δηλ. ο ανώτατος θρησκευτικός ηγέτης των Άγγλων...
«If we are to stop the extreme Right, we must respond to real fears over the number and nature of those coming to Britain»
είναι όλο το ζουμί και αυτό που πρέπει να λάβουν πολύ σοβαρά υπόψη τους οι Έλληνες νομοθέτες...
Migration threatens the DNA of our nation
If we are to stop the extreme Right, we must respond to real fears over the number and nature of those coming to Britain
Archbishop of Canterbury
Too often in recent years the call for a rational debate on mass migration has degenerated into name-calling and charges of racism. Even the campaign for Balanced Migration, which I have supported, representing cross-party politicians, has barely been heeded by party leaders who have run scared of the issue.
This is why we have launched a declaration calling on the leading political parties to make manifesto commitments to prevent the UK population reaching 70 million, which is projected in official figures by 2029.
The fact is that a rise in the UK population by ten million in two decades will put our nation’s resources under considerable strain, stretching almost to breaking point the enormous reserves of tolerance and generosity of the British people.
The declaration by no means spells out a halt to immigration. In fact we welcome the contribution of both economic migrants and asylum seekers to our lively cosmopolitan culture. But we urge a return to the levels of the early 1990s, about 40,000, compared with 163,000 in 2008. Failure to take that action could be seriously damaging to the future harmony of our society.
In Dagenham, where I was brought up, there is a very real danger that a white working-class electorate, alienated by far-reaching social change and largely ignored by the mainstream parties, could vote for a BNP Member of Parliament. This would be a tragedy in our long history of parliamentary democracy. Yet we play into the hands of the far Right if we do not seriously address the concerns that have led to some otherwise decent people supporting modern-day fascism.
There are two aspects to this debate, but they are related. The sheer numbers of migrants from within Europe and elsewhere put the resources of Britain under enormous pressure, but also threaten the very ethos or DNA of our nation.
Recent debates over what it means to be British have been urgently arranged against the background of constitutional changes and the exigencies of mass migration. The Prime Minister has urged us to heed shared values such as tolerance, fair play, pluralism. However, the reality is that these values cannot be said to be solely British. So we must look also to language, institutions and our shared history in valuing what it means to be British and what we could lose if the make-up of our nation changes too rapidly.
Democratic institutions such as the monarchy, Parliament, the judiciary, the Church of England, our free press and the BBC also support the liberal democratic values of the nation. Some groups of migrants, however, are ambivalent about or even hostile to such institutions. The proposed antiwar Islamist march in Wootton Bassett is a clear example of the difficulties extremists pose to British society.
Furthermore, the idea that Britain can continue to welcome with open arms immigrants who immediately establish their own tribunals to apply Sharia, rather than make use of British civil law, is deeply socially divisive. The last thing any of us want is ghettos. And while we don’t expect groups to assimilate, there must be a willingness on their part to integrate with the rest of British society.
Yet, is there anything distinctly Christian about such a call? Some will say “no”. Our values lie rather with the Enlightenment than with the Church. I believe that history is against them. It is my firm view that our society owes more to our Christian heritage than it realises and to overlook this inheritance of faith will lead to the watering down of the very values of tolerance, openness, inclusion and democracy that we claim are central to all we stand for.
This is not to say that I am calling for Christians as a group to be given priority in any migration points system. The tragedy is that any intervention into such sensitive matters is open to such widespread misinterpretation.
But what I am saying is that those who seek to live in this country recognise that they are coming to a country with a Christian heritage and an established Church. Just as we should expect immigrants to subscribe to democratic principles, abide by our laws, speak English, support freedom of speech and a free press, so they should also respect the Christian nature and history of our nation with its broad, hospitable Establishment.
George Carey is a former Archbishop of Canterbury and a columnist for the News of the World