I'm not going to write about Blair's speech because I've not heard it or read, and to be frank, I doubt I could summarise it better than Guido has. However, what I will comment on is Baroness Amos' speech which, like Ruth Kelly and John Reid before her, has questioned the value of multiculturalism. In her speech she said:
"Has our tolerance of difference led communities to live separate lives? Isolated from their neighbours and from the wider society. Lacking common bonds and mutual connections which could break down suspicion and misunderstanding. How far should we go in allowing special treatment for the ethnic, cultural and religious traditions of our communities? What are the limits to our tolerance and how might those limits be exercised? How do we deal with those who turn our tolerance against us? We need to have an open discussion as a party and as a wider society about who we are and what we believe in as Britons."
I can't say I disagree with her at all, but what I find most interesting is the lack of people standing up and screaming "racist". If a Tory had used the exact words above last year they would have found themselves subject to charges of racism and extremism. In fact, it happened to a Sunday Times journalist during the local elections.
Whilst Baroness Amos is absolutely correct to ask these questions, we should also be asking ourselves why it is not acceptable to ask such questions until the Left decides it wants to ask them. As more and more senior people on the ruling Left begin to ask these questions the Right has been asking for some time, perhaps we should, at the same time, seek to remove the political intolerance that exists when those on the Right question the Left's "received wisdom" before they do?