Boris Johnson: fly the flag

I have already had enough about how perfectly normal these young men were, and what charming fellows they were, and how there was nothing they loved more than serving in dad's chip shop or helping an old lady across the street or a good game of cricket in the park.

"All he wanted to do was have a laugh," said one of the neighbours last night, about one of the sick quartet responsible for killing themselves and at least 52 others in London. "He was sound as a pound." Yeah, right. If these four young men were perfectly normal Yorkshiremen, then what the hell is happening to this country? Of all the shattering revelations of the past few days, the worst has been that these suicide bombers were British.###

They were our very own. They were as British as a wet bank holiday. They were as British as Tizer, and queues and Y-fronts and the Changing of the Guard, and the chips that made them what they were. They were born in British maternity wards, and attended by every comfort that the state could give.

They went to British primary schools and learnt about Britain from British teachers, and when they murdered so many of their fellow Britons it was the British emergency services who tried to save what lives they could.


The disaster is that we no longer make any real demands of loyalty upon those who are immigrants or the children of immigrants.


So we have drifted on over the intervening decades, and created a multi-cultural society that has many beauties and attractions, but in which too many Britons have absolutely no sense of allegiance to this country or its institutions. It is a cultural calamity that will take decades to reverse, and we must begin now with what I call in this morning's Spectator the re-Britannification of Britain.

That means insisting, in a way that is cheery and polite, on certain values that we identify as British. If that means the end of spouting hate in mosques, and treating women as second-class citizens, then so be it. We need to acculturate the second-generation Muslim communities to our way of life, and end the obvious alienation that they feel.


We have reached a turning-point in the relations between the Muslim community and the rest of us, and it is time for the moderates to show real leadership. That is why I want to end with the words of my Labour colleague Shahid Malik, MP for Dewsbury, who said yesterday: "The challenge is straightforward - that those voices that we have tolerated will no longer be tolerated, whether they be on the streets, in the schools, in the youth clubs, in the mosque, in a corner, in a house.

We need to go beyond condemning. We need to confront." Well said, Shahid; and it is time for the imams to follow.