Community Relations is no “soft option”

It is Community Relations Week, and that is important.

Community Relations in Northern Ireland are (I write this cautiously as I have nothing better than instinct to go on) marginally better than they were and better than they are in England. Yet they are still far from “good”.

It remains the case that too often in Northern Ireland (and elsewhere) an “entitlement culture” predominates in preference to a more charitable and frankly more reasonable outlook. We are determined to pursue our “entitlements” – be it to build a mammoth bonfire, stick a load of flags up or even simply block a road construction project of clear overall community benefit through a spurious legal challenge. Much of this is done just to make ourselves feel powerful in our own little group, without the slightest consideration for anyone else, nor indeed for what is simply reasonable behaviour in a diverse society.

In England, the evidence is that matters are far worse. Particularly in post-industrial urban areas of the North and Midlands, people are often completely segregated by racial and national origin, leading separate lives. “Multiculturalism has failed” say many, but the truth is, outside London, few places have actually tried it. Separate schools, sports, residential areas, shops, even TV channels lead to a dangerous segregation and a total lack of cohesion.

Community Relations as a topic is, therefore, more important than ever right across the UK. It is far from a “soft option”. Actually, it is ever more essential.


3 thoughts on “Community Relations is no “soft option”

  1. Steve Pollard says:

    Use of the term ‘Entitlement’ surely suggests rights are privileges. You then contend that asserting those rights is akin to a sense of entitlement or an arrogant pursuit of privilege. More a need for a sense of power. Seems harsh

    • It can be. I’m entitled to park all day in Whiteabbey Main Street. But I’m taking a space from someone who may actually need it.

      So abusing entitlements just because you have them, without any thought for others or for society as a whole, is at best extremely selfish and at worst the type of thing which leads to democratic breakdown (as “reasonableness” and compromise go out of the window).

      Of course, if you think there’s no such thing as society, that’s fine.

  2. It’s pretty much true, if you had to pick a region other than the large urban areas where multiculturalism has been tried it has been in the universities towns.

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