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Labour fails to land any blows on Gove or May over Trojan Horse schools

9 June 2014

How to deal with Islamist extremism is one of the great issues of our time. What has gone on in these Birmingham schools is a reminder of how real a threat it is to this country and how determined the proponents of this warped worldview are.

But before we turn to that question, a quick reflection on the politics of today’s events in the Commons: The row between Michael Gove and Theresa May over how to approach this issue resulted in the Education Secretary having to apologise and May having to jettison one of her special advisers. It was a major political embarrassment to the government. Labour tried to capitalise on this by having May appear before Gove’s statement on the Birmingham schools.

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In a two and a quarter hours, though, Labour didn’t inflict anymore political danger on May and Gove. May simply didn’t answer the question of who authorised ministerial correspondence being published on the Home Office website. But the initial Labour backbench questions were so disorganised that May was allowed off the hook. It was another example of Labour not doing the basics of opposition well. By contrast, Tory backbenchers were primed with a slew of supportive questions for May.

Gove was also keen to show that he agreed with May, nodding as often as possible during her statement and leaning over to congratulate her at the end of it. May, though, did not return the favour. She got up to move places rather than sit next to Gove at the end of her statement only to be told to sit down by Pickles.

On the substance, I think the first thing to say is that if there was no plot to take over these schools it is even more alarming what has happened. If what went on in Birmingham — with primary school pupils been warned in assembly about the dangers of white prostitutes — is happening organically then we have an even bigger problem than we thought we did. (Also, this debate isn’t about faith schools — none of the schools concerned are faith schools)

Gove is proposing that the answer to this problem is to require schools to positively promote British values. There is merit to this idea. But it will require British values to be spelled out in a sufficiently robust fashion. Indeed, I suspect that it is the commitment to no notice inspections that will prove more significant. Schools will no longer be able to hide their true identity from Oftsed. ​

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  • mark tayler

    Expect more of these takeovers as they mutliply and wage a jihadi uprising

  • Fergus Pickering

    Well of course Labour can’t make anything of this. They are in the pay of Islam. They want the votes.

  • lookout

    Hmmmm, now which area of the country did Enoch Powell represent?

  • Mynydd

    The heavy and most serious blow inflicted on General Cameron was last Wednesday when the civil war within his troops broke out and was made public. Yesterday was just giving his retreating army a kick up the backside, to help them on the way. The battle was already won.
    What Mr Cameron/May/Gove still do not understand is that the letter will be on the internet, at least up, to the next general election. Mr Cameron has given Mr Miliband, not only bullets but also a bomb to be dropped whenever he likes.

  • Bonkim

    The problem is schools with majority Muslims or other ethnic/cultural minorities. We need to learn the US practice of disbursing minorities across the region – busing pupils so all schools have a mix.

    School governors also need a selection and training process.

    • Mynydd

      Compulsory training of school governors was another thing Mr Gove turned down.

  • Terence Hale

    “Labour fails to land any blows on Gove or May over Trojan Horse schools” Just a technical remark the question of the authorised ministerial correspondence and its removal from the Government web-site is often not enough. Once on internet always on internet they such look at Google offers ‘right to be forgotten’ form to remove data.

    • Mynydd

      Even Google cannot remove it from my files. When you hear what GCHQ has been up to. Mr Cameron using the full powers of the state could, so I have made a print copy.

  • Robert Andersen

    When Farage said ‘you know what i mean’ in the radio interview, he could have been talking about this. Enough! The British know what is best for them, have the depth of intellect to run a civil and tolerant society. It’s time to stand up to hate apologists who are spreading what is nothing less than a cancer… we should be proud of the good things we’ve achieved rather than always having to accept others way of life, what’s wrong with ours?

  • John_Page

    Didn’t Gove try to introduce no notice inspections before, only to be knocked back?

    • jack mustard

      No. The Chief Inspector of Schools was clear – he proposed no notice inspections only to be knocked back by Gove.

      • ButcombeMan

        Gove always wanted them. In and out of government, as has just been demonstrated on WatO where they played recordings of his speeches.

        In fact they should be “risk based” with intelligence reports welcomed. The BHX schools would therefore have been high risk and would have been regularly monitored.

        Personally I am very intrigued by the absence of protest from the teaching Unions. Complicit?

  • Kitty MLB

    Labour overreacted and were badly organized as usual.
    they also don’t have a leg to stand on as they introduced
    Extremism to our Christian country.
    Theresa May and Michael Gove are a formidable team.

    • bengeo

      How I laughed,

  • bengeo

    “Labour fails to land any blows on Gove or May over Trojan Horse schools”


    May was shredded. You could see it in her face, at the end.

