» Union leader Derek Simpson endorses @EdMilibandMP in this week's @NewStatesman. I'd like to see a proper debate first. 1 week ago

» RT @monkeyhotel: Met 3 people who vote tory today - they all listen to Phil Collins in a totally non-ironic way. Draw your own conclusions 1 week ago

» Hilarious! RT @Jessica_Asato: This must be the most awesome GOTV I have seen yet. http://bit.ly/bpJgc3 1 week ago

» Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos and Burma here I come! all by train and buses! Glorious. 1 week ago

» Time to get ready to catch my flight. All - I'm out until the end of March in S.E. Asia. Away from the madness! Don't miss me too much. 1 week ago

More updates...


  • Family

    • Ala Abbas
    • Clairwil
    • Leon Green
    • Liberal Conspiracy
    • Sonia Afroz
  • Comrades

    • Andy Worthington
    • Angela Saini
    • Bartholomew’s notes
    • Bleeding Heart Show
    • Bloggerheads
    • Blood & Treasure
    • Butterflies & Wheels
    • Campaign against Honour Killings
    • Cath Elliott
    • Chicken Yoghurt
    • Daily Mail Watch
    • Dave Hill
    • Dr. Mitu Khurana
    • Europhobia
    • Faith in Society
    • Feministing
    • Harry’s Place
    • Highlighting HBV
    • IKWRO
    • Indigo Jo
    • Liberal England
    • MediaWatchWatch
    • Ministry of Truth
    • Natalie Bennett
    • New Statesman blogs
    • Operation Black Vote
    • Our Kingdom
    • Robert Sharp
    • Rupa Huq
    • Septicisle
    • Shiraz Socialist
    • Shuggy’s Blog
    • Stumbling and Mumbling
    • Ta-Nehisi Coates
    • The F Word
    • Though Cowards Flinch
    • Tory Troll
    • UK Polling Report
    • Women Uncovered
  • In-laws

    • Aaron Heath
    • Ariane Sherine
    • Desi Pundit
    • Douglas Clark's saloon
    • Get There Steppin’
    • Incurable Hippie
    • Isheeta
    • Neha Viswanathan
    • Power of Choice
    • Route 79
    • Sarah
    • Sepia Mutiny
    • Smalltown Scribbles
    • Sonia Faleiro
    • The Langar Hall
    • Turban Head
    • Ultrabrown



  • Technorati: graph / links

    Ed Balls Welcomes Report That Supports Racist Teachers


    by earwicga on 12th March, 2010 at 3:25 AM    

    The Maurice Smith Review, charged with carrying out ‘a full and detailed review of the provisions which prevent the promotion of racism in schools’  has reported back to Government and it’s findings have been accepted by Ed Balls in full.  Apparently the review was so full and detailed that the investigations  included a meeting with a National Front press officer, as reported by the Daily Mail. 

    The DCSF press release * about the report outlines six recommendations made by Smith including monitoring by Ofsted and annual Government review states:

    The current safeguards in place to protect children and young people in maintained schools from discrimination or political indoctrination include:

    - a requirement for schools to have equal opportunities policies
    - a duty to promote racial equality
    - a statutory duty to promote community cohesion
    - a duty on governing bodies, head teachers and local authorities to forbid the teaching of partisan political activities
    - disciplinary powers of the GTCE

      Maurice Smith adds:

    Although police and prison officers are banned, to ban more than half a million teachers - or six million public servants - from joining a legitimate organisation would take this to a different scale of magnitude. Additionally, there is no consensus on this matter, and no agreement on where to ‘draw the line’. [my emphasis]

    The BBC reports:

    The teachers’ union the NASUWT, which has campaigned to have BNP members banned from schools, said it was disappointed by the review’s findings.

    General secretary Chris Keates said: “Maurice Smith has squandered a golden opportunity to advance the cause of ensuring good race relations in schools.
    “The report is woefully inadequate and littered with contradictions.”
    She said too much attention was paid to the number of incidents in schools, saying “one incident is one too many”.

    So in effect, teachers racist enough to join the BNP or NF will be monitored by ‘equal opportunities policies’ and Ofsted visits carried out every four years!  Seriously!  Obviously it doesn’t mean a teacher isn’t a racist bigot if they don’t belong to the BNP or NF but membership of either of these groups absolutely proves they are.  I’d like to hear Balls’ rationale as to how such bigotry would not affect teaching and would promote community cohesion.

    There is obviously no connection between the fact that there is an election almost upon us with New Labour desperate to woo disaffected voters who might choose to vote BNP is there?  That would be seriously disgusting, and it’s not like they have form for this type of thing, certainly not in Lewisham, or Barking. (Please see Hope not Hate for alternate ways of fighting the BNP).

    The Smith review does not cover recruitment within schools at all.  Perhaps the new Equality Bill will really be a miracle after all and it’s enactment will mean liberal sprinklings of magic dust over all the problems that have been found with current Race Relations legislation.

    *The DCSF press release contains a link to the full Smith Review report, but the DCSF have not made it available at the time of writing.

    Update - The Maurice Smith Review is now available online here.


         
            Post to del.icio.us


    Filed in: Current affairs, Race politics, The BNP






    73 Comments below   |   Add your own

    Reactions: Twitter, blogs
    1. Radical Muslim :: BNP - Still Officially Racist :: March :: 2010

      [...] group. A very worrying decision indeed, one only has to consider examples of arguements for and against this decision to know that outlawing racism is on the right side of decency. However, with a [...]



    1. Tim Footman — on 12th March, 2010 at 3:58 AM  

      Hmmm… not quite sure about this. If teachers are banned from joining the BNP/NF, it doesn’t actually mean that there won’t be any racist teachers (any more than the police ban means no racist police). Just means it’s harder to identify the ones who are.

