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Interesting point in the article:

"Sir Menzies Campbell seized the hollow crown and made the mistake his predecessor had tried so hard to avoid. He has turned the Liberal Democrats into a tax-cutting centre-right party which is getting "tougher" on crime by the day. Sir Menzies had to do it because of the threat from the Conservatives in his southern and rural seats, but his U-turn will take the pressure off Labour as the Lib Dems devote most of their energies to fighting off the Tories. "

It is question 5 that caught my eye. Is cultural relativism the excuse Nulab uses for ignoring the subjugation of a minority of British Asian women? Is then, that also the reason so many Asian men, and by their direction, their entire families, vote labour? Interesting.

I can't see the whole article (subscribtion only) but question two seems a little distastful

"What services have wasted the money they were given and how should they be punished?"

If you 'punish' public services surely the only people that suffer are the service users-often the poorest.

I don’t agree with this cultural relativism excuse. With our history of rhetoric against immigration (and immigrants by implication), it’s hardly a wonder that Asian families don’t consider the Conservative party their natural home.

Not very clear what point you are making, Mark. Point 5 is just as relevant to the Tories as to Labour. A centrist female friend of mine, probably a disenchanted Tory and a first-generation immigrant, said to me the other day that the proper description of forced marriage was rape. She is right and what are Labour doing about it, because of multicultural dogma? Sod all. Will the Tories do any better? Doubt it. And I don't see what this has to do with actual/perceived Tory attitudes to immigration in the past.

Michael, sorry for being unclear. I was replying to Annabel's comment that "cultural relativism" may be the reason that Asian families vote Labour. IMO it's not.

It is impossible (and shouldn't be our ambition) to prevent culture from being imported. An assault on multiculturalism will do us no favours. However, it is possible and desirable to legislate against specific acts, such as forced marriage, that are incompatible with the British way of life.

Thanks, Mark.....I don't disagree although any "legislation against specific acts" is bound to encroach on the doctrine of multiculturalism. As it so happens, I think both you and Annabel are to some extent right. Take the Birmingham vote-rigging scandal last year. In its efforts to turn out its vote by fair means or foul, the Labour Party has indulged voting fraud in certain ethnic minority communities, where the patriarchal structure has enabled certain self-designated "leaders" to steal postal votes (especially the votes of young women) for the Labour Party. It was the Lib Dems (John Hemming MP) who blew the whistle on this. Where were the Tories when it mattered?

Mark! Please read question 5 again. Carefully. " For how long will liberal leftists deploy cultural relativism to EXCUSE the SEXISM............etc of the far right Islamists. My point had absolutely NOTHING to do with immigration, and everything to do with the subjugation of british asian women, being forced into marraige with illiterate, often violent backwoodsmen. And its NOT fantasy, I have observed the practice at first hand. I'll say again. Is this being soft on honour killings as a worst case scenario, as Nulab philosophy seems to condone, the reason why so many Asian families vote labour?

I can see why some asians would object to our party's opposition to mass immigration, but I don't think that makes such opposition wrong in itself. I certainly don't see how immigration *at its current level* can be beneficial to this country.

In answer to your question, Annabel, Labour are very good at turning poorer immigrants into Labour-voting client groups. Labour councils dole out jobs and grants to "community leaders" who deliver block votes in return.

Tackling forced marriages would probably be electorally disadvantageous to Labour.

The Conservative stance on immigration is one of the areas where we are furthest ahead of Labour. To abandon it would be madness - I thought we were supposed to be in touch with modern Britain?. We simply have to resist the temptation to let it dominate an election campaign.

Annabel said: "Is then, that also the reason so many Asian men, and by their direction, their entire families, vote labour?"

Im afraid this simply is not true. In the 2005 election the Tory Party gained Peterborough, mostly due to the invogration of the Muslim vote in that area. As a documentary maker I followed this campaign and I have wondeful footage of a tory parade involving British Conservative Muslims in a totally muslim dominated Ward in Peterborough City Centre.

You may not like to see arranged marriages, but many women do not mind, neither do the men. As they see it, it's their duty to God. I agree that there are some forced marriages which should be reported to the Police right away.

Sean Fear: I believe British Asians, Blacks, Chinese & whateva dont want to see huge numbers of immigration into the UK. They too want a stable, integrated society in which everyone has a good quality of life. You dont get that with the upheaval of mass migration and the dumping of minorites into areas abandoned by White folk years back because the houses were crumbling. In fact much of todays mass migration which people on the streets are fed up with is from Eastern Europe - Polish, Russian wateva, and we cant do anything about that now can we?!

