhaps my original letter would not have been needed.
Most people, rather than thinking for themselves, are happy to accept the ideology of their personal guru, be it a particular newspaper, radio/TV station, or local gossip/activist group.
Betty Swallocks replies: No seriously Ian, I agree with most of what you have to say. Unfortunately having these views and saying them out loud is becoming more difficult since every debate is hijacked by the PC brigade. So more power to your arm and I'm sorry you misconstrued my comment - flippancy will be my downfall - perhaps I could get a job as an MEP!written 21st Apr 2005
Ian replies: Hi Betty, thank you for your moral support, I was starting to wonder if I was alone and totally out of step:-) Flippancy is often the best response to the PC brigade, after all they are not prepared to entertain any discussion which examines the validity of their viewpoint.written 21st Apr 2005
Actually I think a little bit of humour, be it flippant or sarcastic, would improve politics a lot. Much better than mudslinging and automatic reflex savaging of anyone elses contrary opinions. I am not interested in being PC, I am interested in saying what I think, at the moment I still can:-)
Anthony replies: " it is not wearing the hijab"
How about wearing Burberry baseball caps and furry track-suits?
"it is not preaching hatred in places of worship against non believers"
How about wearing black shirts, and preaching hatred against Jewish people? Or wearing black and tan, and saying things like this:
"If a police barracks is burned or if the barracks already occupied is not suitable, then the best house in the locality is to be commandeered, the occupants thrown into the gutter. Let them die there the more the merrier.
Should the order ("Hands Up") not be immediately obeyed, shoot and shoot with effect. If the persons approaching (a patrol) carry their hands in their pockets, or are in any way suspicious-looking, shoot them down. You may make mistakes occasionally and innocent persons may be shot, but that cannot be helped, and you are bound to get the right parties some time. The more you shoot, the better I will like you, and I assure you no policeman will get into trouble for shooting any man." (Lt. Col. Smyth, June 1920, Ireland)
You talk about 'the humorists' in a strange, alien way...I'm puzzled. If I can think of the most salient charactersitic of the British, then it's their (on average) extremely flexible and all-encompassing sense of humour. In that respect, you don't seem very British to me.
However, I do applaud you for your mostly reasonable arguments. I just think there's some hysteria mixed in there. As a friend once said: "The British are on the whole the most tolerant of people...except when they feel outnumbered."written 21st Apr 2005
Ian replies: Hello Anthony,
This is a very strange letter, you seem to be putting words in my mouth, are you not perhaps confusing me with another poster? All this business about police barracks and shhoting and arresting people, what is the relevance of this? You put a whole section into italics, which if I follow your logic means I wrote it. But that is a total lie! Are you by any chance a politician?
I think, after consideration I see where you are coming from, namely Northern Ireland, now you are starting to make sense, thank you for the clue about the black and tans:-)
Well the Northern Irish problem is an animal of a different colour altogether, a deplorable situation but not directly relevant to my original posting. Perhaps you should start a different thread on this topic.
Hysteria, no way, in fact you made me laugh to even suggest it:-) Furthermore my sense of humour is impeccable, thank you very much; why else do you think I even bother to waste my time reply to most of these letters? :-))
Ianwritten 21st Apr 2005
tiger43 replies: Not quite right Tinks, I think if you check your history a little better, you`ll find that the various African leaders of the time were quite happy to sell there there own people to us white folks. In other words your leaders at the time sold its own people up the river. All comes down to love of money.written 21st Apr 2005
Ian replies: Quite right Tiger43, In fact the only non African slavers who actively captured slaves were the Moslem Arabs. Many East African coastal towns started life as Arab slave trade ports and holding centres. This trade came to an end when the British navy objected to Arabic depredations and taxes upon our Indian shipping routes:-)written 21st Apr 2005
But this again is a different issue to the original topic:-)
Not you Tiger, but I wish people could learn to stay on topic:-)
Tiger43 replies: To Ian.....Your`e right of course , sorry for my deviation. Quite frankly I agree with the original post above. From a personal point of view I feel our identity as Britons is under threat. If I`m being unnescerally concerned, then I blame both politicians and the media for the way I feel. I`m just worried for us.written 22nd Apr 2005
Anthony replies: Dear Ian,
the italics in my post is the cite tag described at the bottom of this page, and is used for general quotes. My intention in my post was to provide counter-examples to your definition of Britishness. Nothing more, nothing less. In fact, my intention was to provide examples of 'Britishness' that I think most of us on this board would hope would die.
To say I was attempting to make it sound like you said those things surprised me. Why should you think that? I put the attribution at the end of the quote.
I was "born and bred" in Britain -- educated in London. My parents are from other countries, so I can see both sides, I think. I was not politicised by them in any way. My feelings are my own.
My thoughts today are that if your concept of 'Britishness' can die and whither in some way due to the presence of non-British, then perhaps it cannot survive, and should be given a decent burial.
Anyway, your original point is about 'strain on our resources' (who's resources? who 'owns' those resources?). Surely the point about immigration is superfluous: either you have people who contribute, or those who drain; either you have those people who make this country a better place to live, or those who make it a worse place.
My borough is full of single, British teenage mothers who seem to be bringing up their children to be delinquent...send them back?written 22nd Apr 2005
Ian replies: There have been several replies while I have been sleeping, some of you must get up very early:-) So let me try to reply to all in one letter.
Firstly regarding suggestions from Adam and others, there is, as I said before, no party which even approaches 50% of my viewpoint, that includes the BNP and Veritas, each has some good points, each has some very bad points. I have been always an Independant in my political views, however there is not, by definition, an Independant party.
Both Tiger and Anthony seem to be getting to the kernel of the problem, namely what is Britishness, what is our identity? Is it something to defend, or has it had its day, do we surrender it to Globalisation. let the forces of American decadence and capitalism slug it out with autocratic Islam, and in our own land?
I think there are two steps here, first decide what qualities may be seen as British, then decide which qualities we wish to preserve. I think Britishness changes over time, if we go back far enough it went from Celtic to Roman, Anglo-Saxon, Norman, Elisabethan, Victorian, etc
I think what has many people worried is not the loss of Britishness, this has always been a dynamic process, it is the rate of change, a change which is faster than it can be assimilated. So I will summaries it this way, change can be good, too fast a change is usually bad. When change takes place in different and often opposing directions for different segments of the community then conflicts become inevitable. Even these few posts make it clear that we have become a deeply polarised country.
Ianwritten 22nd Apr 2005
PL replies: I would recommend this article as a decent guide to Britishness and where it's headed.written 22nd Apr 2005
Ian, it's great to see a 69 year old with something to say here... sometimes it gets miserable to read all the aggressive poorly-argued illogical rantings of trendy computer-literate 20-somethings.
PL replies: make that this one:written 22nd Apr 2005
FSOBR replies: Is 'Britishness' a misnoma?
I understand it in the context of a British Army - an army made up Scottish, Welsh, English (and maybe Northern Irish?!?)
But as cultural identity - does it exist? - the stereotype that has been used on this thread - "The first time I visited China people there expected me to carry a briefcase and rolled umbrella" - that is an stereotype of an Englishman not someone who is British.
I get it when 'foreigners' mistake the difference and assume we are all British - but this acceptance that is derived from when something is English, it becomes British but if it were a Scottish - stereotype / cultural difference it would be seen as Scottish.
The Welsh with Plaid Cymru the Scottish understand it with SNP but the English - still want to believe in Britain with the British National Party.
So by definition then are we in Britain already multicultural?
And before you mention it Ian, this post isn't addressing the original post of immigration...written 22nd Apr 2005
Ian replies: Hello PL, I think the only way my age is relevant is that I have seen and experienced more and so am more aware of how modern life has changed. Things which most take for granted were new to me, even common things like microwave ovens, mobile phones and the internet. I grew up in the East End of London, I was 14 years old when I saw my first coloured person, last time I visited that area, I could not see many white faces:-)Will read your link tonight when I have more time.
British is actually a geographical term. According to my passport I am not British, I am a citizen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, as this is rather a mouthful most people simply say British:-)
Many foreigners call us English, I actually object to this and correct them, it is like calling Americans Texans.
There is indeed a Scottish identity and also a Welsh and Irish identity, but there is a large area of overlap which is the British identity. Sometimes, as in Northern Ireland, we see this common identity being severely strained by religious influences.
So in spite of you saying that your post is not about immigration, it actually is:-) You see I feel that the rise of Islam in "Britain" is stressing the British identity to the point where the rest of the UK will become as internally divided and antagonistic as Northern Ireland is today. TheseIslamic pressures and the tensions they cause, are the result of immigration.
Incidentally, I am not English, my father was a Scot and my mother was Welsh, I was born a Cockney but my blood is pure Celt. So when a foreigner asks if I am English, I say no I am British... then I have to explain the difference:-)
To be honest to both of you, I often feel that only a foreigner would ask what is Britishness, a true Britisher knows:-)
Ianwritten 22nd Apr 2005
FSOBR replies: Calling all Americans Texans would of course be a mistake - but the comparison that you make is not correct. The parrallel would be calling all English people Cumbrians - the country is the same - the regions within that country are different.
If are going to correct foreigners that English people are British - why stop there? We are part of Europe so why not define yourself as European? Or was your point specific to yourself?
Anyway...written 22nd Apr 2005
So the tensions that you speak of - what are these? The area of immigration is not an issue that I am particulary worried about, but from what you have written - and without sounding flippant - it seems that you believe there is a rise in Islam in this country and that is this will cause the Britain to become divided and develop into a Northern Island situation? Is this right?
Ian replies: Hi FSOBR. It was not a mistake, it was a reference to stereotypes not regions, not all Americans where Stetson hats and ride horses, nor come to that do all Texans:-) But it is a common image that some foreigners have of Americans.written 22nd Apr 2005
Yes I am also European, it even says so at the top of my passport, but I can't spend all my time correcting foreigners, they have enough problems with the English/British concept:-) Your final comment, yes, this is what I feel. Except in specific areas of Britain not many people have faced or encountered Islam on their own doorstep, when they do I strongly suspect their tolerant attitudes will change.
As I have said before, I have lived and travelled in many countries where Islam exists side by side with other religions. Irrespective of what their leaders may say in these countries, at the grass roots level it creates a simmering volcano that often erupts into violence.
Look at every civil war recently, or murderous civil disturbance, you will almost invariably find it is between moslems and some other group. Africa, the former USSR, the Balkans, the Middle East, South Thailand, Indonesia, South Philippines, Northwest China, India, soon it will be the turn of Europe. Read what Ataturk the founder of the modern Turkish state had to say about Islam and modern culture.
i don't care if these comments are very un PC, unless I get silenced, as the Dutch film producer was recently, I will continue to express my views:-)
FSOBR replies: So your telling me that all these conflicts that have arisen which you have described - albeit sketchily - are because the muslims cannot live peacefully with people from other religions / beliefs?