      Does being a racist make you join the BNP, or does joining the BNP make you a racist?

    2. earwicga — on 12th March, 2010 at 4:41 AM  

      “Does being a racist make you join the BNP, or does joining the BNP make you a racist?”

      I couldn’t imagine a circumstance where a non-racist would join up.

    3. chris — on 12th March, 2010 at 7:27 AM  

      There is a “where do you draw the line?” question here. If BNP, why not UKIP, for a start? And how about banning members of a party that starts illegal wars, tears up basic freedoms and is undoubtedly racist (remember “British jobs for British workers)? That’s Labour out then. As for the Conservatives - a party which hates human rights and is utterly riddled with vile racism. Would you want a member of that teaching your children?

    4. Tim Footman — on 12th March, 2010 at 8:10 AM  

      Sorry, earwigca, that was a bit facetious on my part. What I meant was, BNP/NF membership isn’t the sole indicator of racist views; a ban on membership wouldn’t stop a teacher from holding iffy views (and potentially communicating them to students). It could create a false sense of security. I remember when most universities had a ‘No Platform For Racists’ policy. Denying racists a platform didn’t stop them from being racist.

      And as Chris says, there are people who would object to their kids being taught by members of UKIP… or Respect or Hizb ut-Tahrir or Stonewall or PETA or CND…

    5. cjcjc — on 12th March, 2010 at 8:20 AM  

      Good grief.
      You do realise that they will remain racists even if they are not permitted to join?
      Instead you are proposing yet another piece of illiberal legislation because, well, since it won’t actually make any difference, it makes you feel morally superior.
      Great.

    6. MiriamBinder — on 12th March, 2010 at 8:55 AM  

      I am torn in this one. My gut reaction is indeed to recoil from having someone with membership to the BNP/NF teach my children/grandchildren. However it is a pure gut reaction rather then a considered one. I want my younger family members to be taught by someone with enthusiasm and a love for learning, knowledge and the furtherance of knowledge; and if that individual happens to be a BNP or NF member then so be it.

      Personally I think that for all our posturing about not wanting to politicise our childrens’ education we are doing just that by concentrating on the political affiliations of the individuals that teach our young.

      By all means ensure that teachers do not bring their personal preferences into the classroom. I would not want a committed vegan teaching my children that eating meat or dairy products is a moral sin of the ‘nth’ degree. I would expect a teacher to leave their personal predilection for … oh say bull fighting outside of school premises and away from the children they are teaching.

      But surely a good teacher would do that? A good teacher will build on the natural curiosity of children and help children discover the joy of learning; encourage them to follow their own interests, develop their own talents, build on their own strengths.

      Maybe we were asking the wrong sort of question when we started the enquiry that led to this report. Maybe the question that should have been asked is more along the lines of what DO we want in schools rather then what DON’T we want in schools.

    7. Dalbir — on 12th March, 2010 at 9:16 AM  

      Racist teachers….just what we need.

      Having just left the trade myself, I can say it is true that there are already numerous closet nazi teachers lurking around infesting the education system (this is probably true of most sectors in the UK I imagine).

      The problem with this is that some may try ‘upping’ grades of their ‘own’ people and marking down others. They are also inclined to make life for non white teachers more difficult than it needs to be, especially when they gain positions of power.

    8. cjcjc — on 12th March, 2010 at 9:57 AM  

      Are there?
      Did they come out of the closet just for you, or what?
      How did their Nazism show itself?

    9. Random Guy — on 12th March, 2010 at 10:06 AM  

      F*****g LOL. They must have done a survey and realised there is a higher proportion of National Front/BNP teachers than they thought, or this is just another step in the current Labour/Tory policy to legitimise the BNP even further. True that racist teachers would exist regardless, but legitimising them? For chrissakes, what next? Entrusting our wealth to the banks?

    10. Morrigan — on 12th March, 2010 at 10:21 AM  

      As much as we may dislike them, the BNP *are* a legitimate organisation. So are Hope Not Hate and the Anti Nazi League- it’s called freedom of expression.

      Also, you conveniently ignore the fact that the teachers can be a member of ‘any organisation that promotes racism’ under the new guidelines. That includes groups like Hizb Ut Tahrir (assuming they haven’t been proscribed).

    11. Morrigan — on 12th March, 2010 at 10:24 AM  

      Dalbir,

      While it is commendable that you could hold your views unmolested in the teaching profession, it is comforting to know that your departure leaves one less anti-white racist in the school system!

      x

    12. Wibble — on 12th March, 2010 at 10:33 AM  

      … and less excuse for the likes of Morrigan to bleat on about how unfair things are for (white) Englishmen :)
      Thrusting all that diversity at him - sheesh.

    13. MiriamBinder — on 12th March, 2010 at 10:51 AM  

      Let us be clear on one issue at least. Banning never really achieved anything apart from sending the banned underground; thereby making it a) more attractive b) less accountable c) more difficult to keep track of.

      Stay close to your friends but keep your enemies even closer. Your friends you can trust, but the enemy … keep an eye on them cause they can’t be trusted so if you keep them closer you can’t be caught off guard.

      Okay, I’ll grant that is fighting talk and maybe I have put it tad strongly. I don’t regard BNP or NF membership as necessarily putting the individual in the enemy camp. I do regard the general tenets of both groups as antagonistic to all I hold dear; universal dignity, validity and freedom for all. (Good grief, I’m starting to sound like a lay preacher for (secular)humanism ;) )

      The fact is though that the gist of the old saying holds. I’d sooner know, and so be in a position to guard against and counteract any possible abuse of authority; in this case, of teachers in particular. But the concept holds true for other areas of public life as well; and not only where BNP/NF tenets are concerned.

    14. Ravi Naik — on 12th March, 2010 at 10:55 AM  

      I’d like to hear Balls’ rationale as to how such bigotry would not affect teaching and would promote community cohesion.

