Friday 3rd June: This week the Education Secretary sparked a debate on how schools should identify potential extremists. She was commenting on new government guidance on preventing radicalisation in schools and other institutions. However, as Prof John Marenbon points out, the mark of a liberal society is that it is tolerant of different views - even the intolerant.
Recently, the Evening Standard reported that the Education Secretary, Nicky Morgan, when asked to name some of the signs of Islamic extremism, against which she was warning, gave ‘intolerance towards homosexuality’ as her example. The newspaper mentioned her remark in order to try and convict of her of inconsistency, since, as the article went on to point out, she — along with a majority of Conservative MPs — had voted against homosexual marriage. But Mrs Morgan would have a very good reply, although, since her promotion, she may have become too politically correct to want to make it. Unless tolerance towards a group requires accepting their values, it is perfectly possible to be perfectly tolerant towards homosexuals but opposed to the idea that homosexual union can constitute a marriage.
Although her comments were rather vague and I'll thought-out, they were truly worrying. 'We have seen’, she is reported as saying in the Guardian, 'sadly Isil [Islamic State] are extremely intolerant of homosexuality. I think if there were language ... it could trigger a thought. It depends very much the context in which that was being discussed’.
Friday 26th June: Chris Woodhead, England’s Chief Inspector of Schools 1994-2000, died this week. Here Politeia's Director, Sheila Lawlor reflects on the life and work of a friend who saw his task as purging English schools of the mediocrity left by low level ‘progressive’ teaching and doing battle with its perpetrators. Dr Lawlor writes....
Chris Woodhead got the job by accident. At the time in 1994 the powers that be wanted someone who would not ‘go native’. Woodhead, I was told by one such power-that-was, was not the favourite, because he was not deemed, in official speak, ‘reliable’. I took that to mean he was his own man - something which should have been in his favour. He was indeed the strongest of the candidates – intellectually independent, clever and academically sensitive to what the aims of education should be.
And while able, he was also a dreamer.
20 June 2015. As the EU Referendum Bill makes its way through the House of Commons and the prime minister continues to meet EU leaders ahead of the EU Council meeting on 25th and 26th June, The Hon Bernard Jenkin MP reflects on the week's events.
This week, Politeia hosted the launch in the House of Commons for the pamphlet authored by me, Sir William Cash MP, and Rt Hon John Redwood MP, entitled The UK and the EU: what must change? It was also endorsed by Steve Baker MP, the Chair of Conservatives for Britain. Judge for yourself what we have set out in our paper. You can also read my introductory remarks at the meeting here.
The origin of this pamphlet is a series of papers we prepared for discussions we had with the Conservative leadership and their advisers following the prime minister’s Bloomberg Speech of January 2013 up until the general election. They each set out the consequences for the UK of continuing to be subject to the present EU treaties, if there is no reform of the EU, or fundamental change in our terms of membership.
Grexit – Good or Bad?
The Eurozone would not be seriously undermined by ‘Grexit’
June 12th: Greece is running out of time and money. The deadline to unlock the remaining €7.2bn of bailout funding, without which the Greek Government will surely default on its debts, is the end of June. Default could then be followed by Greece’s departure from the Eurozone (‘Grexit’). But, even though the stakes are so high, Greece is playing a dangerous game of brinkmanship. It seems to believe, or at least gives the impression that it believes, that its creditors will make huge concessions and let the funds flow, such is their desire to keep Greece in the currency bloc. It seems to believe its creditors will blink first. I think they are mistaken.
Respected and Admired - A Rare Politician
Friday 5th June. Charles Kennedy's death has been met with sorrow across the whole political spectrum. Here, Greg Hurst, The Times journalist and biographer of Charles Kennedy, in a special piece for Politeia reflects on his political life. Greg Hurst writes: