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10 October 2009


Frank S

Creepy crawly stuff. But pleasing to see, for once, a BBC prog not taking the corporate line, and actually thinking things through. I guess Malik's career will now be under threat from the Keates-Equivalents in that once decent organisation.


Your argument may or may not be correct. You clearly dislike Ms Keates, and that is your right.But just out of interest ; has Gordon Brown in the years since 1997 actually taken the step demanded by Ms Keates, does he appear to be likely to in the near future, or are you just yoking him to her on this issue randomly?

Andrew Coates

I listened to the Radio Four programme as well.

These arguments came up at my union branch last Wednesday. There were calls to back the Ban the BNP from Question Time, Ban the BNP from jobs (which?). Where did you end this? What about UKIP? What about other racists - eg. Islamicists?

The argument that you sanction people for what they *do*, and not what they are said to believe won out.

I equally feel that the protests at Griffin are fine if they are there to express an opposing viewpoint. But once they begin calling for Griffin and the BNP to be banned they are totally wrong.


Thanks for allowing me the right to dislike Chris Keates. Going by her performance on Analysis and her piece in the Guardian I don't like her opinions or the way she expresses them. Going by her performance on the Today programme I'm right on her side. Mick Brooks of the National Association of Head Teachers had said that mobile phones could be allowed into the classroom. Chris Keates, representing her members, gave a firm NYET. Teachers hate mobile phones because they're distractions. Students are texting, using the net, playing games etc under their desks, and also they use them to take unkind pics of their teachers, especially the women teachers' cleavages which they post on the web. They stage incidents that they then put on YouTube. So my feelings for Chris Keates fluctuate. When she talks authoritarian rubbish, I'll rubbish her. When she talks reasonable sense, I'll cheer her.

In fact you might say these different views of Chris Keates are of legitimate v illegitimate power. It is legitimate for teachers to have the power to confiscate mobile phones if students are pissing around with them rather than paying attention. It's illegitimate for the government to use its power to ban people holding certain views from being employed in particular jobs. (High security jobs are another matter).

As for Gordon Brown, it wasn't random yoking. He's an authoritarian who makes daft statements. Ditto Chris Keates.


You are missing my point. Put yourself in Ms Keates' shoes. Gordon Brown has been in a position of some power and influence since 1997. Has he argued for or attempted to legislate the position argued for by Ms Keates and which you deprecate? That's why the yoking seemed random. Ms Keates has more against him on this point than you have. (And your caveat about security undermines, if you consider it in detail, some of the points you are making in your main post.)


We seem to be arguing at cross-purposes re Gordon Brown.

As for my security caveat, if Ahmed who has islamist sympathies has done his teacher training and is now teaching maths at a comprehensive, well why not? I don’t expect in-depth background checks on teachers of their political and/or religious beliefs, so let him teach as long as he carries out his tasks properly. OTOH if Special Branch or the people who check you through on airlines were recruiting staff, I'd expect a bit more checking on the background of applicants.

If Ahmed let it drop in the staff tearoom that he had a bit of sympathy for the 7/7 bombers I'd expect his colleagues to look at him a bit askance, but not to run off and report him to someone or other as being unfit to teach. However, I'd expect this to ring alarm bells for the security personnel in the airport and that they should act on it.

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  • Rosie Bell

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