Mind Your Language

Whatever you think of Prime Minister David Cameron’s latest ‘battle against extremism’ there’s one part of it that leaves me in despair. That’s his insistence that immigrant Muslim women who fail to learn to speak English might be deported.



Badly thought out, impossible to service or measure and certain to put people’s backs up.

Who are these Muslim women who can’t speak English? I expect a lot of them are elderly and have little experience outside of their local Muslim community which wouldn’t surprise me to be reflection of their native communities and villages.

A man from Pakistan who has residency here finds that his mother is feeling alone back in rural Pakistan and seeks to bring her to England. It’s what anyone would want for their parents. It’s human. For the elderly like this, England is a foreign place and always will be. They have comfort and companionship within their community groups and families. They are perhaps remote in the sense that there is nothing that they really want from ‘England’ and that for them their life lies in family and community, those they can see, hear and touch.

I’d find it difficult learning a foreign language even if I lived and worked abroad. I’d do it because it has to be done. But to impose that on others who at their stage of life or exposure to education or learning is different is just wrong.

Keep the carrot, but please put down the stick.

Header image Copyright Lee Gone Publications

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