Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Government's integration adviser hits out at political correctness which threatens use of 'Christmas tree'

The Government's 'integration tsar' has criticised councils for "over worrying" about political correctness, citing the example of a manager who put up a "festive tree" instead of a Christmas tree.

The Sunday Telegraph reported recent comments to council leaders by Dame Louise Casey, who is overseeing a year-long, wide-ranging government study into integration.

Referring to one "incredibly well meaning white manager" who barred use of the description "Christmas tree", Dame Louise said: "What offence did he think he was causing? What did we ever think would be offensive about celebrating Christmas with a tree?"

She went on: "I have become convinced that it is only the upholding of our core British laws, cultures, values and traditions that will offer us the route map through the different and complex challenge of creating a cohesive society."

In comments that will be seen as a swipe at the concept of Sharia law in the UK, Dame Louise also said that Britain must be bolder in standing up for British laws which are "specifically intended to help define how we live together".

She said: "One set of laws democratically decided and with the intention that they are upheld by every community in the land, new or old. We need to be much bolder in not just celebrating our history, heritage and culture, but standing up for our democratically decided upon laws of the land and standing up to those that undermine them."

Dame Louise called for a change of attitude among councillors. "It is easy to say the easy things, to make excuses," she said. "It's tougher to tell the truth and find the solutions."

In a defence of those who are concerned about immigration, she added: "It is not racist to say that the pace and rate of immigration has created a lot of change in Britain and for some people that feels too much. Or that when a large number of people from a different ethnic or religious background suddenly move into an area that it can be unsettling for those already resident there; or that when a school has a large religious minority population, it can change its character quite quickly. Not talking about this and the issues that arise from it only creates more tensions."

Dame Louise, a civil servant, also served under Tony Blair as a homelessness tsar, respect tsar and ASBO tsar.

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