In the 2005 election the Tory Party gained Peterborough, "

We were rather helped by the behaviour of the Labour MP.

It is important to remember that there is a distinction between an arranged marriage and a forced marriage.

The key lies in the word "forced", the implication that the woman does not give consent.

I have huge amounts of respect for the ancient tradition of arranged marriages where both parties consent. To set your face against arranged marriage is, I think, to be racist or religiously bigoted. The important thing in a marriage is freely given consent. Surely it is not up to politicians to legislate why people choose to marry.

"Forced" marriage, however, is rape. It is simply disgusting to see the government treating British women in this way.

And let us not forget the Government's simply unbelievable stance on reducing sentences for rapists and letting off domestic abusers who simply express sorrow in front of a court.

The rights and dignity of women are being forgotten by this government. No wonder David Cameron has such a vast lead among women voters. One side is talking about flexible working and support for both working and stay at home Mums. The other is reducing sentences for rape through its quangos. I don't know where the senior Labour women politicians are who will speak up in Cabinet for abused British wives - unfortunately Baroness Scotland is not one of them.

The problem is the confluence of different issues under heading of immigration - so I'd put these as questions we need to answer on immigration:
1 What are and how do we decide the number and associated skills of immigrants: who and why we let settle?
2 What is our policy on immigration versus Temprorary Employment: most countries let in people for set periods to work and then leave. Why is UK unable to manage this? Answer isn't ID cards, it's registration at entry & exit and employer responsibility.
3 How do we intend to deal with illegal immigration and false asylum claims
4 What is our position on real asylum seekers and issues of residency versus temporary stays: there is a time at which those who came for asylum should be considred for residency & citizenship due to duration of stay but if conditions change within a reasonable time they should be expected to return.
5 How do we get true integration of immigrant populations - Annabel points to the failure of integration in terms of common application of human rights - the freedom to choose your partner, freedom to live without fear of retribution for that choice are rights the UK citizen expects as birthright. Sean's Community Leaders in some communities are tribal leaders and de facto recognition of such results long term in estranged communities outside of normal civil society. I could add the de facto recognition of polygamy.

Clarity on our policies in each of these might attract opprobrium from those who shout racism at any discussion of immigration but I suggest we need to be clear & fair on each.

Louise, the distinction between arranged and forced marriages is not that clearcut in some cases. In some communities, there is a very strong expectation that you will marry the bride/groom from back home that your parents have chosen for you (often a relative, often someome who doesn't speak English). This works against integration.

I'd like to see us follow the Danish practice of allowing spouses to settle in this country, only if they're aged 24+ at the time of the wedding.

Arranged marriage is only acceptable if both parties consent freely to such an arrangement. In that case its little different from a dating agency or parentl introductions.
If there is a fear of retribution - physical or mental - as a result of refusing such an arrangement then it becomes illegal (covered by existing laws and the ECHR)

I agree totally with Annabel's post at 11.32, but could someone define exactly for me what 'cultural relativism' means.

The soviets were past masters at inventing meaningless phrases to supposedly explain their dogma, I wish we didn't use them too.

Yet young women are still losingtheir lives! I'd love to stay and discuss, but I'm due at our hospice to "do the flowers" catch up with you later.

"could someone define exactly for me what 'cultural relativism' means."

The belief that no one set of cultural values is better than any other set.

Ted and Sean,

Indeed, which is why I emphasized 'freely given' consent. There are many who freely consent to an arranged marriage. (Most Kings & Queens of England historically married in this way, after all!).

The clear principle must be free consent. I deplore the decision not to make forced marriage a crime - which would include intimidation, threats etc. Nothing can trump the rights of British women to determine for themselves whom they shall marry. At the same time, a freely consented to arranged marriage has an exceptionally long history in many cultures and religions, certainly including indigenous English and Christian history. I see this issue as one of personal liberty and not a religious issue, and would not want to see it made into an attack on our country's Muslim community.

It's basic civil liberties and social justice to state it ought to be criminal to force a woman into marriage. I oppose it the same way I oppose reduction of sentences for rapists and domestic abusers.

The huge numbers of immigrants including those from Eastern EU are destroying the culture of the country, as well as causing severe overcrowding problems, particularly in the South East. I do hope that the Conservative Party are going to have robust policies to deal with it. If they do not then they are leaving the door open to other small parties to jump in.

As for illegal practices, such as forced marriage, honour killings etc. We already have laws to deal with these. It's up to the courts and the police to enforce the law.