And that is the governing factor?
Take Columbia for example - no muslims there - but there has been a civil war in that country for the last 40 years...
Or is this the exeception to your rule?written 22nd Apr 2005
Ian replies: FSOBRwritten 22nd Apr 2005
I was waiting for a response such as that:-) This is why I specifically said "almost invariably ", yes, I can find exceptions also, you might have noticed that I excluded South America from my list? The Myanmar/THailand dispute is also not religious, although both your example and mine have drugs as a common theme:-)
Of course my details of them were sketchy, I can't spend all day detailing them, if you have intelligence and the ability to search the internet, find out for yourself!
You sound like either a Muslim or a Muslim apologist. I have made my ethos quite clear I believe, perhaps my critics should do the same when they reply.
You seem to be trying to goad me into a specific response, with " And that is the governing factor?", Well read my previous postings, that will make my position clear:-)
Adam replies: Ian,
Sorry to jump in again. You were wrong to think that I am a muslim, but what I haven't understood from your many posts is simply what you believe is so bad about muslims.
Do you find something inherently wrong with what appears to me to be an essentially peaceful and tolerant religion or are you expressing a disgust, that I think all right minded people share, at the actions of a violent and oppressive minority? Neither I nor any other reasonable person would be an 'apologist' for these people, but I see no reason why the mere belief in the Koran requires an apology any more than a belief in the Bible.
If you're interested in the concept of britishness or, more to the point, englishness, I would recommend reading Jeremy Paxman's book 'The English' which deals in some depth with the ongoing loss of English identity and some of the forces behind it.written 22nd Apr 2005
raymond replies: ian; about the Britishness- ah don't forget the lovely tea in summer garden (formerly served by lowly servants from good old colonies - The Raj where sun never used to set). Also the grand ability of diplomacy failing which colonization and then back to pavillion leaving all sort of problems e.g palestine, kashmir etc. let the rest of the world keep fighting and we can supply arms - or we can't even do that as America has reserved it for itself.written 22nd Apr 2005
Ian replies: Hi Adam,
I am getting increasingly surprised at the way people put words in my mouth! I did not suggest that you were a moslem, I suggested that FSOBR was a moslem.
I totally disagree when you say that Islam is "an essentially peaceful and tolerant religion" that is what its supporters, when in a minority, want you to believe.
Have you read the Koran, there are plenty of English translations? I have.
Have you studied the Hadiths and Sharia law, I have.
Have you studied the life of Mohammed, I have.
Have you studied the evolution and spread of Islam, I have.
Have you seen how Islam operates in countries where Moslems are in control, I have.
I realise that you are probably a busy person and cannot spend the years needed to do all this. So as people are fond of telling me what to read, let me suggest that you read for starters a book called "Foundations of Islam" by Benjamin Walker.
Then perhaps we can have an informed discussion rather than an emotional one.
I wonder what happened to the topic of immigration?
Ianwritten 22nd Apr 2005
Ian replies: For those who did not spot it, this might be a suitable topic for this thread;
Ianwritten 22nd Apr 2005
Ian replies: there should be a .stm at the end of that link, it got truncated when pasted:-)written 22nd Apr 2005
raymond replies: Ian: thats wonderful, to understand read a book by a westerner. Perhaps to understand, non-muslims (christians, jews etc), one should go for a book by muslim. that would give great ideas you may not like. So may think, the times of crusades never happened. The dark ages of Europe never happened. Well thats all part of history now.written 22nd Apr 2005
mehkri replies: Ian: Am I getting confused? The originally, you said not a single party represents even 50% of your views, But then you say the real problem was immigration. If so, you could vote Conservatives if you are not radical (as it would seem) otherwise, BNP, Veritas (Kilroy has funny views about Islam & lost his job for those) and even UKIP are there for picking.written 22nd Apr 2005
raymond replies: sorry, the first line should read . to understand moslems .......written 22nd Apr 2005
Ian replies: Raymond, you have no idea what you are talking about, Benjamin Walker is an Indian, educated in Calcutta, he has studied and written books on Hinduism, Gnosticism, Tantrism. Also if you want to know about a religion I think it better to ask someone who has studied it but doesn't have a personal commitment to it.written 22nd Apr 2005
mehkri replies: Ian: U r spot on that britishness cannot be explained and only non-british would ask what it is. But perhaps thats with most cultures. Japanese knows what their culture is but now we read books upon books about it.
Secondly, have you recently been to Brixton or Wembley High Street. Soon we might need visa for these places or atleast be multi-lingual which though is not that bad. I wonder, why was India or Arabia colonized? British people would have been quite safe in our Isles.written 22nd Apr 2005
raymond replies: Ian: thanks for clarifying about Benjamin Walker. Obviously, without reading his book, I canot comment on his objectivity so I just take your views for it for the moment.written 22nd Apr 2005
Ian replies: Mehkri, I would not vote for Conservatives, BNP or any other party, since I do not think any of them have a real policy. Some might have a policy which I would be tempted to support, but then I disagree with them on another issue. The election is not about one policy but a bundle of policies.written 22nd Apr 2005
Yes, I've been to Brixton, and lived in Notting Hill Gate:-) And yes, I can't understand West Indian street jive, but my youngest daughter does:-)
mehkri replies: Ian: your original post was all about impact of immigration on resources and British culture. True Asian, Afro-caribbeans etc. have different cultural values. But even if some-how further immigration from there is stopped, can one stop change. Now believe it or not, most immigration is from Poland, Portugal, Romania and Bulgaria. This is all economic migration and is many times more than non-EU migration. Cyprus is now part of EU too and soon would be Turkey. And they all have different cultural values. Nothing one can do about it as long as Britain is part of EU. They say that USA is great melting pot. So would soon be Britain. Only we would not be here to witness it.written 22nd Apr 2005
Ian replies: Raymond, Walker's book is a very fascinating read in its own right. To gice a very brief precis, he recounts the life of Mohammed, with referenced details from many sourses. He contrasts Mohammed's change in attitude between, Mecca and Medina. He describes the spread of Islam around the world and discusses the Crusades. He examines the Ottoman influences, The Spanish Moors and their impact on European science and culture. He finally looks at Islam in the modern world. It sometimes praises Islam and sometimes condemns Islam. A book like this written by a Moslem could only praise, never criticise.
Ianwritten 23rd Apr 2005
Ian replies: Responses are appearing faster than I can answer them, I suppose this is a good thing, it means that people are thinking about this topic. I should like to point out that everywhere I travel in the former British Empire, now the Commonwealth, that most people regret the passing of British rule, now that they see what it has been replaced with. I have even had Indonesians bemoan their country's bad luck that they were not a British colony.written 23rd Apr 2005
Now, I know that this is a provocative statement, I am sure some Indian or Malaysian will write and hotly deny this, yet I can only comment on what I hear in these countries:-)
Mehkri, your comments are probably true. However, you say we can't do anything about it. This is obviously not true, we simply need the political will to do so. If that is what you mean, that we lack the polical will, then sadly I am inclined to agree.
If more young people instead of going to Ibeza and places like that, went to the far east etc they might understand my viewpoint better.
Before they say they can't afford to travel the way I do, I say do your research, the fare may be more but the hotel, restaurant, beer prices are so much cheaper that it would cost about the same.
Harry replies: Immigration on a large scale does change the very nature of a country. I make no comment if that is good bad or indifferent. I honestly don't know.
I do know that we don't have a multicultural country - we have a multple-cultural country.
Distinct small groups.
Many white British people are uncertain about immigration as they were never consulted if they wanted their country to change its very nature.
Peoples from various parts of the world have valid and distinct religious and cultural identities.
Their worth and validity should not be in question but the nature of the co-existence should and must be questioned.
It is useless and worthless to dismiss peoples honest anxieties as 'racist'. If people have anxieties then they are real and should be addressed.
When the Viking arrived at the shores of Britain were they ushered to a resetlement centre? No the power and entrinsic worth of their culture and force became part of British culture.
Perhaps immagrant cultures have to be absorbed slowly and evolve into a new form of Britishness.
One thing is certain it will not happen because we are told it will by some worthless polititian.written 23rd Apr 2005
Ian replies: Harry, I agree with nearly everything you write, people who call me racist, as some might in this discussion, would be laughed at by those who know me. I have African, Chinese, Indian, and numerous SE Asian friends, not forgetting European and American friends. In fact it is by having these friends and visiting their countries that I can see the problems that we will be meeting in the future.
On a joking note of course the Vikings were shut up in resettlement centres, it was called the Danelaw:-)The problem was they kept breaking out, even when King Alfred paid them to stay there. That's the problem with immigrants, you can't always trust them:-))
Ianwritten 23rd Apr 2005
Art replies: Harry - isn't it strange that we never think that there may be a British form of Islam. Why is there an impression that British culture has to change to accomodate the newcomers? Why is that in any way a realistic assumption?written 23rd Apr 2005
Surely is someone comes to live in a foreign country they have to adapt to the new culture.
I have mush sympathy for the policies adopted in France.
Harry replies: Ian - of course Danelaw! but the general point remains the same.written 23rd Apr 2005
The development of multiculturealism is a long process and always ends with a dominant merging of parts of both.
Art - I think that the vauge 'liberal' agenda of acceptance of other cultures on their own terms goes against honest human experience.
Immagrants would quite naturally reject some vile aspects of Britain - and vice versa.
Ian replies: I think this concept of the difference between multiculturalism and multi culturalism is important, it is like the difference between a girl friend and a girlfriend. In each case there are hidden depths:-)written 23rd Apr 2005
multiculturalism implies a fully integrated merging and hybridisation of two or more cultures. Multi culturalism mean different cultures existing side by side, presumed amicably.
In the first instance we have examples of on going multiculturalism is certain areas of London, Brixton, Notting Hill gate spring to mind. Yet this process has its tensions, we have had race riots in both areas.
A multi cultural society has to be artificially maintained, either by internal forces within one of the cultures, or by economic factors, both create resentment and the cultural seperation become self reinforcing.
I have yet to see a valid multicultural society, or even a multi cultural one, Malaysia's government claims it is, but it is a long way from this.
Assimilation of cultures have occurred in the past, it is a slow process and takes generations.
Modern technology is hastening a clash of cultures and at the same time helping them to stay distinct.
Immigrants no longer arrive on foot or horseback, but by the planeload, they no longer have to integrate, they have their own radio stations, cinemas, churches and even schools.
This is the greatest problem, the speed at which things are happening. Within my own lifetime I have watched London change to the point that now, when I show a foreign friend around London, they ask me where have all the English gone.
To achieve true multiculturalism the process has to be a slow and natural process, a massive influx of immigrants just creates unrest, tensions and violence.
Finally, as the resident occupants of this country, are we not entitled to decide how and in what manner we allow immigrants to come here and hence modify our culture.
