By Libby Purves, top Times witterer, who echoes my post of a day or two back.
Libby thinks that if only we HAD a culture to asssimilate to, Muslims might assimilate.
"... what Muslims want and respect is not so very unlike what the despised “Middle Britain” wants. Islam — like Christianity — sets great store on family, self-control, support of the weak and respect for tradition. And in many parts of Britain they do not see those things. In a YouGov poll at the weekend a third of Muslims agreed that “Western society is decadent and immoral, and Muslims should seek to bring it to an end”. Only 1 per cent approved of violence, but all the same the figure betrays a failure of integration in them, and a failure of proper pride in us."
All very true. But Libby, having chucked out the cultural bathwater, you can't put the 'respect agenda' baby back in.
"Ziauddin Sardar wrote yesterday that “the moral values that guide (Muslims) do have a place in Britain”. Up to a point: on homosexuality and women’s place we will always differ."
There we are. The bedrock of British values as seen by Libby - the unnegotiables. Uphill gardening lessons in school and children raised (when not aborted) by anyone except their mothers. After you to the barricades, ma'am. With every extra sentence she weakens her argument.
"But many Muslim values are eerily similar to the lost social consensus that made Britain the open, generous, free country that it basically is. Bombast is not the answer. But neither is shrugging self-disgust. Muslims and Middle Britain could fight some good fights, hand in hand."
The social consensus that made Britain a good place was created by 1600 years of Christiainity, 900 years of Parliament, 150 years of trade unionism and democracy. Plus a reasonably homogenous population. All except democracy are dead or dying. Dream on, Libby.