      I think you are missing the larger point. I think it is unacceptable that in a Democracy people are banned from certain positions simply because they officially support a legitimate political party. Besides undermining a fundamental democratic principle, you are also in a situation where racist teachers can very easily hide the fact that they are BNP supporters, and you are giving fodder to the BNP to cloak itself in the mantle of victimhood. Trifecta!

      The real issue here is whether a teacher is (or is capable of) being fair when it comes to its job - and I am sorry, you need to evaluate his or her job and nothing else. And we want to ensure that we have mechanisms that can detect bias where certain students are benefited over others for reasons other than merit. I would think that we have several ways to detect that by statistic analysis as well as obviously complaints by students.

    15. terry fitz — on 12th March, 2010 at 11:30 AM  

      I see nobody has mentioned banning SWP teachers who are by far the most dangerous group. Peddling their admiration for the mass murderer Leon Trotsky and brainwashing pupils with anti Jewish hatred they seem to bear charmed lives.

    16. Don — on 12th March, 2010 at 11:33 AM  

      All state schools have policies in place on equality, diversity and respect. A teacher seeking employment would have to sign up to that ethos. Of course, some might lie or merely pay unthinking lip-service. Membership of the BNP, however, is an open declaration that they do not share that ethos.

      At the very least I would want a teacher with BNP membership to be required to explain how his or her membership is compatible with equality and respect for all.

    17. Lucy — on 12th March, 2010 at 12:42 PM  

      Now that the National Front has held a meeting with an official from Ed Balls Department of Schools to determine how anti-racist they are, will there be an equal opportunities probe into the [allegedly] sordid business that must surely lie behind it? Will an impartial team of journalists stake it out? Can we look forward to the same intrepid research team who brought us (Andrew Gilligan and ‘oh my word, entryism into the Labour Party, whatever next?’) ‘Britain’s Islamic Republic’?

      Or would ‘Britain’s white racist republic’ strike a note just a tad too hysterical? Probably it would, so I reckon we are going to have to rely on the Daily Mail to keep us up to date.

    18. damon — on 12th March, 2010 at 1:23 PM  

      This may or may not be of interest.

      ”Teachers in Britain are obliged, under the Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000, to record the number of racist incidents in their schools. This has resulted in the reporting of an estimated 250,000 such incidents, and race relations officials claim this is just the tip of the iceberg.

      Yet Adrian Hart, a community filmmaker and tutor, argues in The Myth of Racist Kids: Anti-Racist Policy and the Regulation of School Life that ‘the notion of racist kids is in large part a myth’. Hart became concerned about today’s anti-bullying and anti-racist policies while working on a government-funded educational film about racism in schools.”

      http://www.spiked-online.com/index.php/site/article/8305/

    19. MiriamBinder — on 12th March, 2010 at 1:24 PM  

      @ Don # 15 - That teachers are required to uphold the ethos of the school, when in school or directing activities that concern the school is understood and accepted.

      I don’t think however that requiring teachers with BNP membership to explain how their membership is compatible with that ethos will serve any purpose other then merely prolonging the status quo that currently exists; namely teachers either do not declare their membership or withhold from becoming members despite holding to the tenets.

    20. Lucy — on 12th March, 2010 at 1:59 PM  

      @17 This may also - or not - be of interest. But since it seeks to challenge the merits of Adrian Hart’s thesis, it seemed apt.

      “And who is Adrian Hart? Anyone would think from the emphatic tone of the report, in which he puts down those conversant with the issue of racism in children, that he has a long track record in educational research. But he is in fact a filmmaker who has recently worked with young people. And his methodology leaves much to be desired. He relies on a small number of scare scenarios and gossipy anecdotes to support his thesis, uses a couple of examples from local authority statistics to make sweeping statements and his use of statistics is anyway in question.”
      http://www.irr.org.uk/2009/november/ha000013.html

    21. Jai — on 12th March, 2010 at 2:02 PM  

      It looks like some people really haven’t learned the lessons of 1930s Germany. Remember that the Nazis were a “legitimate political party” too.

      (In fact, once they got into power, absolutely everything those psychopaths did was technically “legal” in terms of German laws at the time — which of course they conveniently amended as they saw fit. Perhaps people also need to do a little historical research into exactly what happened when the Nazis began infiltrating and influencing schools in Germany).

      Before anyone makes any references to alleged “double-standards”, yes I believe that members of the BNP and NF’s Islamist counterparts Al-Muhajiroun/Islam4UK and HuT shouldn’t be allowed to become teachers either.

      The conclusions of this report are naive beyond belief, and yet another example of people refusing to learn the lessons of history.

    22. MiriamBinder — on 12th March, 2010 at 2:49 PM  

      @ Jai # 20 - Alternatively we could pick up lessons from that same black period in modern history and look at how individuals from selected minority groups were prohibited from engaging in given professions or trading freely … excluded from schools and not allowed to walk in public parks …

    23. MiriamBinder — on 12th March, 2010 at 2:51 PM  

      Sorry, the edit function seems to be missing. I was going to add to my post # 21:

      If you want to give the BNP/NF cause to claim further mainstream victimisation and reason to view themselves as a downtrodden 2nd class citizen I can’t think of a more effective way.

    24. cjcjc — on 12th March, 2010 at 3:33 PM  

      Yeah, because we are *so* like 1930’s Germany…

    25. Jai — on 12th March, 2010 at 3:51 PM  

      1930s Germany had previously been one of the most cultured, educated and “civilised” societies in the Western world. So is Britain in 2010.

      Not necessarily so different.

      If you want to give the BNP/NF cause to claim further mainstream victimisation and reason to view themselves as a downtrodden 2nd class citizen I can’t think of a more effective way.

