A young Frenchman has been jailed for 5 months this week for ‘offending moral integrity’. He drove a prostitute to a park in Pontevedra, availed himself of her services and then made off with her possessions, leaving her there naked. I’m looking forward to my Spanish friends explaining which part of this saga constitutes the criminal offence. And why the very public nature of brothels in Spain doesn’t appear to ‘offend moral integrity’.
I’ve touched a few times of the different attitude to risk here in Spain. This is most noticeable when it relates to children. But I don’t mean letting your children talk to middle-aged males such as me, or play in the street. The fact that the Spanish are less concerned about these is one of the things that makes their society superior. Rather, I’m talking about having your kids on your lap or between the front seats as you drive. And I’ve returned to this theme because mini-motor bikes suddenly appear to have become popular and tonight I saw a couple of proud parents beaming as their 12 year old disappeared up the road as fast as the bike would go. Without a helmet, of course.
I see it’s official – the numbers of foreign tourists are up 300%. Time to close down my web page.
The shocking identification of the London bombers has brought to the surface the concern that doctrinaire multiculturalism and moral relativity have not been an unalloyed blessing for British society. Or, as the Conservative MP, Boris Johnson, puts it:- We have created a multi-cultural society that has many beauties and attractions but in which too many Britons have absolutely no sense of allegiance to this country or its institutions. It is a cultural calamity that will take decades to reverse. We must begin now with the re-Britannification of Britain. That means insisting on certain values that we identify as British. If that means the end of spouting hate in mosques and treating women as second-class citizens, then so be it. We need to acculturate the second-generation Muslim communities to our way of life and end the obvious alienation that they feel. That means the imams will have to change their tune and it is no use the Muslim Council of Great Britain endlessly saying that "the problem is not Islam", when it is blindingly obvious that in far too many mosques you can find sermons of hate, and literature glorifying 9/11 and vilifying Jews. We have reached a turning-point in the relations between the Muslim community and the rest of us and it is time for the moderates to show real leadership.
And, encouragingly, there are signs of the Muslim community recognising that it needs to do more:- The challenge is straightforward - that those voices that we have tolerated will no longer be tolerated, whether they be on the streets, in the schools, in the youth clubs, in the mosque, in a corner, in a house. We need to go beyond condemning. We need to confront.
Shahid Malik, Labour MP