Keep Tories’ ‘British values’ out of the education system
My 14 year old brother goes to a majority Muslim school in east London. The other day his whole year were treated to an assembly on “British values”.
The notion that Britain is somehow committed, as David Cameron claims, to “democracy, tolerance and the rule of law” is completely false.
Britain enforced brutal dictatorships in various parts of the globe for hundreds of years.
It is a country that regularly sells arms to repressive regimes.
And tolerance? Migrants have been scapegoated for everything from taking all the HIV drugs to causing traffic jams on the M4.
People fleeing war and poverty in Africa and left to drown in the Mediterranean have been called “cockroaches” in a national newspaper.
Democracy and acceptance of others are not British values. They are important to people all over the world.
And they are not the values of the British ruling class. The rights we have—that they are trying to take away—were not handed down to us.
Every gain we have ever got came through fighting. Working class people—black, white, gay, straight, male and female—have fought for the vote, for some semblance of equal rights, for better living and working conditions.
And now the same government that is attempting to abolish the Human Rights Act wants to present the things we’ve won as “British values”.
Apparently the way to do this is no longer being, to quote David Cameron again, “a passively tolerant society, saying to our citizens—as long as you obey the law, we will leave you alone”.
Telling schools they need to promote this rubbish is part of a wider attempt to clamp down on dissent and stigmatise Muslims.
I bet they’re not having these kinds of assemblies in all-white schools. It’s horrible, it’s racist, and should have no place in our education system.
Bethan Turner, East London
Socialist Worker unity statement is welcome
I welcome the Socialist Workers Party (SWP) unity statement (Socialist Worker, 23 May).
I am not a member of the SWP or any other organisation. But I support the call for left unity in the face of the Tory victory.
We need to unite around fighting racism, sexism and homophobia.
We need to be clear that the interests of the working class are completely inconsistent with those of the current ruling elite.
The People’s Assembly demo next month needs to be a key step in building resistance and militancy.
We also need a change in the attitude of the unions.
Rather than accepting the restrictions on union activity, we should be demanding the abolition of all anti-union laws
These are difficult times. Old sectarianism won’t do.
Steve Gilbert, Brighton
Nurses say thanks for your support
I would like to thank Socialist Worker for your recent article highlighting the increase in racist attacks towards Filipino nurses.
The organising committee for the Solidarity Gathering Supporting UK Filipino Health Workers demonstration have had positive feedback and support since the article. And it has created an more interest towards the protest and issue.
Many of the people affected by this issue greatly appreciate Socialist Worker for showing what is happening for those who are unaware or wanted to join the demonstration.
Tara Thiyagarajan, Protest organiser
Be careful of Lamarck
I look forward to reading John Parrington’s book The Deeper Genome (Socialist Worker, 16 May). It is a relief that we have moved away from arguments such as a gene for homelessness or for competitiveness.
However, the ideas of the scientist Jean-Baptiste Lamarck that John refers to have some dangerous consequences.
If the behaviour of the parent can be passed on then dynasties of press barons and elitist education can all be justified.
It may be true that stress alters the genome. But it is my position in society that has the greatest effect on my life opportunities.
Pete Wearden, Bristol
Don’t look to genes
John Parrington suggests that gene editing opens the way to everything from personalised medicine to treatments for schizophrenia and Aids.
But I am not convinced this is a direction we should be looking.
Capitalism already uses claims about personalised medicine and behaviour having genetic links to absolve society of any responsibility.
Where we look for answers to improving people’s lives shouldn’t be a diversion into the individualised minutiae of genes and switches.
Eradicating poverty and inequality would make the most meaningful difference.
Jill Chanter, Sheffield
Catholics not all reactionary
The majority of Irish people in the Republic identify as Catholic.
The majority of those who voted “Yes” to equal marriage last week were Catholics.
Catholic workers are not as reactionary as we were told.
The Catholic church is everyone in it—not just the backward members of the hierarchy always quoted.
John Mullen, Montreuil, France
The issue is Islamophobia
The Tory government wants to get rid of the Human Rights Act and clamp down on “extremism”.
This is a racist attack on every Muslim man, woman and child.
To frame it as a potential attack on the left, as Tim Nicholls did last week (Letters, 30 May) risks avoiding the issue of Islamophobia and the scapegoating of Muslims.
Ayesha Saleem, Edinburgh
Root out Fifa corruption
Five years ago there were calls by some people in the government to strip the BBC of the right to show games of the 2018 World Cup.
These people attacked the BBC Panorama programme for claiming that three members of world soccer’s gaming board Fifa had taken bribes in the 1990s.
We need to root out the corruption that has become endemic in football.
The beautiful game has become ugly.
John Appleyard, West Yorkshire
Give up on New Labour
In her bid for Labour Party leader Leicester West MP Liz Kendall will struggle to sell her credentials.
The New Labour project hit the buffers with disastrous consequences for the party.
But Kendall refuses to acknowledge this.
Instead she chooses to proceed with superficial rebranding.
Subhash Varambhia, Leicester