      It’s no different to the “victimisation” claims made by groups such as Al-Muhajiroun/Islam4UK.

      So what ?

      If anyone requires a refresher course on — for example — the BNP’s religious ideology, some of their other recent activities, and the ramifications of their policies, they are advised to read this:

      http://www.pickledpolitics.com/archives/7702

    26. damon — on 12th March, 2010 at 3:52 PM  

      Well I found Lucy’s link @19 of interest.

      Just that really. I don’t know who has the better opinion. It’s probably somewhere down the middle between the two.

      I too am wary about bans on people holding certain professions. UAF called for the sacking of the ”BNP ballerina” Simone Clark.

      And maybe a BNP member can’t be a member of a sports team, or a professor. There were calls for Oxford University to sack professor David Coleman because he was a co-founder of Migration Watch.

    27. Wibble — on 12th March, 2010 at 4:20 PM  

      Good reply Lucy @ 19

    28. MiriamBinder — on 12th March, 2010 at 4:58 PM  

      @ Jai # 24 - So what? So two wrongs have never yet added up to a right (in the non political sense of the word). While I detest, abhore and will stand against the BNP/NF and everything they stand for to my last breath, I do not think that prohibiting their members from engaging in lawful pursuits, does anything but compromise everything Democracy, Individual and Civil Freedoms stands for.

    29. Jai — on 12th March, 2010 at 5:42 PM  

      We’ll have to amicably agree to disagree.

      Not that I believe the BNP should be prohibited from voicing their opinions, aspirations and policies, of course — far from it. On the contrary, I think they should be given total freedom to publically provide the maximum amount of detail possible on all of the above, without any restraint whatsoever. They shouldn’t hide anything at all — they should tell the general public exactly what they think, exactly what they would like to do, exactly what they plan to do, and exactly how they plan to do it.

      However, I disagree with the notion of such people being allowed anywhere near children in a teaching capacity — in exactly the same way that I believe members of Al-Muhajiroun/Islam4UK or supporters of Al-Qaeda shouldn’t be given the slightest opportunity to spread those views (or act on them) in a teaching environment, especially when impressionable children are involved.

      Beyond that, as I said earlier, we’ll have to agree to disagree on this particular subject.

    30. simon woolley — on 12th March, 2010 at 6:20 PM  

      This is a shocking judgment by any standards. And all this, ‘ I’m torn on this one’ is f…ing nonsense.

      So, anybody out there want their child being taught by a teacher who officially signs up to party that hates your child’s race and/or religion?

      We will be writing to Ed Ball’s demanding to know where these BNP teachers are practicing and to demand that every parent whose child is being taught by a BNP member decide whether or not they want their child to continue in that classroom.

      This is not the politics of the left or right, this is the politics of hatred. To vote for them might be a protest vote to join them is to sign up to their ideals.

    31. earwicga — on 12th March, 2010 at 6:32 PM  

      I am in absolute agreement with Simon Woolley on this and can see no legitimate reason to be torn. An openly racist teacher who ‘hates your child’s race and/or religion’ is a situation which cannot be tolerated.

      Why one standard for the police and another for teachers who have immense power over children? This report is an absolute nonsense.

      Lucy @ 16 - Word!

    32. earwicga — on 12th March, 2010 at 6:35 PM  

      And I am also in agreement with Jai and find the analogy completely apt.

    33. Dalbir — on 12th March, 2010 at 6:45 PM  

      Are there?
      Did they come out of the closet just for you, or what?
      How did their Nazism show itself?

      You know, I’m not going to go into it in detail, because frankly, it will not make a jot of difference. Plus you’ll get the usual howls from those who are either inclined to cover it up or are in active denial about the issue for various reasons. Racism differs from institute to institute, it is endemic in some and not so in others.

      While it is commendable that you could hold your views unmolested in the teaching profession, it is comforting to know that your departure leaves one less anti-white racist in the school system!

      It wasn’t that great believe you me. Besides, what’s your point? That racist teachers are okay as long as they are white and directing it to nonwhites?

      From what I saw, many urban institutes are corrupt to the core. The pressure put on teachers to pass students so that funding levels can continue or increase is immense and contributing to a downward trend in standards. As always, the sums that do come in are usually cleverly split between management before reaching the classroom. This takes the steam out of the many government funding enterprises we’ve heard of over the years. Most of us could probably guess something wasn’t quite right with so much money being thrown at education in various schemes, most of which haven’t even dented any of the targeted issues.

      The people who are in cahoots in such arrangements are the usual suspects who dominate the executive boards.

    34. Don — on 12th March, 2010 at 6:49 PM  

      @Miriam #18,

      I agree that not all racists join the BNP or admit to it (although their tendency to have their membership list go walkies makes the latter course unreliable). So, yes, some would slip through.

      But if someone has gone to the trouble of actively joining - and paying good money to do so - they have pretty much nailed their colours to the mast as an outright racist. As such I would contend that they have made it clear that they are disinclined to promote racial equality. It may be a legal party, and rightly so, but it does differ qualitively from other parties in that its essence is exclusionary and hostile to a large section of our population.

      Covert racists may slide under the net, overt ones should be an easy call. Some beliefs and convictions can be left outside the classroom, others not so much.

      Could a member of the BNP be trusted to seek the best outcome for black or asian kids in their charge? Encourage them to apply to the best universities? Raise their self esteem and aspirations? Put in the extra effort and put up with the attitude because they see the potential? No. It is not possible to be a good or even adequate teacher if you believe that some of your pupils are inferior interlopers whose very presence in the country is an affront.

      As for feeding their victimhood, that’s an appetite that will never be short of a junk food fix.

      I’d also have them excluded from working for immigration services. I don’t want to stop anyone earning a living, even racist scum, but not in positions where they can have a profound and immediate effect on the lives of people they openly and actively despise.

