A good friend of mine responded to David Cameron's speech by saying:
"Yeah, for a start multiculturalism doesn't just mean Muslims And he is hoping to play on peoples fears in run up to local elections"
These sentiments are pretty much echoed by Yasmin Alibhai-Brown on the Independent's website today.
I can say that I hadn't thought of it from this angle previously but I totally agree with Yasmin that stirring xenophobic tensions because this appeals with your core vote/you want to deflect the attention away from yourself is politicking of the worst kind.
Now David Cameron making the rhetoric in the run up to local elections about these tensions is understandable as his party are probably seen as tough on these issues, just like the Republicans in America. Being tough however is not the same as being right. What needs to be encouraged is a greater understanding of each others cultures rather than forcing what he/others believe it means to be British on everyone. Speaking like that will only appeal to the EDL and other vile organisations.
The most glaring bit of the speech I didn't even realise until I read Caron's Musings excellent blog where she highlighted the section:
"Someone can be a devout Muslim but not be an extremist".
I would say that was true of 100% of the Muslims I have encountered. Granted I have not lived in the most diverse areas however the vast majority of would be described as devout, the extremists would be in the vast minority.
Overall this is why I am proud to be a Liberal Democrat, at the same time Cameron is talking about something so negative Nick Clegg is putting forward policies he passionately believes in. Nick is getting a hard time for supposedly losing sight of his priorities but this is one thing he has been big on for a long time, you could see how important it is to him by the fact he was there with Burstow. The only criticisms I have of Nick is that he has seemed too matey with the leading Tories and the spin hasn't been in place as the media is keen to push a negative angle on even the most positive story, but I think this shows we are punching above our weight. Unfortunately we can't tame the Tories prejudice's.