NUT leaders ‘colluding to undermine anti-terror policies’

Jan 24, 2016

Photo credit: The Telegraph

By Andrew Gilligan

Leaders and activists of Britain’s biggest teachers’ union are colluding with Islamic extremists to undermine policies aimed at preventing terror attacks.

Private emails leaked to the Telegraph show that Rob Ferguson, a senior National Union of Teachers (NUT) activist in heavily-Muslim Newham, east London, is working with Mend, an extremist front group, and Cage, the notorious organisation which backed the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil) killer known as “Jihadi John”.

Mr Ferguson is orchestrating a campaign with Mend to discredit Prevent, the Government initiative which aims to spot signs of radicalisation in young people. A member of the NUT’s ruling national executive, Alex Kenny, and Ian Hale, the NUT’s assistant secretary in Newham, are also involved.


Continue reading by clicking the name of the source below.

20 comments on “NUT leaders ‘colluding to undermine anti-terror policies’

  • whew

    there’s a heck of a lot of reading to be done just to begin to possibly understand this news item

    key seems to be the following from here: http://www.surreycc.gov.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0020/62174/Prevent-Education-Tool-Kit-Mar-2015.pdf

    Extremism
    The Governments Prevent Strategy defines extremism as: “Vocal or active opposition to fundamental British
    values, including democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of different faiths
    and beliefs. We also include in our definition of extremism calls for the death of members of our armed forces”

    and that was referenced in this: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/445977/3799_Revised_Prevent_Duty_Guidance__England_Wales_V2-Interactive.pdf

    I guess we’d have to ask the teachers what’s up – maybe it’s just over-enthusiastic application of principles on both sides?

    p



    Report abuse

  • For thirty years I gave a substantial portion of my time to teacher unionism. Whilst I would take anything that the Telegraph says with a great big pinch of salt, I’d wonder if and why the Union refused to reply to the article.

    If there is any truth in the story, and even if it is, as it seems to be, just a beat-up about the activities of some very peripheral people, the NUT should get on the case immediately.



    Report abuse

  • eejit
    Jan 25, 2016 at 5:06 am

    For thirty years I gave a substantial portion of my time to teacher unionism. Whilst I would take anything that the Telegraph says with a great big pinch of salt, I’d wonder if and why the Union refused to reply to the article.

    I would agree that ANYTHING in the Telegraph about unions, should be taken with a pinch of salt!

    @OP – Leaders and activists of Britain’s biggest teachers’ union are colluding with Islamic extremists to undermine policies aimed at preventing terror attacks.

    Having said that, It would be no surprise to find that politically correct ideological nonsense was intruding, that NUT representatives at consultation meetings turned up with no idea about background issues, or that some nutty fringe political groups, had taken over some NUT branches while an apathetic majority failed to attend meetings or notice.



    Report abuse

  • Having said that, It would be no surprise to find that politically correct ideological nonsense was intruding, that NUT representatives at consultation meetings turned up with no idea about background issues, or that some nutty fringe political groups, had taken over some NUT branches while an apathetic majority failed to attend meetings or notice.

    I agree Alan, I’ve experienced an AGM take over by the WRP on more than one occasion.

    It’s in the nature of groups comprising obsessive individuals that that kind of thing occurs.

    As for the Telegraph itself, they do have an excellent music critic in Ivan Hewett.



    Report abuse

  • Teachers are over worked and underpaid, and often unsupported by their community, law, management, or parents – which is a lamentable state of affairs for a profession so important to the future of our nation.

    That said, the majority I remember from my childhood are (even with the benefit of adult perspective and hindsight) mean spirited and/or borderline abusive towards anything that makes their job even harder; precisely because of all of the above. Their casual attitude to some types of child abuse (as long as it meets the get-out-of-jail-free criteria) is a sad and lamentable consequence.

    If they have been getting into bed with religious extremists/hate groups, it’s not the first time, and it’s certainly not the worst thing they’ve ever done.



    Report abuse

  • Hi Peak Oil Poet,

    Thanks for the links.

    I had no idea until now that the Government’s Prevent plan is incoherent:

    Prevent … defines extremism as: … opposition to fundamental British values, including democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of different faiths and beliefs.

    I do not recognise “respect of different faiths and beliefs” as a British value. Tolerance and recognising differences of opinion, yes – up to a point. But not respect. Respect implies admiration, and I do not have that for many beliefs – Islamism, Christianity, Socialism, Communism, Fascism, Corporatism, New-Age-ism, ’60s-ism and many others.

