Posts Tagged ‘Clause 28’

UKIP Appoint Anti-NHS Preacher as Candidate For Coventry

February 14, 2015

George Hargreaves

George Hargreaves: UKIP Candidate and Controversial Preacher. From the Isle of Man (Deviants! Yes! There are no deviants on the Isle of Man!)

Over on the Purple Rain blog at Hope Not Hate is the report that UKIP have appointed the controversial Christian preacher, Rev. George Hargreaves, as their candidate for Coventry South. Hargreaves was the founder and leader of the short-lived Christian party, branches of which he set up around the UK in 2005-7, following his foundation of the Christian People’s Alliance and Operation Christian Vote in 2004. Hargreaves has pronounced views on a number of controversial topics. He wishes to ban abortion, euthanasia, embryo experimentation and to introduce compulsory Christian teaching in schools. He also wants the return of the death penalty, and, of course, as a Kipper is firmly behind UKIP’s policy that Britain should leave the EU.

The article is entitled UKIP Enlist Anti Gay Zealot For Coventry South , because Hargreaves, like many other Kippers, has strong views against homosexuality. He regards it as a sin, and demands the reintroduction of Clause 28, the law Maggie Thatcher attempted to pass outlawing the promotion of homosexuality in schools. He is also against gays adopting children and has even gone so far as to say that gay men with AIDs should be denied treatment by the NHS because their illness is ‘self-inflicted’.

The article points out that Hargreave’s views on gays are remarkable, given that he was the pop producer and songwriter, who promoted the 80’s stars Sinitta and Yazz. Sinitta’s hits ‘So Macho’ and ‘Cruising’ were massively popular amongst the gay community, and partly responsible for Hargreaves becoming a multi-millionaire tax exile in the Isle of Man.

Fast Show Isle of Man

Typical residents of the Isle of Man according to the Fast Show

Where there are no deviants!

Sorry, flashback to all the jokes in the Fast Show about weirdoes from the Isle of Man shouting ‘There are no deviants on the Isle of Man’. His stance against homosexuality and AIDS is particularly remarkable, and seems particularly callous, considering that one of Hargreave’s song-writing partners, and former flatmate, was gay and died of the disease.

The article begins:

UKIP have enlisted the services of a controversial Christian preacher as their prospective parliamentary candidate for the Coventry South seat in the May General Election, much to the annoyance of the local party.

The Reverend George Hargreaves, the former leader of The Christian Party is certainly a controversial choice for the West Midlands seat and adds fuel to the fire when it comes to accusations of UKIP being homophobic.

Hargreaves is a former music producer and songwriter, who promoted 80’s pop acts Sinitta, Yazz and Five Star amongst others. His biggest claim to fame was writing Sinitta’s hit records “So Macho” and “Cruising” which both became gay anthems in the 1980’s, making George Hargreaves a millionaire from the royalties and which saw him later move to The Isle of Man as a tax exile.

During his time on the Manx island, Hargreaves embraced Christianity and became a Pentecostal minister. Soon after he became involved in politics, standing for The Referendum Party in the 1997 General Election.

Hargreaves went on to help form The Christian People’s Alliance and in 2004 formed Operation Christian Vote, which stood candidates across the UK in the 2004 European Elections. and which saw George Hargreaves stand for OCV in several parliamentary by-elections.

Hargreaves formed The Christian Party in 2005 and in 2007 saw the formation of The Scottish Christian Party, set up by Hargreaves to contest the Scottish Parliamentary elections. Hargreaves used the money, generated by the royalties of Sinitta’s hit singles to fund the campaign, which had a strong anti gay message, describing homosexuality as “a sin” and calling for a hard-line stance against abortion and euthanasia along with supporting a return of the death penalty and withdrawal from the EU.

The article’s at http://www.hopenothate.org.uk/ukip/ukip-enlist-anti-gay-zealot-for-coventry-south-4270

Hargreaves on Satanism and the Welsh Flag

Many of Hargreave’s views, although controversial, actually aren’t unreasonable. Many Christians object to abortion, euthanasia and embryo research because they feel that these violate the sanctity of human life. The argument here is that these assume that there are certain classes of human, who can be killed and experimented upon, and who therefore have less rights than the well, able-bodied or biologically fully developed. A dangerous precedent. As for his views on capital punishment and homosexuality, while they’re extreme, they’re shared by a wide section of British society, beyond those whose would consider themselves religious.