      Like Jai, I’ll have to amicably disagree.

    35. Rumbold — on 12th March, 2010 at 7:38 PM  

      I shall have to disagree with Jai and others. Ravi’s comment in #14 sums up my feelings:

      I think you are missing the larger point. I think it is unacceptable that in a Democracy people are banned from certain positions simply because they officially support a legitimate political party. Besides undermining a fundamental democratic principle, you are also in a situation where racist teachers can very easily hide the fact that they are BNP supporters, and you are giving fodder to the BNP to cloak itself in the mantle of victimhood. Trifecta!

      The real issue here is whether a teacher is (or is capable of) being fair when it comes to its job – and I am sorry, you need to evaluate his or her job and nothing else. And we want to ensure that we have mechanisms that can detect bias where certain students are benefited over others for reasons other than merit. I would think that we have several ways to detect that by statistic analysis as well as obviously complaints by students.

    36. Katy Newton — on 12th March, 2010 at 8:23 PM  

      I’m normally opposed to banning things or closing people off from lawful employment if they are qualified, but in this case I’m very much with Jai and Don @34. Teaching and policing are both fundamentally about taking on a duty of care to the general population regardless of their ethnicity or colour. It is, if you like, part of the job description not to be a racist. Whilst I suppose it is possible that a racist teacher might try to put his or her beliefs aside and treat all children equally, given that prejudice is a powerful subconscious influence I have my doubts as to whether it would be possible for them to do so effectively.

      In any event, I do not think that non-white non-British parents could reasonably be expected to have confidence in a racist teacher to treat their children equally, nor would I personally have any confidence in such a teacher to teach my children the importance of equality and diversity.

    37. damon — on 12th March, 2010 at 10:08 PM  

      While I agree that it would be creepy to actually have a school teacher who was a BNP member …. are there really any?

      Or is the scare somewhat like a ”reds under the bed” situation like the media here in Ireland have been running with these last couple of days?
      http://www.google.co.uk/search?hl=en&q=waterford%20lars%20vilks&oq=&um=1&ie=UTF-8&sa=N&tab=iw

      What other professions should be covered? Police, fire, ambulance? Social worker …. traffic warden?

      Ray Honneyford got binned - but but he was very outspoken. What about people who never say anything.

      I’m reminded of the slogan during Bill Clinton’s term as president about gays in the military.
      ”Don’t ask - don’t tell”.

    38. earwicga — on 12th March, 2010 at 11:27 PM  

      damon, have you been living in a cave for the last 20 years?

      “While I agree that it would be creepy to actually have a school teacher who was a BNP member …. are there really any?”

      The last leaked membership list showed 15 teachers as members of the BNP, hence the review. With class sizes of 30 that is 450 children per year affected at primary level with the likliehood of many times more that at secondary level.

      In the case of head teachers - they are responsible for setting school ethos and employment.

      “What other professions should be covered? Police, fire, ambulance? Social worker …. traffic warden?”

      WHO CAN JOIN THE BNP?
      Police and prison officers: Banned
      Council and NHS employees: Not banned but would be disciplined if beliefs interfered with job
      Doctors: Must not allow beliefs to compromise care or attempt to impose political views on patients
      Nurses: Not forbidden but code of conduct requires commitment to equality and diversity
      Teachers: Membership of political parties must not compromise professional conduct
      Union members: Under new laws BNP members could be expelled if judged to be incompatible with the union’s beliefs
      Armed forces personnel: Not explicitly banned but personnel are barred from political activity or demonstration

      http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/7736794.stm

      “I’m reminded of the slogan during Bill Clinton’s term as president about gays in the military.
      ”Don’t ask – don’t tell”.”

      This hardly warrants a reply. Are you equating BNP members with LBGT people? DADT wasn’t and isn’t a ’slogan’

      •Passed by Congress in 1993, DADT is a law mandating the discharge of openly gay, lesbian, or bisexual service members.
      •More than 13,500 service members have been fired under the law since 1994.

      http://www.sldn.org/pages/about-dadt
      Obama has promised to repeal this, but it hasn’t happened yet.

    39. damon — on 13th March, 2010 at 3:48 AM  

      earwicga - I (think) that I just don’t go along with the ‘BNP’ alarm. That there were 15 on the membership list shows that it is a miniscule issue.
      Saying 15 x 30 = 450 children blows it out of proportion IMO. Almost like a tabloid headline.

      This isn’t a very mainstream left position, but as obnoxious as the BNP are, I think that they are given far too much attention …. so much so that it’s unhealthy.

      That a cranky professional feels certain ways about issues enough to send off for some membership of some oddball party is not something to get too worked up about at a national level.

      Maybe these teachers have personal hygiene issues and still live with their mothers.

      LBGT is a whole other thing, and I don’t equate the two. But maybe a teachers personal views shouldn’t be given the third degree to that extent.

      I think it does smack of McCarthyism.
      And this is a view that I have been called a troll for making on PP and LC - by Bernard actually.

      So maybe I shouldn’t ‘be allowed near kids’ either.

    40. earwicga — on 13th March, 2010 at 4:33 AM  

      damon - I find your comment at 39, as well as your previous comment unbelivable. I would have to agree that you are a troll, and more than a likely a BNP troll. I will not engage with a BNP troll.

    41. damon — on 13th March, 2010 at 4:52 AM  

      That’s fine earwicga, and your kind of attitude is the reason that I no longer see my self as a left wing person. Because of the ANL/UAF mentality.

      Would you consider this bloke a BNP type troll too?
      http://www.spiked-online.com/index.php?/site/earticle/5943/

      It’s from that kind of position that my opinions of what to do about the BNP come from.
      Obviously not fair opinions in your view.

