Tendance Coatesy

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Notorious Galloway – and former SWP – Hack Ger Francis worked for…..Corbyn??????

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Ger Francis (recent picture). 

We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne’er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition;
And gentlemen in England now-a-bed
Shall think themselves accurs’d they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin’s day.

For reasons that escape me Socialist Unity has chosen to publish this by Andy Newman:  St Crispin’s Day.

Meanwhile the only remaining other member of Socialist Unity’s band of brothers John Wight, has published this stirring call to arms,

Seumas Milne and His Swivel-Eyed Detractors

What we have seen take place is nothing less than a feral and unhinged scream from the swamp of reaction that resides in our culture, where every crank with a computer resides, consumed with bitterness and untreated angst, much of it in the form of self loathing over their own inadequacies and lack of talent – not to mention in some cases a jump from the extreme left to extreme right of the political spectrum, with all the psychological dysfunction such a metamorphosis describes.

So feral, so extreme has been this motley crew of first rate second rate men (and women) in their biblical denunciations of Seumas Milne, they make the McCarthy witchhunts seem like child’s play by comparison.

Wight ends this call to muster behind Milne with this remark,

“Ridicule is the tribute paid to the genius by the mediocrities.”

We learn that Corbyn has taken upon himself to appoint another genius to his team, who is, surely no-coincidence, a former Socialist Unity contributor (Telegraph – Thanks Jim…).

It can also be revealed that Mr Corbyn has employed a key aide to the disgraced former mayor of Tower Hamlets, Lutfur Rahman. Ger Francis, Rahman’s former political adviser, worked for Mr Corbyn at the Commons, a member of Mr Corbyn’s Westminster office confirmed last week. “He worked here on the leadership campaign,” she said.

Mr Francis moved to work for Mr Corbyn after Rahman was disbarred from office in April. An election court found the mayor guilty of “corrupt and illegal practices” including vote-rigging, bribery and lying that his Labour opponent was a racist. The judge, Richard Mawrey QC, said Rahman had run a “ruthless and dishonest” campaign which “drove a coach and horses” through electoral law.

Mr Francis, one of Rahman’s highly-controversial twelve political appointees, was at the heart of the mayor’s personal machine which saw millions of pounds of taxpayers’ cash channelled to personal allies and Muslim groups in return for political support.

He is a former member of the Trotskyite Socialist Workers’ Party who was expelled from the SWP in 2007 for being too extreme. He then became an organiser for George Galloway’s far-Left Respect party and was agent for the party’s then leader, Salma Yaqoob, at the 2010 elections in Birmingham. He joined Rahman after the collapse of Respect and Ms Yaqoob’s resignation as leader.

This is what Ger said on what he intended to do in Respect (from, surprise, surprise, Socialist Unity  March 2008).

Our contribution to the international class struggle starts with the work we do to undermine British imperialism. In this context, the significance of the developments that have taken place around Respect, under the leadership of George Galloway and Salma Yaqoob, should not be underestimated. The demands made by Respect would probably have been accommodated by left social democracy in previous generations, but they have been given backbone by a resolute anti-imperialism, anti-racism and a critique of capitalism. This is the correct political orientation for mass politics.

Francis is particularly hated by Iranian and other exiles from Islamist countries for the role he played in Birmingham back in 2001-2 – preventing these democratic secular socialists from expressing their views in the Stop the War Campaign.

You can read about Francis’s activities in this text by respected comrades  Sue Blackwell and Rehan Hafeez – the pseudonym  of  a greatly valued Iranian activist I have had close contact with  (WHY WE WERE RIGHT TO LEAVE THE SWP).

On 4th April 2002, Rehan Hafeez (SWP member of 16 years’ standing) and Sue Blackwell (SWP member of 19 years’ standing) sent a joint letter of resignation to the Central Committee of the SWP. Our letter was sent by Recorded Delivery and we had expected some sort of response from the CC. Of course we didn’t expect them to take all our allegations at face value, but we did hope that they would at least investigate them. However, we never received a reply in any form whatsoever – not even an acknowledgement of our resignations. The only contact from the Centre was a couple of months later when we each received a phone call from the Membership Office enquiring why our subs had stopped! (Sue took great pleasure in answering that at some length to the poor sod at the end of the phone).

