I know that I'm opening myself up for a maelstrom of criticism here, but so be it.
I have a huge amount of respect for Michael Gove and I think that the education reforms that he is steering through parliament are some of the most significant elements of the government's programme. But on the issue of BNP members being barred from teaching I believe he has got it wrong.
Allowing a system where head-teachers can fire staff just because they are members of the BNP is wrong on both a practical and moral level.
The practical argument first. The BNP thrive on their victimhood status, they love to claim that the establishment and ganging up against them and preventing them telling voters the "truth", clearly the "truth" as the BNP sees it bears little relation to the reality that most of us would recognise. Singling the BNP out in the way that this proposal would serves only to reinforce their, already over inflated, sense of self importance. Selective treatment is counterproductive.
Now the moral case. As much as I despise the BNP and what they believe, they are a recognised political party. If government believes that they should become an illegal, prohibited organisation then it should make them so, until and unless they do we have to treat the BNP just like any other party no matter how unpalatable their views may be. All people have protection under the law against discrimination based on their political beliefs.
If a teacher breaks the law or acts in an inappropriate or unprofessional manner in the classroom or with colleagues then the appropriate action should be taken. But we are at the top of a slippery slope if we allow people to be fired not because of what they have said or done but just because they are a member of a political party.
Thought crime is straight out of Orwell's 1984 and has no place in British life.
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