Paul replies: Wow! This is a livley discussion. I feel very pleased to be joining it. Please do not over-exaggerate and say that there are planeloads of immigrants coming to the UK. Yes, many thousands of people come to this contry every year to work. That is because, and partly why, we are a rich contry. thing is though, many of these 'immigrants' you are referring to do not stay in the county indefinately.
Also, please distinguish between an individual who asks for aslyum in the UK, someone who has refugee status in the UK and an individual who migrates to the UK for economic reasons. the latter is the definition i used above to refer to 'immigrants'. What do you mean when you write 'immigrate' Ian? Do you also include your non-british friends as immigrants? What about the many young Australians and USA citizens, and south africans who 'migrate' to the UK?
British culture. I don't understand. Your time on this Earth so far belies that you grew up during the Second World War and it;s aftermarth. You have been witness to many horrific things and have seen a lot of change. Please remember that in the 1950's people from the former British slave colonies were actively encouraged into the UK, particulaly London to help rebuild are wonderful Capital City after the Nazi's bombing campaign. Many working class men were slaugtered during the first two World Wars. Sent of to their death with the illusion of this concept of 'nationalism'. Many of the middle & upper-class of the UK, obviously, shuddered at the thought of donning a flat cap and working on a builders site (there were quite able to ignore the illusion of the concept of 'nationalism'). Therefore we brough Blacks to do the work. 'Wind-rush' anyone? See http://www.bbc.co.uk/
I've obviously over-simplified a very complex point in British history so please comment on it. There are many comment that have been made that i would love the change to discuss, but i'll leave it for now. Just want to end this 'little' (Ha, Ha) piece with a nice peom I once heard:
Come off it;
The enemy is Profit.
Unemployment and inflation
Are not caused my immigration.
Paul replies: I would like to apologise for all the spelling mistakes i've noticed in my above reply. I'll re-read any further comments to minimise that in further.written 23rd Apr 2005
Ian replies: Hi Paul, Perhaps I should recap on a few things as many of your questions I have already answered. But first your comment about planeloads, I didn't actually mean all in the same plane, it was a figure of speech. However, spend a day at terminal 3 Heathrow and you might feel the same:-)
You ask me for my definition of immigrant. That is easy, it is someone who comes here, legally or illegally, for economic or asylum reasons, with the intention of living here permanently and having a family and children. In other words becoming a resident member of our society.
What I strongly resent is people who come here, claiming to dislike our social structure and seeking to either change it or live outside it. If this is how they feel they should take themselves elsewhere.
I know all about the post war recovery phase when we encouraged immigration, and you omitted the influx of East African Indians which we also welcomed. This alters nothing, it is not a question of who comes or their reasons for coming. Rather it is how they behave and integrate when they come.
Don't cloud the issue by constantly discussing the past, this is 2005 and I'm discussing now and the future. At the last general election I was a Poll Clerk at a ward in Ealing, I was issued a card with the polling instruction to show voters, it was in 8 languages!! How can a voter be called British if they cannot speak our language, how can they form an opinion if they cannot read newpapers or watch the news. they are told how to vote by their local leaders, Imams or whatever. Then the husbands stand over the wives and tell them which box to tick.........totally against the rules, yet we are told to ignore this as it is part of "their" culture.
Political Correctness has gone mad in this country, make it illegal to protest is like pouring concrete into a volcano, it might delay the eruption, but when the volcano explodes it will be with a bigger bang:-)
Ianwritten 23rd Apr 2005
Paul replies: Hi Ian,written 23rd Apr 2005
Ok, this is about the present and the future, not the past. I just think it is very important to remember the historical context. I heard a brilliant quote last year. It was due to my involvement with amnesty international and their involvement with Refugee Week. People were asked to finish the sentence 'I respect Refugee's rights because...' and someone wrote '...we are all refugees. It just depends how far back you go.'
This resonates with me since all my grandparents were from the Irish Republic. A foreign country; but since they spoke English it was ok. They could integrate.
I recognise the discomfort in the idea of people living in this country who don't like our 'social system'. You have to help me by defining that term though. Two examples: (see below)
Paul replies: a young muslim man, who fled from, say, Lebanon in 1982 when it was being invaded by Israel. As a Palestinian, refugee he was terrified that the Israeli Army would kill him since as a Palestinian refugee he also qualifies as a 'suspected terrorist'. so his family spend all their money to come to the UK. He can speak pretty good English but his parents don't speak a word. He couldn't leave them in Beirut, so they came with him. Lets say this young man is very proud of his heritage. He is a Muslim, so he has certain principles by which he lives his life. Not only may he be angry about Britain's role in the 'handing over' of Palestine (ie the Balfour agreement of, i think 1914) but wonder where our 'Christian' principles have gone. All he may see around him is rude, stressed, ignorant, spiritually dead, British people around him and decide he doesn't want to integrate into that. Granted he isn't seeing all the great things, and people in this country, but like you've pointed out, he can only base his ideas on what he lives through and people he has met. Also his parents made be pretty twisted individuals: being forced from Palestine in the 1950s and then having to flee Lebanon. This young man would obviously respect his parents but their influence may not encourage him to become part of British society. Why did he come to the UK? The hatred of 'Immigrants' isn't just a British thing. He would be treated as a second-class citizen in many parts of the middle-east. So has to go to an English speaking country so he can communicate. Not the USA, since they armed the Israeli Army in preparation for their invasion of Lebanon. Maybe the UK? This is one example of a very complex issue, but this hopefuly will stress that we MUST stop clumping all of these different forms of entering the country together.written 23rd Apr 2005
Paul replies: The other example, closer to home for me. Lets say a couple move from the Irish Republic to Britain for economic reasons, for example the woman was offered a full time job here. Let's say they were both very strongly Sinn Fein supporters and would use every opportunity to voice their republican views, but see living in Britain as their only real chance of economic stability to start a family. They would have spent months weighing up their options and came here, even though they regard the British government to have the blood of many innocent Irish on their hands. If this couple had been asked before aplying for a visa if they were pro british rule in Northern Ireland and said 'hell, no!', should they have been denied entry simply because they have beliefs and opinions not in line with the British Governement? I don't agree with the British government (do you, Ian?). Should I, as a second generation immigrant be forced out to live with distant relatives in Ireland? Again, a very specific example.written 23rd Apr 2005
Ian replies: HJi Paul, Not quite sure what happened to your letter it seems to have become truncated:-) So I'm not sure what you are asking, is it for two examples of immigrant resentment of our social system, or what defines our social system.written 23rd Apr 2005
Perhaps I can give several examples that answer both possibilities:-) I think few people would disagree that schools are very much part of our social system, in many way they seek to preserve and perpetuate it. Part of school culture is standardised uniform or dress, so to refuse to accept this because it clashes with a particular culture/religion's rules is a source of "discomfort" for all concerned.
Another example is female circumcision, not only does our culture find this barbaric but it is also illegal. Yet it is still furtively engaged in by many Moslem African immigrants.
Then we have the practice of child marriage amongst Indians, who avoid our laws by sending the girl back to india.
There is the numerous unsolved murders where a girl, from certain ethnic groups, has brought shame upon a family.There are many more, but it is late and I am getting tired:-)
Ian replies: Hi Paul, I see your letter had a further two parts.
So in the case of your Palestinian I have a simple answer, he is a Moslem, wants to continue living as a Moslem, he and his parents speak Arabic. So why come here, why not Syria, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Libya, Algeria, Tunis, Marocco. I think if you are honest you know the real reason why:-)
In the case of the Irishman, they put economics before principles, a common human trait:-) However, if they now find these principle constrained and subverted by our culture who is to blame. Were their eyes shut before they came here? Why not emmigrate to America, Australia, Canada, New Zealand? Again, I think we know the reason why:-)
Ianwritten 24th Apr 2005
paul replies: This is why i am hesisant to say we need stronger Immigration control because the free flow of work into and out of our country (Many British leave here to work abroad) is going to happen in this 'Global Village'. Get used to it. We should make (light) restrictions on this area. To deny asylum to the distressed is an ABOMINATION! The UK receives about 3% of the world's asylum seekers. I read this in The Week. Ill try and find a reference for this ASAP. We should extend a safe haven to more! As a Christian it distresses me that we can be so heartless to the poor, hungry and dispossessed. Although often those who can afford to come here are pretty affluent in the country they have to leave. Seeking asylum from persecution costs a lot of money! Asylum seekers cannot work in this country. They MUST live on benefits. Its the law. Even professional doctors, lawyers, teachers etc. If it is decided by the Home Office (often many months later) that they can receive refugee status they are also often prevented from working in their profession. If it is decided that they do not have a legitimate case their benefits are suspended immediately. They become the destitute and homeless overnight. This system is rubbish! See:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/immigrationwritten 24th Apr 2005
Ian replies: I'm sorry Paul, I thought you were an intelligent person. Instead it seems you just want to rant and fling links at me. Don't bother to find references, I am quite capable of doing my own searches:-)written 24th Apr 2005
You talk about the poor, hungry and dispossessed, very emotive words, to deny them is an abomination.....I can't be bothered to shout:-)Well I say, how many of our immigrants genuinely fit this description, as opposed to those claiming they fit this description? Also you seem to be unclear of the present rights of immigrants, I think you are confused between legal and illegal immigrants.
Paul replies: First of all, i don't know the reason why. I don't understand Human Nature. Why do you think they would come here?written 24th Apr 2005
I guess you have a very good point. Why choose the UK? We receive a small minority. The minority who decide to come to the UK.
I abhor female genital mutilation, forced marriage, honour killing. But these are cultural practices that are the 'unseen baggae' people carry with them. They are not an excuse for stricter immigration control. These disgusting practices have to be challenged. Full stop. Do you think that thee practices are ok as long as they are not going on on British soil? Like i said, the free flow of people around the world for economic benefit is going to happen. we can limit the number of Asylum seekers if our government stopped arming rebel groups such as in East Timor in the 1990s, stopped propping up dictators, or illegally invading other countries and prolonging the misery that creates the need to seek asylum. There are approx 18 million refugees in the world! WHY?!
Ian replies: Paul, this is my last response tonight before I go to bed:-) I think you are branching into another topic, if you like "mankind's inhumanity to mankind", or on a less global level our government's foreign policies.
I am discussing our internal policies on immigration, can see see the difference?
Yes, they are connected in the same way as a chicken is connected to an egg, but the egg has been laid, it is to late to kill the chicken:-) What are we going to do with this egg? Do you understand what I mean?
And if someone comments that if we don't find an answer we will have "egg on our face", I will ignore them:-))
Ianwritten 24th Apr 2005
Paul replies: You have to explain to me your definition of a legal and an illegal immigrant. These are not, to my knowledge, precise terms. all that i have written to describe the situaiton of those asking for asylum in the UK I stand by. I don't think I'm confused as to the present right of immigrants.written 24th Apr 2005
I'm sory for the links. It's just i've always been taught that if your making a point you should try to back it up or else it's plagiarism. I know this isn't an academic discussion but, still, i can't help it.