We therefore decided to post our letters on the web along with related documents, so that people can judge for themselves whether we made the right decision. Since we posted them in 2003, we have received dozens of supportive e-mails from others who have left the SWP under similar circumstances, and remarkably also from people who are still in the SWP suffering the same kind of abuses but haven’t yet plucked up the courage to leave. (I call it “battered comrade syndrome”).

In our letter we complained about the packing of the Birmingham Stop the War Coalition (BSTWC) meeting on 5th February 2002, where the SWP rode roughshod over the existing democratic procedures in order to kick Steve Godward out of his post as Vice-Chair of BSTWC and to end the practice of open committee meetings and regular elections. This event was exactly mirrored at the Birmingham Socialist Alliance AGM held on 1st July 2003, where – guess what – the SWP packed the meeting in order to kick Steve Godward out of his position as Chair, along with every other committee member who was not in the SWP, including Rehan who was voted out of his post as Press Officer.

One point we would mention: the texts of these letters make repeated reference to Ger Francis, the Birmingham SWP full-timer. Ger was finally sacked by the SWP around the time of the Party Conference in early November 2002, and we are confident that our complaints about him contributed in some measure to that welcome decision. However, it would be wrong to think that the problems began and ended with comrade Francis: he was the symptom, not the cause. After his replacement the SWP in Brum continued to behave in exactly the same sectarian, dishonest and undemocratic manner within the anti-war movement and the Socialist Alliance. The rot, as far as we can see, comes from the head: Ger was repeatedly backed by CC members such as Chris Bambery, Lindsey German and John Rees and those individuals have not changed their positions. We have seen no real improvement in the internal democracy of the SWP.

We also note that no explanation was given to the rank-and-file as to WHY Ger was sacked, and why at THAT PARTICULAR TIME given that complaints against him had been made since the beginning of 2002. Ger carried on behaving in the exactly the same way, still taking a leading role in the BSTW Coalition for instance, but nothing was done to stop this. We considered this to be further evidence of the contempt the leadership had for ordinary members. Eventually Ger was expelled from the party itself as part of the fall-out from the split in Respect in 2007, when he sided with the Salma Yaqoob / George Galloway faction after the SWP had apparently seen the light.

This is one text: Concerning Events in Birmingham Since the Autumn of 2001. There are many more on the site.

This account of some of the events backs up their account of Ger’s factionist pro-Islamist stand in Birmingham:  STWC gravediggers. Steve Davis. (Weekly Worker. 9.1.03).

Here is Ger lauding Galloway (November 2009).

Hundreds attend George Galloway meeting in Birmingham University by Ger Francis

For those involved in Palestinian solidarity in Birmingham, its university has long felt like some weird Zionist outpost. For years Israeli apologists, through bureaucratic bullying and intimidation via the Student Union Guild, have been able to hinder and stifle debate.

Ger comments.

George Galloway is simply the most eloquent advocate of the Palestinian cause in the English speaking world.

To follow Henry the V is a hard task.

But this is what Sue said about Ger when he was finally booted out of the SWP (here),

Sue sent this as an e-mail to various comrades on hearing in early November 2002 that Ger Francis, the cause of so much of her misery, had been sacked from his post as full-time organiser for the SWP in Birmingham. Steve Godward replied “well said brother Wordsworth”.

In hindsight, however, this proved to be overly optimistic. Ger Francis remained very much in the driving seat of the Bham Stop The War Coalition, the “clumsy desperation” continues with a vengeance and there are still plenty of “madding factions” needing to be tranquilised ….

