Most of the media coverage of Nick Clegg’s speech on multiculturalism in Luton last week, which I blogged about here, has focused on the differences with David Cameron’s speech on the same subject a month ago. They variously describe it as a break or split within the coalition, or Clegg “taking on” or distancing himself from Cameron, and The Sun, in a typically restrained manner, talks of a “race war” between the two men.
- BBC News: ‘Nick Clegg sets out vision of multiculturalism‘ – includes some video of the speech
- Mail: ‘Coalition divided as Clegg says: We have to talk to extremists‘
- Independent: ‘Multicultural society row splits Clegg and Cameron‘
- Guardian: ‘Nick Clegg distances himself from David Cameron on violent extremism‘
- New Statesman blog: ‘Clegg breaks with Cameron on multiculturalism‘
One interesting titbit from John Rentoul is that he understands that the speech “was drafted by, or with a lot of help from, Richard Reeves, recently of Demos”.
In a post on Liberal Democrat Voice, ‘Nick Clegg – demonstrating what he’s for‘, my friend Linda Jack wrote about her reaction to Nick’s visit to Luton;
“I have to say that having read his speech and then heard him speak last night I was reminded of what I so admire about Nick.”
As part of his speech Nick Clegg made reference to a research report by the Searchlight Educational Trust. This report, Fear and Hope, has some challenging things to say to all political parties. One of the most interesting responses to the speech that I have come across was from one of the authors of that report, Anthony Painter, on the Labour Uncut blog; ‘Multiculturalism: a nice piece about Nick Clegg‘.
“David Cameron erected the straw man of “state multiculturalism”, which doesn’t exist in anything other than the popular mythology of 1980s municipalism. Nick Clegg knocked it down and instead made a cogent case for a diverse but not divided version of multiculturalism built around strong and shared values.”
This content was originally posted on my old Strange Thoughts blog.