Dominic Grieve, the shadow Justice secretary, will today make a hard-hitting attack on political correctness and the Government's failure to question damaging aspects of multiculturalism. But he also admits that the Right has so far failed to credibly address some of those issues.
Speaking at Queen Mary, University of London, he will characterise the decade of this Labour Government as:
"A decade of ranking people as members of neatly categorised ethnic, religious or social groups, rather than treating everyone as an individual in their own right; a decade of courting self-appointed heads of minority groups and pandering to special interest lobbies, ignoring the range of opinions and depth of diversity in modern Britain; and a decade of stifling difficult debate, under a blanket of political correctness, that marginalises those ill at ease with prevailing dogma or accepted ‘progressive’ wisdom.”
He will highlight his concern that people no longer feel able to decide what is right and wrong - citing a "disinclination to criticise attitudes which are morally unacceptable to a modern western tradition" such as forced marriages:
"The reluctance to exercise reasonable judgment and to criticise or challenge negative cultural imports into our country, including discriminatory practices against women and corrupt political and electoral practices, is one of the most troubling consequences of a culture that wishes to avoid offence and accusations of racism."
Whilst applauding greater diversity, Mr Grieve suggests that there needs to be more integration and interaction between different groups in society:
"It is through contact and the constant exchange of views and opinions that we moderate each other’s attitudes and behaviour. Creating that contact, breaking down ghettos of the mind and instilling confidence in our ability to learn from each other are the essentials. Greater diversity within our society must be recognised and applauded. But it seems to me that the zealous regulation of conduct, the imposition of state-defined orthodoxy on public and private conscience and the overburdening of law and regulation, have the consequence of undermining that confidence and are deterring participation and engagement."
“Multiculturalism was intended to create a more cohesive and friendlier society by facilitating bringing people together. But instead the laws and concepts underlying it seem to me to drive people apart endangering our traditional sense of community based on common values."
He will also accuse Labour of having waged war on the "historic sense of Britishness":
"In schools, the dumbing down of history has resulted in a system where the teaching of a narrative of British history has all but vanished. Instead of children being taught to have respect for past events and individuals who have shaped their lives, they are encouraged to be contemptuous of people who did not live up, in their own era, to the then unknown values of modern Britain. I am convinced that this approach has hindered more recent immigrants to this country developing a sense of belonging."
He also appears to admit that the Conservatives have to date failed to respond adequately to the issues he is raising:
"The lack of a credible response from the mainstream right to the current issues of multiculturalism has now left a gap, which is being filled by extremist voices. UKIP and the British National Party have taken advantage to suggest policies not based on a reasoned morality but which play on fear and encourage hatred."
These are robust words from Mr Grieve and he is to be praised for delivering this message. I certainly expect all those who have been concerned about his previously stated support for the Human Rights Act will find a huge deal here with which to find common cause.