THE MULTI-CULTURAL SOCIETY. SUCCESS OR FAILURE?
This is a question often skirted by the major political parties. They often touch the edges of it, but rarely really give any honest answer for fear of upsetting the voter.
Is it possible to answer this question without being tagged racist just for bringing it up? Yes, I think it is, and it must be thoroughly discussed if we wish to face a future of racial harmony, instead of racial tension.
This is, without doubt a difficult question to answer from a neutral standpoint, but I will try as I feel someone has to before it’s too late.
We must first ask where we are at the moment, and how we got there.
Following decades of racial discord, the current concept towards ‘creating a community’ is basically to allow a fair ‘live and let live’ policy, where every community can be encouraged to live their lives and beliefs without fear of harassment or prejudice.
This has created an atmosphere whereby every and any community are free to socialise and pray in total and fair freedom with little or no interaction with the other groups, religions or factions within their neighbourhoods. This is resulting in the concentration of individual cultural groups who all have a distrust and lack of understanding of each other. This can only lead to increased isolation for all of the groups concerned. This increased isolation can only lead to further distrust and misunderstanding of every other culture around them.
Another problem caused by the current system is caused by the encouragement of the multi lingual society. Certainly the encouragement of ‘mother tongue’ language usage is an enrichment to society. The problem here is that as the social divides continue to separate, and cultural groups become more inward looking, the need for the use of any single unifying language becomes less important, as groups can communicate internally easily, and they can rely on using members of their groups to act as translators whenever necessary.
This situation also costs business and those organisations which need to communicate with more than one community, whereby they need to produce documentation which can be clearly understood by all and any of the groups concerned, resulting in the need to produce any important documents or circulars in many different languages, costing them a great deal of money, which many of these organisations could have put to alternative uses.
It is therefore very clear that the increased isolationism of cultural groups has developed from the sincere wishes that each group may continue along their own lines unobstructed. They can now no longer communicate effectively between groups, which can only lead to the further isolationism of each group, which in turn causes further distrust amongst the groups, which can only support those groups in society who thrive on racial mistrust and violence, and support their survival and growth, taking all groups down a road that none of them want to go.
We only have to look at the world news to see the results of racial distrust and intollerance. We can do without that on a local level.
Now the big question – how can we correct decades of well intentioned errors, which were suitable for the time, but which we have now out-grown? This is clearly the part which will cause most contention, as understanding a problem and having the courage to actually do something about it are two different things.
I feel that the first thing we must do is that which could allow these groups in the community to be able to communicate with each other, and that is to encourage the use of one unifying language, logically using English, as the primary language for ALL residents throughout the nation.
This can only be achieved by reversing many of the current trends. Some of these may seem draconian to some, but they need to be done.
Local councils need to increase the facility for the study of the English language, for adults and children alike. Perhaps the title ‘English as a Second Language’ (ESL) should be changed to something like ‘English as a National Language’ (ENL), with the emphasis that English is the primary language people will need.
Street signs and circulars should only be in English. The translation of these items should only be made within communities. I know this sounds and seems harsh, but every method available to encourage or force people to use one unifying language must be used. There is every reason that individual various languages should be taught in schools as additional languages, or even within individual communities, but it must be emphasised that English needs to be taught first.
It would also be necessary for a proven comprehension of the English language to be a requirement for immigration, and that a future learning of the English language within a limited time frame be made a condition for asylum seekers. This would ensure that anyone coming into the country can already, or must make plans to, speak the nations’ unifying language.
It is only once we have a unifying language that we can then start to really encourage inter-cultural discussion groups to encourage a gradual but workable harmony, eventually, and hopefully, creating a more peaceful community, leading to one end:
A really United Kingdom, and more harmonious, truely Great,