Writing in the News Statesman, Adam Sage examines the flawed idea of France: equality through monoculturalism. It’s an overly simple idea that if we can all be the same, we can all be equal. It’s too simple to work. France appears to have worked harder at its national identity than Britain which has found the idea of Britishness difficult ever since the empire fell and fascist groups like the National Front successfully appropriated the flag in the 1970s. Today’s Britain enables a wide range of lifestyles. Some maintain a proud English country life others, like myself, are equally proud as urbanites. And today ethnic minorities rightly want to claim the flag as their own.
There are intolerant minorities in every section of society that would change all that and the need for a few universal values to hold things together can cause tensions. Yet Britain has evolved a form of multiculturalism that gifts its people real freedom to live to their potential and contribute positively to the whole in their own way.