Rod Liddle

Why schools should stay shut

Why schools should stay shut
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Has the stock of any politician fallen more sharply, these past three or four years, than that of Shami Chakrabarti? As the leader of Liberty, and an almost weekly performer on the BBC’s Question Time, she was a respected purveyor of leftish sanctimony to the masses, a humourless voice of conscience and, I think, self-regard. The battles she fought then were at least, in the main, on the side of decency — and while we might have found her a little trying and even bumptious, there seemed no doubt that here was a young woman motivated by principle.

That notion was swiftly expunged when she accepted a brief from Jeremy Corbyn to whitewash anti-Semitism in the Labour party via an ‘independent inquiry’ headed by herself. She renounced any semblance of impartiality immediately by joining the Labour party, and produced a report which an awful lot of Jewish people felt lacked a little, you know, rigour. She was swiftly rewarded with the job of shadow attorney general — but any belief we might have had in her has now evaporated. I’m sure it wasn’t as simple as ‘Look, love — clear us of hating the Red Sea Pedestrians and we’ll bung you a top job.’ But that is how it looked to an awful lot of people.

Now she’s even lost that post and, sadly, far more ludicrous BAME harridans have replaced her on Question Time, spouting victimhood whining and frankly racist bile. Shami’s most recent contribution to the political debate has been an article of characteristically lumpen and clichéd adolescent sarcasm, headlined: ‘Since when did teacher--shaming become Britain’s national sport?’ Oh, Shami. This would have been dumb enough coming from anyone, but emanating from a woman whose disdain for Britain’s teachers was so fathomlessly vast that she had her son educated at one of the most expensive private schools in the country, Dulwich College, it kind of smacked a little of hypocrisy as well as stupidity. Yes, hypocrisy… that was another reason we fell out of love with Shami. Mind you, I was never that much in love in the first place, to be honest.

The problem for me is that I broadly agree with the teachers about the inadvisability of re-opening our schools in the first week of June, even if the union objections — especially from Trotsky’s grizzled old niece, Mary Bousted — are in part politically motivated. There seems to me little thought behind the announcement — either political thought or indeed scientific thought — and still less guidance. I find myself on the left in this whole debate, and that in itself is problematic and paradoxical when it comes to the teachers. Those teachers most voluble in their commitment not to return to work are also on the left — and it would cheer me up no end if the government sacked all of them, even if I believe that on this sole occasion the teachers may be right.

The bigger picture, you see, is the brainwashing misery they are intent upon inflicting on our children, a programme of institutionalised cretinisation and wokeness, the curriculum now a palimpsest of idiotic delusions. The kids have had three or four months’ respite from the vacuous propaganda they are forced to ingest, day in, day out, during the school terms. They will be much the better off for it. The bias has long been rancid, open and unapologetic. One book doing the rounds of our schools, for example, suggests that pupils might benefit from being a bit greener and that one way to start might be eating less meat. Well, OK, maybe — although that point is itself contentious. Eat more avocados imported from Colombia and less lamb reared five miles away? But whatever. Pupils at one school have been implored to be ‘less Donald’ (picture of the US President) and ‘more Greta’ (picture of that weird Swedish lass). Because everybody hates Donald and loves Greta, right? That’s certainly true in our staff rooms and it is duly hammered into the heads of these impressionable young people. They could have said ‘Be a bit less like Lenin and a bit more like Hitler’, given that Vlad was a glutton for carrion and Adolf a pristine vegetarian. But that was not the allusion they chose.

Or there’s this. Parents of 11-year-old kids who attend the Archbishop Sentamu Academy in Hull took grave exception to some of the homework their kids had been set in their magnificently pointless and usually malign PSHE class. This asked the pupils — 11 years old, remember — to define the following: pornography, soft pornography, hardcore pornography and transsexual pornography, as well as female genital mutilation, wet dreams, trafficking, male circumcision, breast ironing and more.

Breast ironing. Here’s a tip. If you’re going to do it, make sure the iron is put on ‘steam’. It really gets those crinkles out. Anyway, after these young children had spent a weekend tapping ‘transsexual pornography’ and ‘hardcore pornography’ into Google to see what came up, so to speak, the principal of the school, stung by complaints, offered one of those familiar non-apology apologies: ‘I have asked that any future materials of this nature have a clear statement ensuring students and their parents are aware of any potentially sensitive content and will ensure all materials are fully age appropriate.’

A better apology would have been: ‘I am very sorry our school urged your children, for wholly fatuous ideological reasons, to research filth. I have resigned.’

It would be a great boon if PSHE — and all those other ancillary non-academic subjects, often called stuff like ‘Resilience’ — were banned entirely from the curriculum, as they are simply an expedient conduit for witless gender and race propagandising. If PSHE were ended, I suspect the Tavistock Clinic’s gender reassignment programme would go bust within a matter of weeks. But there would still be all those other subjects into which wokeism can be injected (pre-eminently history and geography, both of which would now be better termed ‘resentment studies’). It’s both the singer and the song. It needs to change.