    42. Lucy — on 13th March, 2010 at 8:20 AM  

      Hugh Muir: “For one of the most startling facts to emerge today is the disclosure that many schools still do not have an equalities policy. That should be rectified immediately.”
      http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/mar/12/bnp-racist-teachers-ban-equalities-policy

      Interesting point. It is curious why it has not been instituted already.

    43. Cjcjc — on 13th March, 2010 at 9:08 AM  

      Earwicga - you seem to have appeared from nowhere yet you accuse Damon who has been commenting for years of being a BNP troll just because you disagree with him

      so far both your posts and your comments appear to reflect the worst kind of student stridency

    44. Rumbold — on 13th March, 2010 at 9:48 AM  

      Damon is not a troll. He is certainly not a BNP supporter.

      The reason I object to a ban is for three reasons:

      1. It won’t help.

      2. It hands a propaganda coup to the BNP.

      3. It is illiberal.

    45. MiriamBinder — on 13th March, 2010 at 9:56 AM  

      Rumbold @ 44 - BINGO!

    46. Lucy — on 13th March, 2010 at 11:00 AM  

      In the absence of any other useful suggestion, I agree so far with Katy Newton @36:

      “I’m normally opposed to banning things or closing people off from lawful employment if they are qualified, but in this case I’m very much with Jai and Don @34. Teaching and policing are both fundamentally about taking on a duty of care to the general population regardless of their ethnicity or colour. It is, if you like, part of the job description not to be a racist. Whilst I suppose it is possible that a racist teacher might try to put his or her beliefs aside and treat all children equally, given that prejudice is a powerful subconscious influence I have my doubts as to whether it would be possible for them to do so effectively.

      In any event, I do not think that non-white non-British parents could reasonably be expected to have confidence in a racist teacher to treat their children equally, nor would I personally have any confidence in such a teacher to teach my children the importance of equality and diversity.”

    47. Katy Newton — on 13th March, 2010 at 11:35 AM  

      @Rumbold 44: banning is illiberal by its very nature, but sometimes it’s justified. I agree that some people can keep their opinions hidden. To take an example, plenty of paedophiles keep their proclivities hidden sufficiently well to get jobs working with children and to abuse them for years before it’s uncovered. I don’t think anyone would say that was an argument for allowing people who had openly admitted that they had abused children to work with children, would they?

    48. MiriamBinder — on 13th March, 2010 at 12:12 PM  

      @ Katy Newton # 47 - Whoa!!!! There is a fundamental difference between ‘prohibiting’ and ‘banning’. It is sad to see that there are still individuals around who cannot comprehend such a fundamental difference.

    49. Katy Newton — on 13th March, 2010 at 12:17 PM  

      @MiriamBinder 48: thanks, Miriam, I know the difference on account of not being stupid. I’m also reasonably good at not being rude, a quality which is disappearing from this site’s comment box with alarming speed.

    50. Katy Newton — on 13th March, 2010 at 12:19 PM  

      Actually, wait a minute. What do you mean, the difference between “prohibit” and “ban”? What on earth are you talking about and how is that in any way related to my comment? Prohibit and ban actually do mean pretty much the same thing. I just checked. They’re synonyms of each other. I personally would say that generally people are banned and acts or behaviour are prohibited, but there’s not much difference really.

    51. damon — on 13th March, 2010 at 12:30 PM  

      Thank you Cjcjc and Rumbold.

      The mention of LGTB and the link from Lucy to Hugh Muir’s Guardian piece had me remembering Julie Bindel and her ‘dodgy’ view on transgendered people.
      Would she be barred from being a teacher for this view?
      She has an issue with the T part of LGTB.
      http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2007/aug/01/mytransmission

      Joseph Harker is incredulous at this decision.
      http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/mar/13/bnp-racists-teach-classroom

    52. Lucy — on 13th March, 2010 at 12:54 PM  

      I was about to say, @Miriam Binder #48, - that it is not like you to indulge in tired parrying (is it?) over verbalisms - not from what I’ve read. But Katy Newton #50 said it for me. The BNP is a racist party. That people are not responsible for their race or their ethnicity is not disputable. I’m not clear what you meant in terms of the form your stand would take when in #28 you wrote:
      ‘While I detest, abhore and will stand against the BNP/NF and everything they stand for to my last breath…’ - not that I dispute that you meant it profoundly. But what did you mean, in practice?

    53. MiriamBinder — on 13th March, 2010 at 1:22 PM  

      @ Katy Newman # 49 - I am truly sorry that my post #48 was taken as a dig at you. It was not my intention and I sincerely apologise if that is how it reads.

      @ Katy Newman # 50 - Prohibitions generally refer to all inclusive bans:

      All ball games are prohibited!
      Non-members are prohibited from using club equipment.

      We are prohibited by law from stealing, driving without a licence etcetera and so forth. I don’t think that anyone would refer to those prohibitions as a ban; despite the fact that they are synonyms. There are slight differences of nuance even between what is commonly referred to as synonyms; much of it is down to the context in which a given ’synonym’ is employed.

      @ Lucy # 52 - As for what I meant in practise; though I do indeed detest, abhore and will stand against the BNP/NF and everything they stand for to my last breath I will equally fight to my last breath for them to have the right to hold the views they do, regardless of how vile those views might be.

      For me the issue is quite a simple, and rather a self serving (;)) one really. I want to hold my personal views without fear or favour. I cannot in all decency demand the right to do so unless I am willing to extend that self same right to others.

    54. chairwoman — on 13th March, 2010 at 1:30 PM  

      Who’s Katy Newman?

    55. douglas clark — on 13th March, 2010 at 1:39 PM  

      If a sum total of 15 teachers are members of the BNP, then the BNP are not the problem that Dalbir identifies @ 7. It is something else and it is that that ought to be tackled.