Where his views get really bizarre is on the subject of the Welsh flag. He wanted the dragon removed from it, because it was a symbol of Satan. He also objected to Manchester United having a badge showing a pitch-forking wielding devil, because it was satanic. Now, a devil clearly is a symbol of Satan, but Hargreaves missed the point somewhat. There’s a difference between cartoon devils, like the one on the Man UTD badge, and real Satanic worship. I doubt very many people have seriously gone over to worshipping the forces of darkness because of Man UTD, though a daresay the team’s rivals probably have other opinions.

What the Article Doesn’t Say: Hargreaves on the NHS

The article states that Hargreaves appears to have been appointed as Coventry South’s official candidate against the wishes of the local party, who already had their own candidate, Mark Taylor. It suggests that Farage, a very wealthy individual, was attracted to Hargreaves because he also is a multi-millionaire.

That may well be part of it.

I also suspect another part of it is that Hargreave’s shares Farage’s views on the NHS. The article doesn’t mention it, but Hargreaves is against it, and the rest of the welfare state. When Hargreaves and his white colleague in the Christian Party appeared on TV screens appealing for votes nearly a decade ago, Private Eye did a brief feature on them. Put simply, they’re connected to a number of extreme right wing American think tanks and organisations, and had made statements themselves about getting rid of the NHS and welfare state. That’s clearly not something that Farage wants to make known, as he is very aware that it will cost him votes. He does seem perfectly comfortable with someone who has a bitter hatred of homosexuals, however, even when some other Christians have far less extreme views. The I newspaper carried a series of letters from Christian ministers and theologians, who supported gay marriage. This was partly based on the existence of marriage ceremonies for same-sex couples from the medieval Byzantine and central European churches.

Hargreaves vs. Keir Hardie

Hargreave’s profoundly anti-Socialist views contrast very strongly with those of Keir Hardie, the founder of the ILP. Hardie like many in the early Labour movement had been a lay preacher, and it seems that he regarded himself throughout his life as a radical Christian. Late in his life he wrote

The impetus which drove me first of all into the Labour movement and inspiration which has carried me on in it … has derived more from the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth than from all other sources combined.

In the choice between Hargreaves and Hardie, Hardie wins every time.

Meanwhile, here’s a selection of Fast Show clips about the Isle of Man.

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The Tories’ Use of ‘Red Scares’ in Teaching

September 18, 2013

privatisaOne tactic that Conservatives have frequently used against the teaching profession is to create ‘Red Scares’ about ‘loony left’ political indoctrination in schools. This generally takes the form of one or more of the Right-wing newspapers publishing a supposed expose of how the teachers in a particular area are attempting to indoctrinate their vulnerable charges with radical Left, anti-racist or gay or feminist propaganda. Under Thatcher in the 1980s there was a controversy over the inclusion of Peace Studies in the curriculum in some schools. The Conservatives also passed the notorious Clause 28, which attempted to stop schools from promoting homosexuality. In one of her speeches, Mrs Thatcher also attacked ‘anti-racist mathematics’ introduced by ‘Fabians’ and ‘champagne socialists’. The Express ran a story about teachers in Yorkshire teaching explicitly Communist propaganda. The Evening Post in Bristol followed a similar line about a Communist pamphlet that had been circulated amongst the pupils by staff in one of the city’s schools. Most notoriously, teachers in Lambeth and Brent in London were supposed to have altered the nursery rhyme ‘Ba Ba Black Sheep’ to ‘Ba Ba Green Sheep’ to remove the rhyme’s racist content. It’s been revealed since as an urban legend, though I’ve met a number of people, who came from the boroughs, who remember being taught it. These stories then get expanded into an attack on teachers as a whole. From being separate incidents in particular areas, they are then presented as being representative of all of the profession.