By the way – I shouldn’t need to say this but I’ll say it anyway – I do not in any way condone or encourage acts of individual violence and I do not wish anyone dead, even my worst enemies. In any case my worst enemies are the governments of the USA, the UK and Israel, not anyone on the British left. The “rivers of blood” here are strictly metaphorical (and nothing to do with Enoch Powell either!)

… but the foremost of the band
As he approached, no salutation given
In the familiar language of the day,
Cried, “Robespierre is dead!” – nor was a doubt,
After strict question, left within my mind
That he and his supporters all were fallen.

Great was my transport, deep my gratitude
To everlasting Justice, by this fiat
Made manifest. “Come now, ye golden times,”
Said I forth-pouring on those open sands
A hymn of triumph: “as the morning comes
From out the bosom of the night, come ye:
Thus far our trust is verified; behold!
They who with clumsy desperation brought
A river of Blood, and preached that nothing else
Could cleanse the Augean stable, by the might
Of their own helper have been swept away;
Their madness stands declared and visible;
Elsewhere will safety now be sought, and earth
March firmly towards righteousness and peace.”

Then schemes I framed more calmly, when and how
The madding factions might be tranquilised,
And how through hardships manifold and long
The glorious renovation would proceed.
Thus interrupted by uneasy bursts
Of exultation, I pursued my way …

William Wordsworth, The Prelude, Book

It is, frankly, outrageous that Ger Francis should be working for any Labour MP.

 

 

 

 

Written by Andrew Coates

October 26, 2015 at 12:49 pm

21 Responses

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  1. After Seumas Milne got his new job I made a flippant remark on ‘Shiraz’ that John Rees would be given the job of Jeremy Corbyn’s Middle East Peace Envoy.

    After this news about Ger Francis, I wouldn’t be surprised at anything.

    Maybe Jeremy can’t decide between John and Gorgeous George for the post.

    John R

    October 26, 2015 at 1:32 pm

  2. Ger deeply wounded some people who mean a lot to many of us: I for one will not forget this.

    Andrew Coates

    October 26, 2015 at 1:35 pm

  3. Even Andy Newman has had harsh words for Ger Francis. Here Andy is in 2007:
    Sadly, Ger was and is a political thug. He has played a disastrous role in both Birmingham Stop the war Coalition, and the Socialist Alliance, as has been fully documented by Sue Blackwell and Rumy Hassan. Ger polarised the left in Birmingham, using bureaucratic manoeuvres and allegedly even physical intimidation, to exclude those, like Steve Godward, who were regarded as “unhelpful” to the implementation of every wheeze that came from London. Instead of developing an empowering environment for independent minded activists, Birmingham SWP have sought to reduce the anti war movement to an army of automatons who will do what they are told. Ger was a star comrade because he got “results”. As recently as last September he was re-elected as an SWP member back onto Respect’s national Council. Even after being sacked as a full timer in 2002 he remained the SWP’s main figure in Birmingham Stop the War Coalition.
    Because the SWP does not have any internal democratic mechanisms for the cadre to independently debate and resolve these sort of differences, the political gap between Ger and the London leadership has been conducted by the granting and then withdrawal of patronage. This political culture has allowed the SWP itself to operate for a number of years, relatively insulated from the harsh political climate, but it is a serious obstacle when it comes to working with other activists more used to the traditional democratic norms of the British labour movement.

    http://socialistunity.blogspot.co.uk/2007/01/swp-expels-leading-member.html

    bobfrombrockley

    October 26, 2015 at 2:21 pm

  4. Thanks Bob, it really isn’t funny is it?

    This is causing serious problems for us democratic socialists who backed Corbyn.

    Andrew Coates

    October 26, 2015 at 6:00 pm

  5. I’d not heard of the bloke. I’ve come across Sue Blackwell (very active in Palestine solidarity work) and Rumy Hasan (whose line on identity politics would not endear him to his old comrades, especially his book on official multiculturalism).

    What’s fascinating and rather depressing about the whole post-Cliff SWP is the way that practically all the splits and drift-aways have been into a swamp, not so much organisationally (I think the days of tightly-knit parties are long over, if they ever were a good thing in the first place) but politically.

