Thursday, April 18, 2024
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Fight back against this attack on free speech for teachers


The Leftie Tories have launched another attack in their relentless war on conservatives with their new guidance to independent schools on what ‘values’ teachers may and may not mention in the classroom.

Schools and teachers are advised that they will be failed by Ofsted if they even suggest that they do not agree with same-sex marriage or civil partnerships. This new rule is buried in section 20 of a long document entitled The Independent Schools Standards: Advice for Independent Schools. It establishes a chilling principle: if you disagree with the government or do not toe the politically correct line, you will be out of a job.

It should never be a requirement that a person must agree with a particular law or idea in any circumstance. One of the fundamental purposes of freedom of speech is that all citizens are allowed to freely debate and discuss any laws, ideas, theories and literature. Freedom of speech should be allowed for teachers, and especially those in faith schools who would be prevented from teaching that marriage is between a man and a woman according to the tenets of the Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Zoroastrian, Baha’i and many other faiths.

If it were a requirement to agree with any or all existing laws, Parliament would grind to a halt as MPs could not debate or amend any existing laws. The whole campaign for Brexit would also be illegal, as it requires opposition to the European Communities Act 1972.

This government is highly duplicitous. Its modus operandi is to make an announcement one day which sounds conservative. As soon as this happens, however, you can be sure that it will say or do something else ten times worse in the other direction.

The new Universities Minister, Sam Gyimah, recently made a big song and dance about the need for freedom of speech at universities.

This is indeed a problem, as university and student union codes of conduct have been written to adhere to section 149 of the Equality Act 2010, which is otherwise known as the public sector equality requirement. It requires all public institutions and employees to promise to ‘foster good relations’ with minority groups with protected characteristics.

This effectively means that anyone in a university who says anything which anyone feels is offensive is breaking the law. The offender will be charged with Islamophobia, homophobia, transphobia or whatever new phobia is the flavour of the month, and summarily penalised and/or punished by the Ministry of Love.

While Mr Gyimah spoke about the need to clarify guidelines, he stopped short of saying what is really necessary for freedom of speech to return: a reform of the Equality Act and a repeal of section 149. After an announcement (which has no teeth) advocating freedom of speech in universities, the government then acts to remove freedom of speech from school teachers and faith schools to comply with the very same law which it will not repeal.

This strategy is entirely Fabian in nature. The Fabian Society was set up in 1889 to advance the cause of socialism in the UK, and the Labour Party was founded in 1900 when it joined up with the trade unions in an uneasy marriage of champagne socialists and working men. The top rung of the Tories, who do not deserve the name ‘Conservative’, have been largely taken over by the same kind of virtue-signalling progressives who are sympathetic to the Fabian cause.

The Emperor Fabius, from which the Fabian Society takes its name, was known for the tactic of avoiding full frontal battle, but advancing in tiny incremental steps. Unless you are aware of the tactics of the progressives, they will be invisible or they may seem too small to worry about. Yet they subtly and relentlessly undermine the institutions and freedoms of British society, and Western civilisation in general.

It would be easy to dismiss these new guidelines for independent schools and think ‘this only affects independent schools’ or ‘it doesn’t really matter’ or ‘this is not something I’m bothered about so it won’t affect me’. Yet one action leads to another and another, and before you know it freedom of speech will have been removed entirely.

As Edmund Burke said: ‘The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.’

Good men and women can still do something in this situation. There is a consultation open until June 7. Fill in the consultation, particularly section 7; register your dissatisfaction with the ‘Conservative in Name Only’ government and speak up for the rights of teachers and faith schools to continue to teach children the traditional definition of marriage as being between a man and a woman.

It is time for a bit of muscular conservatism, and to push back against the anti-conservative government of Theresa May.

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