    Gove agreed with everyone, and so, rode the punches.

    • Andy

      Hunt came across as a right c*nt, which of course he is.

    • allymax bruce

      No, Theresa May has every right to fell aggrieved at this contrived situation; Gove-the-shove tried to muscle-in on Theresa’s ‘future prospects’, and Calamity has tried to use both to his advantage by pitting them against each other; claiming to ride-in like the hero and sort out the ‘problem’. He’s only made the situation more aggrieved, by trying to ‘prosper’ personally from it.

  • Mynydd

    The questions unanswered today, who won the Conservative party civil war, and will the general, when he returns from his jolly in Europe, demote both of them to the ranks

    • realfish

      That’s not the civil war that you should be troubling yourself with.

      Labour’s and the left’s multiculturalism and attempt to ‘rub the right’s noses in it’ has led to a situation where the advisor to the Mayor of Tower Hamlets feels able to threaten the country by telling us to accept Tower Hamlets election results or ‘civil war will spill onto streets’.

      What utter madness has the left visited on this country?

      • bengeo

        Must say, I don’t feel hugely threatened by the advisor to the mayor of Tower Hamlets. By the British citizens going out to fight in Syria, yes, a bit. Tower Hamlets? No.

    • Fergus Pickering

      To be replaced by whom, eh?

      • Mynydd

        That sums up Mr Cameron’s problem, by whom, there are no others, so we’ll just have to put up with the Tory civil war.

    • Kitty MLB

      Oh you wish, Theresa May and Michael Gove are excellent at their jobs
      and a formidable team. compare them to Tristram and Yvette, I don’t think

  • Airey Belvoir

    The BBC have covered the whole thing while mangaging to avoid using the words ‘Muslim’ or ‘Islamic’, no mean achievement. The ‘correct’ description is ‘faith-based extremism’, although I doubt the local C of E primary is banning music and segregating boys and girls.

    • Chris Morriss

      I see no reason whatsoever why the state is funding religious-based schools of any religion or denomination. If parents want such schooling they should be free to open such a school, provided that they 100% fund it themselves.

      • Airey Belvoir

        There is a good argument for all-secular schools, but as Christian-run schools don’t run counter to our societal values, we would be throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

    • Kitty MLB

      That will always be the issue. The anti English BBC and
      the rest of the treasonous leftie establishment will
      never defend us in our own country.They will never
      admit there is a problem.And if they did then we English
      people would be in the wrong.

    • Kennybhoy

      No one around here despises the BBC more than I, but this is simply innacurate.The “I word” was used on every report I have seen and they illustrated the reports with images of streets full of burka clad females(?).

  • Hello

    “Gove is proposing that the answer to this problem is to require schools to positively promote British values. There is merit to this idea. But it will require British values to be spelled out in a sufficiently robust fashion”

    That’s a slippery slope. What happens when there is a clash between British values and faith schools, which there will be if you take that approach. Some Education secretary will eventually use it to pursue what they believe to be British values, or even what are popularly considered to be British values at any particular time.

    You are essentially saying that the education system could and should be used to promote propaganda.

    • jack mustard

      You might like this approach if you have a Secretary of State whose views chime with your own. But it is unlikely this will always be the case. I do not think it appropriate that any SofS should be able to dictate what is meant by “values” (British or otherwise) in the way Gove is currently dictating what books children should or should not be able to study.

      • Mynydd

        At least he’s not yet doing a Hitler and burning books.

    • Fergus Pickering

      Well that is a typicall Soialist idea. That is what the bastards think an education system is FOR.

  • global city

    Oh, they will do with this ‘British values’ thing……
    The British are not allowed to have defined British anything.

    Channel 4 are at it right now.

    • Fergus Pickering

      Yes. A debate which consists of endless brown muslim persons coming on to say that it’s all lies.

      • global city

        If UKIP box clever they could use the instinct of the flapperati to raise the fact that, whilst the Islamist moves are a bad potential assault on ‘British values’ (the way they will be defined by the MSM, etc) the much GREATER assault on our common respect and consensus in deriving at those values and the way they are legislated is being imposed by the EU and it’s anti democratic structure for law making.

  • colliemum

    What I find very strange is this:
    • There are trade unions for teachers and even for head teachers.
    • Most teachers and head teachers are members of these trade unions.

    So why did those teachers and head teachers mentioned in the Ofsted report not go to their trade union representatives?
    Or did they – and were told to shut up because they were like, ahem, racist bigots?

    Someone should investigate why the trade unions are and have been so conspicuously silent …

    • Andy

      I think you know the answer to that one.

    • allymax bruce

      EU ‘procurement’ protocols.

