Joel Suss, Managing Editor of the British Politics and Policy blog, takes a look at the week in UK blogging.

Teaching ‘British values’

Following a damaging report by Ofsted regarding the alleged infiltration of schools by Muslim hardliners, the education secretary Michael Gove delivered a speech in which he said that the government should require the teaching of “British values” in all primary and secondary schools.

Any Muslim extremists here? (Credit: Regional Cabinet CC BY 2.0)

Any Muslim extremists here?
(Credit: Regional Cabinet CC BY 2.0)

On Plashing Vole, Aidan Byrne writes: “This is dog-whistle politics of the very lowest sort. It tells UKIP and BNP voters that they can come back to the Tories because the party understands that Islam isn’t compatible with Britishness, that all radicals have brown skin, that the country’s problems are caused by a few bearded terrorists in urban slums who need rooting out.”

On Stumbling and Mumbling, Chris Dillow investigates what ‘British values’ are by looking at how behaviour in this country differs from others. He finds drunkeness, laziness, obesity and criminality are all accurate depictions, concluding that “[o]n balance, the empirical evidence suggests “British values” are not to be encouraged”.

Meanwhile, on the Institute for Government‘s blog, Tom Gash writes that “the events show that arrangements for identifying and addressing failure are far from perfect – and the responsibility for spotting it has become unduly opaque”. 

Secret Terror Trial

A Court of Appeal has just published its decision regarding the possibility of conducting criminal trials entirely in secret. The decision, which allows for trials to be conducted largely in secret but does not go all the way, is both welcome and worrying for Lawrence McNamara, writing on the UK Human Rights blog. While there will now be at least some degree of transparency and openness, “the decision continues the normalisation of secrecy”.

Miliband poses with a copy of The Sun

Ed Miliband (along with David Cameron, Boris Johnson, Nigel Farage and other politicians) posed with a copy of The Sun‘s special World Cup edition. Not only did this enrage Labour supporters in Liverpool, who have boycotted the paper ever since its depiction of Liverpudlians in the wake of the Hillsborough disaster, but it was also remarkable given that the paper is owned by Rupert Murdoch, the media magnate who Miliband has previously battled with. A day after the offending photo, Miliband apologised profusely while noting he still stands behind England’s World Cup squad.

Over at The Spectator‘s Coffee House blog, Sebastian Payne sees this as another example of the Labour leader’s difficult relationship with the press. Meanwhile, on Labour List, Tom Watson, Labour MP and a true scourge of the Murdochs, points out the “unusual act of illegality”  The Sun‘s free delivery of its World Cup special entails.

And finally…

On the SPERI Comment blog, Paul Lewis writes that “rising inequality cannot be explained or alleviated by technological change alone”.


Note:  Featured image credit: Policy Network

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