Wednesday, May 28, 2014

The pitfalls of unencumbered immigration

Recently I started to read a book called Bloody Foreigners. Written by a regular contributor to the New Statesman, Robert Winder, it seemed, at least initially, quite intriguing. I felt that I just might learn something. However, my optimism quickly wilted as the author's ultimate objective became clear, his patronising, sanctimonious style apparent. 'What do you expect?' I hear you say. 'He's a Lefty, a New Statesmanite, an arrogant member of the chattering guardian-reading classes, a quixotic imbecile convinced by his own agitprop and weekly self-righteous diatribes. You should have known better!' But in the interests of balance, and in the knowledge that, like most fallible Homo sapiens,  I can be pretty blinkered myself, I thought I'd give it a go.

Needless to say, it wasn't long before I reneged on my short-lived commitment to the open minded exploration of opposing views and reignited my Right-wing partisanship. After completing the introduction I decided, perhaps prematurely, to save myself from a banal, predictable lecture designed, in the author's mind, to enlighten an unenlightened, ignorant and prejudiced readership, bagged the book up and patiently waited for the rare appearance of our refuse collectors.

Masquerading as an example of learned scholarship and objective commentary, the book purports to be a history of immigration to Britain. However, its barely concealed prejudices are quickly revealed as the author's true intentions become clear. Winder aims to convince the reader - as long as he doesn't alienate him first with his sententious, pedagogical tone - that no reasonable person could possibly oppose unencumbered immigration. After all, he argues, Britain has been the destination for untold numbers of immigrants for centuries. In fact, if you go back far enough, we are all the descendants of foreign peoples seeking new opportunities and better lives. How can we possibly deny to others what was granted to us? Moreover, if our provenance can be traced to foreign climes, how can we claim to be homogeneous and, worse still, the proprietors of the land we arbitrarily call Great Britain? In essence he implies that Britishness, as we think we understand it, based on shared customs, values and traditions, does not exist. It is a myth, a human construct, a figment of our imagination. We are, and always have been, a multicultural salad bowl. 

Of course he does have a point, we are the descendants of immigrants, and we are a strange hybrid people as a consequence; but over the last two millennia, we, the disparate peoples of these islands, have developed a collective consciousness and visceral sense of belonging that the Left, with its purblind devotion to social liberalism and natural hostility to the nation state, finds hard to accept. We have continued to absorb and assimilate newcomers, granted, even adopting many fine aspects of their native cultures, but this gradual process of cross-fertilisation has not undermined society's social contract, expressed through our commitment to the nation state. If anything, it has strengthened and renewed it. 

Having said all that, it is important to recognise that immigration has not always resulted in inter-communal harmony. We should not, therefore, assume that it is always beneficial, for the immigrant or the indigene (sorry, Will, I meant descendant of an earlier generation of immigrants). Indeed, history tells us that inter-communal violence is no stranger to multi-confessional, multi-ethnic and multi-cultural societies. We should, as a consequence, be eternally vigilant, surely, and not take our hitherto exemplary record when it comes to assimilating newcomers for granted.

The key here is in the word assimilate. All immigrants must be assimilable. They must share our inalienable commitments to individual liberty, parliamentary democracy and the rule of law; they must also feel a deep affection for the history, institutions and traditions that have shaped and defended these defining principles. Yet this eminently sensible objective is being undermined by mass immigration, a phenomenon encouraged by Lefties like Winder. How can we possibly guarantee the loyalty of every one of the 600,000 newcomers who arrive each year? It is simply impossible. It therefore stands to reason that we must reduce the numbers to manageable levels. This would not only allow the authorities to adequately scrutinise each applicant's suitability, it would also represent a response, albeit unintended, to a long-overdue recognition of humanity's natural resistance to radical change. 

Settled communities have been forced to endure unprecedented levels of immigration over the last fifteen years, and continue to do so. Without any consultation, the defining characteristics of entire villages, towns and cities, loved and cherished by their inhabitants, have been irredeemably lost. In short, areas have been rendered unrecognisable. To expect people to graciously welcome these alterations, and embrace the liberal-Left-ordained creed of multiculturalism to boot - a creed that conspires to amplify the upheaval -, is both arrogant and vacuous. Being attached to the familiar is a very human instinct; moreover, it is a human instinct that should inspire pride, not shame. It is surely the job of government, therefore, to ignore the likes of Winder and satisfy this instinct by implementing policies that encourage gradual - not revolutionary! - change.

Friday, May 9, 2014

The National Union of Teachers is guilty of an egregious disregard for the interests and concerns of its members

I’d be telling lies if I said I agreed with the political views held and the industrial mischief wrought by the late Bob Crow. However, having said that, and in the wake of his untimely death, I find myself harbouring a begrudging admiration for his ferocious commitment to the protection of his members’ interests - in stark contrast to the hypocrisy and careless indifference displayed by his comrades in the country’s largest teaching union, the National Union of Teachers (NUT).