It has also been used to attack the funding and control of education by local councils. In the 1970s schools were financed and controlled by the Local Education Authority, which were also responsible for maintaining standards. Under successive Conservative administrations, their role has been radically reduced. This has partly been done as part of the Conservatives’ ideological commitment to the free market. The idea has been that if schools become independent from local authority control, and are able to control their own budgets, competition between schools will result in higher standards. They also claimed it would give parents greater choice in education by allowing them a variety of different schools from which to choose. It has also been promoted as a way of freeing schools from the influence of ‘loony left’ local government officers intent on promoting their ideological agenda in education.

Now some of these fears aren’t unreasonable. Before the introduction of the National Curriculum the subjects taught and the materials used could differ greatly between schools. This could be difficult for children moving between schools, such as when they moved house. Educational standards in some schools could be low due to the extremely radical political views of the staff. The most notorious of these was a school in London where the staff subscribed to an extreme form of the view that children should be encouraged to learn only what they want to learn in their own time. In this school, children simply weren’t taught at all, but encouraged to go and play under the view that this would develop their creativity. When someone told one of the teaching staff that the pupils there couldn’t read, he remarked ‘Well, neither could they in the Middle Ages, but they built cathedrals.’ Eventually the scandal became so great that there was an official inquiry and the teachers dismissed, never to teach schoolchildren again. It was partly due to this and similar, less extreme cases that the Conservatives introduced the National Curriculum. The question of how much children should be taught about sex and at what age is also a very good, and extremely important question, especially as children are becoming increasingly exposed to explicitly sexual material at younger and younger ages. In some areas, the Thatcherite Conservatives have lost the debate. Many schools now run projects for Black History week in October, as a way of correcting what they see as the White bias in the history curriculum and tackling low educational performance amongst many Black pupils. More traditional Conservatives have complained that Clause 28 has for some time been a dead letter. As Cameron himself has now backed gay marriage, it is unlikely that it will be revived although the issue has caused sharp division with his party.

It is not true, however, that teachers as a whole are intent on using their position to indoctrinate, rather than educate, their students. Indeed, current legislation explicitly prevents them from doing so. The law states that they may not promote a particular political ideology or religion, except in faith schools. If the teacher’s own religious or political views are raised during teaching in class, they cannot present their views as objective fact. They may only say that they personally believe them.

In any case, from my experience most teachers aren’t members of the hard Left. They include people with a wide range of very different views across the political spectrum. Some are Left-wing, others Conservative, some Liberal, and many aren’t terribly interested in politics at all. Most teachers have entered the profession, not because they see it as a platform for advancing a particular ideology or cause, but simply because they want to stand in front of a blackboard and teach their subject or subjects. Privately they have their own beliefs, and may, and often are, concerned about government policies and the way this affects their job and the educational achievements of their pupils. In front of their class, however, the vast majority of them are rightly very careful about what they say.

The question of whether Thatcher’s reforms have really benefited the educational system, and provided parents with genuine choice is a separate issue, and one which I hope to tackle later. In this blog post I merely want to rebut the use of scare tactics over radical teachers by the Conservatives to attack the teaching profession as a whole, and promote their own policies of an increased workload, reduction of pay and conditions, and privatisation. With a very few, notable exception, teachers simply want to teach – Maths, English, science, whatever. They aren’t interested in turning the next generation of schoolchildren into wild-eyed Che Guevara-style revolutionaries, intent on destroying the bourgeois order. Unfortunately, it is all too often ignored. I’m aware that the examples I’ve used have come from thirty years ago back in Maggie Thatcher’s administration. These were the most extreme instances of the tactic, which I particularly remember. Nevertheless, it is still being used, both here and across the Atlantic. I’ve seen it used in Conservative blogs against teachers in America and Canada. I’ve no doubt that if the Conservatives meet with further opposition from the teachers and their unions, it will be used once more against them over here. That this image of teachers is largely untrue and unrepresentative of them as a profession really needs to be remembered and brought to public attention, the next time the Mail or the Express runs a story about ‘Loony Left’ teachers pushing Communism or trying to turn them all gay.