    To tell children that respect is required for someone else’s opinion / belief is anti-democratic nonsense of the first order.

    I can see where this special privileging of religion comes from – the Conservative Party is far more dogmatic than most people realise.

    Is it any wonder that some teachers are having difficulty following such a nonsensical policy. If I was a teacher I too would be motivated to undermine Prevent, it is clearly not British in value.

    That the crypto-fascist Daily Telegraph cannot see past those same dogmas to the bigger picture is no more or less than par.

    If the Government wants to protect British values it could do a lot better – by ending sectarian segregation in schools by withdrawing funding for ‘faith’ schools, by supporting employment of properly trained teachers, by ensuring that every subject that can (history, geography, the sciences, mathematics … ) includes critical thinking and that every school follows a policy of encouraging social networking and sport (exercise is one of the best ways to combat depression – a leading indicator of vulnerability to extremist views).

    The Government – by using the name Prevent, among other things – is pretending that it is being proactive – but it very clearly is not. Prevent only addresses symptoms (‘Dear Teacher if you see this … react’). True prevention would require that the Government put in place policies that actually mitigate against radicalisation before the kids are exposed to the influences.

    I have a little exposure to NUT members, teachers who greatly dislike the NUT (the leadership is very left-leaning) and other British Trade Unions. That the Government thought the teachers would simply fall into line regarding Prevent beggars belief. It raises the possibility that the current Government is hoping to use Prevent to support more than one policy. NUT members should tread with greater care, a PR battle linking teachers to terrorism may be looming.

    My two-penneth worth.

    Peace.



    Report abuse

  • Stephen of Wimbledon
    Jan 25, 2016 at 7:32 am

    I have a little exposure to NUT members, teachers who greatly dislike the NUT (the leadership is very left-leaning) and other British Trade Unions. That the Government thought the teachers would simply fall into line regarding Prevent beggars belief. It raises the possibility that the current Government is hoping to use Prevent to support more than one policy. NUT members should tread with greater care, a PR battle linking teachers to terrorism may be looming.

    Perhaps a look at the earlier views of the more pro-active rival teaching union – the NASUWT would help clarify: –

    http://www.nasuwt.org.uk/Whatsnew/NASUWTNews/PressReleases/NASUWT_013315

    BME teachers deliver damning indictment of Coalition Government record on equality

    There has been a backwards step in racial equality as a result of the impact of four years of Coalition Government policies, the General Secretary of the NASUWT, the largest teachers’ Union in the UK, has warned.

    NASUWT General Secretary Chris Keates told BME members that pre-election promises by Coalition Government Ministers to tackle racist extremism by prohibiting racists from working as teachers or serving as governors had been broken.

    Speaking to the NASUWT BME Teachers’ Consultation Conference in Birmingham, the largest of its kind in Europe, Ms Keates also said the conditions for racial harassment and bullying had been allowed to grow.



    Report abuse

  • The current Government has teachers in its sights.

    I agree that the NUT has, for many years, courted controversy by wading into deep political waters without proper consideration of the full picture.

    I also hear from NUT and other Trade Union members that – as Stafford so rightly points out – their meetings are poorly attended making it easy for those who are energetically motivated (and few are more motivated than the minority interests on the political fringes) to take control of union branches.

    It is not true, however, to say that members fail to attend meetings through apathy.

    Most major trade unions have large memberships because the workplaces they cover have historic, demographic and / or political issues. The only time I joined a trade union, other than the Student’s Union, was when working for Local Government. As my boss at the time put it: “If you, as a non-member, ever get into any kind of disagreement with a member (particularly one who is also a member of the ruling political party) look out. I won’t be able to help you. By joining the Union you will at least level the playing field.” Why would such a member as I ever attend a union meeting? Yet the selected leaders always claim to represent, and be supported by, those members.

    The above situation, combined with historic links, has led to some bizarre union-employer relationships. Housing Trusts have sometimes taken over housing stock, including support staff, from local government. Those staff were, and remained, in public-sector unions – even though Housing Trusts are nominally independent charities.

    Public sector workers generate grievances over things like racism and sexism to a far greater extent than in the private sector – the unions claim this is due to their support. For very good reasons ethnic minorities and women are well represented in local government and social housing organisations. Upshot: The Union’s membership went up as union members ‘converted’ previously non-unionised workplaces.

    But the leaders of public sector unions – particularly UNISON – ran overt political campaigns to turn back the clock and transfer housing stock from Housing Associations to Local Government.

