Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Nick Clegg, faith schools, and bullying

According to the Telegraph, Nick Clegg, the leader of the Liberal Democrats, has said that faith schools should be required to have anti-homophobic bullying policies in place. “If they're suffering higher rates of homophobic bullying and violence then we need to put serious pressure on them. It needs
to be a requirement.”

So what are we to make of this? Well, let us note first of all that Mr. Clegg uses the word “if.” He is not sure about whether faith schools are suffering higher rates of homophobic bullying and violence. Are they? According to a report compiled by Stonewall in 2007, 75% of lesbian, gay and bisexual pupils attending faith schools claim to have experienced homophobic bullying, as opposed to 65% of LGB pupils generally. So perhaps they are. But who is to know? To claim to have been the victim of bullying is not the same thing as to have actually been bullied.

But Mr. Clegg’s suggested remedy leaves me somewhat concerned, for the following reasons.

1. He seems to believe that faith schools should be lumped together and singled out for serious pressure, despite the fact that 75% is not that much higher than 65%. Yet Mr. Clegg’s words would suggest to the casual observer that he thinks that faith schools have a significant problem that other schools do not have. Even if one accepts the findings of the Stonewall report at face value, it is probable that some faith schools do not have a significant bullying problem, and that some non-faith schools do. This business of lumping all faith schools together is a bit like the way some people say “If members of a certain ethnic group are considerably more likely to be involved in crime, then we need to target that ethnic group.” And I think that Mr. Clegg would not like that.

In passing, I might add that his approach reminds one of the approach of the government to home education. A review of 74 local authorities found that while 0.2% of children in the UK population were known to social services, the figure was 0.4% among those who were educated at home. The government’s response to these statistics has been to propose draconian and intrusive regulations for home educators.

2. The idea that the way to address the problem is to insist that schools have “anti-homophobic bullying policies” in place is depressing. Everyone has to have a policy in place for every eventuality. If a school has good leadership and good discipline, there is no need to have a policy in place, because bullying will be appropriately dealt with.

3. As a libertarian, I do not believe that it is the job of central government to insist that individual schools have any policies at all in place. This is simply not a central government function. (No doubt Mr. Clegg will be absolutely horrified by my saying this.)

4. And why this big concern about homophobic bullying? Why not simply be concerned about bullying per se? And of course the answer is because some people are obsessed with hate crime. As Tom Paine, over at The Last Ditch, says:
Why is the Left so obsessed with “hate speech” and “hate crime?” If I am injured, I want justice, whether my attacker was motivated by hate or merely indifferent to my plight. If my goods are stolen, I don’t care if the thief was driven by envy, hatred or greed. I just want my stuff back and the thief out of circulation.
If I am being bullied, does it really matter whether I am being bullied because of my expressed sexual preferences, or because the bully finds my voice irritating, or he doesn’t like the fact that I have different tastes in music from him, or whatever? Or course not. The problem is not homophobia - it is bullying.

Yes, I know that Mr. Clegg is a politician, and when he is being interviewed by Attitude magazine, he will be playing to the gallery and making a pitch for the LGBT vote. But I still find his words rather disappointing.

Edit: I also note that that Mr Clegg has apparently said that faith schools should be legally obliged to teach that homosexuality is "normal and harmless."

Liberal Democrats? That is about as illiberal as it gets. "Stalin Democrats" would be a more accurate name. I'm sorry, but they have just joined the BNP and Labour in the "parties that I would not even consider voting for" category.


Anonymous said...

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Stuart said...

Brilliant Post. You are on sizzling form!

Having to cross-post again, do let me know if that causes any probs.

Young Mr. Brown said...

No problems at all, Stuart.

Stewart Cowan said...

"And why this big concern about homophobic bullying? Why not simply be concerned about bullying per se? And of course the answer is because some people are obsessed with hate crime."

Pure and simply, it is social engineering. By getting people to think that a) there are loads of 'LGBT' children in schools and b) they are getting a hard time then they can build on the concern to normalise homosexuality to children.

They are saying: look, 'gays' and lesbians are no different from you.

Every school should deal with bullying when it occurs and every case will be different. The only reason for singling out 'homophobic' bullying is, like I say, for sympathy and to pretend that it's normal.

This then gives them the scope to attack those who still have their heads screwed on properly, thus Christians and anyone else who wants freedom of speech and thought are threatened with being criminalised.

It's a very simple, yet effective, way of constructing a police state.

And what is an 'LGB' or 'LGBT' child anyway? From what I understand, the majority of teenagers experience same-sex desire. What Stonewall want, IMHO, is to use this opportunity to ensnare vulnerable children into their lifestyle.

Anonymous said...

