DAVID CAMERON MOVES TO BALSALL HEATH
In a remarkable “getting to know the people” exercise, David Cameron has spent the last two days living with a British Asian family in Birmingham.
The Conservative leader is staying with a corner shop owner called Abdullah, his wife Shahida, and their three children in order to get the flavour of real life in multicultural Britain.
Writing in the diary on his Webcameron site, he explains why he’s made such a bold move: “I’m already rather fed up with the way that touring the country works in politics. You charge around having to meet deadlines imposed by the media and the Parliamentary timetable.
“An hour here an hour there (frequently half hour, in fact) with snatched conversations, half learning things but not getting to the bottom of a problem and often failing to gain a proper understanding of what’s going on.”
So he’s moved in with a family who can show him what’s really going on at street level.
Cameron warns that the language used in reporting the threat of terrorism needs to be changed in this country.
“We are just not getting this right” he declares. “Every time the BBC or a politician talks about ‘Islamist terrorists’ they are doing immense harm (and yes I am sure I have done this too, despite trying hard to get this right.)
“Think of Northern Ireland - ‘IRA terrorist’ was fine because it marked them out as part of a terrorist group, Catholic terrorists would have been a disaster. Yet that is the equivalent of what we are doing now.”
However, after a visit to a local mosque, Cameron acknowledges that many in the local Muslim community are also in denial about the threat of violence.
“In the mosque and elsewhere I got the familiar depressing questions about who was really responsible for 9/11 and even 7/7. Dig a bit deeper and it all comes out. ‘CIA plot…Jews told to leave the twin towers’ - even when it comes to 7/7 ‘how do we know the suicide bomber videos are real and not fakes?’
“Even if this is a view held by 5 or 10 per cent of British Muslims - and I suspect it is at least that - this is a real problem which we have all got to get to grips with.”
Cameron also addresses the issue of poor educational standards amongst the local Muslim community, and praised the local community activist and social entrepreneur Dick Atkinson of the Balsall Heath Forum who he describes as “brilliant”.
To read his full diary entry click here (http://www.webcameron.org.uk/118)
Cameron’s latest Webcameron video - reflecting on Tony Blair’s departure - is shot on the streets of Balsall Heath (it looks like Ladypool Road to us), and he promises more in the coming days (http://www.webcameron.org.uk/)
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©2006 The Stirrer