    Respect was a rotten popular front outfit to start with (Cliff would never have ran with it), and was built upon the corpse of the Socialist Alliance. Yet I don’t think there was any principled opposition to it (grumbles, yes, from some brighter members, but no more), and when the difficulties with Galloway came, several SWPers went with him into rank opportunism. Then we had Counterfire, a sub-Respect outfit that lacked a flamboyant figurehead, and that group up in Scotland led by Chris Bambery that was much the same.

    When the Muffin Smith scandal hit, the SWP’s off-shoots got bogged down in the intersectionalism nonsense and again veered into this swamp of non-class politics. There is a crying need for a class-based broad campaign: whether the Corbyn phenomenon will help this come about, I don’t know, but I think it’s the best opportunity in years.

    Dr Paul

    October 26, 2015 at 6:22 pm

  6. Many people will be astonished that this individual was part of Corbyn’s Parliamentary staff – if that is true.

    It makes him look a fool – I have no stronger words.

    Andrew Coates

    October 26, 2015 at 6:27 pm

  7. Ask *anyone* involved in and around the Socialist Alliance, the SWP and Respect in Birmingham in the naughties, what they think of Ger Francis and the answer will be the same: a sub-political hooligan who regularly threatened political opponents, sided with Islamists against Socialists (like the Iranian political exile Arash) and was eventually expelled by the SWP for bringing the Party into disrepute. The idea that this lowlife thug is now part of Team Corbyn is truly astounding.

    Jim Denham

    October 26, 2015 at 7:15 pm

  8. Whenever a prominent left figure gets any kind of breakthrough or initiates something, all sorts of other leftists latch on to him or her, imagining that this, at last, is the start of something big. They project their hopes and aspirations onto this new figurehead. These diverse leftists might all like or respect the prominent left figure (or pretend that they do, for the usual opportunistic reasons) but they usually can’t stand one another, and soon start squabbling among themselves and denouncing each other for their real or imagined sins, past and present. At the same time they start to realise that this is not the breakthrough they had fantasised about, and start recriminations against the erstwhile object of their hopes and affections. And the latest great hope for the left crashes and burns, not least thanks to the efforts of the leftists themselves. So it was, in different ways, with Ken Livingstone, Arthur Scargill, George Galloway etc. etc. and now we can see it in slow motion with Jeremy Corbyn. Plus ça change…

    Francis

    October 27, 2015 at 12:18 am

  9. “and now we can see it in slow motion with Jeremy Corbyn. Plus ça change…” not if he pulls back from such disastrous appointments as Milne and Francis (who must be “let go” one way or another, even if it means pay-offs), and bases himself upon serious, honest, left-wingers and the rank and file of the Party.

    Jim Denham

    October 27, 2015 at 1:07 am

  10. I’ve been checking through the archives at Shiraz Socialist, and come across this (BTL comment) from April 2010:

    “Yaqoob’s bag-carrier and campaign manager, the (not very good) pugilist Ger Francis (who seems to be obsessed by people he calls “Orange Zionists” who are behind all criticism of Respect) is most certainly not someone I’m about to take any lessons from about honesty or accuracy. Like the SWP (who expelled him), I believe he’s unfit to be considered part of any kind of reputable politics.

    “Mr Francis’s complaint that the article [at Shiraz Socialist] attributed a particular quote to him (supposedly upon hearing that Labour MP Lynne Jones was supporting Yaqoob) which he denies, is one I’m willing to accept, however: I accurately reported what I was told, but it cannot be independently verified so I’m not repeating it.

    Jim Denham

    October 27, 2015 at 1:39 am

  11. I think Francis makes a good point in the comments: “all sorts of other leftists latch on to him or her, imagining that this, at last, is the start of something big. They project their hopes and aspirations onto this new figurehead.”

    I think Francis might be missing the negative, though – all those leaving the Left project onto the ‘new big thing’ all the ‘faults’ that are causing their own departure.

