Socialist Worker


Issue No. 2452

Stop radicalisation in our schools—keep the army out 

Actor Peter Firth dared to suggest on the BBC’s One Show last week that young Muslims might want to fight abroad, however misguided, for the same reasons that young people might want to join the armed forces here. 

He said he thought that it was a sense of “righteousness”, again adding, “however misguided”. 

This is a rare occasion in the mainstream media where the narrative around so-called “radicalisation” has been challenged.

I cannot see any difference between young people joining, sometimes compulsorily, Combined Cadet Forces (CCF) at schools and a young Muslim who decides to fight for an Islamic organisation. 

If it’s “radicalisation” for young Muslims then it’s “radicalisation” for those who are lured into the forces in this country. 

Well done Peter Firth for swimming against the stream. The BBC defence correspondent Frank Gardner clearly felt that he had to intervene on this dose of reason by saying that “at least the British Army tries to weed out psychopaths”. 

Hopefully we’ll hear more reasoned commentary on this issue.

Perhaps all adverts for the forces, often placed in the intervals of big football matches where thousands of youngsters will be watching, could be scrapped. In the same way that cigarette adverts have on the grounds of a danger of leading to the possibility of an early death.

Perhaps all cadet groups at schools could be abandoned and all visits to schools by the military could be stopped.

I was in the CCF at my school in London back in the mid 1960s and, regrettably, joined the Royal Navy having just turned 16. 

I am acutely aware of the absolute nonsense being poured out about so-called “radicalisation” ably supported by the police and security services via programmes such as the much despised and discredited ‘Prevent’. 

I call it Islamophobia.

David ClinchTorrington

Rulers’ shame over Armenia

Our rulers like to “honour” those whom their forbears sent to their deaths during the First World War.

They overlook the Armenian genocide in which 1.5 million Armenians were massacred by the Ottoman empire. 

Turkey refuses to admit that genocide took place. It is to the great shame of Britain and the US that they continue to remain silent over the genocide. 

Turkey is too useful a Nato ally. In London recently 2,000-3,000 British Armenians and their anti-racist supporters marched through central London, laying their own wreaths at the Cenotaph.

Sabby SagallCentral London

Reclaim the game from football’s money men

With more money in football than ever before it is a disgrace that more is not going into reducing obscene ticket prices.

What was once seen as the sport of the working class is becoming a sport that a lot of people can no longer attend. 

The campaign against this took a step forward with a successful boycott by Liverpool fans of their match against Hull City. 

The boycott was organised by the supporters’ union, Spirit of Shankly, and fans’ group Spion Kop 1906. 

The union has started to work with fans from most clubs. Working class fans have more in common with each other than the capitalists who run the game. The money men may soon have a choice—make football affordable or face empty stadiums.

Phil RowanSpirit of Shankly Union Committee

Boycott unfair tests

Schools are being blackmailed by the government to implement baseline testing.

They will be under even greater threat of being turned into an academy and poor grades from the regulator, Ofsted, if they can’t meet the targets.

The “preferred provider” for many local authorities, Early Excellence, sells itself as similar to the well-regarded foundation stage process that schools already complete. 

But this is putting a respectable veneer onto a practice that the rest of the profession is united against. 

They have repackaged what we do already and are selling it back to us.

We need to mount huge campaigns, such as those in the US where mass opt-outs of tests are taking place.

Sara TomlinsonSouth London

Our fight is global

I read Socialist Worker online week after week. There is so much I have learned from your commentary and articles.

I come from a working class family. 

My sister and I are the first in the family to attend college or university. 

We do not forget our origins. We see on a daily basis what neoliberalism is doing in our country, our region and our world. 

I want to read more about the fight against capitalism. Huge challenges are awaiting the working people.

Fernando Dan A MattosMontevideo, Uruguay

Brand too soft on Miliband

Can’t believe how soft Russell Brand is in his interview with Ed Miliband. 

Given Labour capitulated to the racist neoliberal agenda long ago, I was hoping to see Ed get a well deserved grilling from Brand, who is usually on point politically.

Fran Manningon Facebook

Russell to the rescue?

I think Russell Brand’s position was that to be too hard on Ed Miliband would have damaged Labour during such a knife edge election.

I think it was a good move from Miliband though. 

It did him some favours, although perhaps too little too late.

Stuart Curletton Facebook

Angry about austerity

Good front page last week. (Socialist Worker, 2 May)

Ordinary people struggle, a million going to food banks. Bedroom taxes, cut backs, “We’re all in it together”. 

But these people at the top double their wealth.

No to austerity. If you ain’t angry you ain’t been paying attention.

Daniel KebedeNewcastle

Who will Clegg serve?

Nick Clegg is going to be chief bottom wiper of either David Cameron or Ed Miliband.

We have to decide which.

Norma BuddleWest London

Islamophobia in France

The case of a Muslim schoolgirl in France being sent home for wearing a skirt that is “too long” is blatant Islamophobia. 

Ankle length skirts are a fashion item regardless of religion or culture.

Would a white Christian girl be sent home for wearing the same item?

Alice ClarkNewcastle

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Article information

Tue 5 May 2015, 15:55 BST
Issue No. 2452
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