According to Clare Foges in the Times today “…we are a nation that values its culture.” Note the use of the singular. And we must avoid “monocultural ghettos”. Aside from the value driven use of the word “ghetto” the implication is clear – that people of the same ethnicity, culture, religion, heritage choosing to live together “monoculturally” in the same location is a bad thing. Has the writer ever been to Woking ? Or Hartlepool for that matter.
I’ve lived as an ex-pat in three or four places where my nationality placed me in a minority. As with all the other Brits I generally socialised with people like me. It’s what you do as a “ Gastarbeider”. If a move is more permanent the same applies. Look at the Brits on the Costa del Sol.
The “melting pot” is sentimental tosh. We tend to mix with, marry with and live with people like us. Human Nature. This doesn’t mean that we reject pragmatic integration or consider our way of life superior. A city is enriched by variety and the fact that London, for example, has Asian, Jewish, West Indian and many other districts is a plus.
There is no template of “normal” Britishness. The inhabitants of Southall or Stamford Hill are no less British than those of Wimbledon. To suggest that these people “belong” less, as Ms Foges does is pretty offensive. Try telling the Hasidic Jews of North London that they should integrate and not have parallel lives. Good luck with that.