Oh, and can't an intelligent person have feelings? I'm very tired as well. I will try to rein my feelings in in the future. Also my religion is very important to me. It plays a large part in how I view the world. I want to help others and not let the minority of selfish, hatred filled people dominate my thinking on this issue.
Paul replies: Good night sir.written 24th Apr 2005
It's been a pleasure discussing this topic with you this evening/early morning (!).
Hopefully get the chance to continue it pretty soon (i don't have 24 houtr internet access).
Ian replies: Hi Paul,
Illegal means outside of the Law, if an immigrant enters this country in an unlawful manner, is smuggled in, overstays a tourist or student visa, uses forged documents, or conceals the truth to get valid documents, in fact enters this country in any way without the prior consent of this country, then at least to me these people are illegal.
So your religion is important to you, you don't want to be one of the
"minority of selfish, hatred filled people" in this country. Well it should be clear from my previous postings that Islam has an in built hatred of the West and of Christianity, what will happen to your religion if this minority becomes no longer a minority? Will you sit back and say my compassion will not let me defend my faith? Do not reply that Islam and Christianity can peacefully co-exist, if you believe that then you have become completely blinkered by their propaganda.
Already our future king seek to change his description from "defender of the faith", to "defender of the faiths". The reciprocal emotion to compassion is I believe gratitude, no one, contrary to what the UN says, has a right to asylum, that is like saying any beggar in the street has the right to enter your home and take up residence. Suppose that you did just that though, took a begger in from the street as an act of compassion. How would you feel if you woke up a week later and found your house stripped of everything of value, would you see this as gratitude?
Compassion is fine, but a little bit of reasonable selfishness is also fine:-)
Don't misunderstand me, I am not against compassion, but compassion must be tempered with teason, ignore the histrionics of the asylum seeker and examine his claims carefully. I realise that this would require enormous manpower, but so did defending our country against Hitler. Are you aware that the visa department of the British Embassy in Nigeria recently suspended operations? Why, because they could not cope with 17,000 applications per month. To many immigrants this country is seen as a cow to be milked, it is time this cow used its horns.
I do not normally give links, but to substantiate this comment about Nigeria see here:- http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/learningenglish/newsenglish/witn/2005/04/050411_nigeria_visa.shtml
You might also find this link of interest:-
Ianwritten 24th Apr 2005
Oliver replies: I feel some agreement with most of what Ian has been saying.
I am a 68 year old man and have seen my area change dramitically. I now live in an area (an area I have lived in for over 40 years) populated with people from a foreign land.
They speak a different language (even the children born here have a distinct tongue - indicating little mixing outwith the group), have a radically different reigion, have seperate shops, and extended services. They socialise in seperate cinemas, community centres etc. and hold it as against therr religious faith for their sons or daughters to date or marry someone outside their group. The local school is 90% populated with children from this group and their are calls for a seperate Muslim school.
There has been no attempt to become part of an English society. They are living on a small island.
They live in a small Pakistani village in the middle of England with no meaningful contact with the rest of society.
I have attempted to become better known to this community and have been politely disuaded.
My only real contact with this community is some shopping for cheap fresh fruit and my most used phrase is " 20 Benson and Hedges".
What am I to think?written 24th Apr 2005
FSOBR replies: Ian - just because I am questioning your theories and ideas, does not make me a muslim or a muslim apologist (whatever the fuck one of those is).
Your original point - that "It is not just the rise of Islam, although this is a real danger, it is the very shift in our British culture" - is the key to your animosity towards the numbers of immigrants coming into this country. (correct me if i'm wrong though - I'm sure you will).
The rise of Islam is of no real importance to me - it is the way that immigrants are integrated into our society - at present there seems to be little or no integration with the home population.
One way of looking at it that they 'the foreigners' are not affecting us and they can live in their own little community. I live in London and there are pockets of different races and religions that are all over london - but with a complete areas of there own - but, because of this, the next problem is that they have no need to learn English or to integrate into British society.
Numbers are not necessarily the issue although it is a good way of getting a soundbite. And Blunketts idea of having a British test is ridiculous and will not solve shit.
Immigration integration policies I guess would actually solve the issue in the real world.
Having written all this - I still feel that the biggest threat to identity and culture is the Americanisation of these shores. In the way we talk, popular culture, the American business plan - where money and power is key and ethics and morality are nothing, the food with eat, the shops we buy in - the list goes on.
Yours,written 24th Apr 2005
A white Englishman, born from English stock - just for the record Ian...
Ian replies: Thank you for your input Oliver.written 24th Apr 2005
I have a query which I would address to everyone who reads this. There have been many people commenting upon this topic of immigration and integration, but so far, with one exception, I think all were men. Is immigration etc only a problem then to men, is it a male response to intrusion by outsiders, is it a hormonal reflex which we try to justify intellectually? I would be interested in any opinions, particularly from women.
Ian replies: Hi FSOBR, many of you observations agree with the point Oliver has made, observations which I am sure many others have made.
To answer your questions/points.
A muslim apologist is someone who says that muslims are misunderstood, the Koran and the Islamic religion is one of love, peace and tolerance. Leastwise this is what I mean by an Islamic apologist:-)
Your real concern is how integration is implemented, my concern is that the islamic religion makes real integration impossible. You cannot, as you seem to want to, separate these two issues.
The difference between Islam and Americanisation.....which I also detest, is the difference between an imposed change and a change which we are seduced into making. No one forces you to drink coke or eat big macs. But, if immigrant numbers continue to rise at the present rate, then their collective vote may force you to accept cultural changes which you would not otherwise choose.
I am not a xenophobe, but I am an Islamaphobe, there is a difference:-)
Ianwritten 24th Apr 2005
Adam replies: I'm delighted to see this discussion is still going on. Most other threads on this site appear to degenerate into mud slinging. It's good to see that we are maintaining intelligent and civil discussion here.
Ian, after some thought, and your evident knowledge of the subject, I have decided not to pursue the debate on Islam. It appears our opinions differ greatly and we would both be wasting our energy to try and argue it out indefinitely.
I would like to return to your original point, the concept that immigration places a strain on our resources and dilutes our culture.
During the course of my relatively short life, primary and secondary industry has, thanks to Thatcher's closure of the mines, a strong pound and the rise of the Far East (for example) largely vanished. The British economy is now largely based around commerce and service industry. I would argue that, to an extent, immigrants are now one of our greatest resources, providing a flow of (as you mentioned) Filipino nurses, Indian doctors and others, including Nigerian bus drivers, Australian accountants, Turkish taxi drivers, Lithuanian carpenters. Why do they come to Britain? I think it is because they know we will pay them well, because we need them. They are not taking jobs away from anyone - unemployment is amongst the lowest in the world - they are massively increasing our GDP and maintaining Britain's position as one of the World's great economies despite our lack of natural resources, manufacturing or agriculture. When we stop needing these people, the pay available in Britain compared to other countries will diminish and they will go elsewhere.
So far as the dilution of our culture goes, I have sadly never seen the pre-war version of Britain that you seem to remember so fondly. I have always considered Britain to be an absurdly densely populated, chaotic and dangerous country, but have always thought this to be a result of overcrowding and inequality rather than multiculturalism. In a way, I am agreeing with your point - there are too many people in the UK - but this is a necessity if we are to hold on to our position as a major player in world economics.
Britain is often described as the ultimate 'mongrel state' and it seems that our 'British' culture has already gone. We are left with a country that is recognised as a great business centre and an emerging culture of tolerance, diversity and innovation. We are no longer the country we once were, but we are still a great country, despite our size, and very much the envy of Europe and most of the world. We should be proud that so many people see us as a safe haven and that we are still able to attract the world's greatest minds.
Personally, I find it a pity that Britain is not more like New Zealand, but they have much less than 10% of the population and do not consider themselves particularly important on the world stage. I suppose my point is that we have to either accept a dense population and high levels of immigration, or that we are a small, insignificant country and go about the business of dismantling our wealth and the majority of the population becoming another country's immigrants.written 24th Apr 2005
Paul replies: Universal Decleration of Humasn Rights
(1) Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution.
(2) This right may not be invoked in the case of prosecutions genuinely arising from non-political crimes or from acts contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.written 24th Apr 2005
Paul replies: Ok, Islam and Christianity cannot co-exist. both Islamic and Christain preachers have espoussed hatred to others and found obsure, out of contet writings to back it up. Religions come and go. If it's time for Christianity to die out and let islam be the dominant religion then so be it. I do believe that some muslim, christian, jewish, hindu, buddish people can live together in peace. Not all muslim are the kind you mention. I've met so many kind, peaceful muslims. I've also met a number who i would not wish to associate with. I don't allow their hatred prevent me form seeing the good in others.
Anyway, this is not a discussion of religion! It's a discussion of immigration. Although, in my opinion, the bigger issue is poverty. I think the working-class in this country are encouraged to blame immigrates for their problems and not the capitalist system.written 24th Apr 2005
Ian replies: Hello Adam,
A reasonable response with which I find little to argue with. Rather I would expand upon some of these points. We have indeed been a melting pot in the past, both historically and Post WW2, and although there was friction things have shaken themselves down over time, time measured in generations. The present rate of immigration though is too fast, neither immigrants nor residents have time to adjust, in a sense we harm the immigrants by allowing them to enter in such large numbers.
The only other point I would enlarge upon is that in order to make integration smoother we should be more selective in who we allow in. No one would object to a filipina nurse, or an Indian petrol pump attendant:-)
Paul, thank you for the quotation:-)The operative word here is "seek", the right to seek is not the same as the right to expect or demand. This declaration was very carefully worded, enjoy the subtleties of the English language;-)written 24th Apr 2005
Ian replies: Hello again Paul,
This is indeed a discussion on immigration, however, one aspect of immigration is that of assimilation and integration. This is the area in which religion enters the debate.
I also have met many nice Moslems, have been a guest in their homes, they are non fanatical, liberal minded people, they pay as much attention to Islam as many professed Christians pay to Christianity:-) To me a fanatical, grass roots, bible thumping Christian is in the same category as his Islamic equivalent.
The problem of religion arises when like gathers with like into getto communities, religion and intolerance then becomes a self reinforcing way of maintaining this isolation.
There is no country that I am aware of where it is illegal to be critical of the Christian Church, the Bible or of Christ. There are many countries where it is either illegal or personally dangerous to criticise Islam, the Koran or Mohammed.
Ianwritten 24th Apr 2005
Hamish replies: Hi Ian,
I'm a little late into this discussion but I have just found it very interesting reading all these comments.
The way I see it, the problem in Northern Ireland is caused by religion, not by Catholicism or Protestantism. Religion gives powermongers a way to manipulate people to their own ends. Fortunately, people just aren't buying into it as much any more. The world is getting smaller. Mixed cultural influences improve the situation greatly. How do you think the modern Church of England ended up so much more tolerant than its predecessors? Perhaps we could achieve the same with Islam?
