Today David Cameron has made a speech regarding multiculturalism in the UK. It does pose an interesting question about the current state of things in the UK. Now, I would like to be clear at this point that one of the things I most enjoy about the UK and especially London is the diverse cultures we have here. However, I also strongly feel that we in the UK have lost our sense of self; we no longer have our own identity.
The English have struggled with this for some time, slightly demoralised by the strong identities of the Scottish, Welsh and Irish. But it seems to have spread now so that we no longer feel we can truely celebrate ‘British’ things without risk of offending other cultures. An example of this is when one London borough, a few years ago, stopped calling their Christmas lights by that name and started referring to them as Winter lights. What?! My Hindu and Muslim friends all enjoy Christmas celebrations even though they don’t do ‘presents’. They love the atmosphere and enjoy the day with their families. They cannot understand why we are now so ‘careful’ about how we refer to Christmas. If we are honest, a large proportion of those who celebrate Christmas are not doing so from a religious aspect any way. I know I’m not.
Why can we not have a sense of British pride whilst also embracing other cultures? Why can we not say we believe one thing without that being interpreted as dis-respect towards someone else? The sad thing is that by asking these questions we then live in fear that we will have it thrown back in our faces in a possibly violent way.