Personally, I think the British are too hard on themselves in their obsession with political correctness.
Having begun my career as a newspaper journalist on a local newspaper called the Evening Mail in an ugly, little town on the edge of London called Slough, I observed that British ‘racism’ was a much less segregationist thing than our own caste system and at least there is not apartheid or untouchability. Casteism is a form of racism and to find out how strong it still is in our fair and wondrous land, we need to have a special episode of our own Big Boss with Brahmins confined in the same living space as Dalits and everyone expected to share the kitchen. What would happen I find myself wondering?
On account of Western standards of political correctness, us foreigners get away with things in a city like London that Westerners would not be able to get away with in our country. So, in Selfridges today you see Indian and Pakistani salesgirls wearing jeans and skimpy tops but emphasizing their sense of difference by wearing a ‘hijab’. Would Islamic countries return the favour by allowing Western salesgirls in their department stores to wear mini skirts. No, of course not, just as they would not allow churches to be built on their soil while insisting that Western cities permit mosques to be built on grander and grander scales.
Unsurprisingly there is hostility against Muslims among ordinary Londoners that comes up in conversations every time I talk to ordinary English people. Is it racism? Or is it resentment against the demands that are being made by foreigners in the name of religion and culture? The problem is not just about whether Muslim women in English jobs should be allowed to wear the ‘hijab’ it is about using the liberal laws of free societies to meet violent and ugly ends in the name of religion.