The Loneliest Jukebox

Graham Barnfield's weblog, being gradually replaced by his Twitter feed - www.twitter.com/GrahamBarnfield

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Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Running on empty

To deposed Liberian president Charles Taylor and his email offer of 20% of "$25,000,000.00 million (Twenty Five Million United States Dollar) ... deposited by my friend Mr. Joseph Kabila President of the DRC" - thanks but no thanks. "I beg you for love sake that if you cannot handle this transaction, just delete this proposal and never let the cat out of the bag" he concludes. OK Chuck, agreed.

And now to today's Guardian, which has a front page panic over right-wing thinktank Civitas setting up its own primary school. Opening in two weeks in London, the school proposes teaching maths, phonics-based reading, French and 'traditional culture'. Bizarrely this has caused alarm, in a storm cooked up by former immigration minister Barbara Roche and Guardian political correspondent Sarah Hall. To parents not subscribing to the Guardian's increasingly narrow and self-righteous agenda, the real issue appears to be one of exasperation that more schools don't teach these subjects.

Taking the long view, a couple of other things are apparent. One is that in the absence of the separation of church and state, religious all-comers can already make their bid for school management (including those who see evolution as just a theory). Unless the policy is to reject all creeds in favour of a universalist school system - as it should be - then unfortunately it's only right to let them all have a pop at running schools. This approach might even be consistent with the diverse, multicultural society which Civitas is accused of undermining.

Another annoying Guardian trait is the tendency to treat all centre-right thinktanks as the BNP. If you look at Civitas' output, a lot of it seems like the usual moaning from the right, with a few sensible diamonds in the dross, like Patrick West's book Conspicuous Compassion (click title to buy). Yet we are told that the titles of a couple of booklets, which the journalist does not appear to have read, 'will raise concerns that the school will promote a kind of insidious racism'. Once again the Guardian shows its conspiratorial prejudice that one can't discuss immigration in Britain without everyone going on the rampage.


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