Risky attitude to liberalism

4th August 2000 at 01:00
THE letter (TESS, July 28) from George MacGregor criticising Lady Young's leadership of the House of Lords campaign to retain Section 28 was presumably meant to be witty. But it turned out just snide.

As a former education minister Lady Young knows the problems that teachers encounter daily in schools, whether in England or Scotland. She wants proper standards of behaviour maintained and encouraged. So, surely, ought all professional teachers.

Anything which promotes or even sloppily condones slipshod attitudes posing as modern liberalism has to be looked at askance. Where there is evidence of a minority seeking to impose its ideas on schools, as there is with campaigning gay interests,the law may need to intervene. And at least the safeguard of Section 28 looks like remaining in place south of the border.

Here legislators have decided to dispense with it. We must wait and see whether the safeguards, the Executive's guidelines, are effective. But as I said in a previous letter (May 19): "An irresponsible liberal minority who mistake moral standards for authoritarianism need to know the boundaries society imposes on them - hence the protection of the law."

Well, Lady Young appears to have kept that protection in England, at least for the time being. Our pupils here in Scotland are left in a potentially more risky situation.

James McDonnell


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