Britain enjoys a rich diversity of race and culture with a high tolerance level for all faiths and none. Over the last few decades we have learnt to become much more inclusive rather than exclusively secular. The race landscape has changed and yet last year we saw at the EU Referendum how political movements and thoughtless rhetoric can arouse emotions of division and hate again.
The Equality and Human Rights Commission’s remit is very wide to look after all of the six strands of equality or inequality: Race, Gender, Disability, Age, Sexual Orientation and Faith. Whereas it’s budget is minimal. Under the Commission for Racial Equality we had regional race councils but there isn’t an equivalent structure under the EHRC. Indeed all six strands of equality need six separate divisions to enable them to look after their own inequalities, though for a jointed approach all six to remain under the one umbrella of EHRC.
This report discusses immigration, multi-culture and radicalisation, and British values for a more open debate. The reports also cites a case study on the inequities at the heart of our Establishment, the House of Lords, exemplified by a sub-case study on how some Lords mischievously attempt to social engineer some well-integrated minorities. These systemic weaknesses can lead to institutional discrimination against the minorities; these overdue reforms – please also see my humble outsider proposals in the report – are a responsibility of the Government.
Diversity in thought, in values, in customs does not lead to segregation so long as we subscribe to a shared sense of belonging to the country we live in, where we can ‘share’ our different values, our different thoughts, our wonderful different cultures – we just have to look at the immense variety of different foods we share in Britain now. Nonetheless the problems of radicalisation plague us where a tiny proportion of people advocate directly opposing values to our own or the different ones we want to share and it is those opposing values of the radical Islamism and the radical extreme right we must reject, as facilitated by the Government’s prevent strategy and any other means.
This report is a discussion document among the relevant interested parties.
Anil Bhanot OBE
Ethnic Minority Foundation