The obvious thing to do is to ask three (non-English) educationists from London, Keith Ajegbo, Dina Kirwan and Seema Sharma, what English children should be taught. Not Scottish, Northern Irish or Welsh children, you note. They can be taught about their distinct national heritage and culture. But the English must be British (after all, someone's got to be), taught the British values so ably articulated by Gordon Brown. They cannot be English.
Sir Keith said: "Britain is committed to the values of free speech, the rule of law, mutual tolerance and respect for equal rights. They are things that are fundamental to our society."
He suggested that schools should be prepared to tackle controversial topics in the news such as the debate over immigration, and the UK's place in the European Union as well as the legacy of the British Empire.
He said: "It is the duty of all schools to address issues of `how we live together' and `dealing with difference', however difficult or controversial they may seem".
(you might want to look at the map - then read the last few paragraphs of this post)
I think this translates as "an intensive course of political indoctrination". Doubtless we'll be taught about the "nation of immigrants", recent genetic work will be misused to support a political agenda - the usual stuff, only more of it. What was once only for the BBC and Guardian to propagate will be force-fed to the children. They're being prepared - broken in, as it were - for a world in which England will have fewer and fewer English in it. Note the figures on the map, which comes from the report.
I quote from the report :
As migration and technological change gather pace, governments – and societies – are faced with the challenge of engaging effectively with increasingly high profile issues regarding immigration and the issues that surround multiculturalism, diversity and difference. Yet the wider picture shows us that it was ever thus: the United Kingdom has historically been a multination state, and as a polyethnic state; the UK’s population has for centuries been periodically in a state of flux, with a large number of different ethnic and religious groups, particularly since the mass immigration after the Second World War. What’s more, many UK inhabitants have roots elsewhere in the world – even though they may not be aware of them.
The changing nature of the UK and potential for tension to arise now makes it ever more pressing for us to work towards community cohesion, fostering mutual understanding within schools so that valuing difference and understanding what binds us together become part of the way pupils think and behave.
Well, you can't say clearer than that.
(I do like the contradictions of 'it's always been like this, nation of immigrants, multiethnic Britain' with 'changing nature ... potential for tension to arise'. If it's always been like this, why are they so worried ?)
What we see here is a government who are aware that there are strange noises coming from the bowels of the ship, the odd rat making its way to the top deck - and they've decided on giving the crew a series of lectures on how ships always make strange noises and the importance of not giving way to panic.
Lets look back for a moment to the bad old days of the 1950s and the lost English heritage. When the black Marxist historian, cultural conservative and cricket-lover CLR James wrote this in 1962 he could not have foreseen the cultural wasteland that lay ahead for English children.
West Indians crowding to Tests bring with them the whole past history and future hopes of the islands. English people, for example, have a conception of themselves breathed from birth. Drake and mighty Nelson, Shakespeare, Waterloo, the Charge of the Light Brigade, the few who did so much for so many, the success of parliamentary democracy, those and such as those constitute a national tradition. Underdeveloped countries have to go back centuries to rebuild one. We of the West Indies have none at all, none that we know of. To such people the three W's, Ram and Val wrecking English batting, help to fill a huge gap in their consciousness and their needs.
We of the English have none at all now that we know of, either. And if Alan Johnson has anything to do with it we'll stay that way.