What We’ve Been Up To
Don’t Divide Us hosted a lively session on the Sewell Report at the Battle of Ideas Open For Debate festival on Saturday 31 August with Tony Sewell on on film (pictured), who was joined by Professor James Tooley, Kunle Olulode, Patrick Vernon and Zara Qureshi with DDU’s Dr Alka Sehgal Cuthbert in chair. It was great to be at a live event with many interesting and thought-provoking contributions from panellists and the audience. A recording of the event will be posted when available.
DDU’s Parents’ Group met this week where Mark Lehain from the Campaign for Common Sense gave an introduction on impartiality in education. While outlining the situation in terms of the law, Mark pointed out that in terms of approaching schools with concerns or questions, a ‘tread lightly’ approach, emphasising positive reasons for adopting impartiality in classrooms, is a good place to start. Do drop us a line if you would like access to Mark’s slides, or would like to know more about DDU Parents’ Group plans for letter writing and the Parents’ Voices project.
Britain’s highest universities can always be depended on to pick up a craze and run with it, especially if they get the chance to tell people what to think or say and when to think or say it. Don’t bother thinking or speaking for yourself, people, those of us who work in university diversity bodies are the only people qualified to know the true meaning of life and everything, as the Telegraph reports.
And just to show how far off the beam some of these expensive leaders of thought can be, in a BBC News story parents from across the race spectrum explain how anyone of any colour can be totally prejudiced against anyone of any colour. The young Asha’s spontaneous response to the colour-obsession of others – they are a family of ice-cream flavours, from chocolate to vanilla – is generous and life-enhancing. Universities, schools, councils and diversity ‘experts’ peddling overly simplistic tales of race-based victimhood and oppression need to get a better grip on reality.
To South Africa and the North-East, where a council spokesman said: “In response to the anti-racism protests which began in Bristol last summer, the city council conducted an urgent review into statutes in Newcastle”, reports the Telegraph, citing council documents claiming the Second Boer War was a “colonialist enterprise”. We have two questions to the council. Firstly, Why? What is the link between race-based disadvantages, attempts to improve the lives of all residents, and ‘an urgent review into statues’? The past cannot be changed, any pride or shame we might feel about our nation or its culture should be grounded in what we are doing today. Obsessing over statues is just plain silly.
Dummy of the week award goes to West Midland Trains who believes that saying that you don’t want to live in a Caliphate is offensive enough to cost you your job, reports The Times We understand that the company will shortly be re-allocating to a Caliphate somewhere more in line with its cultural sensitivity, not that this is any more likely to ensure that its trains will be more comfortable or more likely to run on time. Still, why concentrate on your core business when you can bully your staff and show how keen you are to arrive on time at the platform of advanced thinking and all stations to oppression of freedom of thought, belief or speech?
A big shout out here for Jess De Wahls who continues to battle against the oppressors. As she points out in a piece in UnHerd, there is nothing like a spot of celebrity and a secure income to make cowards of us all. Go Jess. Tell it like it is.
Finally, we recommend the essay ‘Utopian Dreams & Totalitarian Nightmares: the Coerced Morality of Identity Politics’ by T.M. Murray we have published on DDU. Murray argues that “managed morality is little more than slavish obedience” and “identity politics is more like theocracy or a Maoist Cultural Revolution than a genuine improvement in social justice”, whereas Liberalism “brings about gradual social changes that are deeper and more stable, because they involve genuine conviction and transformation of the individual’s character”. Citing Robin DiAngelo, Reni Eddo-Lodge, DDU’s Alka Sehgal Cuthbert, Karl Popper and Hannah Arendt, Murray argues it is “the individual’s sovereign right to choose how far he wants to pursue an end” for instance of perfect health, citing heavy smoker Arendt, who chose to put her intellectual pursuits above her health.
We shall not be meeting every week in August. There will be two Monday meetings, on August 9th and 23rd. The Education Group will meet on Tuesday August 31st. Drop us a line if you would like to take part.