ship education” should include humanrightsrnprinciples and “understanding ofrnequality difference.” The granting ofrnbroadcasters’ licenses would be made dependentrnupon having a suitable quota ofrnminorit)’ employees and running propagandarnabout “cultural diversity’,” whilernpolitical parties should have an ethnicrn”audit” of members. Educational authoritiesrnwould be required to keep detailedrnstatistics on ethnicity; equality andrndiversit}’ awareness would be incorporatedrninto teacher training at all levels; andrnsteps would be taken to reduce the disproportionatelyrnhigh number of blackrnchildren suspended or expelled fromrnschool. (These children are never expelledrnor suspended because of their behavior,rnof course, but because of “institutionalrnracism.”)rnUpon publication of the report, HomernOffice Minister Mike O’Brien said that itrn”adds much to the current debate onrnmulti-ethnic Britain,” and Home Officernjobsvorths drafted a 40-page response.rnBut then the Daily Telegraph gallopedrninto the breach, with a banner headlinernaccusing Jack Straw—with considerablernjustification—of wanting to “rewrite histon,”rnand the back-tracking began. Publiclvrnstung. Straw was compelled actuallvrnto read the report; to tlie surprise of its authors,rnhe delivered a very different speechrnat the formal launch than they had expected.rnThis time, he was thinking of thernmiddle-class constituencies. He arguedrnthat the Commission was “grudging” inrnaccepting what had been achieved andrnsaid that he “strongK- parted company”rnwith them over their definition of Britishness.rnLeftists are wrong, he said, forrn”washing their hands of the whole notionrnof nationhood,” and the report was “sub-rnMarxist.”rnThe report and the Straw climb-downrnwere satirized in the magazine PrivaternEye, vhich listed “The great and goodrnwho make up the Runnynose Commission,rnauthors oiBritain Don’t You HaternIt? The Future of Multiculture.” Theyrnadded caustically: “Mr Jack Straw, thernHome Secretary, wishes to make clear afterrnreading adverse press comment on thernabove, that he had nothing wliatever to dornwith the Runnyegg report which is now allrnover his face. Mr. Straw is proud to bernBritish and has no intention of implementingrna report which he merely commissionedrnand promised to implement.”rnBut the report’s authors defended it,rnthough many seemed cowed by the ferocih’rnof the counterattack. One of thernproblems about being part of an insularrnelite is that vou tend to lose sight of thernwider picture, thinking that everyone elsernis just like your friends and associates.rnThe most spirited defense of the reportrncame from the winsome Lady Cavron,rn”vice-chair” of the Commission, whosernhusband was coincidentally made a lifernpeer after becoming a major donor to thernLabour Part}’ (although Lady Gavron isrnnaturally a member of the Commissionrnon her own merits). Speaking at a pressrnconference, she said that “It would havernbeen great if Prince Charles had beenrntold to marry someone black, hnaginernwhat message would have been sent out.”rnShe added that Charles’ stated wish to bern”defender of faiths” rather than just thernhead of the Church of England did notrngo far enough. The royal family is “arnsymbol of our unmeritocrahc tendencyrnand, of course, they’re all white. It is partrnof a rather unattracti’e hierarchy.” (Herrndistaste for hierarchy does not seem to requirernthat she eschew her htle.) She decriedrnthe hereditarv’ principle, saying thatrnone wouldn’t run a cricket team on thatrnbasis. The response of any cricket fansrnpresent was not recorded, but it seems atrnleast possible that such a tactic might improvernthe English team’s performance.rnLady Gavron then switched targets, attackingrnthe Church of England. “[Y]ournimmediately assume that [a vicar] will berna white man rather than a black woman.”rnWhen a reporter responded that this isrnbecause most vicars are white and male,rnshe replied, “That’s the kind of perceptionrnwe want to change.” (Incidentally,rnthe press recently reported that the archbishopsrnof Canterbur}’ and York plan tornattend a 24-hour residential workshop designedrnto rid themselves of “institutionalrnracism.” Wlio says the age of mart’rdomrnis over?)rnIn a fit of generosity. Lady Gavron didrnallow that we could keep the name ofrnTrafalgar Square because “if vou got ridrnof everything associated with somethingrnbad ou’d have nothing at all.”rnThe Parekh Report sets out explicitlyrnwhat many on the left have long believed:rnThere is no such thing as Britain;rneven if there is, it is intrinsically evil andrnshould be replaced by ever-shifting “communities”rnmade up of people united bvrngeographical propinquit)’, “lifest)’le,” andrnshopping habits (unless the people concernedrnare nonwhite, in which case thevrncan unite themsehes with whateerrnatavisfic myth they like).rnThe Parekh Report has rather embarrassedrnthe Blair government, which wishesrnto distance itself from its new militantrntendency. Although the government’srnmembers basically agree with it, the reportrnis a little too honest for professionalrnpoliticians to wish to associate themselvesrnwith it.rnIn the run-up to a general election in arncountry where there is a strong conservativernpress and whose electors pride themselvesrn(rightly or wrongly) on their independencernof mind, it would be a braverngovernment indeed which sought to replacernGreat Britain with “a multiculturalrnpost-nation.” For the moment, Blair andrnhis fractious team will continue the pretensernof being “patriots” who have the nationalrninterest at heart. Unfortunately,rneven after Parekh let the cat out of the bag,rnthere are people—enough, perhaps, to decidernan election—who will believe them.rnDerek Turner is the editor of RightrnNOW!, published in London.rnLetter From Cortinarnby Andrei NavrozovrnRoman HolidayrnSometimes, though not verv often, onernhas the occasion to discover that, deeprndown beneath the surface, things are actuallyrnbetter than they seem. Some yearsrnago, when she was unequivocally and irresponsiblyrnyoung, my English friendrnNatasha G— came to stay with her godfather,rnEranco Zeffirelli, at his villa inrnPositano, where a newly famous Russianrncalled Misha Baryshnikov was also arnhouseguest. With her godfiither’s blessingrnin loco parentis, Misha started invitingrndie teenage daughter of a peer of thernrealm to nightclubs and discotheques,rnand eventually fell madly in love withrnher. Recenriy, I asked Natasha why shernhad so cruelly broken the openly heterosexualrnheart of the Nijinsky of our epoch.rn”Well, you see,” she remembered withrnvisible distaste, “he kept asking me out,rnand I just hated the way he danced. Itrnwas really embarrassing.”rnThe moral of the story will arrive later.rnThough I write this crouching behind arnhotel-room desk in Rome on what feelsrnAPRIL 2001/41rnrnrn