    So what would have been obvious to them once (maybe) e.g. the fact that it’s hypocritical to consider the killing of a British soldier by irregulars in London to be different to the same action by the SAS of an Iraqi soldier in Basra is now seen as major problem of new hate figures for them, such as Milne (who is more wrong than right).

    It blinds them to what would once have been obvious precautions. Who of them, now, pauses to think about the spin and motives (or considers whether any credence should even be given) to the reporting of Andrew Gilligan?

    Look at what Gilligan actually writes: Corbyn ” has employed” (Ger) Francis “on the leadership campaign” sometime ‘after April’. My reading is that he did work there sometime during the campaign (June to September) but does not do so now.

    So this is jumping on a Daily Telegraph bandwagon against someone (who I also know, from personal experience, to be a nasty piece of work) who is, despite everything, this, some form of Left. Do you see any campaigning against the many right-wing characters who will be staffing the national (and local) Labour Party machine(s)?

    I’m not projecting anything onto Corbyn. It was good he was elected but the omens aren’t good – he is not taking the fight to the right but instead accomodating to them and there is no sign yet of his (will o’ the wisp?) army of supporters – but it’s still early. He will probably die on his own

    It’s noticeable that what should be seen as a good thing is read as though it was a bad thing by Coates, Denham, etc. Just leave quietly.

    Incidentally, I would have not deleted the Neil Clark photo – it will doubtless be copyright of someone but most probably not him (it wasn’t a selfie) – maybe Sputnik. I’d only respond to a request from the proven owner of the copyright.

  12. I am not projecting anything on Corbyn.

    I have seen him operate, effectively, for over 25 years.

    I was even born in his constituency.

    This is simply a matter of a person, Ger Francis, as Jim describes, who is not considered part of the labour movement.

    Andrew Coates

    October 27, 2015 at 1:04 pm

  13. If it’s the case that Francis is no longer part of Team Corbyn, excellent! But it shows phenomenally bad judgement to have employed him (or associated with him) in the first place.

    BTW funny how the left’s attitude to Gilligan has changed since his investigative work into the Hutton Report and the suicide of dr Kelly (when Gilligan was considered an excellent, fearless reporter will to defy the government) to the present position, whereby anything he writes can simply be dismissed as right-wing propaganda.

    I’m no fan of Gilligan, but his coverage, for instance of the ‘Trojan Horse’ Birmingham schools scandal has been shown be largely accurate (and ongoing developments will shortly confirm this once and for all), while most of the left (including Milne) simply dismissed it as a “smear”.

    To paraphrase Orwell, “the fact that the Daily Telegraph says it’s true doesn’t make it any less true.”

    Jim Denham

    October 27, 2015 at 1:12 pm

  14. Gilligan’s reporting is not to be trusted as demonstrated by my research (which I tweeted about at the time).

    In reporting Rahman, he claimed that a Tower Hamlets polling station had been put on a ‘traffic island in the middle of a 4 lane highway’ so as to discourage voting. That’s rubbish. The location of the polling station is in the building with the green door in https://twitter.com/Southpawpunch/status/473019041230385152.

    I have seen some of his poor reporting of Trojan Horse. Trojan Horse will one day be a prime example of hysterical reporting – by many different journalists (like the ‘satanic abuse’ scandals of some time ago). Its techniques include using such things as reporting the unsupported claims of teachers facing disciplinary actions about their colleagues as ‘facts’ right through to the bizarre article this last week that ‘Trojan Horse teachers made pupils stare at hedges as punishment’ which is just the sort of mindless discipline teachers do as punishment but is hardly unlike other ones and also a lot better than my school where they would make you put on boxing gloves and battle in the gym (‘like gentlemen’) with anyone you fell out with

    So whilst it’s correct to say that the D Tel (and more) is not automatically wrong, it should be automatic that any socialists always looks at what they do report with a sceptical eye.