    This led to the Union campaigning for the dissolution of Housing Trusts while, supposedly, being their biggest supporters as they are frequently the approved union partner!

    Two of my friends attended a UNISON meeting where they pointed out the bizarre nature of this union policy, and that Housing Trusts bring many benefits that are recognised across the core political spectrum – no major party dissents. They were shouted down by the local union leaders.

    [Disclaimer: This was a long time ago, UNISON policy has since changed]

    The NUT, as I understand it, is in a very similar position. The National Leadership needs to tread very carefully. The Government’s policy is very poorly thought out, at odds with itself and very unpopular with professional teachers because it undermines the pupil-teacher trust relationship.

    Even so, supporting radical branch leadership to undermine Prevent could be handing the Government more ammunition along with a licence to aim and fire their policy guns at will.

    In most cases even a right-leaning type like me will support teachers – particularly if they present a professional position – but terrorism is the red-top media’s new communism. Here be dragons.

    Peace.



    Report abuse

  • Hi Alan,

    As always thank you for your research and links.

    It seems to me that Prevent and the Government’s poor record on supporting the aspirations of ethnic minority teachers and pupils are not necessarily connected.

    Both policy sets are short-sighted, internally incoherent and inconsistent with the Government’s stated aims, to be sure. One is a (supposedly) anti-terrorism measure while the other (as I’m feeling charitably inclined) might best be described as government loss of enthusiasm for a policy that it pays lip-service to in the face of necessary change.

    I don’t think that charitable view is necessarily true – as I have posted, at length, elsewhere on this thread.

    In the longer term undermining ethnic minority teachers (particularly those who sought professional qualifications and who are now undermined by academy schools hiring of unqualified staff), seems to me to offer only poor role models to all children, and to children of ethnic minorities in particular.

    The Government, of course, has failed to link this ‘devalue the profession of Teacher’ policy to their recent language policy for increasing the social capital of migrants. It seems to me that they have not done so because the policies are in direct conflict.

    My main concern is the overall loss of education quality, and I do feel for ethnic minority teachers. I fail to see a connection with Prevent.

    Peace.



    Report abuse

  • adding this:

    “Risk assessment
    67. Specified authorities are expected to assess
    the risk of children being drawn into terrorism,
    including support for extremist ideas that are
    part of terrorist ideology. This should be based
    on an understanding, shared with partners,
    of the potential risk in the local area.
    68. Specified authorities will need to demonstrate
    that they are protecting children and young
    people from being drawn into terrorism by
    having robust safeguarding policies in place to
    identify children at risk, and intervening as
    appropriate. Institutions will need to consider
    the level of risk to identify the most appropriate
    referral, which could include Channel or
    Children’s Social Care, for example. These
    policies should set out clear protocols for
    ensuring that any visiting speakers – whether
    invited by staff or by children themselves –
    are suitable and appropriately supervised. ”

    when i went to school i had teachers who encouraged us to discuss things – to try to get to the meat so to speak. English “language” teachers in particular.

    If teachers are prevented from encouraging discussion for fear that any glimpse of extremest thought must be reported then they are hog-tied and might as well restrict class discussions to Taylor Swift’s social life.

    In Thailand you can not discuss anything – anything at all (other than Taylor Swift et al) for fear of Article 44 and a 15 year prison sentence. This is how dissent is controlled.

    Young bright inquiring minds being nurtured to become the intellectual, moral and political leaders of the future need to be free to discuss anything and to say stupid things.

    Suppressing it with complex, fuzzy legislation that promotes ratting on your teacher and classmates is frightening.

    The world feels like it’s approaching a global epiphany.

    But i guess it will be more like a whimper than a bang.

    pop



    Report abuse

  • gawsh

    read this

    https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/118187/vul-assessment.pdf

    then think of it in terms of applicability to right-wing war mongering

    it’s almost exactly a description of people like Trump, Bush, Blair and of course Fox

    in other words – anyone who exhibits the same traits as the ruling political group-think but not aligned to it is defined as a risk

    you don’t say?

    There were dissenters to Nazism in Germany. I don’t think they did very well. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_resistance_to_Nazism

    pop



    Report abuse

  • Hi POP

    If teachers are prevented from encouraging discussion for fear that any glimpse of extremest thought must be reported then they are hog-tied and might as well restrict class discussions to Taylor Swift’s social life.

    Be careful on this one. In the US a well-known tactic of those who wish to re-introduce God to the classroom is to frame it as “allowing all sides of the debate” on e.g. evolution.

