Throughout this month the BBC is running a season titled The Big British Asian Summer. No doubt there is some worthy programming to be found; however, for viewers allergic to smug and sanctimonious Leftist comedians, the package does come with the warning: MAY CONTAIN TRACES OF NISH KUMAR. (Be warned that the host of BBC’s execrable Mash Report presents The Big Asian Stand-up, which started last week on BBC Two.)
To coincide with the event, the BBC commissioned for its Asian Network a survey of current social attitudes. There were 2,026 respondents of Asian origin, mainly India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, just over half of whom were born in the UK, whose beliefs and opinions were compared with a similarly sized UK-wide sample.
The ComRes survey found that whereas only 26 per cent of the national sample regards religion as important, it greatly matters to 73 per cent of British Asians; indeed, 36 per cent of Asians regard religion as their single most identifying characteristic.
Politically, British Asians are more likely to be pro-immigration, which might be no surprise; nevertheless, a sizeable minority of 34 per cent (UK-wide 56 per cent) believe immigration already to be excessive and there is only 8 per cent for whom it is too low. Of the national sample, the number of respondents desiring more immigration totalled 56 (2.8 per cent), most of whom presumably work either for the Guardian or the BBC.
The survey concluded that Asians within the UK are more optimistic than the country as a whole. In answer to the question ‘How do you feel about Brexit?’ the 39 per cent of British Asians who are outright pessimists is, interestingly, significantly less than the (coincidental) 48 per cent of Eeyores recorded within the UK-wide sample.
This relative positivity amongst what might loosely be termed his ‘ain folk’ indicates that Brexit-bashing Nish Kumar still has much hectoring to do.
As was demonstrated by the comparative importance placed upon religion, it was the survey’s questions of morality that produced startling disparities. Of the British Asians prepared to answer, 53 per cent claimed not to have had sex outside marriage, with the highest proportion being, surprisingly, between the ages of 18 and 34.
The speakers on this clip are also in the 18-34 age group. Jaspreet Singh, 24, who had hoped already to have been married, explains to the surprised interviewer that he wishes to marry young because ‘I want to spend more life with my wife’. And for headscarf-wearing Aishah Din, of Pakistani descent: ‘Sex once you are married is actually a holy thing. It’s something that should be cherished.’
I’m guessing that similar sentiments rarely are expressed by the contestants on ITV’s Love Island.
In fact, not only do a majority of British Asians claim personally to abstain from non-marital sex, 34 per cent ‘would be offended if a relative had sex before marriage’. This compares with just 5 per cent of respondents UK-wide, though personally I sympathise with this tiny minority. Sex before marriage is wrong – especially if it delays the ceremony.
The survey found the younger group to have a slightly more liberal view of homosexuality than the elders; nevertheless, only 43 per cent of the Asian respondents take the view that ‘same-sex relationships are morally acceptable’, compared with 74 per cent of the general population. Indeed, 36 per cent of Asians expressly stated that ‘same-sex relationships are not morally acceptable’ (21 per cent did not know or declined to say); from which it seems reasonable to presume that opposition to same-sex marriage, rather than just ‘relationships’, is even greater.
This is interesting because few public figures or mainstream politicians now dare be other than a cheerleader for same-sex marriage; the brave few who still publicly express the view that they would have preferred marriage to remain exclusively a heterosexual union, such as Jacob Rees-Mogg, are denounced as antediluvian at best, and at worst for perpetrating hate crime.
The Asian respondents have nothing for which to apologise. Nevertheless, it is curious that in the wake of this survey there has been no similar condemnation of what the BBC, in its determinedly neutral reporting of these results, euphemistically calls ‘more socially conservative’ British Asians; on the contrary, other than such as this short piece on iNews there has been scant coverage of the poll and certainly no opinionated reaction to its findings.
Normally the Guardian avidly will promote the views of a minority ethnic group; but if this survey has been reported at all, it has been well camouflaged. Imagine, if you will, the reaction to a hypothetical poll which found that ‘same sex relationships are morally acceptable’ to less than half of Daily Mail readers, or only to a minority UKIP supporters: in the unlikely event that the term ‘socially conservative’ were to be used at all, it would applied with a sneer; much more likely, the findings would publicly be characterised as evidence of rampant bigotry and homophobia amongst the reactionary Right.
Oddly, though, so far the Left has declined to arraign British Asians in the same way. To be fair, the Guardian’s Owen Jones recently has been fully occupied smearing broadcasters with whom he does not agree; however, alongside his campaigns against Nigel Farage and Andrew Neil, our vigilant LGBT crusader must have noted, with alarm, the findings of this authoritative survey.
He is renowned for exposing prejudice wherever it is found. Therefore a blistering Guardian column, attacking the attitude of this large proportion of British Asians for whom Mr Jones’s homosexuality is ‘not morally acceptable’, surely is now high on Owen’s to-do list.