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Chris McGovern: Milo is a martyr to the madness of ‘British values’


In recent years, the Government has required schools to teach and promote “British values”. Those schools that fall short face a reprimand from Ofsted and are likely to be placed in ‘special measures’. Central to the “British values” agenda, according to Ofsted, is “mutual respect for and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs and those without faith.” It was for this reason that, at the time of the Isis terrorist attack on Paris in November of last year, The Times Educational Supplement published a model lesson plan that asked children to imagine that they were members of Isis and to justify the massacre of innocent civilians. It was all in the cause of ‘fairness’ and pupils were directed to the Isis in-house online magazine and asked to remember the good things attached to being an Isis fighter, such as having white slave girls.

Hapless counter-terrorist ‘experts’ amongst the police, M15 and M16 appear clueless when it comes to understanding how young people are currently being radicalised in our schools. Being fair to all sides and understanding the point of view of people with different beliefs – the “British values” agenda – gives a green light to radicalisation. In our classrooms it goes along the lines of:

“This is the Washington perspective on Islamic State and this is the view from Raqqah. Now, “guys” (common classroom parlance in 2016) it is important that you respect both points of view. They are different but equal. We must all respect the British values of being fair to those with whom we may disagree. So, if you don’t like Obama, you should, at least, respect his right to have a point of view. The same goes for those of you who don’t really care for Islamic State. They must be respected, too, if you want to call yourself British and educated. Go for it! Be fair! Gimme five!”

Not so long ago, three teenage girls from the East End of London ran off to Syria to become Jihadist brides and join the struggle. A police investigation concluded that there was absolutely no evidence of radicalisation taking place at the school attended by the girls. In fact, the school was promoting “British values”. The police’s ignorance of how these ‘values’, in themselves, can radicalise young people is worse than pitiful ignorance. It is also extremely dangerous. It is subverting our democracy and our way of life.

Just when it seemed that the “British values” agenda could not cause any more damage, up pops alt-right Milo Yiannopoulos, scourge of political correctness in general and Islamic culture in particular. The Department for Education has banned him from speaking at his old school, Simon Langton Grammar in Canterbury, even though 200 sixth formers had signed up to hear him. Mr Yiannopoulos blames the DfE’s counter-extremism unit for banning him.

The message is clear. It is good to respect the point of view of those who might seem disagreeable, provided they are in Raqqah, but it is bad even to hear strongly expressed points of view from the opposite pole. So, the DfE has made Mr Yiannopoulos into a martyr for ‘freedom of speech’ and its “British values” agenda is seen to be partial not impartial, intolerant not tolerant, destructive of social harmony not supportive of it. Welcome to the mad, mad, mad world of English education and, for that matter, the British counter-terrorism service!

(Image: Official Leweb Pictures)

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Chris McGovern
Chris McGovern
Chris McGovern is the Chairman of the Campaign for Real Education. A retired head teacher with 35 years’ teaching experience, Chris is a former advisor to the Policy Unit at 10 Downing Street under two Prime Ministers.

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