I am also interested to hear just what policies a political party *would* need to garner your vote? Would you have them control immigration by numbers? Would there be a test to determine "love of Britain"? Would WASPs such as myself have to take it, and would we get the boot if we were unhappy with many aspects of our own country?
At the end of the day, national identity is just another red herring. I feel just as threated by our own Burberry chavs as I do by gangs of Asian youths.
To get a bit more philosphical, and to reiterate the point that Paul made, "We are all refugees. It just depends how far back you go." Do you feel that we have a natural right to treat human beings differently because of the historical accident of their birth? I believe we need to address intolerance, be it arising from Islam, Christianity or atheism, wherever it arises, not just stick our heads in the sand and tell them to go back to their own country where we can more easily think of normal human beings as collateral damage when we bomb them for not treating capitalism as their religion.
Breaking down intolerance is a two-way process. People from other cultures will be much more prepared to adjust to our ways if we adjust to theirs. You might feel uncomfortable with this compromise, but it's really the only way forward. If you expect British culture to be guaranteed its home in Britain, then you cannot really object to female circumcision and arranged marriages existing wherever they have existed for long enough to be thought of as "native culture". Personally I'd rather take the compromise, because as the world gets smaller, I have faith that love will be learned by example.
Best wishes,written 24th Apr 2005
osman replies: As a short interlude to the the Ian and Paul show, I would like to mention that I was born in and live in a country I love. Reading statements like 'the rise of Islam is dangerous' 'I am an Islamophobe'and 'planeloads of immigrants' can't help to make me feel comfy.
Its deeply hurtful.
Being british is not speaking the queens language, wearing the clothes or drinking the ale. Its living here and contributing to our society. Being a teacher in a muslim school is contribution as is having a corner shop.
We live in a mixed up place and we're in the process of defining the culture. Please lets keep the xenophobia down.written 24th Apr 2005
After all, this great country gave civilisation to African slaves and the indigenous people from Canada to Australia.
People have the right to seek asylum, practice their professions and religion in my beloved secular country (that actually needs them).
Paul replies: This country is not a 'cow to be milked'. This countrty has become rich my 'milking' the natural resources and wealth of foreign lands for hundreds of years. If an individual sees this country as their best way of getting out of poverty then i say, good luck! Healthy competition. If someone from nigeria is better qualified to do a job in this country, even the most menial, doesn't that just show how pathetic the native population is in this country. If they work for less money, then tough luck. This is global capitalism. Competitiion is a founding rock of this system.written 24th Apr 2005
Ian replies: Hi Hamish and Osman, Perhaps I can try and answer you both at once, this boards layout involves a lot of scrolling up and down:-( As far as my vote, immigration is just one aspect of a government's agenda which I have chosen to discuss. I have views on energy, transportation, social services, international relationships and globalisation, economics, social services etc etc.
Breaking down cultural barriers is another way of saying integration:-) This is fine with me, surely I have made that point many times now? My problem with Islam is its basic structure, this structure is a permanent obstacle to integration.
Let me explain, the Bible was the result of the council of Nicocea sometime around 315 or 325 AD under the auspices of Constantine. Various religious writings and books from the old and new testaments were included or rejected. Since then it has been revised and modified many times. Most Christians regard the Bible as a guide to God, not as the absolute personal word of God.
To a Moslem, the Koran is the word of God, dictated by Gabrielle to his servant Mohammed. As such its text is holy, can never be modified or changed in anyway. To believe otherwise is to not be a Moslem. Unfortunatelt the Koran in many of its suras preached death and hatred to non believers, this is why these sentiments are preached by the imams and ayatollas. Remove these sura, stop preaching them, the problem in time will go away. But they cannot do this it is forbidden to change the word of God.
Now whilst many scholars, including enlightened Islamic ones, have a different version of the origins of the Koran, as long as the official version persists, Moslems have a religious obligation to try to destroy us. You cannot deny or escape this fact, say these suras are quoted out of context or they are allegories is nonsense, Mohammed's life gives the lie to that.
Actually Osman I am not xenophobic, I have many more foreign friends, of many races and colours, than British friends. As I said before I am Islamaphobic. My fear is based on direct observations, experiences, and a study of religions.written 24th Apr 2005
Ian replies: Paul, I get fed up with this old argument, people always fall back on it when they can think of nothing else. Sure my grandfather's generation "raped" the Africans and to a lesser extent the Asians and the Indians. So did the French, the Germans, the Dutch, Spanish , Portugese, Americans, Japanese and Russians, So did the Romans when they came to Britain 2000 years ago. In retrospect all these things had good aspects and bad, but I was not responsible for any of the presumed "sins" of my ancestors. I can accept these things happened, but I'll be damned if I'll be held liable for them.written 24th Apr 2005
You seem to be almost intentionally missing my point, I accept this "thread" is getting very difficult to read, I have no objection to any immigrant for whom there is a legitimate job. I don't care what his race or colour.
What I keep saying, and am fed up with having to repeat it over and over, is that ***if an immigrant is a Moslem then the possibility of that person ever integrating into a future society, of whatever form, is zero as long as Islam retains its present structure.***
Hamish replies: Ian,
I don't think you've really addressed any of my points. For a start, I asked you several direct questions about effecting actual change rather than just sitting at home and not voting. I'm quite sure that you have views on other policy areas too, but I'll ask you again, what would you actually *do* in respect of these ones?
My other direct question is also pertinent to your reply to Paul. I do not judge you for the sins of your grandfathers, but neither do you metaphorically get to keep all the Nazi gold. There but for the grace of God go you... or do you feel otherwise?
On your Islamophobia: I'm sure that anyone who was alive during the crusades felt the same way about Christianity as you do about Islam. Yet here we are.
You also seem somehow to think that the world is a big enough place to pretend that religious tension doesn't exist. Sweeping them under the far side of the carpet won't help.
P.S. I agree that it would be much easier if this site had a threaded display.written 24th Apr 2005
mehkri replies: Ian: Only recently Chineese and Japanese relations have gone sour over history books in Japan. Japanese offered apologies over the actions of their granf fathers.
Here, if you agree that Africa was raped and we committed atrocities in Asia and elsewhere, one thing we could offer is apology. Sincere aplologies - of-course, you are not held liable for the sins of great great grand fathers. i am pretty sure that you do not hold the view that africans were enslaved for their own good.
Secondly, today's moslems may not be good moslems but that does not mean their religion is bad. Also reading history books by people of different religion does not give - very often - a fair view. To understand christianity, I would not read book by Mulla Omar.
Thirdly, as I understand it and I stand to be corrected, the moslems have to have faith in all the prophets from Adam to Mohammad and to have faith in all the holy books as these were delivered. Without these beliefs, they can not be moslems. Thereby, it goes without saying that their holy book cannot be modified or some chapters be taken out. Hope some day, I will read it in its proper context with an open mind just as I would do any other book. There must be something in it that many of the enlightened minds of our time are accepting Islam and have been accepting it despite all what is said aganist Islam in our media - which you know is controlled by our western interests.written 24th Apr 2005
Arthur replies: Islam - isn't that a 10th century Judaeo-Christian cult that spead rapidly and caused alarm to the Crusaders.
Christianity - isn't that a 1st century Jewish Cult that spread rapidly and ws merged with the failing Roman Empire.
Al-Kieda - isn't that a very obscure an tiny Islamic cult that was developed and funded by the CIA. The name created by the White Housewritten 24th Apr 2005
Oliver replies: My concern is that I have watched religion take a progressive back seat in Britain over the last 50 years - and I am greatly relieved as I am a commited Aethiest.
I have no with to see religion play ANY part in this country - how it is educated or governed.written 24th Apr 2005
Ian replies: Hamish, are these the questions you refer to?
"I am also interested to hear just what policies a political party *would* need to garner your vote? Would you have them control immigration by numbers? Would there be a test to determine "love of Britain"? Would WASPs such as myself have to take it, and would we get the boot if we were unhappy with many aspects of our own country?
The first question is totally irrelevant to this topic, which is immigration. I am having enough problems replying to post without going off at a tangent, sorry.
Yes, we obviously need some numerical limit, otherwise with combined natural growth plus immigration we will end up like China, restricting the number of children per family. Some formula would need to be arrived at based on the maximum number of people we can comfortably sustain.
Love of Britain is a silly phrase, do you mean patriotism. Patriotism is acquired over time, not by taking an oath.
Again your remark about WASPs is simply facetious, on that basis as I am a Celt by blood I was here before you and your fellow WASPs. Furthermore I am not a Christian let alone a Protestant one. So I am just a W not a WASP, yet my ancestors were in Britain over a 1000 years before yours!!
Your next question, "My other direct question is also pertinent to your reply to Paul. I do not judge you for the sins of your grandfathers, but neither do you metaphorically get to keep all the Nazi gold. There but for the grace of God go you... or do you feel otherwise?"
Is equally irrelevant to the topic of immigration, I am not interested in entering into a public debate with you over my morals, scruples, or personal religious convictions.
Finally, this statement amazes me,
"You also seem somehow to think that the world is a big enough place to pretend that religious tension doesn't exist. Sweeping them under the far side of the carpet won't help."
I am under the impression that I have been saying, over and over, that religious tensions do exist.
I feel that you would be better off actually reading what I have written, rather than trying to analyse my character and score points off me as if at some university debate.written 24th Apr 2005
Ian replies: Mehkri
"Here, if you agree that Africa was raped and we committed atrocities in Asia and elsewhere, one thing we could offer is apology. Sincere aplologies"...stet
Do you not think that millions of pounds in aid each year is a better way of saying sorry than mere words. "Sorry" never put food in my belly!
As to the rest of your comments about the Islamic faith, this is not the place for a discourse on the Islamic religion.
The majority of the people in the western world have been gulled into a concept of Islam which is way from the truth. Find out for yourself, "the truth is out there"
Ianwritten 24th Apr 2005
Hamish replies: Ian,
Sorry if I was unclear. When I asked what policies you would like to see, I meant policies about immigration. When I asked, "Would there be a test to determine 'love of Britain'?" I was really referring to your assertion that only people who were prepared to "become" British (rather than keep their own cultural identity) should be allowed to stay here. How should this be determined?
Also I am not a WASP either, just a W like you, but I sometimes use WASP as a way of referring to my cultural heritage (which I suppose is partly my point). I too am a Celt, but I consider myself British, European, and Human in fairly interchangable measure.
So, you never answered my question: am I allowed to try to live outside the culture that I object to in Britain: consumerist, imperialist, and all the rest? And if so, why -- because I've been here longer?
Come to that, I'm the first of my father's line in several hundred years to be born outside of Scotland. Should I be sent packing from England? Doubtless there were once people who thought so, and much unnecessary blood was shed.
