The British Dream by David Goodhart – review

A disingenuous approach is all too common in Goodhart’s disappointing book on immigration and diversity, which is strewn with similar straw-man arguments such as the idea that Britain’s civil servants care more about people in Burundi than those living in Birmingham. “To put it bluntly – most of us prefer our own kind.” remains the core of his argument – that human beings favour their own sort and are suspicious of outsiders, so mass immigration fragments society, strains the welfare state and loosens the ties of the nation. He makes a few fair although far from original points, about the weakening of communal links and the way our nervous multiculturalism ignored Islamic extremism and overlooked intolerable practices. But essentially the British Dream is just the stale suspicion of foreigners dressed up in intellectual clothing and given a slight twist to the left. Goodhart picks on the usual soft targets, such as recently arrived Somalis; perhaps he should visit Somaliland before saying “their particular brand of Islam” and “notorious” clan systems are not suited to modern democracy. Indeed, this insular book shows surprising ignorance of overseas development, with its claims that migration damages poor countries despite so many recent studies to the contrary, while also disgracefully downplaying the impact of racism. For all the optimism of the title, this books drips with misplaced pessimism. By the conclusion, its author is still alleging his opponents see immigrants as morally superior people, placing their interests above those of existing citizens. Yet so contorted are his arguments he ends up happily seeking restrictions on Britons bringing in family members, higher costs of care for old people and religious quotas in schools, together with an ill-defined “integration index” for the nation.

A Dis-integrating Society: David Goodhart vs Tariq Ramadan

{On June 4, 2007, Tariq Ramadan wrote an editorial for the Guardian entitled, “Blair can no longer deny a link exists between terrorism and foreign policy.” He argued the debate around the [unwillingness of Muslims to integrate obscures attention from the need for British society to come to terms with its “self-professed values.” The next week, Prospect {editor David Goodhart published his reply, “An Open Letter to Tariq Ramadan” in} Prospect.} Tariq Ramadan’s Letter to the Guardian David Goodhart’s Open Letter to Tariq Ramadan {Below is an article about this debate published on Tabsir.net.} My colleague and friend Dr. Philip G. Ziegler directed my attention to a recent debate which has started between Tariq Ramadan and the Editor of Prospect, David Goodhart. The diatribe started when The Guardian published a letter by Prof. Ramadan. It is important to say that Prof. Ramadan has been at the centre of a controversial debate himself. Some consider him a progressive and moderate Muslim scholar, while others suggest that he is a cunning, insidious, and double-tongued extremist. Much of this allegation and subsequent debate took off when Prof. Ramadan accepted in February 2004 the tenured position of Luce Professor of Religion at the Joan B. Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies, at the University of Notre Dame, Indiana, USA. After first granting permission, the US State Department later revoked his visa in late July 2004, forcing him to resign his position…