Stewart Cowan,

//anyone else who wants freedom of speech and thought are threatened with being criminalised.//

Still trying to pretend that you are a defender of free speech, are you? Or have you changed your view on speech promoting homosexuality? If not, then as I have shown you with absolutely perfect, sparklingly clear logic, (logic you have yet to refute) you do not support free speech.

Until you change your view on the legality of buggery, the legality of promoting homosexuality, and the legality of teaching children that homosexuality is acceptable, you can never be considered a defender of free speech, or a critic of a police state.

You are, in short, just a violent, nasty little authoritarian, left-wing, collectivist idiot.

(Sorry YMB for the outburst, but at least I did manage to avoid curse words)

Young Mr. Brown said...

"violent, nasty little authoritarian, left-wing, collectivist idiot."

Oh dear. What would my Aunt Lucy think?

I'm particularly concerned about the word "little" in that list. Do you think that "little" really goes with "nasty" and "violent" and "idiot"? I'm a very small bear, you know . . . .

Anonymous said...


Yes, but there is small and sweet (as in, say, a Cherry Bakewell), and then there is small and unpleasant, as in Yersinia pestis.

I use the word "little" because it evokes in my mind an image of a a pint-sized Ming the Merciless, squeaking about control and authority. But I am very much aware that there are little things that are nice - it is a pity that you have to share a stature with such unpleasant company.

Stewart Cowan said...

I've rattled Indigomyth's cage again.

"you do not support free speech."

Absolutely I don't, when it's used to tell children lies about buggery.

You have this strange insistence that I am pro-police state because I'm against Stonewall peddling their perversion to kiddies.

Anonymous said...

Stewart Cowan,

//Absolutely I don't, when it's used to tell children lies about buggery.

You have this strange insistence that I am pro-police state because I'm against Stonewall peddling their perversion to kiddies.//

Fantastic! That means I can say that your speech ought to be restricted, because you teach lies about buggery - saying it is unnatural when it manifestly is not, since animals do it. I believe that homosexuality and buggery are natural and perfectly permissible - therefore you want to restrict my speech. You have no respect for people who have different views than you, and are as bad as the people that you criticise. You have absolutely no problem with censorship, provided it censors those things that you believe to be wrong - it is disgusting. But at least you have shed your lies about being a defender of free speech, when you are nothing of the sort, but a nasty, violent, controlling authoritarian, without the wit, reason or logic to be able to debate in a coherent or systematic manner.

You advocate state brutality against those that wish to teach their children that being gay is okay, which is advocating a police state - and, given the fact that you also advocate the use of police to punish people for using their bodies how they want (your desire to criminalise buggery), I would be very very amused to hear how you do not advocate a police state? Is it, or is it not true that you want the state to prevent people from using their bodies in ways that you consider wrong? And the apparatus of state punishment is the police, so you are advocating a police state.

Tell me, do you also believe that Muslims lie to their children with regard to the nature of Jesus, or that atheists lie to their children regarding the existence of God? Do you therefore advocate restriction of their speech, regulation of what they can teach their children, all because it offends your precious beliefs.

Anonymous said...

//I've rattled Indigomyth's cage again.//

Would that more cages were rattled by the abhorrent, controlling nonsense that people like you, Nick Clegg and the rest peddle, about controlling what people say and do.

I bet you even favour restricting the promotion of neo-Nazism, white supremacy and Holocaust denial?


Stewart Cowan said...


I've no wish to get into an extended debate like last time.

Suffice it to say that animals walk around naked and defecate in public.

Shall we teach children it is okay to act similarly because it is 'natural'?

Anonymous said...

Stewart Cowan,

//Suffice it to say that animals walk around naked and defecate in public.

Shall we teach children it is okay to act similarly because it is 'natural'?//

I have absolutely no problem with naturists setting up their own schools and teaching their children that nudity is natural (indeed, I cannot really see how anyone could argue that clothes are natural - they are about as natural as cars, houses and particle accelerators).

As for defecating in public - the Romans did it, in communal toilets. I fail to see how it is unnatural.

It is you that is using the standard of "natural" to discern right from wrong, not I. It is a problem for you alone to decide when something that is natural is "good" and when it is "bad". I am merely pointing out the glaring inconsistency. Clearly there are things that are unnatural that you call right (clothes, defecating in private etc), and there are things that are natural that you consider wrong (buggery, nudity, murder etc). So merely resorting to "its unnatural, so it is wrong", is not only incorrect on the former charge, but it also incoherent in relation to the rest of your moral philosophy.

Stewart Cowan said...

Indigomyth, I was playing devil's advocate.

Anonymous said...

I read about it some days ago in another blog and the main things that you mention here are very similar