It's fair enough that you are not interested in entering into a public debate with me over your morals, scruples, or personal religious convictions.
Let's keep it to pragmatics. What do you think is going to happen when you divide the world into Islam and non-Islam? Do you think Muslims are more or less likely to continue in their literalist interpretation of the Koran? That's what I meant by "sweeping them under the far side of the carpet". I think it would be much better to try to promote understanding between our cultures. You never know, we might just learn that our culture isn't quite as perfect as we thought it was.
Best wishes,written 24th Apr 2005
Ian replies: Hi Hamish, I would like to see an immigration policy which was based on very clear specifications, so no room for misinterpretation by all concerned, no grey areas.
I would have specific categories.
Those with proven specific skills which we need as a nation, would be given high priority. This would be doctors, nurses, engineers etc.
Next those who can "buy in" residential rights. This category already exists, it is a common concept in many countries, e.g in Thailand, Malaysia, Philippines I can buy in for £30,000. This does not mean that money goes to the government, it means it goes into their banking system, it proves you are self sufficient. I am not sure but the figure for this country 5 years ago was £100,000. (presumably we have a higher cost of living).
For hopeful political, religious, economic or needing medical treatment migrants, who were not under threat in their place of origin, I would have a fixed annual quota reviewed at the end of each National Census, and based on its findings.
For those who can prove threat to their life, I would grant asylum but not citizenship, unless subsequently earned by entering one of the previous categories.
For illegal immigrants, I would immediately remove them. If they flout our entry laws they do not respect us as a nation. If this proves impossible because their country of origin will not accept them back, then they would have to be detained, humanely, and excluded from society.
Finally I would have a green card lottery system like the Americans, just to let random factors apply.
In all cases, full citizenship would not be granted until a minimal standard had been achieved in spoken English, as is done with their own language in Holland.
Should non WASPS be allowed to stay? I think if you are born in Britain, grow up in Britain, speak English with a local accent, understand our culture and customs, then you are British. Race and colour are irrelevant. Your parents may have been immigrants, but you are British.
What do I think will be the outcome of the non-Islamic/ Islamic confrontation. I think it partly depends upon how long the Arabic oil reserves last :-) This factor alone gives Moslems a disproportionate voice in world affairs. By playing off Russians, French, American, Japanese and Chinese etc against each other, they create a situation wherein no nation may publicly declare Islam a corrupting , aggressive influence. Until the tenets of Islam can be discussed as freely and openly as any other major religion, without fear of economic or terrorist reprisals, then Islam can never change. Change has to come from both within and without, people should be able to speak without risking a fatwah.
Ultimately if a solution is not found I think we face WW3, some people, including myself, feel it has already started.
I hope this has answered all your questions.
Hamish replies: Ian,
Thanks your your replies. Your immigration policies seem well-considered. I would be slightly concerned about the burden of proof of threat to somebody's life, and might consider using lesser degrees of proof to order the queue of quota-based hopefuls. Also I don't think that illegal immigrants should necessarily be removed: many of them arrive in busloads shipped in by criminal gangs and probably believe that they *have* paid for entry. Ignorance of our laws is not the same as flouting them. And I don't think I'd bother with the green card lottery: that's just marketing.
But you still haven't addressed the rather thornier issue of freedom of culture. What if somebody "born in Britain, grow[ing] up in Britain, speak[ing] English with a local accent, understand[ing] our culture and customs" still chooses to insist that his teenage daughter wears the full burqa?
As for WW3: it's about oil, not about fatwahs. We've built our economic house of cards on shaky ground and we're going to reap what we've sown. There are certain parties that have interests in making us think it's a religious war, but like so many others before it, it's really just an economic one.
Best wishes,written 25th Apr 2005
Ian replies: Hi Hamish,
I think it is time to recap on what this debate is about. It was about immigration, it has now broadened to include religion, specifically Islam.
My thinking on these issues, which are related, is the result of my study of Islamic teachings, past and present, a study of the life of Mohammed, from my readings of the Koran the Hadiths and Sharia laws. Above all from my personal experiences in countries where Islam is the majority religion. From all of this I have reached one very firm conclusion.
Islam in its present form cannot peacefully coexist with a modern western culture, where it may seem to do so it is a best an uneasy peace which often breaks down into violence.
No amount of postings from others will persude me otherwise, in its PRESENT form, the basic doctrines of Islam are inimical to western society. The only way peaceful coexistence can be achieved is by a RADICAL reform of Islam, or by the west converting to Islam (a solution Moslems would dearly love to see).
It is on this basis that I feel Britain should be very circumspect and careful in admitting further Moslems into this country.
As to your freedom of culture question Hamish,
*"What if somebody "born in Britain, grow[ing] up in Britain, speak[ing] English with a local accent, understand[ing] our culture and customs" still chooses to insist that his teenage daughter wears the full burqa?"*
I find it hard to believe that someone who fitted that description would behave in this way. However, assuming that he did, I would accept this, except that when his daughter attended the state school she conformed to the dress code of that school and that when she reached the "age of consent" she was allowed freedom of choice. In case you wonder why the age of consent (16), rather than the age of majority (18), it is because Moslems choose to see a girl's dress as a sexual statement as well as a religious one.
Your comments re WW3 whilst valid are superficial, there are many reasons, oil is one, religion is another, human rights is yet another, history also plays a role. Wars are started by politicians but fought by people, wars are fought in more places than on the battlefield.
Ianwritten 25th Apr 2005
raymond replies: Ian: From immigration to religion, this discussion is now turning into cat coming out of bag. You have serious problems with moslems and/or Islam. While I agree with your thought s about immigration, I disagree with your thinking about Islam. I feel that you may have been involved with clergy and your study of Islam and their Prophets and their teaching is perhaps tainted with your choice of readings and perception. You would note that many people disagree with such thinking and despite your comments about the modesty of dress required by men as well as women, Islam is the fastest growing religion in west including USA. May this is the fear behind your thoughts. It is this fear that in secular France, scarfs are not allowed to be worn by moslem girls. Is that any better than say Saudi Arabia. Where is freedom of choice? That is if we think we are any superior in our secular thoughts. And why blame just moslems - if you have been to India, covering faces or arranged marraiges are customs in the Hindoo practices too. Just blaming moslems for all our problems is not going to solve our problems. There are not many moslems in Northern Ireland or Columbia or Burma or Nepal. In fact, if you are student of history as you appear to be quite well read, most problems in the present world are caused by us - The Brits. Palestine for example. We are very happy for Lawrence of Arabia for the break-up of Ottoman empire as it served our purpose. We are very happy for handing over Palestine to Israel. We are worried and go to war for the thought of Iraq having long range artilerry but utter no word about Israeli nuclear arsenal - atleast 200 atomic bombs. Come on, Ian. Controlling or stopping immigration is one thing and Islamophobia is another. By the way, hope you had seen BBC Panoram yesterday on Immigration. You do not have to worry now that over 200,000 immigrants are now pouring in Britain from white, mosty devout christians from Eastern Europe. Soon they would correct the ratio of no-whites to whites, non-christians to christians in Britain, if thats what you wanted from the immigration policy.written 25th Apr 2005
Ian replies: Raymond, I am becoming bored with this topic, particularly with people who get their facts wrong and have no personal experiences. I have tried to be tolerant and ignore the many veiled insults directed at me by unimformed Islamic sympathisers. But I find in my recent answers I keep covering the same ground, so why should I persist?
Raymond old chap, you win, but by default. Turn this country into an Islamic state, do your Haj, turn your women into illiterate domestic slaves, destroy all the trapping of Christianity, turn back the clock and create a dictatorial theocracy.
I hope there is a silent majority out there that does not think like you, that can see a real threat. If I am wrong then I am sorry for this country, the world and future generations.
Ianwritten 25th Apr 2005
Tom Cochrane replies: Raymond
"You do not have to worry now that over 200,000 immigrants are now pouring in Britain from white, mosty devout christians from Eastern Europe. Soon they would correct the ratio of no-whites to whites, non-christians to christians in Britain, if thats what you wanted from the immigration policy."
Yes Raymond I think that is exactly what people want from their immigration policy - people who have a compatible religion and culture.
It will lead to much more stable and harmonius society.written 26th Apr 2005
Adam replies: Raymond,
Calling a self-proclaimed Islamophobe an 'Islamophobe' is going to be about as effective as calling a gay man 'gay' - it is hardly a great revelation.
I completely disagree with Ian on the point of Islam, based on my experience of a few Islamic countries and of Islamic friends and family, but cannot see an issue with 200,000 white christians coming from Eastern Europe either. Thanks to the EU, you are free to 'pour' the other way should you wish to. You presumably do not wish to, for the economic reasons I set out before.
As I mentioned previously, I am one of the 40,000 or so British people that move to Australia every year and am allowed to stay because I meet certain skills criteria. I made that choice because I felt unsafe in the UK, although I am considering a return (for money reasons). I mention this, partly because I am sure the Aboriginal people would take issue with a previous poster who mentioned how grateful they would be for us bringing them 'civilisation' (alcohol, smallpox and alienation), but primarily to indicate that the immigration issue cuts both ways and you should be conscious of how many people are 'pouring' out at the same time. In a global marketplace, there is certain to be a constant ebb and flow of people and cultures. The question is whether Britain wishes to be part of this global marketplace or close down its borders to all but a select few, at the expense of its wealth.
Interestingly, this may be the crux of Ian's dilemma. Most of the 'nationalist' parties want to see reduced immigration, but the 'Great' being kept in Britain - which can't work because we have no wealth other than the intellects and efforts of ourselves and our immigrants. The more mainstream parties recognise the economic importance of immigrants and know that we must keep accepting them if we are to sustain our oversized economy. As Hamish said, we have built our economic house on shaky ground (in more ways than one) and will reap what we have sown. Whether this comes in the form of some kind of Islamic armageddon or the abandonment of Britain and its eventual economic collapse, only time will tell.
