Backing Bob

BY JAMIE FOSTER

It emerged in a recent Daily Mail article that Tory MP Bob Stewart’s son has been the subject of abuse at school due to his father’s job. Appallingly the abuse was directed at him by a teacher who told classmates not to talk to him because his father is a Conservative. For a 13 year old this sort of situation must be intolerable. It highlights a number of aspects that should concern us all.

Firstly, we have reached a stage where political bias in the classroom has got out of control. Teachers are supposed to guide the minds of our children to think for themselves by presenting facts about the world from all perspectives. Politics is a subject that should be approached objectively by anyone wanting to teach. To allow one’s personal politics to hold sway to the extent that a teacher targets the son of a political opponent is entirely unacceptable. Unfortunately it would appear that there is such ingrained left wing bias in our state schools these days that this sort of extreme behaviour is seen as acceptable by teachers wanting to put forward their own political viewpoints.

Secondly, we seem to have reached a point where politicians are viewed with such a complete lack of respect that they can be treated with absolute disdain. This is worrying as it means that good political candidates are likely to be put off entering politics at all if they have to subject themselves and their families to this type of abuse. It is essential that we hold our politicians to account but that is a long way from saying that it is ok to treat their children in this way. If we want politicians who behave honourably and discharge their duties with integrity we cannot allow a situation to develop where it is open season on anyone who enters politics.

Beyond this we are also in a situation where the polarising effect of our current politics has got out of hand. The rise of the far left and their divisive tactics has meant that hatred of political opponents is on the rise. A culture of attacking opponents using any means possible has escalated. There is nothing healthy about a situation where political opponents are seen as less than human and not deserving of compassion and consideration. The fact that ‘Tory Scum’ has become part of the vocabulary means we have passed an acceptable point. If we allow ourselves to continue down this path we will reach a point where our society is so divided it will not be able to function coherently.

It is in all of our interests for our politicians to send their children through the state system. There is no better safeguard to ensure that our politicians have first hand knowledge of the way the system operates and a vested interest in ensuring it works as well as possible. If we wish to have our politicians to educate their children in state schools the least they can expect is that their children are treated fairly by those entrusted with their wellbeing. For a 13 year old to be required to be shunned by a teacher due to his father’s occupation we can safely say that this simple expectation has not been met. How can we ask our politicians to send their children to state schools if this is the sort of treatment that they receive?

Can you imagine the furore if Dianne Abbott’s son, educated in the private sector, received this sort of abuse? It is simply unacceptable that a child should have to be faced with such treatment regardless of the politics of their parent. The teaching profession has traditionally been slow to discipline their own membership over an incident such as this. Unfortunately this leaves a stain on the profession as a whole. It is too easy to put it down to a leftie teacher going too far. There comes a point at which the profession needs to take responsibility for the actions of its members. Any teacher engaging in this sort of behaviour should expect the strongest sanctions.

Bob Stewart was an army officer who took charge of British troops in Bosnia. He is exactly the sort of person we should hope would enter politics to bring his expertise to the House of Commons. He should not be expected to pay the price of his family’s wellbeing in doing so. Let us hope that the school gets to the bottom of this and takes decisive action. A message needs to be sent out that this is not behaviour we will tolerate. It is in all of our interests to ensure that this sort of thing is not allowed to happen unchallenged.

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