Gove versus May

It was much more than a cabinet spat

Ray Honeyford - 1984Ray Honeyford - 1984

It started off simply and it's only just begun, but the battle of words between Home Secretary Theresa May and Education Minister Michael Gove runs deep. This story has been taken down from the front pages of national newspapers and ironically fighting between rival Islamic factions in the Middle East played a big part in its removal. For anyone who has followed the Islamification of the UK this event has been illuminating. Initially it looked to be all about schools, but there was more. They public have felt abandoned as they watched the root causes of the dispute happen and have had to put up with the consequences in cities all across the UK. It has been convenient for large sections of the media to paint Gove as a neocon. May tripped up very early on this we can see with her remark implying that the problem with schools in Birmingham began in 2010. No it did not. If May and her counter-terrorism 'experts' really think this is so then this explains a lot. So where is the origin of this?

We could go back to the Ray Honeyford case of the mid-1980s. This was in Bradford but other cities could equally well have behaved the same way. Bradford also led the way with the problems following the publication of The Satanic Verses. What's interesting here is that Keith Vaz, the MP for Leicester East for just over a year, chose to lead a protest march in Bradford calling for the book to be banned. Prior to this Vaz had seemed to support both Rushdie and freedom of speech. Throughout his political career Vaz has always been quick to hop on the bandwagon and now, spotting an opportunity, he plans, as Chairman of the HoC Home Affairs Committee, to ask questions about Birmingham schools.

Meanwhile in Birmingham by the mid-1980s gangs of young Muslim men would go knocking doors in the Small Heath area demanding to know if there were muslims living there, the idea was to browbeat them into going to prayers. It was noisy rather than violent and had a minor political element in it. Politically it was a Labour heartland and the MP was Roy Hattersley who benefitted from this as the large Irish and Caribbean populations were not politically motivated. Also by the mid-1990s some Birmingham teachers had noticed problems with schools and began to raise concerns, they were ignored.

The next major event was in 2004, the Aston and Bordesley Green vote rigging scandal. Here Judge Richard Mawrey QC gave us the now famous quote about the 'banana republic' as a way of summing up what he had seen. So it comes as no surprise to find that following an attempt to corrupt the democratic process a similar movement was trying to take over schools. Gove has been quoted as seeking to 'drain the swamp', in an effort to deal with the root causes of Islamic extremism. By contrast, seeing this Islamification as an opportunity, countless others have paddled in the swamp and done very well. Public money has flowed into think tanks, schemes, initiatives and committees. All sorts of public servants: the police, elected Councillors and others have 'liaised' with 'vulnerable communities' and each other. But the problem remains.

Naturally there was ample opportunity for leading figures in this saga to make statements, Shabana Mahmood, Labour MP for Birmingham Ladywood, said:

The contents of the Ofsted reports make distressing reading for any resident of Birmingham. But what these reports do not prove is the central charge being levelled, which was that there was an organised effort to import extremism.

However, Sir Michael Wilshaw, the Ofsted chief executive claimed there was evidence of an "organised campaign to target certain schools". And some people agree with him.

It must be clear by now that the route we are taking to deal with Islamic extremism has failed. Government insider, Dominic Cummings, who in the past has been an advisor to Gove, has described the present attempts at dealing with extremism as 'a joke'. The exact number of UK born men involved in fighting in the Middle East is unknown. If the anti-extremism policies cannot work in Cardiff then they must be changed. The spotlight fell on Cardiff due to the high profile cases in which the families of the young men did not know they were fighting in Syria. It's just silly to pretend that the security services were any the wiser; not just the security services but also the police are clueless.