    Healthy debate is a good thing. I remember when I was at school, (back in the dark ages), we were often required to debate a fringe belief. “Be it proposed that the earth is in fact flat”. This is a healthy exercise that encourages students to see the other side of an argument – a skill which will serve them well in later life. Looking back now however, I realize that I was lucky enough to have been taught by an exceptional group of people and that some students these days are not as fortunate. My teachers encouraged debate when appropriate but they also taught evolution as valid scientific theory; the only accepted explanation for origin of species.

    We must guard against extremists on all sides who seek to take advantage of our openness to sneak extremist claptrap into the classroom, be it that evolution is false or that homosexuality is a crime.



    Report abuse

  • it’s a tricky one

    close the door to something we might agree should not be allowed is to also close the door to things that need to be openly discussed

    according to how i read the Prevent docs, the things i did and said in the run up to the Iraq war would now likely land me in trouble – especially if i was a Muslim, or looked like a Muslim to someone

    the best defense against people talking shit is straight talk and open discussion

    people should be allowed to discuss anything

    and if everybody but me in the room wants to talk creationism and god stuff – i’ll just leave em to it

    pop



    Report abuse

  • Steven of Wimbledon

    I also hear from NUT and other Trade Union members that – as Stafford so rightly points out – their meetings are poorly attended making it easy for those who are energetically motivated (and few are more motivated than the minority interests on the political fringes) to take control of union branches.

    Yet the selected leaders always claim to represent, and be supported by, those members.

    Ah well, I must see the world through rose coloured spectacles. My colleagues were hard-working, respectful to students and knowledgeable about their subjects. I was elected to represent them every year, often unwillingly on my part, by well-attended meetings of the membership (85% of the staff). When I worked as a salaried official for the Union for six months, I found the staff to be hard working, dedicated and skilful advocates. No-one was nominated into positions as has been suggested, and all appointments to the staff were conducted according to the rules of the Union, by the elected Executive.

    Management, on the other hand were committed to their own careers, spent most of their time in meetings with other management, treated the teaching staff as production line workers, and found every possible loophole in industrial agreements. Those in management who had been teachers had seldom excelled at the craft. Cribbing from G B Shaw we used to say: those who can’t teach, manage schools.

    They insisted that we called the students customers, and employers in the labour market were stakeholders. We didn’t teach courses to students, but delivered modules to customers, which activity was the point at which the rubber hit the bitumen. Our modules didn’t have content, but learning outcomes, the achievement of which was determined by test instruments. The Senior Staff was replaced by a Management Corps, comprised of, Managing Directors, Directors, Assistant Directors, Programme Managers, Team Leaders and Academic Assistants. This was called the flat pyramid structure.

    After ten years I still have nightmares every few weeks about the place, and since I returned to Europe I haven’t noticed much difference in the running of schools, hospitals or social services here. My daughter-in-law who is a cop tells me it’s much the same in her organisation.

    With the profession’s loss of control of the whole of the teaching process; of the content of courses, of academic standards, of the workplace, of schools, of professional standards, is it any wonder that teachers take no interest in their industrial organisations, and that the workforce is completely demoralised and unmotivated? The profession, having had all collegiality ruined by bureaucratic fiat, is prey to nutty fringe groups and the WRP, whom no-one can be bothered to stop.

    My Union, by the way, was the State School Teachers’ Union of Western Australia, and I worked for the Technical and Further Education Department of WA. I’m sorry Stephen that you have such a negative view of the trades union movement. My experience was that it was full of hard work, long hours and no perks, apart from an annual piss-up



    Report abuse

  • @OP – NUT leaders ‘colluding to undermine anti-terror policies’

    This makes the rather crass assumption that some functional anti terror policies exist!

    As my earlier links show, The present and previous government are not noted for their ability to compose coherent policies. They have reshuffled the cabinet ministers, but their track record of cosmetic claims and failed policies, has been evaluated by professionals before!
    They have changed the monkeys, but the same old organ-grinders are composing the tunes!

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Gove

    @OP – The Telegraph

    He remains on good terms with Rupert Murdoch,[1] whom Gove described in evidence before the Leveson Inquiry as “one of the most impressive and significant figures of the last 50 years”.

    Secretary of State for Education

    With the formation of the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition government after the May 2010 general election, Gove became Secretary of State for Education. His first moves included reorganising his department,[31] announcing plans to allow schools rated as “outstanding” by Ofsted to become academies,[32] and cutting the previous government’s school-building programme.[33] He was forced to apologise, however, when the list of terminated school-building projects he had released was found to be inaccurate. The list was reannounced several times before it was finally accurately published.

