Not the book. An article by Ray Honeyford. Twenty eight years after he was hounded from his job for criticising multiculturalism, the BBC asks, was he racist or right?
Ray Honeyford, the head teacher who caused a national controversy over his outspoken criticisms of multiculturalism in schools, has died. But have his views, which once polarised opinion, become mainstream?
He was, taken at face value, an unlikely critic of multiculturalism.
Ray Honeyford was the head teacher of a school in inner-city Bradford where more than 90% of pupils were non-white.
But he had had enough of the prevailing educational beliefs.
Honeyford dared to criticise a culture that taught children in English schools in Urdu rather than the native tongue. He complained about an alien culture that sought to create ghettos in our inner cities – disparate and aloof from the indigenous culture surrounding it. Some of his criticism was specific and barbed:
“…growing number of Asians whose aim is to preserve as intact as possible the values and attitudes of the Indian sub-continent within a framework of British social and political privilege, ie to produce Asian ghettoes”.
He also criticised “an influential group of black intellectuals of aggressive disposition, who know little of the British traditions of understatement, civilised discourse and respect for reason”.
This was in 1984. With hindsight, we’ve seen this policy come home to roost and can we, with hand on heart, say that he was wrong?
Of course, the right-on, righteous of the day were happy to impose thought crime and he was hounded from his post. It is odd, looking back, that this was in the very midst of Thatcher’s Britain. I was aware of the loony left that had taken root in some of the councils across the land, but didn’t recall this particular story until I read the BBC article. What he saw then is much worse now. So much so that even one of the leading racemongers of the day, Trevor Phillips, has had to concede that multiculturalism is probably not a good idea.
There are those who are happy with their actions back then:
Mohammed Ajeeb stands by his actions more than a quarter of a century later.
He told the BBC: “The article was very critical of the Muslim culture and the race relations situation in the city was not very good at that time.”
Yes, of course, because we cannot be having criticism of the ROP’s culture of misogyny, violence and bigotry, can we?
So, Honeyford was right, then?