  • swatnan

    Its a pity that it takes just a few Governors with an Agenda to create havoc in Education. The way in which Governors are appointed needs reviewing. The prime aim should be the improvement of education of children in schools and not to drive their own political or religious or bolshie Agenda. Red faces for May and Gove and Cameron.

    • jack mustard

      Gove has reviewed the way governors are appointed. From now on, rather than being elected by parents or nominated by their LA they will be selected by existing governors on criteria drawn up by the governing body. Gove’s solution will make this problem worse.

  • Brian Thomas

    This is not “Islamist extremism” – this is Islam. In what way do the values and priorities promoted within these schools differ from those of ‘mainstream’ Islam? Democracy cannot take root in Islam because it is seen to be inherently evil, the reason being that it seeks to place the will of the people above the will of god. Finally it must be remembered that this will never stop…

  • Swiss Bob

    If the news reports are correct they are not extremists, just your average muslims.

    Why do I say that. The school already in special measures is surrounded by parents preventing the new governors and teaching staff entering the school.

    • telemachus

      It is Islamophobic comments such as that which will dangerously destabilise our society

      • Swiss Bob

        So I’m an Islamophobe am I.

        Coming from a bigot like you I take it as a compliment.

      • Inverted Meniscus

        You really are a socialist nutter.

      • MirthaTidville

        No its not the comments bit that will do that..

      • Fergus Pickering

        But is what he says true, O stalinist ratbag?

      • Wilful Brown

        So called Islamophobia is a rational response to the perverted dogma, which is Islam.
        I don’t understand the left wing in this country, acting as cultural apologists for an essentially misogynistic, homophobic and chronically backwards culture.

  • HookesLaw

    In the final analysis democracy’ is how to deal with Islamic and any other extremism. The quote marks are there for emphasis. Democracy is the answer and we in the west must be resolute in seeing that it takes root.
    Of course democracy is not perfect but it is the best option we all have. And also of course implimenting democracy will not be easy straight out of the box, but the non democratic cleric ridden world needs to grow up, just like our own did.

    And I am not surprised labour failed to lay a glove on the govt.

    • Kennybhoy

      “The quote marks are there for emphasis.”

      Incorrect usage.

    • Colonel Mustard

      The quotation marks suggest it is not real democracy and currently it probably isn’t. In Tower Hamlets definitely so.

      • allymax bruce

        Actually, the usage of single quotation marks, (sqm), are the emphasis that the content inside sqm is portraying. Double quatation marks, (dqm), emphasise the content inside dqm is something that was said; verbatim.

  • southerner

    “May simply didn’t answer the question of who authorised ministerial correspondence being published on the Home Office website.”

    Well, that’s alright then.

    Useless un-conservatives. Useless opposition. In a nutshell why so many despair of the modern political class and the liblabcon.

    • HookesLaw

      Spare us your pointless catch phrases. It was the conservatives who for instance abolished the corn laws – supported as I recall by the Duke of Wellington. You show yourself up for the ignoramus you are.
      The conservative party has always seen the need for progress.

      • southerner

        Have you been drinking?

        • Kitty MLB

          Hooky is quite sober and correct in regards to
          the corn laws.And the bone numbing boring
          as a demented mule catch phrases, that are
          quite old now. You need some new stuff.

  • DaveTheRave

    Is anyone really surprised?
    This crazy situation has occurred on the Tories watch but Labour are even more culpable, with various policies from ’97 to 2010.
    What sickens me is that when the largely silent majority are expecting change – they get platitudes and political correctness gone mad.
    We have been duped, deceived, treated like fools. Maybe Labour’s ineffectual response has been caused by delayed guilt…
    Now we need genuine action… and justice.

    • MirthaTidville

      I agree with all you say, but it wont be delayed guilt causing Liebours poor response. These are Socialists we are taking about, they dont do guilt. Passing off the lowest common denominator as the standard to be achieved is their level..No more no less..
      I would expect more munitions from Gove and May in the next few weeks, its kicking off nicely..

    • telemachus

      This is not a party political issue
      This is an issue that cries solutions
      The first is that all schools must be brought back under effective LEA control
      Then we must take steps to integrate even if it means American style bussing

      • Kitty MLB

        Little wasp what happened to Mrs Balls nailing
        Theresa May. The lady couldn’t nail a pin to the
        Nether regions of a giant elephant.
        Theresa May and Michael Gove are 2 of this countries
        most productive ministers.

        • telemachus

          So why did they devalue themselves their party and our Government by Reception Class squabbling
          They have let us down and we need a new mind on the Sparkbrook issue

          • realfish

            Never heard of the ZOUD, tele?

    • Fergus Pickering

      I don’t think Labour do guilt. Like they don’t do God..

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