    In June 2012, Gove approved three schools run by creationists leading to concerns about whether Department for Education (DfE) requirements not to teach creationism or intelligent design as science would be met.

    Gove came in for strong criticism from teaching professionals in view of his attempts to overhaul British education.

    At the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) Annual Conference in March 2013 a motion of no-confidence in Gove was passed.[80] This was followed up the next month at the annual conference of the National Union of Teachers (NUT), who unanimously passed a vote of no confidence in Gove, the first time in its history that it performed such an action, and called for his resignation. The audience at the NUT conference were told that Gove had “lost the confidence of the teaching profession”, “failed to conduct his duties in a manner befitting the head of a national education system”, and “chosen to base policy on dogma, political rhetoric and his own limited experience of education.”[4]

    .Together these unions represent the vast majority of education professionals in the UK.

    Gove garnered further criticism at the May 2013 conference of the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT), whose members condemned what they said was a climate of bullying, fear and intimidation during his time as Education Secretary. The conference passed a vote of no confidence in his policies.

    When he was moved he promptly got into a dispute with legal professionals.

    Within three months of taking office, the Criminal Bar voted to stop taking new work in protest at Gove’s insistence that they work for lower fees.

    After the 2015 General Election, Prime Minister David Cameron promoted Gove as Lord Chancellor and Justice Secretary in his newly-formed Cabinet.

    In his final annual report in July 2015, the chief prisons inspector highlighted the use of drugs, the increasing number of serious assaults and the record number of murders in prisons. Giving prisons the worst results since records started in 2005, Nick Hardwick told Gove that resources are inadequate and that “it can’t go on like this.” The ball was in Gove’s court, the government had failed to provide the promised “rehabilitation revolution,” and prisoners spent most of their day watching TV. Prison statistics showed that staff have been cut by a third since 2010 and deaths in prison have increased by 29% to 239 in 2014.



    Report abuse

  • Hi eejit,

    I have no doubt that many unionists are hard working, and that many unions – including those that are targeted by ‘exotic’ political factions – are run by the book. I did not mean to give that impression, and if I did I apologise.

    Nevertheless, in this instance of a few members of a union taking a tangential path we do have another example, among many, of factional trouble-making. Trade Unions are, by their nature, attractors of supernumerary actors.

    I propose that both of our personal experiences are real – and that real life is nuanced.

    I will go further; your picture of the trade union movement – of people largely dedicated to helping other people – is the more common, and by a considerable margin.

    You missed the point. But communication is a two-party affair and the emphasis must be, first and foremost, on the one sending the message to be clear, concise and correct. I take all the blame.

    My main point buried, I now realise, under too much personal travelogue is that the teachers’ unions had better be very careful about this kind of story getting about. The government is preparing to dump on them … again.

    The emphasis, however, must not be on PR but on substantive resistance to the obvious failings of the Prevent policy. On that basis the teachers in the OP might be judged … hmm … over-eager? They are going too far on their own and forgetting that they belong to a team. They also have the worst possible approach – throwing themselves, and the union, open to criticism of wilfully breaking the law in order to score political points. This may look good from their perspective, and in the short term it may even score some points in some ant-government circles (anarchists will certainly love it).

    Unfortunately, the moment a school pupil, or recent school leaver, does something vaguely associated with terrorism, no matter how ineffective it may be, the work of all those honest hard-working unionists will be set at nought and these guys will be standing next to the hole looking very foolish.

    Peace.



    Report abuse

  • prisoners spent most of their day watching TV

    Like nearly all of the unemployed, disabled, disenfranchised, injured, handicapped, redundant and despairing.



    Report abuse

  • Peak Oil Poet
    Jan 25, 2016 at 1:39 pm

    “Risk assessment
    67. Specified authorities are expected to assess
    the risk of children being drawn into terrorism,
    including support for extremist ideas that are
    part of terrorist ideology.

    As I have said previously about this government’s wishful thinking and perverse actions-

    Their “solution” to providing “Specified authorities expected to assess the risk“, is to require all schools to become “academies” which are removed from regulation by the Local Education Authorities, who normally provide specialist staff, advice, and assessments of risks! – So it looks more like scape-goating the schools and individual teachers, rather than organising an effective system!



    Report abuse

Leave a Reply

View our comment policy.