To be honest, I see the eventual displacement of the 'British' to the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa and the continued evolution of Britain into a diverse multiculture of everything and nothing all at once. Is this a bad thing? I have no idea, but it seems our imperialist forefathers chose to sell out our 'original' culture in exchange for a quick buck. My best advice, if you don't like it, is to take the money and run. No band of one dimensional politicians is going to help you.written 26th Apr 2005
raymond replies: Adam: Yes EU enable m to pour to the other side, but dear me England is England, despite its wine, women and weather (not necessarily in that order) .......... It is not just economics that we choose to be here and emigrate to Spain, France, Australia or Newzeland.written 26th Apr 2005
raymond replies: Tom Cochrane: It is time to stop living in cockoo's land. Wake up. Upto 50% of our NHS is now immigrants based - mostly non-whites. We are not finding enough bus drivers, lorry drivers because we white brits are too brilliant and must be made company directors or send on missions to colonize foreign territories in the name of Queen - the defender of Faith. As Adams wrote earlier, we sold our right to be white/christian-only terretory once we landed in India, Hong Kong, Arabia, Eygpt, Turkey, Nepal, Singapore, South Africa, Zimbabwe etc. We left there little but fights and wars. least we could do now to stop thinking about sending them back. If most people wanted that BNP would have been in power or atleast, tories would have never lost a single election since the times of Enoch Powell. Got it, mate.written 26th Apr 2005
raymond replies: Ian: It is not you win or I win. Good debate is about putting forward one's point of view in a civilized way. I agree with your concern on immigration and I see your point of view viz a viz cultural harmony. But I do not think that it is right to consider all or most moslem women as 'illeterate domestic maids'. I speak from my personal experiences. My GP is moslem from India. Her wife is also a Consultant. Their daughter is a medical student. And they are not the only moslem family I know of. Only recently I read in newpapers, most likely Guardian that litteracy among young women in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia is as high as 85%. I just do not see a cause of Islamphobia. any one else non-white/non-christian such as Hindoo might just be as culturally different. I like my ways of doing thing but am not scared if a moslem women wear scarf or go to mosque.written 26th Apr 2005
Tom Cochrane replies: Raymond - "mate" - as I said most British people want an immigration policy that encourages people who have a compatible religion and culture.
The new states in The EU would be ideal - where people could broaden their experience and have of course always have the ability to the move back and forth freely.
People who come from a radically different culture choose to sepperate themselves in exclusive communities.written 26th Apr 2005
Ian replies: Hello everyone,
I am glad to see that whilst I have been sleeping that you have started debating amongst yourselves:-) I was starting to find it hard work having to constantly defend myself against a multipronged attack:-)
I accept the point, that has been made several times, that there are many decent, literate, professionally skilled Moslems in this world. I have met many and have friends in this category.
If you talk to such people about their religion and beliefs, you will observe they become uncomfortable, they have internal tensions where their religion is concerned.
Their religion and its teachings are in conflict with their lifestyle and education. If they are living in a western culture or a modern Arabic state like Kuwait, they can treat Islam as a peripheral activity and get on with their normal lives. Rather like most Christians do here.
Moslems like these show what Islam could become if it modernised itself. Unfortunately even in countries like Kuwait the Imams still wield great power and influence, modernised liberal Moslems have to be very circumspect in their behaviour there.
Visit countries like Indonesia, Malaysia, most Arabic countries, and you will find that the religious leaders have more power over people than the official government. These governments have to tread very carefully to try to maintain a balance between secular and religious power.
A Moslem's primary loyalty is to his faith, not to his government, if he sees his secular leaders moving away from Islam it is his duty to remove them.
This is a problem which has to be faced, not just in Britain but in many other European countries, A Moslems loyalty is to Islam first, his country second. Because of this we have seen British Moslems fighting British soldiers in Afghanistan, British Moslems becoming terrorist both here and in America. To us non Moslem British we see them as traitors, but to most Moslems they are seen as patriots fighting for Islam. The educated ones will say they are misguided, but they are reluctant to openly condemn them.
This is the crux of my argument, I am not opposed to Moslems, I am opposed to Islam:-) This may sound oxymoronic until you grasp the fact that I am talking about the Islamic faith as it is presently preached in mosques all over the world, including Britain.
Ianwritten 26th Apr 2005
raymond replies: Ian: welcome back; I see your point but in that case, I see fault with moslems and preachings by perhaps ignorant Imams; not with Islam. Problem with ordianry moslems like oridary christians is that they have not studied their religion. They are moslems, christians or whatever just by virtue of their birth in a particular faith. So can not argue about some fine theological point with even some one who may just have incomplete knowledge. That is why I would not argue on points of religion because I am not competent and for the sake of my ignorance, I will not be converting to other religion if I just lose argument.written 26th Apr 2005
Ian replies: Raymond, exactly so. One of the biggest problems in dealing with Islam as a concept is that it has no head. It does not have a Pope, or Archbishop of Canterbury, it does not have a centralised body of doctrine or faith. Whilst at the moment the Russian Patriarch of the Orthodox church can enter into dialogue with the Roman Catholic Pope, there is no Islamic equivalent person.
Islam is a grass roots religion, it is perpetuated and expounded by village and local Imams. Each may put his own slant on Islam, his own interpretation. Some Imams become well known and have much influence, but they are not supreme in their teachings. This is why people like yourself get confused, they see many different faces of Islam, you wonder which is the real one, the answer is all of them:-)
In the past under the Omayyad caliphs and later the Ottomans and the Moors, the Moslems created a noble society at a time when Europe was still in the Dark Ages, we owe much of modern culture to these peoples.
But modern Islam has reverted to its more savage origins, it has no central authority, and so no real control over its adherents.
It is for this very reason that one can neither negotiate nor compromise with them.
Modern day Islam maintains a semblance of unity simply by fostering hatred of the West. But as we see in Iraq there are as many doctrinal differences as there are in the Christian world.
Ianwritten 26th Apr 2005
Ian replies: Further comments on religious teachings:-)
If you examine the Bible, particularly the old testament, you will find much which is abhorrent to modern society and Christianity.
Here are some examples followed by my brief description. You can read the full text in an online Bible if you don't have one to hand:-)
Isaiah 14.21 Kill the sons of sinners
Deuteronomy 13.7 - 12 Kill followers of other religions
Exodus 21.20 Beat slaves with a rod
Numbers 15.32 - 36 Stone to death those who ignore the sabath
Deuteronomy 20.10 - 18 Instructions to rape, murder, plunder and pillage in the name of God
You will find similar things in the Koran.
As most people will have access to a copy of the Bible but not the Koran, I will give but two examples but in full.
"when you meet infidels strike off their heads till you have made a great slaughter amongst them." (47.4)
"seek out, ambush, besiege, seize and slay unbelievers wherever they may be found, unless they are converted to Islam" (9.5).
Remember also that the Old testament is also one of the holy books of Islam.
The point of making this comparison between the Bible and the Koran, is that whilst in the west we have put these quotes behind us as relics of a past that no longer applies. The rabid Imam can, and does, still use them to inflame his followers.
This is what must change, the way in which many Imams choose to interpret their holy books.
Ianwritten 26th Apr 2005
William replies: Your concept of Islam is not shared by all.
http://www.notapathetic.com/comments/1502written 26th Apr 2005
raymond replies: Ian: I think it is about time that some moslem scholar (not mulla, please) enter this fine discussion and explain the background and the context in which two verses of Koran were revealed. This might clarify the confussion because all my moslem acquintances say Islam is religion of peace.written 26th Apr 2005
Ian replies: I think we are starting to go in circles again.
Thank you William for stating the obvious:-)
If my opinion was shared by all we would not need to be having this discussion:-))
Raymond as I said in my last post, there are as many versions of Islamic interpretation as there are Christian. Which represents the Christian viewpoint a Roman Catholic, a Baptist, A Jehovah's Witness, A Mormon(LDS)? Perhaps some one from the Eucomenical Congration of Churchs?
Any Islamic scholar would be expressing one particular Islamic viewpoint.
To satisfy the intent of your suggestion would require a panel of Islamic scholars.
But I gave you references, why not look them up?
Ianwritten 26th Apr 2005
raymond replies: Ian: now you got me, mate.written 26th Apr 2005
Ian replies: Raymonmd so now you see my dilemma, various people have attacked my views on Islam, saying they KNOW or have SEEN or even been TOLD differently. I cannot call them liars, or even wrong, they are right as far as they go.
The simplest solution is one that Europe at least was following quite happily, to have a secular government and law, let a citizen's religion be whatever he chooses where it does not conflict with the law. I say this last comment thinking about multiple marriages, underage marriages, and Rastafarians and Cannabis:-)
With the sad exception of Northern Ireland, even here there is a polital content, there is no longer Christian conflicts between various denominations.
Islam in all its various forms is a complete new ball game, I cannot predict how the game will play out, I doubt if anyone can.
What I would like to see is a halt to the process of immigration of Moslems, whilst we see how the present 2 million of them already here adjust to us and our society.
Ianwritten 27th Apr 2005
Ian replies: Now here is an interesting turn of events, the very latests postings feature a bunch of "British" moslems slagging each other off over what each claims to be a true interpretation of Islam. Quotation from the Koran are flying fast:-)
Just about makes my points for me perfectly, do go and look:-)written 27th Apr 2005
I followed the link you gave, but rather than making your points for you perfectly, instead it proved mine rather neatly. Rayyan and Mehkri represent exactly what I am talking about: Moslems who are clearly able to interpret the Koran in a different way from what your prophesy of doom is based on. This is precisely the sort of moderation that a person gets from being exposed to a moderate culture, which is exactly why we should encourage Islam to flourish here, rather than allowing it to breed in far-off places solely under the influence of the Imams, ready for when World War 3 kicks off.
Best wishes,written 28th Apr 2005
raymond replies: Ian: I haven't yet looked in to the references you gave because of my laziness - I will definitely study that. On the point of what Hamish responded, I tend to agree with him. Other than that the comments there are non serious about cheese and by non-moslems. What point do you prove:written 28th Apr 2005
Ian replies: I agree that many of the posts there were either frivolous or abusive, but there was an underlying serious thread. The point it shows, is that there is no consensus amongst Moslems as to what Islam is. Although Christianity is divided into many different Churches, there is an underlying consensus and to use a modern expression a "policy making group", there are eucumenical conferences etc. Islam has no leaders, it has a "cell" structure, this makes it impossible to deal with Moslems other than at the secular level.
In military terminology, it is like trying to negotiate a truce with an army which has no generals, just many captains.
Ianwritten 28th Apr 2005
This post has resurrected that old question what is Britishness?. I dont think anyones really put their finger on it. I dont see the character of the English as being any closer to that of the Scottish than it is to the character of the Irish. As a Yorkshire man I feel foreign when I go down south let alone in Wales or Scotland. Im not sure I FEEL British.
Given all this, what exactly are we trying to defend? This is not a criticism of the gentleman that posted the original message; Im purely stating my opinion.
On the subject of immigration; I think you should make a distinction between illegal immigrants and genuine ones. I would say that broadly speaking, if you are coming into the country through illegal means, you are more likely to continue in your illegal activity once youre in the country, perhaps? On the basis of this, anyone who is an illegal immigrant should be sent back. Its a hugely difficult problem to tackle, on one hand wed like to help innocent people that are being persecuted in their own country, on the other hand, there are lots of people being persecuted in the world and we havent room for them all! This is aside from the amount of money its costing us to check if these people are genuine asylum seekers or not, which is the real issue when were talking about the financial cost to the country.
I dont think Ive said anything controversial in this post so far, thats unusual for me nope cant think of anything.written 28th Apr 2005
Ian replies: Al, I have stated my opinion on Britishness several times in my postings, it is on the one hand a stereotype, and yet at the same time a subjective viewpoint from a citizen and an objective viewpoint from a non citizen. Put simply Britishness is a real, but fuzzy concept.written 28th Apr 2005
You agree with my previous comments on illegal immigrants, also that there is a conflict in our minds between compassion "let them all in", and practical common sense "where are we going to put them all?"
