TheStar.com - comment
Immigration, not Blair, changed face of Britain
Jun 26, 2007 04:30 AM
London–The end of this month will see two important changes in British life: July 1 marks the official start of a smoke-free Britain in all public places, while tomorrow will mark the official end of Tony Blair's tenure as prime minister. In both cases, we are witnessing the end of an era.
These changes are minor, however, compared with the problems of immigration and cultural integration that Britain faces, which question the very core of what it means to be British.
Today, assessing the Blair era is on everyone's mind.
On foreign policy, his legacy will forever be haunted by Iraq. Domestically, Blair presided over a period of strong economic growth, and he can be credited with considerable achievements in specific policy areas, such as reform of the National Health System.
The Blair legacy will dominate the next election campaign led by his successor, Gordon Brown, but so too will another important issue: immigration.
Like the NHS, everyone in Britain has an opinion on immigration, and most remain unsatisfied. While the Tories went down to inglorious defeat on the issue in the 2005 election, it remains a lightning rod for all kinds of concerns, from the price of housing to the cost of translating street signs.
The Blair decade coincided with the influx of more than 2 million foreigners into Britain, from waves of much-needed Russian and East European workers, to asylum seekers, to illegal migrants. Current estimates are that 300,000 new residents arrive each year.
This great migration is changing the social fabric of Britain, just as post-colonial immigration from South Asia and the Caribbean did after 1945.
Like Canada, Britain is coming to terms with the effects of rapid immigration and the challenges of multiculturalism. It is also soul-searching for a sense of national identity.
Read the whole article here.
Immigration is changing the face of Britain just like it is here in Canada. And, like Canada, the British do not know who they are anymore even though they have centuries of history and culture behind them. This is due to multiculturalism and mass immigration. Multiculturalism compels any society not to form a coherent identity for to do so may exclude “minority” identities. Thus confusion emerges and unnecessary national soul searching arises.
Why do the British have to redefine themselves? Shouldn't immigrants to Britain redefine themselves so as to fit into the "social fabric" of British society? Why must the British surrender any sense of a national character and their history so that those who willingly choose to move to Britain can preserve theirs? This doesn't seem right to me. Moving to Britain, or to Canada for that matter, has its benefits but it also has its costs but it seems nowadays, particularly in Canada, the host population is being asked to bear as much of the costs as possible. Culture just happens to be one of those costs. Instead of saying "this is British" or "that is Canadian" an immigrant can now say that his or her foreign culture is just as British or Canadian as a culturally ethnic Britain or Canadian. This is ridiculous and an attack on our cultural identity.
If an immigrant surrenders his or her culture when they move to Britain or Canada then an immigrant willingly does so. By virtue of them moving to our countries they are saying with their feet that the benefits of our societies outweigh that cost. And, of course, the immigrant is invited to join us and be British or Canadian. If that cost is too much then, please, don’t move here.