Politics will be about ‘managing the culture clashes’
It is a curious comment because (almost at the invitation of The Guardian) he echoes precisely what Enoch Powell warned of in that very city exactly 40 years ago, and Tories tread very carefully indeed before even alluding to the issue. Of course, Mr Goodman is no classicist - and so the Roman is not invoked and neither is the Tiber swimming with blood - but he is well-versed in theology, being of Jewish extraction and Roman Catholic persuasion. And as a former comment editor of The Daily Telegraph he is fully aware of the meaning and power of words. Yet still he has chosen to warn of ‘religious and ethnic clashes’.
He even refers to the inevitability of a time when ‘white people (will be in) a minority’, which is likely to happen by 2027, based on current trends.
But his warning is stark and depressing, as he admits that ‘national governments could do little to deal with the tensions that might arise’. It will simply be for local councils to resolve disputes and ‘deal with competing claims of ethnic groups’.
And these irreconcilable competing claims centre around the ‘different value systems’ and ‘different outlooks’ which are intrinsic to plurality. The meaning is covert, implicit, but for those who have eyes and ears Mr Goodman speaks prophetically as one crying in the wilderness of a time when the nation will be plagued by inter-ethnic riots and pockets of civil war which will make the ‘poll tax’ riots look like a veritable walk in the park.
“The art of politics,” he says, “is going to be managing the culture clashes.”
Is not that a depressing future for our nation, our children, and for those who aspire to politics? Economics, education, welfare, health, agriculture, the environment, etc., etc., are all to be subsumed to ‘managing culture clashes’.
And a principal one he highlights is the one identified by Cranmer some years ago. He says:
“I think the attitude of Muslims in cities on licensing, even on the annual gay pride march, isn’t necessarily going to be the same in those areas as everyone else, just as the attitude of white fundamentalist Christians isn’t going to be the same as everyone else.”
Quite why he has to have a swipe at ‘white fundamentalist Christians’ is unclear, not least because there are quite a few decidedly very black fundamentalist Christians, and Christians of either hue tend not to go around planting bombs or demanding the death of their enemies or the overthrow of the political order. But just as those who demand halal and kosher slaughter will clash with the animal rights activists, so some Christians and Muslims clash with proponents of gay rights or the serving of alcohol, and the whole licensing process will be subject to regional shari’a.
But thus is the dilemma of relativism. At its core is a pyramid of rights. Various groups with different value systems and different outlooks vie for these rights appealing for hegemony at the expense of others in a state of flux - an amoral soup - struggling for a place at the top of the pyramid.
Mr Goodman is persuaded that national government can ‘offer only limited help to deal with these issues’. And as he exhorts us to be ‘clear about what national government can and cannot do’, he alludes to the immigration chaos as he asserts that a fundamental role of government is to control borders, and to ‘ensure that people who enter have some knowledge of the country and can speak English’.
Cranmer would go further. They should not only know and speak; they should pledge allegiance and honour, respect tradition, and submit to the law of the land.