Thursday, 28 January 2016

Dear Ofsted...


You can write to Ofsted too... the address is:

* * *

Dear sir/madam,

I am writing about concerning comments in Sir Michael Wilshaw's LBC radio interview of 15th January 2016, in which he confirmed today that Sunday schools (and similar ventures) will be required to register and be subject to inspection, under plans the government has introduced as part of its "Counter-Extremism Strategy".

This, apparently, is required not because of any solid, substantial evidence of harm, or of harm that's not already covered by existing legislation on the UK statute books. Rather, it's called for by a perceived need to "deal with" the problems raised by Islamic extremism "in an even-handed way", something that Sir Michael said we've "go to" do.

Allow me suggest that we've "go to" do no such thing. Rather, it will be a phenomenal waste of time, resources, and a cause of much frustration and pointless trouble, to do so.

Recently, a national newspaper commentator wrote, concerning the following words concerning police:

"The police have been subjected to a 30-year inquisition and revolution, in which old-fashioned coppers have been pushed aside (and into retirement) by commissars of equality and diversity. Deprived of their proper occupation, preventive patrolling on foot (long ago abolished), they have become officious paramilitary social workers. These new police are obsessed with the supposed secret sins of the middle class, and indifferent to the cruel and callous activities of the criminal class." -

Whether this commentator is correct concerning the police or not, the phrase "officious paramilitary social workers" is rather memorable, as is the suggestion that some government agents are too "obsessed with the supposed secret sins of the middle class". Do Ofsted seriously think that the real-world, actual danger posed by Islamic terrorism is in any way mitigated by officiously registering and investigating Sunday Schools, or the like? Do we need make-work schemes to help employees of the state feel good about themselves, or do we actually want to tackle problems that exist?

If we cut out of our thinking what offends always-offended activists, then in a sensible world an "even-handed" approach would mean that the educational facilities run by people linked to known groups associated with Islamic terrorism would be suspect, whereas other groups should be allowed to continue enjoying the precious blessings of liberty. "Even-handed" should not mean "let's annoy everyone, good or bad", but "let's investigate where there's a real reason - backed by solid evidence that actual crimes are being incited - to do so". Shouldn't it?

Yours sincerely,