The Conservative Party ‘is the biggest threat to conservatism and to this country‘, argues Laura Perrins (TCW Oct 24). How right she is, not least in the field of education. As she points out, government is using ‘the school system to try to solve every social problem’. There is nothing especially new here, of course, since it has been an unwritten requirement of all governments that when it comes to the kids, the educational establishment, ‘the Blob’, rules, OK?
Education departments across the UK have been in the hands of the Blob for some decades. Their capture has resulted in many of the younger generation being recruited as agents and promoters of the cultural and social revolution that is now sweeping through the land. They are providing the momentum for change.
What a triumph this represents for the Blob! It is a triumph, however, of ignorance over knowledge, of confusion over enlightenment, of narrow-minded politically correct bigotry over tolerance. On university campuses, even, open debate and freedom of speech are being pushed aside in favour of ‘safe spaces’, ‘trigger warnings’ and gagging orders.
Hypocritical ‘virtue-signalling’ is the new ‘rational argument’. On the one hand, for example, British imperialism is vilified, with calls for statues of its white male promoters such as Cecil Rhodes to ‘fall’. On the other, the erection of a statue in honour of the ‘black’ heroine ‘nurse’ of the Crimea, Mary Seacole, is applauded on the basis, partly, it seems, that she was a Jamaican. The racist and imperialistic views expressed in her autobiography, not so far from the views of Rhodes, are conveniently ignored. These include use of the n-word to describe black people and a pride in her own lighter Creole complexion and Scottish bloodline.
Debate on such matters, these days, is being stifled by the threat of the howling mob and its intellectual equivalent in academic circles. Fear has gripped too many Tories. They are ‘spooked’. Their divisions stem not from arguments over what philosophical ground to occupy but over what to abandon.
On the educational battlefield the ground has been abandoned altogether. We have public examination standards so degraded that 15 per cent now constitutes a ‘good’ pass at GCSE maths. More sinisterly, we have Sir Michael Wilshaw, the former Chief Inspector for Schools, telling the Sunday Times (Oct 22) that he needed two bodyguards after being ‘threatened and intimidated’ during his investigation of Islamist influence in Birmingham schools. He was seen as acting without regard for the sensitivities of political correctness – an educational version of the Rochdale child abuse scandal:
‘What was truly shocking was the level of personal intimidation. I was personally targeted. There was a real sense of threat . . . My concern is that the DfE should not have allowed all this to happen. It has become a politically correct department.’
Capitulation to political correctness, however, has not helped the Conservatives to win the support amongst young people that they so crave. Their next throw of the dice in that direction might be tax concessions.
How naïve and hopelessly out of touch they have become! Tories, are you listening? You have spent 30 years appeasing the Blob and it has not worked. In the battle for the hearts and minds of young people you have been annihilated. Three-quarters of school pupils voted for Jeremy in recent mock general elections across the country. The game is up! Hang your heads in shame and go back to square one.