  15. Punchy: the full facts of Trojan Horse will shortly be revealed: “deniers” like yourself, Milne, the Guardian, the SWP and NUT will find themselves somewhat embarrassed, I promise you.

    Jim Denham

    October 27, 2015 at 3:18 pm

  16. This is already out (few days ago).

    Trojan Horse’ school teachers and pupils dubbed people ‘Jew boys’ in anti-Semitic slurs

    Pupils and staff at a school at the heart of the Trojan Horse scandal used anti-Semitic language as insults – dubbing people "Jew boys, it has been claimed.

    A former teacher at Park View Academy in Alum Rock said pupils daubed anti-Semitic graffiti over their notebooks, while she heard teachers and pupils alike calling people the name as a derogatory term.

    The former sex education teacher, known as Witness A, was giving evidence at a National College for Teaching & Leadership (NCTL) hearing where five senior teachers face allegations of professional misconduct.

    All five teachers involved In the hearing – Moz Hussain, Lindsey Clark, Arshad Hussain, Razwan Faraz and Hardeep Saini – face the same allegation of trying to include an undue amount of religious influence in the education of pupils.

    And the witness, granted anonymity by the hearing panel, criticised former Park View executive headteacher Lindsey Clark for failing to put a stop to the insults.

    While she said Lindsey sent a note to teachers discussing the anti-Semitism, no action was taken.

    The witness added: "Instead of saying it would be investigated and action would be taken, the tone of the memo was more 'what are your thoughts on the matter?'

    "I would have expected that those in charge of a school faced with such graffiti or behaviour would have taken firm action to eradicate it and discipline anyone involved, however, this did not happen as far as I am aware."

    She also claimed she heard Razwan and pupils use the word "kuffer", which means "none believer". She said it was used in a "derogatory" manner.

    She added: "when I heard this term used I felt very uncomfortable because it is not appropriate language to be used anywhere, but especially in a school."

    All five senior teachers at the hearing in Coventry were formerly employed by Park View Educational Trust – which ran Park View, Golden Hillock and Nansen Primary.

    All three schools were plunged into special measures in April last year during investigations into an alleged plot by hardline Muslims to take control of governing bodies.

    A total of 11 teachers from across the three schools have this week been accused of professional misconduct by the NCTL.

    Matters against 10 of those are still being considered, however one of the teachers has been cleared of any wrong-doing.

    Johirul Islam, who was a teacher at Park View, has been told he has no case to answer. The case against him has been discontinued.

    The hearings in the matter of the 10 other teachers continue."

    23rd October: http://www.birminghammail.co.uk/news/midlands-news/trojan-horse-school-teachers-pupils-10319706

    Andrew Coates

    October 27, 2015 at 5:42 pm

  17. You haven’t read my comment above have you? “Reporting the unsupported claims of teachers facing disciplinary actions about their colleagues as ‘facts’.” Or in this case, assisting in the disciplinary actions.

    So a teacher makes allegations. Allegations may or may not be correct (indeed that is also true about the ‘proven facts’ related by a prosecution who get a conviction) and relevant context is generally ignored (I was once accused of racism at a Left meeting for alerting people to something in a BNP leaflet. I mean, by reading it out, I did ‘repeat and spread those views’ according to someone there who now works for Birmingham council). Any allegations, regardless of truth, about Trojan Horse (or the BNP, Gary Glitter, Peter Sutcliffe, ISIS, the ‘Hard Left’, etc) will get a ready echo in the media.

    Anti-semitic abuse is deplorable. At my school in the 70s the term ‘jew’ was used by quite a few as in when dividing up the communal dessert at lunch, as in ‘don’t be a jew, divide it fairly.’

    So was the school tolerant of anti-semtism? No the indications would be quite the contrary, the NF candidate was barred from standing in a shadow election (it was generally thought he would have won) and we were all (including me, the anarchist candidate – 3 votes) lectured by a German master (who I didn’t realise it then, but was a Jewish refugee from the Nazis), with the whole assembled leadership of the school behind him, about the evils of fascism (actually, German Nazism. I reckon they would have liked a fair bit about Mosley).

