This is a cut and paste of Peter Hitchens’s Mail On Sunday column. 3dec2017.
“Our education system teaches the young what to think, not how to think. And if you ever wonder why so many things don’t work properly any more, or why you can’t get any sense out of so many organisations, this is one of the main reasons.
But it’s also getting harder and harder to think or say certain things. This week I experienced this mixture of brainwashing and propaganda at two different ends of the system.
I was sent a rather sinister questionnaire given to new arrivals at a secondary school I won’t name.
And I was the target of a bizarre and rather sad counter-demonstration at one of Oxford’s most exalted colleges. They are, in a way, connected.
The questionnaire is part of what has now become PSHCE, Personal, Social, Health and Citizenship Education. It is not anonymous, but it seeks, in a slippery sideways manner, to discover what the children involved think about immigration.
The cleverest question asks 11-year-olds to say why they think there is a shortage of jobs for younger people. One answer on the multiple-choice form is ‘competition from international applicants’.
They are asked to agree or disagree with such statements as ‘I like to be around people from other countries’ and ‘meeting students from other countries is interesting’. They are also invited to say how much they agree or disagree with the statement ‘immigration is bad for the country’.
They are asked if they have close friends from different countries, and how they would speak to a person whose first language isn’t English. And they are asked if immigrants should have the same rights as everyone else, whether they should be encouraged to speak the language of this country or encouraged to continue in their own traditions.
Well, I agree very strongly with the parent who sent this to me because she thought it was sinister probing into the minds of children, and also into her own opinions, none of the business of the school or the State.
Might some little symbol be placed against the name of any pupil who answered in the wrong way? Might it affect that pupil’s future and the attitude of the school towards the parents? If not, what is the educational purpose of this?
There’s no doubt a terrible conformism has infected our system. When I went to speak at Balliol College in Oxford about the restoration of grammar schools, I was met by a smallish, silent crowd holding up placards objecting to my presence there.
Judging from the righteous looks on their faces, they knew they were right. When I asked them to explain their point of view, they said nothing (unless you count one small raspberry). But I was handed two sheets of paper in which I was thoroughly denounced and hugely misrepresented as ‘Transphobic’ and ‘homophobic’.
I was, this indictment said, ‘a figure of hostility and hatred’. It ended in a sort of farce. A young woman positioned herself in front of me, walking slowly backwards while holding up a home-made placard proclaiming ‘History will forget you’. It hasn’t even remembered me yet.
Alas, she was walking backwards towards a large and prickly bush. She was so set on scorning me that she paid no heed when I warned her of her peril, and she duly reversed into it. No shrubs were hurt in the making of this protest, but it put her off her stride.
Still, history repeats itself. And if on this occasion the first time was farce, the next time could be tragedy. Such people will very soon be fanning out into politics, the law and the media. How long before they have the power to silence and punish me and you? Not as long as you think.”