    56. Gurpreet — on 13th March, 2010 at 1:42 PM  

      I appreciate the arguments for the ban and heck my initial reaction was very pro ban but on a little thinking, i’m just not sure… Have been debating it with friends elsewhere since yesterday and am intrigued to know whether those who feel a ban would be a good move …do you feel it should then extend to doctors? (apologies if its already been discussed i admit i haven’t read every post:))

    57. douglas clark — on 13th March, 2010 at 1:42 PM  

      chairwoman @ 54,

      Good question, it confused me too. But, probably not as much as you :-)

    58. cjcjc — on 13th March, 2010 at 2:00 PM  

      Damon - and I see Harker is (rightly) getting beaten up in the comments.

      A few years ago he wrote a piece on the theme:
      “Of course all white people are racist.”

      http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2002/jul/03/raceintheuk.comment

      So the ban would have to go just a little further!

    59. MiriamBinder — on 13th March, 2010 at 2:09 PM  

      Oops sorry … have the grandchildren around and they are making a racket … Katy Newton of course ;)

    60. soru — on 13th March, 2010 at 2:39 PM  

      We are prohibited by law from stealing, driving without a licence etcetera and so forth. I don’t think that anyone would refer to those prohibitions as a ban; despite the fact that they are synonyms.

      The only real difference is whether it is controversial, or recent, or not. People still say using a mobile while driving is banned, and used to say that about driving without a seatbelt.

      So I don’t think you can honestly argue for something to be prohibited : argue for it to be banned now, and then maybe in 20 years time that ban will turn into a prohibition.

    61. MiriamBinder — on 13th March, 2010 at 3:12 PM  

      Shrewd used to mean wicked/evil … now we take it as cunning.

    62. Ravi Naik — on 13th March, 2010 at 4:39 PM  

      “banning is illiberal by its very nature, but sometimes it’s justified. I agree that some people can keep their opinions hidden. To take an example, plenty of paedophiles keep their proclivities hidden sufficiently well to get jobs working with children and to abuse them for years before it’s uncovered. I don’t think anyone would say that was an argument for allowing people who had openly admitted that they had abused children to work with children, would they?”

      Let’s start with the obvious point that paedophilia is a serious crime against children, whereas supporting the BNP is a totally legitimate activity. What I meant earlier is that given the fact that *all* teachers who support the BNP hide that fact, it seems silly that we compromise our democracy by explicitly banning people who support a legitimate political party.

      What prevents a Catholic school from banning teachers who support a Left-leaning party because they might be biased against religion?

      Nobody should be persecuted for exercising democracy. If the BNP is so bad that you can’t have teachers or judges or policemen supporting that party, it is farce that we give them the opportunity to become government. So either make the BNP illegal, or allow anyone who supports them to exercise their profession.

      This should not be about punishing people for supporting the BNP or any political party we do not like or agree, but about being fair in evaluating the merit of professionals. This is after all what we expect them to do with our children.

    63. Jai — on 13th March, 2010 at 5:01 PM  

      Gurpreet,

      do you feel it should then extend to doctors?

      Personally, yes, I believe the ban should extend to doctors who are BNP members, especially in the cases of exposure to vulnerable patients in potentially life-threatening situations, such as the riskier forms of invasive surgery along with Accident & Emergency. The same ban should apply to associated medical personnel such as nurses etc.

      And again, as with teachers, I believe the identical prohibition should also apply to doctors (and other medical staff) who are members of extremist Islamist organisations such as Al-Muhajiroun/Islam4UK & HuT or supporters of Al-Qaeda.

    64. Jai — on 13th March, 2010 at 5:12 PM  

      This should not be about punishing people for supporting the BNP

      An important distinction needs to be made here: This is not about people just “supporting” the BNP or even “just” voting for them. This discussion refers to people actually being fully paid-up members of the party.

      Don made some very good points in relation to this in the first two paragraphs of his post #34.

    65. chairwoman — on 13th March, 2010 at 5:25 PM  

      “Shrewd used to mean wicked/evil … now we take it as cunning.”

      And sinister used to mean left-handed and now we take it as wicked/evil.

      I call it evolution.

    66. MiriamBinder — on 13th March, 2010 at 6:13 PM  

      My point precisely chairwoman, thank you; word meaning evolves.

    67. Ravi Naik — on 13th March, 2010 at 6:25 PM  

      An important distinction needs to be made here: This is not about people just “supporting” the BNP or even “just” voting for them. This discussion refers to people actually being fully paid-up members of the party.

      Why is this an important distinction to your argument?

      I believe the identical prohibition should also apply to doctors (and other medical staff) who are members of extremist Islamist organisations such as Al-Muhajiroun/Islam4UK & HuT or supporters of Al-Qaeda.

      Most of these organisations are actually illegal…

    68. Jai — on 13th March, 2010 at 6:33 PM  

      Why is this an important distinction to your argument?

      Because the report is about actual membership, not just “support”. Again, Don explained the rationale very well in #34.

      Most of these organisations are actually illegal…

      As far as I’m concerned, it’s the ideology and the associated actions & aims which is the issue, not the organisations’ legality.

      In any case, I have no problem with the BNP being made illegal, for the same reasons that I have no problem with the fact that Al-Muhajiroun/Islam4UK has already been made illegal. They’re two sides of the same coin, and I believe exactly the same standards & principles for their legality or prohibition should apply to both of them.

    69. MaidMarian — on 13th March, 2010 at 6:41 PM  

      Perhaps another way of looking at this. What is a racist incident?

      MacPherson (idiotically) said that it was any incident that any person thought was racist, regardless of the basis for that thought.

      Presumably all teachers are subject to some sort of code of conduct, provided they stick to that I believe that political affiliations are a red-herring.

      Bin the MacPherson definitions - take the codes of conduct at face value and only prosecute teachers when the hold a Klan meeting in a classroom i.e when a prosecution is in the public interest rather than frivolous.

