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Robin Cook Speech

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Robin Cook's chicken tikka masala speech

Extracts from a speech by the foreign secretary to the Social Market Foundation in London

Robin Cook
Thursday April 19, 2001

Tonight I want to celebrate Britishness. As Foreign Secretary I see every day the importance of our relations with foreign countries to the strength of our economy, to the security of our nation, to the safety of our people against organised crime, even to the health of our environment. A globalised world demands more foreign contacts than even Britain has experienced in the past.
I also know that we are likely to make our way more successfully in the world if we are secure in our British identity, and confident about its future. That security and confidence is important for the inner strength it gives us in our conduct of business with others. I want to argue the case why we can be confident about the strength and the future of British identity.
Sadly, it has become fashionable for some to argue that British identity is under siege, perhaps even in a state of terminal decline. The threat is said to come in three forms.
First, the arrival of immigrants who, allegedly, do not share our cultural values and who fail to support the England cricket team. Few dare to state this case explicitly, but it is the unmistakable subliminal message.
Second, our continued membership of the European Union, which is said to be absorbing member states into ‘a country called Europe’.
Third, the devolution of power to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, which is seen as a step to the break-up of the UK.
This evening, I want to set out the reasons for being optimistic about the future of Britain and Britishness. Indeed, I want to go further and argue that in each of the areas where the pessimists identify a threat, we should instead see developments that will strengthen and renew British identity.…...

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