Theory has it that some young Muslim men are 'radicalised'. You do wonder what powerful force has corrupted the minds of the police, the security services and other public servants. The police have lost their sense of balance, this we can see from the repeated misuse of the anti-terrorism laws, see HERE and HERE and HERE

This overuse is not only inaccurate but damaging. It's as good as an obsession and, as we can see from the dates of these reports above, lessons are not being learned simply repeated. Not so long ago a journalist was threatened with possible arrest under these laws for filming a group of pensioners protesting about the cost of travel! During the recently concluded phone hacking trial it was clear to all that the police had made umpteen mistakes. We were encouraged to believe they were too busy doing more important things, like dealing with terrorism. This is a lie. The Spectator said -

The Metropolitan Police has rather more questions to answer, having spent so much time and money investigating what now looks like something rather less than the crime of the century. The Met seemed to react in panic — perhaps induced by the knowledge that they had been operating hand-in-glove with certain journalists for far too long, and were about to be rumbled. Like the Crown Prosecution Service, the police appear to have been swept away by the wave of hysteria.
All very true, they have been rumbled on this as well as paddling in the swamp Gove wanted drained. Further proof of this came from Sir Richard Dearlove , he's not exactly impressed by the way things are going The point made by him was that the whole threat has been exaggerated and the young Muslims on Jihad are pathetic. So why has this exaggeration happened? Well it does look like another case of group hysteria. David Davis also has a view that supports this, he notes, -

Frankly, the Government is uncritically swallowing what it is fed by our security agencies. It was asked for these powers to combat ‘criminals, terrorists and paedophiles’, and it is handing these powers over.

And given the Home Office’s creativity when it comes to statistics, it is unlikely any information included in the proposed transparency report will result in greater transparency. Even the statistics already released are cause for concern. The 2013 report of the Interception of Communications Commissioner revealed that 514,608 requests were made for data. By comparison, the most requests issued by the FBI in a year is 56,507. How can it be our intelligence agencies made nine times the number of requests for communications data than their US counterparts?

And so the legislation that Davis deplores has been rushed through parliament. Scant attention was paid to this by the MSM as they were too busy looking at 'Cameron's women'. We also had two reports published on the original Trojan Horse allegations. One was the Ian Kershaw report commissioned by Birmingham City Council and portrayed as 'independent'. Then there was the report from Peter Clarke, a former anti-terrorist specialist, who was appointed by Gove.

Both found the 'Trojan Horse' allegations, at first described as a 'hoax', to be largely correct, although the Kershaw report was the more squeamish of the two. Writing in the Telegraph Andrew Gilligan says how happy staff were at schools named in the scandal that at last the scandal was seen for what it was. However, their joy will have been tempered by the fact that just hours after Gove left the department and, it would seem, before the new Minister was installed, a deal was made by the officials at the education department that allowed senior teachers implicated in the scandal to keep their jobs.

So what happens next, who are the winners and the losers? Alas it's not that simple. But two things we can see, the Muslim 'community', whatever that is, has failed, with few exceptions, to face, let alone deal with, a problem that is wholly theirs. The level of denial is ridiculous and it is their turn to act, the rest of us have given enough. The other thing all too clear is that we will have more failure from our public servants. The revelations of spying on legitimate campaign groups by the police surprised only a few people; it was the extent of the casual, disorganised and possibly illegal work that shocked. A special unit, known as SDS, was involved. The report on this unit states -

Over the 40 years that the unit existed, senior Metropolitan police management of the day either knew nothing about the existence and activities of the unit or, when they did, they appeared to have allowed the SDS to exist in secret isolation in a manner that was complacent and possibly negligent.

This is almost comic. Take the first proposition, senior officers did not know the SDS unit was operating until recently; thus we have senior officers who, despite being 'unaware' of this unit under their own roof, are still in post and now able to access a vast amount of email data now granted to them under emergency powers. We should also remind ourselves, again, that in many cases of young Muslims on Jihad it was the families who alerted the police as, once again, they were unaware.

The second proposition, officers knew but did nothing is in fact more than negligent, it's corrupt. It's a fine example of mission creep. It's the job of the security services, MI5 and MI6, to spy on the nation and on behalf of the nation. We have already seen the views of ex-MI6 chief Sir Richard Dearlove, above. Cack-handed spying is not only counter-productive it's dangerous.

The quality of life in the UK is being eroded by Islamic extremism and the muscular but inept over reaction of the authorities. This is absurd as much more could be done on the simple level, for example our universities could show some brains, but they don't. It comes to something when even the Guardian sees the problem, although if you read the comments below this article you might think Gove created the problem rather than attempted to sort it out!