Britishness‘Don’t worry, everyone, we’re not cancelling Christmas!’ That’s the message from IPPR’s Rick Muir after some accounts were made public of the think tank’s upcoming report, to which I responded in this post on Thursday last week. Muir responds with an article in today’s Guardian (some pre-publish damage control).

So what is IPPR saying, exactly? Well that can be hard to discern from Muir’s article. For example, he writes:

“Cultural identities are essential to our wellbeing, enriching our lives with a sense of belonging and sustaining important inter-personal ties. There is therefore a requirement on a liberal state to honour and respect the diversity of identities in our society.”

Well and good – and I know nobody who would argue. But what is IPPR saying, then? Muir goes on:

“It [means] being sensitive to important cultural concerns, giving people consideration and respect, and taking measures to combat discrimination.”

Again, nobody would argue against the idea that we need to respect each others’ cultures, religious beliefs etc. That’s hardly revolutionary. So what is IPPR saying?

“In this respect our report is not arguing for significant change, except in intensifying efforts to narrow the inequalities in life chances that exist between black and minority ethnic groups and the national average.”

Who needs a think tank to come up with ideas that won’t represent much change? This report is so benign, Muir would have us believe, that one is left wondering what the point was of writing it. So we need to work harder to narrow inequality. Okay; though it’s hardly revolutionary, or even notable.

Muir goes on to say that many of the problems in modern Britain derive from the fact that “…many young Muslims feel deeply disillusioned with aspects of British politics and society…” and that what is lacking is a common shared British identity. He has a point. But could this be because these latter-day immigrants have not come to their new home in the United Kingdom the way Hispanics, Jews, Africans, Irish, Italians, Latinos, Asians, Europeans, Middle Easterners and more came to their new home in the United States, bringing the best of those cultures to America to create the great melting pot, happy to embrace their new shared culture together? To listen to groups like IPPR at other times, anything British is to be despised – no wonder “young Muslims feel deeply disillusioned” – they’re being taught that they live in a hellhole, and the whole situation is beginning to prove them right.

The thrust of the IPPR report, much as Muir attempts to downplay it, is that the cultures other than British need to rise to prominence alongside it. But community cohesion in the United States at Christmas time involves Americans from all ethnic backgrounds speaking many languages and celebrating festivities in their own ways: it’s all American, because these immigrants have come to live in America. People of many ethnicities are proud to be American. Where is that kind of spirit in Britain? And why are UK immigrants so aggressive toward the country that has been responsible for giving them a new, better home?

If you ask me, the self-loathing Left need to change their minds about the inherent value of Britishness before they can write reports recommending ways to make British society more cohesive.