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Thursday, November 11, 2004

The politics of morality

Simon Titley blogs about the 'values-based campaigns strategy' adopted by the Republican Party in the race for US President. He has argued previously that this sort of campaigning is not sustainable in a more liberal and socially-aware Britain.

Simon quotes Edward Leigh as one Tory who has drawn the wrong lesson from America by aping George W. Bush and promoting "old-fashioned family values". His conclusion that if you "Strip away the cant about 'family values' ...you quickly get to the simple truth: right-wing Tories hate gay people. It's pure bigotry. Its only practical effect is to make more people miserable." is difficult to disagree with.

Well, as yesterday's debate on equality of opportunity proved, Wales has its own version of Mr. Leigh, and if he wins Monmouth then David Davies will soon be heading for Westminster:

David Davies: My experience of the Committee on Equality of Opportunity was that it consists of largely well-meaning people, but that there was a danger of its becoming a minor part of a large bandwagon, numbering countless publicly funded bodies, all of which claim to work for equality. Too often, instead of wanting equality, these organisations appear to be demanding preferential treatment for a favoured few.

One of the biggest examples of where they have all got it wrong is the huge emphasis which is now placed on what is called ‘celebrating diversity’. In reality, celebrating diversity means using taxpayers’ money to eulogise virtually any culture or religion other than the British culture or Christianity, which is an intrinsic part of our culture even for those who do not believe in God. That approach has been hugely damaging and it has allowed those who wish to settle in this country to believe that they are under no obligation to integrate or even to make concessions to the host community. When so much public money is spent repeatedly telling people that there is no need for them to pay the slightest heed to the traditions of the indigenous community, it is hardly surprising that a growing proportion feel no need to do so. Rather than coming to regard themselves as British, too many people in this country define themselves by the nationality of the countries that they left behind, seeing themselves as simply living in Britain but not in any way a part of this country.

..........There is another issue of concern, which is that the emphasis on cultural diversity has created a growing sense of resentment among some British people who see the equality organisations not as vehicles for creating a fairer society, but as pressure groups for certain interests. We hear about demands that the Royal Mail should refrain from putting nativity scenes on stamps—

I cannot help feeling that this attempt to hijack the moral agenda by certain Tories is aimed more at their own party than at the electorate itself.

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