Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Multiculturalism in Retreat

Heartening news from Northern Ireland:

NORTHERN IRELAND’S first public housing estate to accommodate Protestants and Roman Catholics together in 40 years was opened officially yesterday, in a further sign that the Province’s Troubles are coming to a close.

Peter Hain, the Northern Ireland Secretary, cut a ribbon at Carran Crescent, on the outskirts of Enniskillen, Co Fermanagh, and chatted with some of the residents of the estate, home to 20 Catholic and Protestant families.

The residents have all signed up to a “neighbourhood charter” that bans flags, murals and the painting of kerbstones — all characteristics of the divided patchwork of homes across Northern Ireland used by both sides for decades to indicate which of the two “tribes” lived in the area.
So why are the dozy sods building an apartheid state in mainland Britain, with their "faith" schools and "community leader" liaison reinforcing differences and helping segregate society?


James G. said...

Hi Peter,
I'll not dispute the dozy sods comment, but I think the issue in Northern Ireland has more to do with tribe rather than religion. Religion, in this case,just happens to be a signifier of which tribe one might belong to and has nothing to do with "faith" so much as which group of people migrated to Northern Ireland from Scotland first. For all intents and purposes, these two tribes came from the same stock, actually, and have more in common, ethnically and tribally, with each other than either has in common with any of the people on the rest of the island.


Peter Risdon said...

James, you're absolutely right. I suggest, though, that given religion has become an element in the equation, religious identity and segregation, together with caricatures of the other religion, become harmful factors.

For some reason, all the taxi drivers I've ever chatted with driving away from Belfast International Airport have been Protestant, and I've heard several times aboutt he feckless Catholics nringing up vast families on welfare.

Peter Risdon said...

typos R us