Another View - Dress it up, but the BNP is racist and has no place in teaching

26th March 2010 at 00:00
Comment: Stephen Jones

The phone-in programme was proceeding with its usual assortment of informed and not so informed callers. Nicky Campbell was in the chair and the subject of the day was: should members of the British National Party (BNP) be banned from becoming teachers?

The Government had announced that following an inquiry led by former chief inspector of schools Maurice Smith it had decided not to bar BNP members - as they are currently barred from the police and prison services - from the teaching profession. It said a total ban would be "disproportionate" to the threat posed.

Then a teacher from a further education college came on the line. He said he had worked alongside a BNP activist who was teaching government and politics in his college. Ah, but that's different, said Mr Campbell. If they are at college, students can stand up for themselves and not be influenced by people with such views.

Is there any difference between schools and colleges here? There are many adults in colleges, but the majority of students are in the impressionable 16-19 age bracket. There are also a growing number of 14 and 15-year-olds routinely studying at college. Surely the real issue is not so much the influence that a BNP teacher might wield, as the way in which such a person is expected to treat their students.

However members care to dress it up, the BNP is a racist organisation. For various reasons the party rarely uses the term "white" any more when describing those whose interests it wishes to promote. But the giveaway comes in the very first sentence of its mission statement: "The British National Party exists to secure a future for the indigenous peoples of these islands . which have been our homeland for millennia."

Someone presumably pointed out that there have been a number of fair- skinned arrivals in Britain since the "last great Ice Age" which seems to be important as a reference point for BNP leaders (perhaps they envisage a glacier-like stick of rock with ING-ER-LAND written on it). Thus the party is also prepared to embrace as legitimate citizens the descendents of "the Celts, Anglo-Saxons, Danes, Norse and closely related kindred peoples".

This latter group presumably allows for the Norman French and the much later influx of Huguenots on the grounds that a) they no longer speak French (the party is not over-fond either of our fellow European Union members across the water) and b) they are white.

As for those arrivals of more recent vintage - it means the black and brown ones - the BNP demands they be deported (the criminals and illegals) or encouraged via cash sums to return to "their lands of ethnic origin".

So how could anyone prepared to sign up for the above, possibly teach and tutor the large number of non-white students currently to be found in our colleges? Pity, too, the poor asylum-seeker who ends up in the class of a BNP aficionado, when the party's flagship policy on immigration states baldly (and proudly): "We will also clamp down on the flood of `asylum seekers', all of whom are either bogus or can find refuge much nearer their home countries."

Thankfully, as the Smith inquiry found, there are not very many BNP- supporting teachers either in, or waiting to get into, our schools and colleges. No doubt the fact that you have to be educated to be a teacher keeps the number down to a handful.

Every teaching interview contains questions about equal opportunities that no BNP member could answer truthfully. And every college in the country has detailed policies about race, ethnicity and inclusiveness, the contravention of which is a disciplinary offence.

But given the boost that some in the BNP may get from the decision not to ban them, we would do well to be on our guard.

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