Tuesday, 17 November 2009

A Shared and Better Future (2)

In 1966 Roy Jenkins, as United Kingdom Home Secretary, established cultural pluralism as government policy.  He described his new approach as 'integration', which he defined 'not as a flattening process of assimilation but as equal opportunity, coupled with cultural diversity, in an atmosphere of mutual tolerance'.  he three core elements of his policy were equity, diversity and mutual tolerance. 

Today we promote a 'shared and better future' in Northern Ireland and the three core principles are equity, diversity and interdependence.  It seem fairly obvious that this is a development of the former policy, with mutual tolerance giving way to interdependence, which is something stronger than just mutual tolerance.

Can anyone detail the steps by which the thinking has moved forward over the past forty years?


  1. People like me are doubtless a "write-off" as far as some are concerned. In a sense, I am quite intransigent in my views about NI. I'd be quite content for the Province to be like a "Little England" (unrealistic or idealistic, of course); and I still resent the terminology and views of committed Irish Nationalists. I feel they don't really accept our position in the UK - why do they persist in referring to the term "Britain" as if we aren't part of Britain? I suppose they resent the way I would talk about "the Irish".

    I've even stopped watching local TV - I watch BBC1 & BBC2 London, and ITV London instead (I hate Irish ads!). I get local news from the Internet.

    So my views of inclusion, interdependence and Hume's "shared future" are reactionary, still, I'm afraid.

  2. Speaking of cultural diversity and mutual tolerance, I am very interested in the Minister’s booklet ‘Patrick, Apostle of Ulster.’ Despite trying several libraries, including at Queen’s University, I have unfortunately been unable to obtain a copy. Would Mr McCausland be so kind as to give a quick précis of the work, particularly in relation to tolerance and diversity?

  3. It is rather difficult to provide a precis of a booklet which explores the historical Patrick, his mission and his message. However I intend to bring out a revised and somewhat expanded version next year. One of the main aims was to address some of the myths about Patrick. I believe that dispelling myths and recovering the truth contributes to a 'shared and better future'.