Watch the approach the Spanish government is trying, and read up on what is happening in the Canary Islands. A search of the BBC webpage will fill you in on these events.
Your definition of Britishness...
"it is on the one hand a stereotype, and yet at the same time a subjective viewpoint from a citizen and an objective viewpoint from a non citizen."
It's certainly fuzzy! I'm not sure I can agree that it's real.
I'll certainly look into the spanish approach as you've sugested.written 28th Apr 2005
WM replies: I don't buy into any of this multicultural nonesense. If only we were half as enthusiastic about celebrating our own identity as we seem to be about integration.
The atributes which make us British may be good, bad, ugly or even apparently irrelevant, but when they are gone they will be mourned.. Village greens and halls, Highland games, Welsh male voice choirs, ruddy cheeked farmers, industrial innovation, landscape, weather, courage, history, dialects, humour, eccentricity, cucumber sandwiches with the crusts removed, beer, seafaring, pride, cuisine, art, poetry, literature (so many more).. This nation posseses so much variety in so many ways, that each individual thing in itself seems insignificant. This makes each vulnerable and easily overlooked or lost. I consider Britishness the "sum of these parts" . None in isolation seem important, but as a collective I find something I identify with, something which other Britains will understand and non-British will not. I don't understand the patriotism of other nationlities (although I respect it). Some British people may not understand what I am going on about too. That, sadly, is their loss..written 28th Apr 2005
Al replies: Some good examples of what you might associate with Britishness there.
Cuisine?? Firstly can I point out that that's a French word, secondly, we aren't renounded for fantastic cuisine are we? In fact with this item you've hit on a great advantage of multiculturism, all the different type of cuisine from all over the world add alot to my quality of life and that of most people in the country I'd have thought.
Italian Food, Indian, Cantoneese, Chineese, Mexican the list could go on.written 28th Apr 2005
WM replies: Reread the bit about "sum of parts".written 28th Apr 2005
I don't advocate" bangers and mash" to define British in its entirety anywhere....
Al replies: You don't think british cuisine is a great thing then? So you like the diverse range of cuisine we have in this country, which is a result of multiculturism?written 28th Apr 2005
Ian replies: WM, I have made this point myself, Britishness is something which is only really understood by the original British, not the recent immigrant "British", it is undefineable yet nonetheless real. It is indeed the "sum of its parts", not just one specific item.written 28th Apr 2005
Al, there is no problem with multiculturalism if it happens at a speed at which it can be assimilated by the original residents. I see no problem in eating a kebab or a vindaloo, but I also happen to like bangers and mash, also bubble and squeak:-)
Al replies: Ian, so you're saying immigration is fine at a steady rate that the country can accomodate, you have no problem with other cultures becoming part of our country so long as we aren't swamped to the extent that we're the minority? Seems reasonable.written 28th Apr 2005
Ian replies: Al, go to the top of the class:-) After what is well over a 100 postings, someone has finally not only understood what I have been saying, but has actually agrees with it:-))
Ianwritten 28th Apr 2005
Trouble is when you tell people your 69 and that the problem in this country is immigration, people will make assumptions about you before they properly take on board what you're saying.written 28th Apr 2005
raymond replies: Ian: thats perfect - only if you give time to moslems to adjust to this culture. Honestly, how many of your moslems friends, you mentioned about, are fanatics. I bet none.written 28th Apr 2005
Ian replies: Al and Raymond, you are both correct in what you write. The standard assumption, to people who have never met me, is that at 69 I am either a geriatric old whinger, or in the early stages of Altzheimer's disease:-) Watch me having fun in Bangkok or Manila you might change your mind:-) I often get refused senior citizen rates until I show proof. As to friends, anyone who is a fanatic of any persuasion is automatically excluded.written 28th Apr 2005
Raymond replies: Ian: Good for you, mate. have fun and may you live longer and happily.written 28th Apr 2005
It seems we have reached concensus!
Although personally, I think that:
"... immigration is fine at a steady rate that the country can accomodate ... no problem with other cultures becoming part of our country so long as we aren't swamped to the extent that we're the minority"
is a bit different to:
"Then, dare I say it, refuse further immigrants from countries which are basically anti-british, if they hate us and our way of life so much, why do they choose to live here?"
I can certainly identify with the former position, but the latter comes across as you judging people according to their country of origin, which country in turn you may have judged according to the actions of a minority. You can probably understand why people took umbridge to that.
One further point: the main schism in the Christian church is about exactly what you say separates it from Islam. Protestants believe that God's relationship is with each and every individual, and that no man can claim authority in mediating that relationship. The 'cells', e.g. the Church of England, are larger but there is no 'chain of command' comparable to the military like there is in Catholicism. Yet as you say, there is general concensus between church leaders. Why do you feel that this is impossible to achieve in Islam?
Best wishes,written 28th Apr 2005
Ian replies: Hamish,written 28th Apr 2005
One often has to take a bold stand to eventually achieve the middle ground:-)
Your point about Islam reforming itself as Christianity has done is perfectly valid, but it took Christians many centuries to reach this point. We don't seem to have the luxury of that kind of time scale anymore.
I have read much discussion elsewhere between Moslems, on how to adapt to the western culture in which they live, I see no prospect of consensus, do you?
Let me throw the ball back at you, and hopefully others will argue for and against you:-)
How would you like to see Moslems fitting into British society?
Raymond replies: Ian: may be just as they adjusted in USA - the great melting pot of our times. There are more moslems there from Arabia and India but we don't hear of similar problems there.
On the lighter side: hope you are not playing 69 in Bangkok or Manila. Safety first.written 28th Apr 2005
Ian replies: Raymond, my sex life is my secret:-) There are actually increasing tensions in America over resident Moslems, and even tighter immigration controls. Perhaps you are unaware of the recent row over student visas for America from countries such as Malaysia. But lets not digress into that please, let's concentrate for the moment on our British problems. Read what I wrote to Hamish and do the same, make some concrete formal suggestions, I think you will find it not so easy in the hot seat:-)written 28th Apr 2005
raymond replies: Ian: point noted mate - many positive suggesstions have been made above by you and others, which most have agreed. I would add as I have done before not to have undue fear from moslems or Islam. Row about refusal of student visas has nothing to do with integration in the society. On the wider note, it is often better to encourage exchange of students as they are more adoptable rather than some middle age person coming to another country.written 29th Apr 2005
Ian replies: Raymond, no offence, but you have ignored my challenge, which was what I suspected would happen:-)
It is easy to comment either supportively or critically on another person's ideas......mine in this instance:-)
It is much more difficult and hard work, to put together a comprehensive policy of your own.
This is where politicians get you by the "short and curlies", they present a policy package, you argue about one detail of the package, not its entirety, in the end the policy gets through with a few minor changes.
Each year I see Malaysia become closer to Sharia Law by this "creeping" method of government. That last statement is not intended as an anti Islam statement, but an example of how politicians control the electorate.
Ianwritten 29th Apr 2005
Ian replies: Two news items to ponder:
I can personally vouch for the second one, ear plugs essential.
Is this our future also?
Ianwritten 29th Apr 2005
Al replies:written 29th Apr 2005
In short, no.
Hamish replies: Ian,
How would I like to see Moslems fitting into British society? The same way as I would like to see atheists, Christians, or anybody else. A person should be able to believe what they like as long as they do not impose that belief upon others. The starting point should be that individuals have absolute freedom. Then you allow groups of individuals to agree to curtail their own freedoms for mutual benefit (e.g., not polluting the environment). In the case of the group of Britain, these decisions are made pseudodemocratically. Any hope we have of enshrining the principle of the right to freedom of the individual lies in educating (i.e., trying to persuade) people that all other ways madness lies. Memes live and die; the ones which treat everyboy equally seem to have a survival advantage. What other option do we have? Consitutional self-amendment, although a paradox, is a reality.
Best wishes,written 30th Apr 2005
Hamish replies: Ian writes, "Is this our future also?".
What, people not agreeing with one another about things? In a word, yes. But stop scaremongering: it's also our past and our present.
Best wishes,written 30th Apr 2005
raymond replies: Ian: Once I got into reading as you suggsted, I came across many other muslim sites. Quite interesting and now I think, it is better not read a verse or chapter in isolation of its perspective, the time and conditions in which these verses were delivered and the events surrounding these verses. I am not theologian and no way near to clergy. So i am not going to make any judgment. i have come across many oa writings and sayings about Prophet Muhammad by western scholars praising him a lot. Simple search on google is throwing up so much.
Other than that, on immigration we have broad consensus - as immigration is probably the topic of this discussion. As you replied to Hamish, you have moderated your views and hope soon you would agree to what Hamish has said in his recent posts. just by the way, the massive rise in immigration is not due to moslem immigration, it is more likely East European immigration.
Hope you are keeping well.written 30th Apr 2005
Ian replies: Hi Hamish, you advocate the Golden Rule then, I'll agree with that, but the problem is rather like the logic exercise the "prisoner's dilemma", whoever makes the first "concessionary" move towards integration and coexistence will be disadvantaged if the other side does not respond.written 30th Apr 2005
Memes are culturally dependant, you could say that a culture is defined by a set of Memes. When memes compete then Darwinian rules apply. Survival of the fittest is not always the same as survival of the best:-)
Ian replies: Hi Raymond, whilst my original posting was about emigration, my aim has always been to get people to learn and think (sorry as a teacher for many years it has become a habit:-) )written 30th Apr 2005
The important thing you have discovered is that many of the quotations from the Koran, and comments upon these quotations, belong to a time and place long removed from here and now.
Until Imams can stop preached outdated doctrines and adapt to a modern world then no matter how many reasonable enlightened Moslems there are in the world there will always be problems.
I would simply like to see immigration restricted to a level that we can sustain and absorb, and that we should maintain a balance of ethnic and religious entrants, not swamped by Moslems, Eastern Europeans, African, Asians, but a sensible balance between them.
raymond replies: Ian: well said; now who would disagree with that. Let's live in peace. happy evening.written 30th Apr 2005
Anonymous replies: Once we all convert to Islam we will be saved.written 30th Apr 2005
Ian replies: I think if I was discussing his religion with a Moslem, liberal or otherwise, I would like to ask just three questions.
1. Do you accept that the Koran is the absolute and unchangeable word of God?
2. Do you accept that the Koran contains many exhortations to slay, attack, enslave or convert non Moslems.
3. Do you accept that if your answers to both the previous questions was yes, then it is patently impossible for Moslem and non Moslem to peacefully co-exist.
I have yet to meet an "informed " Moslem prepared to answer these questions, perhaps some of you may have more luck:-)
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/4501311.stmwritten 1st May 2005