THE LAST DITCH An Englishman returned after twenty years abroad blogs about liberty in Britain
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As A Dodo: The Home Office 1782-2007

The truth about British education

As I predicted, New Labour is using the Celebrity Big Brother hoo-ha as an excuse for the compulsory re-education of the masses. Compare and contrast with this story about maths and English standards in our schools. We should have no doubt about New Labour's "educational" priorities. Just as it sees the police as a Cheka to enforce its political ideas so it sees our schools as venues for agitprop.

Racist abuse is no better or worse than any other kind of rudeness. Racist violence is no better or worse than any other kind of violence. When you say it is (as the whole concept of "racially-aggravated" offences does) you are insulting other victims of violence or abuse; saying that their suffering is less; in effect that they are lesser beings.

Teachers have always encouraged children to be polite and considerate to each other. Of course they should do so. With parents, they should be helping to build up the social conventions that, far more than the blunt instrument of the law, make civilised life possible. If you are educating children to treat each other well, you do actual damage to the concept of equality and fair play when you condescendingly single particular groups out for special protection.

You damage the future prospects of those privileged groups, as they will see every bad thing that happens to them as the product of racism. After last year's Summer holidays, my daughter compared notes with an Asian schoolfriend about our experiences at the same hotel in the South of France. We had been unhappy with the poor, rude service and had complained vigorously to the management (and received an apology). They had asumed the same experience was due to racism. Even the members of this rich, successful family saw themselves as "victims".

Equally, when you teach this nonsense, you damage community relations. They see the racist witch-hunts around them (I am waiting to see Jade Goody on the ducking stool) and they learn only fear. We are teaching children to be afraid of those who can destroy them with a casual accusation. They are less likely to seek them out as friends in future.

Jade Goody may not have been educated, but she has been politically indoctrinated. She responded to the suggestion that she had made racist remarks like a well-trained dog to the word "heel." She may have no culture and little understanding of the world around her, but she certainly knows that to be called a racist is social death, whether or not it's true or fair.

She is of mixed race herself. She has a "get out of jail free" card unavailable to most, but still she was visibly afraid. Is that fear one of the "British values" Mr Johnson wants our children to be taught? How ironic that a stupid TV show named for George Orwell's "1984", should advance us a step further towards the society the book depicted.