The commentators 10-06-14
...on extremist education
The furore over extremism in Birmingham highlights the confusion in schools policy. At the broadest level Michael Gove is a passionate believer in the current fractured schools system - chains running academies, the expansion of free schools, with others remaining under the control of local education authorities. At the same time Gove is the most prescriptive Education Secretary in modern history, believing that all pupils would and should benefit from the type of education that he personally received. The result is what has happened in Birmingham.
- Steve Richards, Independent
What is needed is not some specious exercise in ethnic fraternisation but a straightforward set of values on which everyone is agreed and which underpin the education of all our children. These should include a belief in democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, gender equality and mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs.
- Philip Johnston, Telegraph
David Cameron set out to change his party and the country. On the question of extremism, he started off as a swamp-drainer, promising to “get to the root of the problem”, which he identified as “the existence of an ideology, Islamist extremism”. On modernisation of his party and social reform, he was a radical, but a more cautious conservatism has crept up on him in power.
- Rachel Sylvester, The Times
Ultimately religion is a second order issue here. What's most important may be one of the most toxic legacies of this awful government: the fact that from plummeting morale among teachers, through a mounting shortage of primary school places, to the glaring failings of the free schools programme, and now this latest controversy – we have a state education system in a complete disarray. In a story replete with smokescreens and diversions, no one should forget that.
- John Harris, The Guardian
Michael Gove has always had views on subjects outside his portfolio – his worries about the Home Office go back more than a decade to his time as a newspaper columnist – and aired them too freely. And Ms May was defensive to the point of unreasonableness long before there was any prospect of her leading the party. They disagreed over Islamism because they disagree over Islamism.
- Janan Ganesh, Financial Times
If country folk wish to visit the inner city, they are free to do so — and vice versa. But the State is obsessed with ‘celebrating diversity’, our new officially-enforced religion. We are quite capable of celebrating anything we like, thanks very much, without Government intervention. Millions of pounds are frittered away each year nagging, cajoling and compelling us to embrace different cultures. Great effort goes into persuading people from an immigrant background to make more use of the British countryside
- Richard Littlejohn, Daily Mail
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