Trevor Phillips has made some rather stark comments about the current state of UK race relations. Analysis: Segregated Britain? Like most problems with a social and a political dimension, it is relatively easy to quantify and define it. The more difficult task is how it should be tackled. I believe that this matter is not purely based on race or religion, but also encompasses all other aspects of social economic grouping. The very concept of multiculturalism is contentious. It starts with the premise that you define the population by ethnic group firstly, then by other factors. It's critics state that this compounds the issue by establishing a difference. They prefer to see a universal group of citizens sharing equal status in the eyes of the law. But once again, once you step away from the intellectual ideas and philosophical questions, we are left with what happens in the real world. With regard to this Mr. Phillips is right. You just have people that share space and live effectively totally independent lives. From my own perspective, this has always been the way. I live in a predominantly white middle class suburb. I moved hear through choice, leaving an area that I felt had an unacceptable level of crime and other social issues. Rightly or wrongly, there is a public perception that certain problems are linked to the demographics of the local population. This factor is one of the biggest forces that defines an area. I feel comfortable with the population in my area. I see to all intents and purposes, people similar to myself. Racially, politically, morally etc. I think that it comes down to a fundamental human trait. Psychologists can talk for hours with regard to group dynamics and social engineering. My Mum would simply say "birds of a feather etc". It's also a universal habit. All sections of society do it to a degree. There is an specific area of Catford for example which has become an enclave for the black middle class. There is a large Greek community in St. Mary's Cray. Furthermore, all the different groups keep a close eye on the demographics of their area. The moment they feel that a change is apparent and that it impacts on their perception of comfort, they will vote with their feet. However, this is not a luxury that is extended to the poor and the working class. Their choice of home and neighborhood is dependent on the local authority and their housing policies. So the stage we've reached at the moment in the UK has not happened by accident, but is due to a conscious choice by it's citizens. Should this therefore be criticized if so many people from all backgrounds seem to want things this way? Or do we all have to disengage our selfs from the practicalities of daily life and look at this issue in a more academic fashion. The creation of Ghettos is inevitably a bad thing and the shameful events in the US in the last months clearly show the social and political realities. What concerns me just as much is what exactly can the central government do about it about it. Social engineering policies seldom work. It reminds me very much of when I was at school and every once in a while the headmaster would force people to move to different tables at lunchtime. Rather than sitting with your fiends you'd spend a hour in the company of "strangers" or worse still "girls". 10 year old did not see the goal he was trying to achieve. It must also be said that he did not improve anything with this policy. Social grouping within the school remained the same. Okay, that may be a poor analogy, but lets take the suggestion of defining quotas for schools to ensure adverse ethnic mix. This would be impossible in some areas due to the demographics of the area. Are we going to sanction the enforced movement of a percentage of pupils from one area to another just to satisfy the needs of politicians target? I cannot see such a policy being beneficial to the pupils. If anything it would put an intolerable pressure on them. It would also send a clear message that someone is being define by their ethnicity, which then seems to be at odds with defining the school population as just students. The recent bombings in London, had one benefical effect. They were seen as attack on Londoners rather than an attack on a specific culture or group. This spirit and mentality was a somewhat spontaneous happening and was not prompted by some carefully define governmental policy. It was the result of people looking about themselves and for once ignoring the "perceived differences" and focusing on obvious common factors. It is may be the workings of this process that needs to be defined and nurtured to tackle the current opinions that cause the "Ghetto" effect. On a slightly pessimistic note, is this just one aspect of human thinking that comes from our genetic heritage and harks back to our territorial antecedents? Is it a case of we always fine ways to segregate ourselves rather than unite us?