James Forsyth

A question of identity

A question of identity
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There is a crisis in Britishness right now. Much of it has been brought about by the doctrine of multi-culturalism, you can’t have both mass immigration and multi-culturalism, so it was good to see Dominic Grieve setting out his opposition to it this week.

Grieve’s views on community cohesion issues have been a cause of concern to many in the Tory party. But judging by this speech he is moving in the right direction, even if he is not fully comfortable with his new position yet. One very smart journalist friend of mine summed it up rather well when he said that the speech reads like “an other-worldly Matrix Chambers lawyer trying to offer the insights of Gove and the populism of Grayling, and not managing either.”

Grieve is right to stress the importance of teaching history in schools, no one should leave school unaware of how they came to have the vote. But Grieve seems to have little appreciation of the role that the state can—and needs to—play in fostering a sense of identity. If the Tories are to effectively address this crisis of identity, they are going to have to think more about the role the state can play. This is one area where the state getting out of the way will not solve the problem. 

Written byJames Forsyth

James Forsyth is Political Editor of the Spectator. He is also a columnist in The Sun.

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