      I struggle to see any argument why teachers should be seen as different to other professions.

    70. Don — on 13th March, 2010 at 6:47 PM  

      Ravi,

      What prevents a Catholic school from banning teachers who support a Left-leaning party because they might be biased against religion?

      Nothing. Religious schools may insist that teachers be of their religion. If they believe that the teacher is anti-religion, or just not an adherent to their version, they can refuse employment.

      http://www.opsi.gov.uk/acts/acts1998/ukpga_19980031_en_6#pt2-ch5-pb3-l1g60

      (Section 60 (6))

      They don’t all do so, I have a non-jewish friend who has happily taught art for years at a Jewish school, but the option is there to refuse to employ teachers who are of a different faith or none.

      So we have a situation where, in some schools, a teacher can be barred for employment for not believing in transubstansiation or not accepting the 39 Articles, but not if they have actively joined an organisation which believes that some of the children they will be teaching are inherently inferior and a cancer on society.

      If the BNP is so bad that you can’t have teachers or judges or policemen supporting that party, it is farce that we give them the opportunity to become government.

      Quite. It is a farce, or would be if there were the remotest chance of their forming a government.

      I can’t agree with your use of the word ‘persecuted’. It is not persecution to say that there are some occupations which exercise so much influence on another’s life outcomes that it is legitimate to ask that people entering that occupation are committed to treating everyone equally and fairly.

      If they have gone to the trouble of joining an organisation which is committed to the precise opposite then they should re-evaluate their career choices.

      I’m not sure that I’d go as far as Jai and include the medical profession, although I can see his point. But the police, the prison service, the immigration service, certain areas of social services and housing, judges and teachers - all these can have a profound effect on people who are the very people a BNP member has actively decided are undesirables and second class, not even legitimate citizens regardless of their legal status, based solely on their race.

      To make an analogy, it is legal in this country to be of the opinion that women who are raped were probably slags who were asking for it. I guess there are legal organisation one could join which advocate that. I would expect membership of such an organisation to preclude employment in a police sexual violence section interviewing rape victims. I’d hope so, at least. Is that persecution?

      It is legal to be of the opinion that people over the age of 80 are a burden on society and should be euthanised. Again, there are probably legal organisations one could join. But I think it would be reasonable for a care home to consider membership of such an organisation to be a barrier to employment as a charge nurse in their company.

    71. KJB — on 13th March, 2010 at 10:41 PM  

      Don and Tim Footman have made some excellent points on this. I also take Jai’s point at #64, though I don’t think that payment necessarily translates into action - and I fail to see how a ban is going to make any positive difference. What if a teacher/doctor joins the BNP in the middle/towards the end of their career? How exactly are they going to be weeded out?

      The problem is that at the moment, we have no proof that racist teachers (or doctors or whatever) have brought their views to bear on their job in any situation.

      One thing which must be considered is WHY these people might have BNP membership. Quite a few might be members because they have something against a particular group (i.e. blacks, or Jews, or Muslims) rather than all non-whites - you know the kind of common, racist cognitive dissonance I mean. In which case, how is anyone supposed to know what sort of behaviour to ‘look for’? Surely this point is more relevant than ever now that ethnic minorities look set to be joining the BNP.

      Instead of agreeing with Labour over this attention-seeking measure, people should be taking them and the other parties - AND THE MEDIA - to task for legitimising the BNP. People will always to some extent be racist - but it should never be the least bit ‘OK’ to be a racist, and this message is becoming rapidly compromised, especially with what I just mentioned about ethnic minority BNPers (and non-white right-wingers generally…).

    72. earwicga — on 13th March, 2010 at 10:58 PM  

      how is anyone supposed to know what sort of behaviour to ‘look for’? Surely this point is more relevant than ever now that ethnic minorities look set to be joining the BNP.

      This is in effect what the review was supposed to find out. The conclusion was six recommendations and a list of current safeguards:

      The independent review makes six recommendations, which the Government has accepted in full:

      - Ofsted should consistently include a specific reference in the content of the school inspection report if a school is judged inadequate in promoting equal opportunities or community cohesion.
      - The impact of the duties to promote equal opportunities and community cohesion should be evaluated by external scrutiny to enable the Secretary of State to keep this issue under active review.
      - An independent evaluation of the journey from an ‘inadequate’ Ofsted judgement, in relation to promotion of equal opportunities and racial equality, to ‘good’ performance in these areas should be conducted. This could occur at the end of this inspection programme when sufficient evidence is available to enable lessons to be learned for the future.
      - The reporting of racist incidents should be monitored for compliance by local authorities and subject to specific inspection and evaluation by Ofsted.
      - The Training and Development Agency for Schools (TDA), the GTCE and the National College for Leadership of Schools and Children’s Services should share their expertise in establishing and articulating consistent standards and conduct for teachers and school leaders that explicitly promote equality and diversity.
      - The Secretary of State should keep these matters under active review with annual reporting, and liaise closely with other Government departments, particularly those with policy responsibilities affecting children.

      The current safeguards in place to protect children and young people in maintained schools from discrimination or political indoctrination include:

      - a requirement for schools to have equal opportunities policies
      - a duty to promote racial equality
      - a statutory duty to promote community cohesion
      - a duty on governing bodies, head teachers and local authorities to forbid the teaching of partisan political activities
      - disciplinary powers of the GTCE

      I fail to see how these measures should be acceptable in teaching but measures per se are found unacceptable in those working as prison or police officers where there is an outright ban.

      I also don’t think these measures are particularly strident and from what I have seen so far there is no distinction made between teachers and head teachers.



    Pickled Politics © Copyright 2005 - 2009. All rights reserved. Terms and conditions.
    With the help of PHP and Wordpress.