Has anyone else noticed the massive rhetorical shift which has taken place in the "debate" about race and racial integration in the UK? In the aftermath of 7/7 the in thing for the trendy opinion writer to do was hold up the US as a model which we should seek to emulate. Boris Johnson, for instance,claimed,
Americans all understand instinctively that they are equal citizens of the greatest country on earth, and they all have an equal chance of rising to the top of that country.Now, however, with everyone jumping on the Trevor Phillips "ghetto" bandwagon (which should not, I stress, be dismissed out of hand) everyone's gone the other way. The BBC reports, for example, that Constitutional Affairs Minister Harriet
Harman told the Independent that some of Britain's black and poor communities were sinking into the same underclass exposed in the US by Hurricane Katrina.While I find the new interpretation of the US more realistic I'd be interested to see what the Johnson et al have to say for themselves. And I've never been interested in what they have to say before.
"We don't want to get into a situation like America, but if you look at the figures we are already looking like America," she told The Independent.
The Sunday Times says Mr Phillips will voice his fears of a "New Orleans-style Britain of passively coexisting ethnic and religious communities, eyeing each other over the fences of our differences".