Ethnic minorities must integrate into British society or stay out of the country, Tony Blair said yesterday.Unfortunately, in getting it half right, he ends up getting it all wrong:
The Prime Minister issued a tough warning to Muslims and other faith groups that they must conform to British values of democracy and respect the country's heritage.
But he refused to give up celebrating multiculturalism - even though the policy has been widely blamed for fuelling divisions in UK cities.Blair's talk doesn't match his actions, either. While his government has failed to outlaw the extremist group Hizb ut-Tahrir, he talks much smack about getting tough on such groups:
He launched a six-point plan to encourage different races and religions to integrate - including a crackdown on public funding for groups which failed to tackle extremism, tighter rules on forced marriages, and telling Muslims to adhere to British - not Islamic - law in the UK.Nevertheless, the Muslim Council of Britain was quick to criticize the PM's speech:
Dr Muhammad Abdul Bari, secretary-general of the Muslim Council of Britain, said: "It was worrying to see the PM using emotive language such as Britain 'being taken for a ride'. That can only help reinforce a "them and us" attitude.'Ah, well. A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step. But you still have to use both feet.