This evening, Adams Park, High Wycombe hosted Mr Adam Thomson CMG, the British High Commissioner to the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.
We had a wide-ranging discussion of foreign policy and migration issues, including in relation to Kashmir, India and Afghanistan. Questions covered some delicate issues which go to the heart of community cohesion.
In particular, I was asked to contribute concerning what I thought should be done to promote greater understanding between communities. With apologies for reusing my favourite quote, I mentioned Cobden’s wise words,
Peace will come to earth when the people have more to do with each other and governments less.
We need to decide whether state action or free actions of individuals will produce better relations. In my view, the state taxing to produce leaflets and events is unlikely to be helpful and may actually stoke resentment. My proposal is that we seek every opportunity to break down barriers by doing business together and finding genuine reasons to socialise. I said that the law cannot put love and understanding into people’s hearts but that people must have more to do with one another.
Mr Thomson was the star of the evening and I am delighted that Britain has a person of his consummate wisdom, talent and experience working on our behalf in this vital region.