Sunday, 24 February 2013
The Ray Honeyford "Affair" & National Identity
To put the case simply. To the Left, and to a lesser extent to many Left-Liberals, any form of nationalism or patriotism is fascism or Nazism. This is especially the case with groups like Hope Not Hate, Searchlight, the SWP-UAF, Counterfire, the Guardian and New Statesman. Even the Independent is prone to this way of thinking. I suppose it all depends on how you - or they - define “Nationalism” or “patriotism”. However, in some case, any definition of these words will defined as fascism or Nazism to some people.
Patriotism is tied in with what can be called a “national identity”. If there is no national identity, as such, then patriotism doesn’t make much sense. In the specific case of English education, it has often been seen, more so in the past than today, that British schools should “transmit a sense of national identity to their pupils” (now “students”). Clearly this shouldn’t be all that they do. And even as a patriot/nationalist, I’m not sure if schools should transmit anything outside transmitting mathematics, science, knowledge of the English language, history, etc.
Despite saying that, it’s still the case that what should be transmitted are the subjects, or areas, which will allow students to develop a sense of English identity, such as English history, the study of the English language, the study of English literature, etc. That is, national identity shouldn’t be directly taught or taught in terms of propaganda. (Wouldn’t that be political indoctrination?). Instead, the areas, subjects and tools which enable English students to develop a national identity themselves should be put in place. Indeed why shouldn’t this be the case? How can anyone possibly argue that English history, English literature and even English politics shouldn’t’ have a special place in English schools? After all, we are talking about English schools here. I’m hardly saying that schools should concentrate on the Japanese language, or on Marxism, conservatism or whatnot.
Despite all that, when the then head of the School Curriculum and Assessment Authority (in the early 2000s), Dr Nicholas Tate, suggested that British schools should “transmit a sense of national identity to their pupils”, he was accused - by some and possibly by many - of “cultural fascism”. To put this another way. Leftists and left-liberals involved in the education business, as well as elsewhere, believed and said that the very notion of a “national identity” is to tantamount to Nazism or fascism. Or, to a lesser extent, to Nationalism (as when the word is seen negatively).
One consequence of this intolerant left-wing or left-liberal way of thinking about education was the sad and disturbing case of Ray Honeyford in Bradford.
In the 1980s, Ray Honeyford (who was then the headmaster at an inner-city Bradford school) dared to suggest that his mainly Muslim students (90%) should spend more time – or even some time – on learning the English language and English history. He was severely reprimanded for this. In fact he was sacked (later, in 1985). I remember particularly the Socialist Workers Party intimidating the man and even threatening violence against him. But it wasn’t only left-wingers who campaigned against him. The Lord Mayor of Bradford at the time, Mohammed Ajeeb, also called for his sacking. His demand was acted upon.
The opponents of Ray Honeyford (who died last year) believed that these Muslims students/pupils should learn about “their own culture” – not ours! But English culture should have seen – by young Muslims and their enablers – as their own culture. They lived in England! Not only that. Without a grasp of the English language, and even of British history, culture, traditions, etc., they would have been severely ill-equipped to function - let alone succeed - in English society. And many of them didn’t as a consequence. Many Muslims are now unemployed in Bradford and in many other English areas.
These Muslim school kids were made to be disadvantaged in this way in order to serve the ideological beliefs and desires of Leftist and Left-Liberal educationalists and political activists. Muslims have been made to be “disadvantaged” and poor in order to instantiate a cultural order that was ideologically satisfactory to various educationalists and politicos. (The very things these leftists and liberal claimed to be fighting against!)
Ray Honeyford himself foresaw many of these problems. No surprise there! That’s why he spoke out. (Actually he didn’t really “speak out” as such. The national reactions to his words, and his actual sacking, were a direct response to an article he wrote, for the Salisbury Review, in 1984. They weren’t reactions to what he had said on TV, in the local press or on the radio. And he certainly didn’t express his views on multicultural dogmatism and blindness in the school in which he worked or even to the local educational authorities.)
Honey wrote that
"[a] growing number of Asians [Muslims] whose aim is to preserve as intact as possible the values and attitudes of the Indian sub-continent within a framework of British social and political privilege, ie to produce Asian [Muslim] ghettos.”
More specifically, in terms of education, he wrote:
"Those of us working in Asian [Muslim] areas are encouraged, officially, to 'celebrate linguistic diversity', ie applaud the rapidly mounting linguistic confusion in those growing number of inner-city schools in which British-born Asian [Muslim] children begin their mastery of English by being taught in Urdu."
So the less these Muslims could speak – but mainly write! - English, the less they could function in the job market and therefore the more alienated they became. The larger and more insular the Muslim ghettos became, the more the chances there were of riots and Islamisation. (The Bradford Muslim Riots of 2001 - or the Bradford Uprisings, as the Leftist and Islamist “rights group”, ‘JUST West Yorkshire’, called them - occurred some 15 years after the Honeyford case.)
More specifically in terms of English identity I referred to earlier. Because many of the Muslims in these Bradford schools would have developed zero English identity, that - more than anything - led to the unemployment, the alienation, the riots and the later Islamisation of various parts of Bradford. Who knows, perhaps some of these Leftist educationalists and political activists (such as Bradford’s very own ‘JUST West Yorkshire’) wanted these consequences all along. After all, the “worse it is”, to these political radicals, “the better it is”.