NEW POLL: should BNP members be banned from teaching?

Today’s Guardian reports that Labour’s schools secretary Ed Balls is seriously considering a possible ban on British National Party members working as teachers in schools:

A source close to the schools secretary, Ed Balls, said there had been several meetings on the issue with teaching unions which are lobbying for a change in teachers’ contracts to prevent them from working if they are members of far-right groups including the BNP. The issue was being “actively looked at”, the source said.

There are two things which are absolutely clear to me in all this. First, the BNP is a loathsome political party, and the views of it and by extension its members are repulsive. And, secondly, that the government has absolutely no right to prevent citizens from joining any legal organisation they wish so long as it does not interfere with their jobs.

To be sure, if a BNP member starts abusing their position of trust within a school to advocate voluntary repatriation of non-whites the school is well within its rights to sack them. But if that’s merely the personal view they hold, and which they do not seek to advocate publicly, it’s no business of ours. ‘Thoughtcrime’ is not more legitimate when practised against fascists rather than by them.

What do you, LDV’s readers, think? Do you think the NASUWT is right to call for teachers who are BNP members to be banned from teaching? Or do you think it’s an infringement of individual freedom too far?

The poll question is: Do you think there should be a change to teachers’ contracts to prevent BNP members from teaching? And your possible answers are:

Yes
No
Other [please state in comments]

Over to you…

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24 Comments

  • This is just typical New Labour control freakery. I do not support the BNP in any way, shape or form – but people are entitled to join any official political party no matter how unpalatable their ideas.

    Freedom of association is not something that should be curtailed.

    We should engage with those with whom we disagree, expose their flaws and allow people to make an informed decision. Banning achieves nothing other than a very cheap headline that allows the BNP to claim to be victims

  • I voted other. As a (non-practicing) teacher, and as a Liberal Democrat, I refuse to condone any move to prescribe peoples personal opinions, so long as they don’t parade them in the classroom. For that reason I should vote NO, but…. I can’t.

    Why? Because as a society we already condone, indeed encourage, the teaching of opinions, indeed of propaganda, in the classroom – it’s called ‘Religious Knowledge’.

  • What about far-left teachers teaching in private schools? Should that be allowed?

    Why do only far-right groups get picked on? If the Communists were running the country we’d suffer just as much as under the BNP.

  • Matthew Huntbach 22nd Jun '09 - 12:05pm

    It has to be no.

    I have in my life come across plenty of people holding responsible positions as teachers etc and who are affiliated to extreme left-wing parties which have endorsed the nastiest of regimes. In fact, anyone who was a member of the Communist Party in the McCarthyite era falls into that category.

    So, if we endorse the witch-hunt against BNP members, we should also agree that we would have been with, not against, McCarthy in those days. Otherwise, we’re hypocrites.

    On “rantersparadise”


    when a teacher decides to skip Slavery-that took up centuries of British resources and contributed immensely to the economy, because it deals with black people, then the pupil can raise the flag to parents…school etc..

    Well, what about a teacher who DID teach “Slavery” but in a way that was “British people, inherently evil” rather than put it in context, noting for example the strong British campaign against slavery? Or the awkward fact that the West African elites (descendants of whom now form the majority of black faces in our schools) selling on prisoners of war were as much a driver of the slave trade as anyone? Or that the radical Cobbett argued that anti-slavery whigs were hypocrite because workers in their factories lived worse lives than West Indian slaves? Or that the Muslim world carried on the slave trade long after Britain tried stamping it out?

    There is a problem in trying to endorse any one line as the politically correct one. The correct attitude to history should be to note there are various ways of interpreting it. We should try and be careful not to use history for any sort of propaganda reasons, not even for what we think of as good lessons in liberalism.

  • Robson – the problem with those bans means that the BNP is able to claim to being singled out for special attention and that it does nothing to change the unpleasant views that you seek to oppose.

    There are racists in all walks of life. There are homophobes, sexists and many other bigots in every workplace.

    Banning membership of the BNP does nothing to protect anyone – it just gives that party something more to complain about.

    You cannot legislate to abolish hatred. An Act of Parliament does nothing to change the hearts and minds of the population

  • Would you vote “Yes” if the question were “Do you think there should be a change to teachers’ contracts to prevent Jews from teaching” ?

    School should be about teaching children how to think critically, rationally, how to search for information and evaluate it once they’ve found it.

    As long as teachers teach that and not their opinion or unprovable ideologies then it shouldn’t matter which party/ideology/crazy-cult they belong to.

    If they then do preach, or try to evangelise/recruit, sack them for failing to do their job. Sack them for something they do, not something they might do.

  • Cameron’s Tory MEPs today joined up with Latvian SS apologists, Gipsy haters & gay bashers:

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/politics/article6554672.ece

    They presumably would have no problem if BNP teachers did push race hate in the classroom.

  • No.

    Where do you stop. Utterly and thoroughly illiberal.

  • Andrew Duffield 22nd Jun '09 - 4:10pm

    What Jock said – with bells on.

    This is utterly illiberal and should be strongly and totally resisted by our party.

    Just because BNP members “aren’t allowed to serve in the police, in the NHS, and the Army” doesn’t make this ban morally legitimate, any more than those are – which they are not!

    Of course it is not “totally unfeasible to think that a black or immigrant child would be ignored and bullied by a BNP teacher”, but there is a plethora of employment law and other legislation to deal with harrasment, child abuse and neglect without taking another misguided, if well meaning, step down the road to 1984.

  • As long as they’re a legal party, there’s no reason to ban their members from being teachers.

    However, I disagree with this statement:

    “Speech or publication itself should never be banned, no matter its content – and to do so, however repulsive some may find that speech, crosses an important line in curtailing freedoms”

    So would you allow libel, slander, perjury, and lots of other examples, to be legal??

    Never mind that restricting speech that is incitement to violence, or racist, isn’t illiberal under the harm principle, although it is difficult to do so.

  • i voted no because what right do people have to stop others beliving what they want to belive but if a teacher was parading racist views in a lesson then they should be fired or suspended for discrimination but then again so is firing someone just for being bnp if they dont show it

  • Anyone voting ‘yes’ is by definition not a Liberal.

  • Josiah Soap 5th Jul '09 - 9:31pm

    I vote no. But I am sure it won’t be long before the looney left will try and sack anybody from their job if they VOTE BNP. What happens if someone joins the police force and say I am not a member of the BNP, nor shall I ever be a member, but I support them and vote for them. This will be the next freedom lost. Personally I think anyone of the far left doctrine should also be singled out along with the BNP as they are equally as narrow minded and discriminating. Also why don’t they teach in schools how many African countries (e.g. Zimbabwe and S. Africa) have racist rules where they only employ blacks and ban whites from jobs, or focibly take their businesses. Oh sorry forgot, only white people can be racists and bigots!

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