We have a passing but vague resemblance to Local Democracy up here in County Durham, and I suppose this is imaged across our County Council cousins throughout the British Isles. They hold elections, but with monotonous regularity, the same people and Party are returned to power. They promise vague things, and once in power just forget everything which was promised, as, usually, they blame the ‘Austerity cuts’. In amongst the many items disappearing. or rather commencing to disappear, are the ‘Questions to the Council’ which were asked at most County council meetings. We used to get three questions per person in County Durham, but that has been sliced back, and we now get one. The rules are arcane, and the ‘Democratic Manager’ is ever ready to state that the question is outside Council stance, or whatever, and many questions are ruled out of order.
My latest question, which shall be asked on the 19th July is as as follows:-
I refer to the call by Prime Minister Theresa May for an early adoption of British Values, without, naturally, any strict interpretation of those woolly words. I also refer to the call by the new Ofsted Chief Inspector, Amanda Spielman for ‘the promotion of so-called ‘British values’ (which) will be determined by individual inspectors, adding, “there isn’t a prescribed translation of it, so schools will have to work it out”.
I would ask the Council if they would agree with the Ofsted Chief Inspector when she backed her Inspectors’ view that a private North London Jewish School for little girls aged between three and eight years old; should be marked down by Ofsted for declining to give pupils a full understanding of ‘British values’; inclusive of an ultra-liberal ethos and strictures of the acceptability and practice of Homosexuality, Lesbianism and so-called Gender Identity; or would they agree with me that small girls and small boys, at County Durham schools with either a religious ethos or none, should be allowed to play, learn and prosper without some heavy-handed Ofsted Inspector ensuring that ‘their’ interpretation of those same ‘British Values’ are rammed into those childrens’ innocent and beautiful minds?
I wonder how they will reply; or indeed if they will reply at all?