The huge numbers of immigrants including those from Eastern EU are destroying the culture of the country, as well as causing severe overcrowding problems, particularly in the South East. I do hope that the Conservative Party are going to have robust policies to deal with it. If they do not then they are leaving the door open to other small parties to jump in.

As for illegal practices, such as forced marriage, honour killings etc. We already have laws to deal with these. It's up to the courts and the police to enforce the law.

Noted: sudden concern among Labour councils (e.g. Slough) about some few hundred thousand eastern EU incomers who are more correctly called transient workers than immigrants since most state their intention to return home after a year or two. They speak basic English on arrival, learn to speak it well very fast, work hard and cheerfully while here, tend not to claim benefits, play by our rules (i.e. accept our way of life) and then - on the whole - return home to be replaced by equally useful nett contributors. Most seem to work in the hospitality industries in which, incidentally, service standards have rocketed skywards since their arrival.

Noted: the warmest possible welcome from the left, over many decades, for millions of permanent immigrants from Islamic South Asia who are unable to speak adequate English on arrival and expressly prevent their womenfolk from doing so, are relatively unemployable and very often claim (especially housing) benefits, are openly unwilling to integrate, complain about our rules (i.e. object to our way of life) and are increasingly disillusioned and grumpy - and here to stay.

What is wrong with this picture?

Although slightly off topic, the Government's policy on rape seems to have been driven by the crudest expediency. In best New Labour style, it is authoritarian, incompetent, cynical and blatantly unfair. Victims of forced marriage have been abandoned and there is now a move to cut sentences across the board. Yet at the same time, in a desperate attempt to drive up the rape conviction rate by fair means or foul, the Government has effectively tried to reverse the burden of proof, in an age when, whether we like it or not, there are far more casual sexual relationships than in the fifties. Moreoever, the Government persists with the iniquity of offering anonymity to rape victims but not to alleged rapists.

I second the views of Louise Bagshawe @13.12, furthermore 'consent' can be induced by coercion, if not actual force.

I think the first generation English/Asian girl most often enjoys the chance of a full education, proceeding to university, and then they want to use those skills they have acquired, rather then allow themselves to become house hermits. I don't think they should be denied those opportunities just because of some ill-educated parents or relatives, or a cowardly government.

I'd like to see us follow the Danish practice of allowing spouses to settle in this country, only if they're aged 24+ at the time of the wedding.

Probably the single most important change we can make that encourages integration.

The huge numbers of immigrants including those from Eastern EU are destroying the culture of the country.

Derek, I'm interested to know which parts of our culture are being destroyed. Please can you give a few examples?

It is not immigrants who are destroying our culture but liberal "natives" who think it is a good idea to ban the celebration of Christmas or the flying of St George's flags.

I suppose one could make the case that a growing number of fundamentalist Muslims are a threat to our way of life but that threat is relatively insignificant at the moment.

I'll take a swipe at those:

Don't try to legislate morality. Take a libertarian stance in law as a baseline. Strive hard to notice where the law stymies private moral action (example: chastising yobs ought not to be a crime of assault) and make repairs. Do likewise with private social organisation, free association, and mutual assistance. Repair socially important institutions that have been damaged by intrusive or neglectful government.

The primary driver of a conservative approach to terrorism has to be a changed society-wide attitude that leaves malefactors with no breathing room. This covers (a) taking a moral interest in others, (b) an emphasized ethical duty - and sufficient powers in law - for the ordinary citizen to intervene and prevent a crime, (c) getting the law out of the way of the right to defend self and others, and the derived right to keep and bear arms.

The mass media are going away and the blogs are much less biased. Worry more about the ability to keep secrets, which is probably doomed.

Immigration doesn't need to be a policy, it just needs to be handled effectively. The core problems of immigration are: (a) cultural dilution and clannishness, (b) sponging off freebies, and (c) if you keep them out, you lose potential entrepreneurs. Solutions respectively: for (a), not only a cultural assimilation test, but encouraging a native culture that /expects/ assimilation. For (b) and (c) together: institute a system of probation as a fast track. Almost anyone of good character can immigrate as a probationer. During their probation they have very limited NHS access (A&E only) and no welfare or council housing. They get deported immediately for any arrestable offense or any three non-arrestable. If at the end of their probation they are solvent and productive above a threshold, then they can swear in as new citizens. That sort of a system would automatically attract and filter the natural entrepreneurs.

Yes. Or, more usefully, consider /founding/ and promoting a counter-union of diplomatically allied but totally non-federalised free trading nations. It's both a good idea and a positive policy.

One holds ones nose, and does the needful. If the parliament is to be hung, cut it down quickly with a snap election as soon as the polls change.

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