Hideously diverse Britain: is this any way to test a citizen’s English?

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They shall all speak English, says communities secretary Eric Pickles, unveiling his measures to kill off multiculturalism. The highlights are exciting: neighbour shall eat with neighbour, presumably from one big melting pot. There’s something about setting up a curry college. Even cockneys will be able to make a tasty dhansak. And no more cash for translations. We’re going to speak English. In-gerr-lishhhhh.

Which is not a bad thing in itself. People need English to make a success of life here and those who shy away from learning the language damage themselves. But dramatically pulling up the drawbridge, cutting off access to information and services, as Pickles would have us do, seems a bit brutal

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