The Guardian interviews Tory shadow home secretary Dominic Grieve:
“Grieve has also been thinking deeply about the ‘terrible’ impact of multiculturalism which has, he believes, compartmentalised people from different traditions and downplayed the identity of white Britons.
“‘We’ve actually done something terrible to ourselves in Britain’, says Grieve who was asked by former Tory leader Ian Duncan Smith to look at community cohesion in 2002. ‘In the name of trying to prepare people for some new multicultural society we’ve told people, particularly long-term inhabitants, ‘Well your cultural background isn’t really very important, or it’s flawed, or you shouldn’t be worrying about it’. And then we’ve been shocked that far from producing the new model citizen who easily adapts to multiculturalism, people are very resistant, very fearful and very lacking in self-confidence. And we have the same problem with some second- and third-generation immigrant communities who say they don’t know what British values are and that they’re alienated.’
“The vacuum created by multiculturalism is to blame for extremists on either side of the spectrum. ‘In this vacuum, both the BNP and Hizb ut-Tahrir rise. They are two very similar phenomena experiencing a form of cultural despair about themselves and their identities. And it’s terribly easy to latch on to confrontational and aggressive variants of their cultural background as being the only way to reassure themselves that they can survive.’
“Grieve feels uneasy about the restriction of debate by what he calls ‘fundamental Islam’. ‘Our country has adapted because people have been tolerant, which has often required a lot of forbearance and acceptance of things they didn’t like. That is how Britain has evolved. When I address an Islamic audience I always point this out’.”
So Grieve buys into the myth about the damaging effects of multiculturalism, for which there exists no evidence at all. He claims that the culture of “long-term inhabitants” (read “white people”) has been ignored. And he can’t tell the difference between a peaceful if highly sectarian Islamist organisation like Hizb ut-Tahrir and a neo-fascist party like the BNP, many members of which have convictions for violence and incitement to racial hatred.
Bear in mind that Grieve is generally regarded as part of the pro-Muslim wing of the Tory Party. Of course, it isn’t difficult to appear as relatively liberal on Islam when you’re being compared with the likes of Michael Gove, Pauline Neville-Jones, Patrick Mercer or Philip Davies. And while Grieve places an equals sign between Hizb ut-Tahrir and the British National Party, his party’s leader David Cameron evidently regards the former as far more of a threat, as he is proposing to ban HT but not the BNP.
As part of his attempt to present a new unthreatening image of the Tory Party, Cameron has generally avoided traditional right-wing rhetoric on race and immigration. Instead, the Tories have shifted their bigotry against minority communities onto the socially more “acceptable” terrain of Islamophobia. We have at least been forewarned of the situation Muslim communities in the UK will face if the Tories win the next general election.