A few days ago I wrote my first response to the Casey Review which is concerned about a lack of cohesion across our society. In due course I will write some more. However in the meantime the Government has stood up in the shape of Sajid Javid and is now attempting to distract us from some of the real issues contained in the document. I made reference to the comments by Ms Casey that one of the reasons why some parts of our society have not integrated is that there are people who cannot speak English. Her report points out 1.68 …..The department responsible for integration policy spending more in 2011/12 and 2012/13 in promoting the Cornish language than the English language.
Mr Javid is no stranger to the concept of immigrants who cannot speak English, as he comments in this report of an article he wrote in the Sunday Times “Mr Javid recalled how, aged about eight, he went to see a GP with his mother to act as her interpreter. He said while today she is completely fluent in English, a minority of immigrants have failed to make such an “effort”.” The main point of his article however is not to debate about the need for the Government to fund English lessons for people who like his Mother all those years ago have not yet managed to learn to speak and write our native language, but rather that anyone who works for the Government or in some form of public service should make a promise that they stand by British values. This is bound to be a complete waste of time and money and arguably Mr Javid knows it is a distraction. Defining values of Britishness seems to be something that successive Governments like to focus on. Its a bit trying to come up with a name for a house and using the lack of agreement as an excuse for not sticking the number of the house near the front door. The fact that the house owner has been saved the need to stick numbers on the gate is good on many levels, until an Ambulance or a Police Car is called and then wastes precious minutes working out which house has the emergency, or the constant delivery of parcels to the wrong house.
There is plenty of evidence that enabling people like Mrs Javid to speak English will help her to integrate. No doubt her son was an excellent interpreter, but sometimes Mothers have important matters to discuss that should not be spoken about in front of her son or a daughter, let alone a husband. However Sajid Javid knows very well that persuading people to learn an oath about ‘British Values’ so they can stay in the country is a great deal easier than searching out the hard to reach families and providing meaningful opportunities for the women of the family to learn English so they can visit Doctors and other professionals unaccompanied.