    Who knows what actions the Trojan Horse schools may have taken about anti-Semitism and other bigotry. And can any school impose its will on its captives (thankfully, no – punk was ‘banned’ at my school). Anyway, whatever Trojan Horse schools actually did right is of no interest to the chatterers – you have burnt this witch already.

  18. What the hell are you trying to argue, Punchy?

    “Who knows what actions the Trojan Horse schools may have taken about anti-Semitism and other bigotry?” Well, teachers at Park View and other Trojan Horse schools know very well, and have told me: nothing.

    Why are you so unwilling to face the facts?

    Jim Denham

    October 28, 2015 at 1:46 am

  19. I’m arguing that socialists should fight the Islamophobic wave, like the same did in Weimar Germany to oppose anti-Semitism, rather than get sucked into it.

    I’m sure there are instances of reactionary behaviour by teachers and students in near all schools. A friend (lapsed Catholic) noted all the religious overtones when attending recent Open Days for her child at two of what she calls ‘state schools’ (one CofE linked through some trust, the other Catholic) that are the nearest to where she lives.

    The original Trojan Horse allegation were about Islamists (or were they just Muslims) ‘conspiring’ (i.e. organising) to become school governors. There’s nothing intrinsically wrong in them or Tories or Trots organising to do this. That ‘conspiring’ colour in the story should have alerted any clued-in socialist as to where this was going. (And wasn’t the original Trojan Horse email itself shown to be fake?)

    I don’t doubt you get taught all sort of rubbish at schools (I was disciplined for anti-religious activities at school – refusing to carry a hymn book or sing & more) but no one is generally going to run hysterical articles about such unless they are Muslim schools or teachers or pupils in the same way that the reactionary press in 20s Germany would have gone much bigger on some crook who also happened to be a Jew.

    I’ll take notice of ‘evidence’ when all Birmingham schools are investigated – from Sparkbrook to Sutton Coldfield – and including all types (state, religious, private), by someone trustworthy (i.e. not some top cop, as it was Trojan Horse, I believe) for evidence of religious prejudice and indoctrination. I’ll bet anyone the promotion of Christianity will be more prominent than any other form of religion.

    Can you not see that if you just investigate school in areas with lots (a majority?) of Muslim students then surprise, surprise, if religious bigotry is found, it won’t be that promoting Shintoism?

  20. So reactionary behaviour is all right because it happens in “all schools”.

    It might have escaped your attention Southpaw but there are powerful and wealthy reactionary regimes which are Islamist from Iran to Saudi Arabia, not to mention one state (in effect), run by Daesh.

    If the varieties of Islamism are many, from types of Salifism onwards, right to the genociders of Daesh, there is no ‘progressive’ side in the ideology and practice of this right-wing force.

    Islamism in Britain is not a cry of the powerless but the echo of these forces – in all their complexity.

    The allegations in this case were, naturally, a lot wider – though they did include claims that support for Syrian Islamists – apparently the ‘moderate’ kind whatever that means at the present moment in the civil war – was encouraged in some of these schools.

    In brief, it is a political issue: was there Islamist influence – glossed as “Conservative” Islam – at work here.

    This is the context in which the issues that arise from the case have to be judged.

    You manage to avoid this completely.

    Andrew Coates

    October 28, 2015 at 6:48 pm

  21. I don’t see the relevance of this to the points that I made.

    There is, however, one point on which you may be half-right – religion (although naturally you mention just ‘Islam’- in your monomania) is (sometimes) not the “cry of the powerless”.

    But sometimes it is just that. And Islam in the UK (or Rastafarianism or Seventh Day Adventism) is a awful lot more this than, say, Scientology.

    Because as someone wrote in the sentences that which preceed one of his most well known sentences, but which rarely get quoted:

    “Religious suffering is, at one and the same time, the expression of real suffering and a protest against real suffering. Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions.

    “It is the opium of the people.”


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