The NUT, through Christine Blower, its General Secretary, intends to strike over pay, pensions and working conditions next week - if, that is, the government refuses to accede to its demands. In particular, the union seeks a reduction in what it refers to as an unreasonable, excessive workload that leads to, on average, a 56- to 60-hour working week for its members. Indeed, as a consequence, and quite scandalously, two in five young recruits quit within five years.

But in my opinion, and in the opinions of many of my colleagues, the NUT ironically, and rather frustratingly, refuses to oppose many of the very policies that lead to such a burdensome, inordinate workload.  

The Government’s Inclusion policy, for example, introduced and implemented by the previous Labour administration, is enthusiastically supported by the NUT. Passed in 2001, the Special Educational Needs and Disability Act prescribed the delivery of Special Educational Needs in mainstream schools, rather than, as was hitherto countenanced, in specialised facilities. This act not only resulted in the closure of schools that specifically catered for the diverse needs of a vast array of complex conditions, it also led to an enormous increase in the everyday demands of classroom teachers working in mainstream education. After all, we, the classroom teachers, were now – and still are - expected to simultaneously teach children with a multitude of diverse Special Educational Needs as well as ensure the progress of their more able peers.

‘What does this mean in practice?’ I hear you say. Well, to meet these various needs that range from Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder to Autism, from Dyslexia to Dyspraxia, teachers are expected to plan and teach five or perhaps even six lessons in one, a demand that takes several hours to meet. So not only are we impelled to teach five lessons each day, we are also expected to plan rigorously for the next day’s lessons, which, if done properly, takes up to two hours for each class. That’s up to ten hours planning every day, in addition to the five hours teaching – and that’s before we’ve even had a chance to mark a single book or attend a single meeting. In sum, Labour’s Inclusion policy – supported by the NUT and, unfathomably, Michael Gove’s Conservatives - has led to a monumental increase in teacher workload, an increase, because of its impossible demands, that has led to angst and misery for teachers across the country.

However, the NUT continues to welcome the government’s ‘presumption in favour of a mainstream education’ for SEN pupils. Why? Aren’t they meant to protect their members? And, moreover, how have they got the temerity to threaten a strike over ‘excessive’ workload when they support the very policy that causes most of the extra demands?

It isn’t as if the SEN pupils benefit either. Their needs are not adequately met by teachers who are non-specialists; neither are the needs of the more able pupils who suffer neglect at the expense of their more needy classmates. Even Lady Warnock, the person who initially conceived the wretched policy, has acknowledged its abject failure. So I am forced to ask again: why does the NUT continue to support it?

Bad behaviour is another source of concern left unaddressed and shamefully neglected by the NUT. Not only does it lead to stress-induced sickness among staff tormented by ill-disciplined pupils, it also takes up an inordinate amount of time and energy. Instead of marking books and planning lessons, we are often forced to phone the homes of unruly kids, organise meetings with their parents and chase after non-attenders and detainees. But what is the response of our self-styled defenders and professional champions in the NUT? Silence…

Okay, they make the odd noise, a platitudinous grunt designed to satisfy their members’ concerns; yet in reality they have refused to even contemplate a nationwide strike over poor behaviour caused, in large part, by quixotic head teachers.

They have also opposed the Government’s laudable attempts to improve the current situation. They have railed against the abolition of appeals panels that had, for many years, the power to overturn the decisions of head teachers to permanently exclude badly behaved pupils. Indeed, on a not insignificant number of occasions, these panels have succeeded in overturning these decisions and, as a consequence, allowed violent pupils back into school. How can the NUT support a policy that actively threatens to harm its members?

They have, furthermore, recently bemoaned the number of permanent exclusions taking place in academies, when often those exclusions are reluctantly enforced to protect the other children and, of course, us teachers - their members!

Over several years now, the NUT has been guilty of a disgraceful dereliction of duty and a blatant, egregious disregard for the interests and concerns of its members. The union has also, moreover, been engaged in a cynical ruse that makes its betrayal all the more sickening. It has led us to believe that it continues to champion our interests by challenging the Government over, among other things, excessive workload, when, in reality, it has long supported policies that give rise to the excessive workload in the first place. How I yearn for our own mischief-maker.

Also published on on May 10, 2014

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Harriet Harman, supporter of perverts through PIE, calls for Jeremy Clarkson's resignation. Is she joking?

Would you Adam and Eve it?! How has Harriet Harman got the cojones to attack Jeremy Clarkson over his latest so-called misdemeanor? First, his misguided transgression was, as I've said, misguided; yet it was uttered with all the racial animosity evinced by Nelson Mandela rather than that incubated and propagated by Nick Griffin. Surely, when it comes to the use of language at least, someone's intention has to be taken into account before judging that person's innocence or guilt.

Secondly, even if Clarkson did reveal his innermost Nazi-inspired weltanschauung, shouldn't his pillorying be left to someone with unimpeachable credentials - not a woman who supported paedophilia through her affiliation to the Paedophile Information Exchange during the 1970s and 1980s? Indeed, her audacity is sickening.

How dare she urge Clarkson to resign for using a word, when she refused to resign for supporting perverts!