Wednesday 14 January 2015

Integration: No easy answers

Following any terrorist attack or anything vaguely related to Muslims we get the same tired old mantras about "multiculturalism" and political correctness. I can't tell you how much this bores me, not least reading London journalists pontificating about integration in Yorkshire. As ever, it's the Ukipish tendency to make it all about immigration and rule of law as though the issues were not intimately intertwined with other more complex issues. We hear talk of defending our values, but little evidence that we uphold them. And no, I'm not talking about free speech.

If you've been reading my posts for a while you'll know that one of my hobby horses is welfarism, on which I am to the right of Rienhard Heydrich. While I tend to dislike people hitching their hobby horse to the wagon of the day, unemployment and welfarism are not separate issues to this.

Integration is a two way street. Insomuch as you get immigrant ghettos you get white working class ghettos, underpinned by welfarism, which in turn creates envy, division and hatred, especially of Muslim communities which in some cities are thriving. However, were we to look at Rotherham, these white-trash ghettos, formerly mining villages, we'd find they create an unending supply of young girls to be groomed and traded from fatherless families in a state of generational dependency. That's at the heart of a broader societal decay that creates the conditions extremism on both sides can thrive in. It's no coincidence the BNP do well in these places.

At the heart of that is the surrender of our own values of family, self-reliance, hard work and sacrifice. As much some may hate Muslims, it's not difficult to see why that might be reciprocal. You may cast a sneer on a Muslim woman wearing a veil, and I probably do to, but I loathe equally to see fat, buggy pushing white-trash in leggings with the shopping rack full of cheap lager.

For all the forelock tugging about integration I've yet to see anyone come up with a concrete definition of what Muslims are supposed to integrate with. We get the right wing suggesting stupid laws banning headscarfs and teaching Britishness in schools, along with all the other quasi-fascist crap, but it doesn't bring forth integration and harmony. The fastest way to bring about integration is wealth and prosperity, so it becomes a matter of social and economic policy. It's no coincidence that racially motivated attacks spike during times of recession.

But there's the more contentious matter of porous borders which cannot be ignored. We cannot, nor should we, turn into a fortress island and inspect every individual coming in or out. We would become a hostile, officious and unpleasant country, ceding way too much power to state officials. The way to tackle incoming extremism is with good local community intelligence - and for that you need to have solid community relations with the police, which we don't have and can't have while we continue to corporatise and amalgamate police forces into fortresses miles from anywhere.

Further to this, what fuels resentment is the apparent lack of law enforcement feeding the perception that "Muslim grooming gangs" operate above the law. People often put it down to "multiculturalism" and political correctness. I think that's a silly answer than bares no relation to the facts. The grooming case being no exception. As much as welfarism creates the supply of young girls, we have social services and police rendered inert by way of having no parental reinforcement. It's no use rounding up all the girls and taking them back home if the mothers don't care. So all they really can do is attempt to tackle the very worst of it in a bureaucratised system with little or no accountability and very little leadership.

What you're seeing in these terms is symptomatic of a dysfunctional local government attempting to keep a lid on an issue which requires a layer multi-agency approach ranging from the police, social services, border agency and even environmental health. But the problem with that kind of enforcement is that if you break up HMOs full of immigrants you have to find homes for them or spaces in detention centres, adding to already acute problems in a system that was creaking even before the banking crisis. It's not simply a matter of cuts, it's a matter of competence, which large and unaccountable local government is manifestly incapable of.

I could go on, but the point here is this: take Muslims out of the equation and you still have a demand for drugs and prostitution, which somebody will supply and if it isn't "Muslims", it could just as easily be blacks, Chinese or whatever. So unless you're saying fire up the cattle trucks, we have to treat it for what it is; a complex network of problems with critical nuances, of which our own systemic decay in governance is a massive part, along with failing education and diminishing economic opportunities for everyone. I don't see how finger-pointing at ethnic minorities solves anything, and pretending it's all about political correctness and multiculturalism suggests the problems can be pressed into an easily understandable, convenient narrative. I think if you start looking at these problems as a whole and start resolving some of the more fundamental structural issues that are barriers to wealth and opportunity (and effective government), you'll find the integration aspect takes care of itself.

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