To paraphrase UK prime minister David Cameron, “Britain and ‘The Sun’ are not the same thing”. And ‘Sun’ columnist Ally Ross’s opinion that ‘Great British Bake Off‘ winner Nadiya Hussain benefitted from “political correctness” is not necessarily the way most British people think.
In fact, I’d wager that most Britons would be shell-shocked if they thought their competitions were rigged to tick the right boxes and that life and every sector of society is meant to be wholly representative, in the right demographic proportion, of the population as a whole.
So yes, most Britons probably do believe that Ms Hussain, a Muslim mother of three of Bangladeshi ethnicity, won the Great British Bake-off fair and square because she’s a jolly good baker.
How then to explain Ally Ross’s comments in the UK’s best-selling newspaper? His remarks indicate a snide (and really rather cruel) level of bigotry, a complete and utter refusal to accept that ‘foreigners’ can ever be British.
Ladies and gentlemen, you need look no further than Tuesday’s speech by the UK’s home secretary Theresa May. Ms May, a generally sensible, rather efficient politician, told her governing Conservative Party’s annual conference that when immigration is too high, “it’s impossible to build a cohesive society.”
True. It’s hard to disagree with that but the level of immigration is not too high in Britain at the moment. And the number of immigrants are not the reason there is societal tension. They are small, in proportion to the population. But the ham-fisted way that Britain has dealt with the issue, alternately ignoring it, then scrupulous political correctness and then over-prescribing, has been unhelpful.
The way Britain’s home minister couched her entire argument – against migration and seemingly against migrants themselves – hardly indicated a willingness to bring strangers into the British fold. Instead, it was niggardly, cheeseparing, unbending, unwelcoming. Unsurprisingly, Simon Walker, director general of Britain’s Institute for Directors, said he was“astonished by the irresponsible rhetoric and pandering to anti-immigration sentiment from the home secretary.”
Would it be accurate to say it is but a short distance from Mrs May to Mr Ross of ‘The Sun’?
To my mind, the American way – allowing for differences but insisting on a wholehearted collaboration on the great national project – is the way to go.