Member of Parliament for Clacton

Douglas Carswell

09 OCT 2007

It's Plain English - says MP

Douglas steps up his Plain English campaign

Clacton's MP has stepped up his campaign against local officialdom’s promoting of languages other than English in England.

After his local council offered him public documents in seven different languages other than English, including Urdu, Polish, Gujerati and Turkish - and having discovered that no one had yet in fact asked for a translation in Urdu, he has now raised the matter in Parliament.

Douglas says "Having asked local officialdom why they promote social division and seperateness, they tried to imply that they were mandated to do so by central government. I simply don't believe that - where is the law that forces them to be politically correct?"

Stepping up his Plain English campaign, Douglas has asked the Minister if she can:

Provide details of the statutory and non-statutory guidance for local councils on the provision of public documents in languages other than English?

What advice does the Minister's department offer local authorities about the provision of public documents in English, and will she make a statement?.

Does the minister believe that providing public documents in languages other than English enhances or diminishes a sense of social cohesion and inclusiveness?.

In light of her plans to provide local councils with £50 million to enhance social cohesion following the report by the Commission on Integration and Cohesion, will the minister also review guidelines for local government on the provision of public documents in languages other than English?.

Douglas adds “I'm worried about my country’s cohesion. I don't think that the so-called "multi-cultural consensus" has worked, and I hear even Trevor Philips saying we need more integration, rather than seperateness."

"Yet local officialdom is promoting cultural relativism. Who voted for that? "

"Promoting the idea that it is okay not to learn English is harmful to everyone - especially those people who would be socially excluded by their inability to communicate effectively. Without a common language we are denied the tools to create common understanding with one another. That means tensions, divisions and social fragmentation."

"It is wonderful that in this country people celebrate their different heritages. We've been a plural society since the time of Cromwell - if not before. In the private space, it is good that people have the particular and the distinctive. But in the public space, we need common cultural reference points - and that begins with language. That language is English."

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