Political philosophy now illegal in the UK

Chris Bertram

Well, almost. The British government has just produced the guidance for its “Prevent” scheme for education, which aims to stop young people from being drawn into “extremism”. The elite at Oxford and Cambridge have been granted a specific exemption, allowing them to hear dangerous ideas that might corrupt the ordinary youth, and universities haven’t been given specific guidance on what they may teach. Colleges of further education, on the other hand, have been told that “All relevant curriculum areas will need to be engaged, with a single contact point for delivery of Prevent-related activity.” This so that students are not exposed to arguments that involve

“active opposition to fundamental British values, including democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and the mutual tolerance of different faiths and beliefs.”

I suppose it will be news to some that these are “British” values, particularly if they are Irish or live in the former colonies. But leaving that aside, it looks like Plato is off the menu and to make sure:

“Compliance with the duty will be monitored centrally via the Home Office and through appropriate inspection regimes in each sector.”

Well, that’s freedom for you.


  1. Tis worse than that IMO.

    “The government has defined ,extremism in the Prevent strategy as:“vocal or active opposition to fundamental British values”.

    What are these British values? Further down the document elaborates:

    “We define fundamental British values as democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance for those with different faiths and beliefs, and we expect institutions to encourage students to respect other people with particular regard to the protected characteristics set out in the Equality Act 2010 (including with that being used for schools).”

    (bold tags left in from earlier Disqus comment, don’t know if they work in WordPress comments)

    So under the cover of preventing Islamic militancy (what other kind is there?) she slides into government policy the making of any opponent of progressive liberalism an extremist by definition. It is said that following on from the passing of the C-T Bill into law a series of secondary legislative steps will now be needed.


    Further in the series of strategy documents, it goes on to outline procedures needing to be put in place for government and educational authorities for reporting the ‘vulnerable’ (those deemed at risk of radicalisation or in normal parlance political dissidents) to the authorities. How this might also allow local authorities (councils etc) to impose restrictions in due course on those engaging in activities (meetings?) likely to be promoting extremism from taking place, remains to be seen.

    So those who somehow object to the various ‘protected characteristics’ or those who are included in the EA 2010 or who oppose equality legislation (i.e. an unlevel playing field) now seem, by dint of this, to be extremists. Considering that recently the High Court determined the police can keep massive databases on any attendees of any protest whatsoever and one assumes any meeting, online forum etc, then the tide of despotism is rising.

  2. Actually those (with the exception of “democracy” – which was not a mainstream British idea till about the First World War, before then limiting the franchise in various ways was not considered outrageous) are British values Sir – at least they historically were, ask Sean Gabb (he is good on this).

    Even the Penal Laws in Ireland in the early 1700s century (not the British mainland) were more political than religious (although they were evil – deeply evil).

    As for the Empire (the “former colonies”) the British Empire (as Sean Gabb will explain to you) provided more religious tolerance (and so on) that any regime in these areas (before or since).

    I do not support political intervention in higher education – but you have not really explained matters.

    What ideas have been “banned”?

    Has the teaching of Islam been banned?

    After all the teachings of Mohammed directly contradict the “British values” you cite.

    I have not heard that there has been any move to ban the teaching of the principles and life of Mohammed.

    Nor would I support such a ban.

    Nor would I support any ban on the teaching of ideas that are opposed to any of the “British values”.

    Although it is only sensible to keep an eye on people who reject “the rule of law”, “individual liberty” and “mutual toleration” in religion and so on.

    One keeps an eye on people who say they want to destroy us – so that they do not catch us by surprise.

    But one should NOT ban their ideas.

  3. Of course our leaders in Britain insist that the deeds of Mohammed and his teachings do NOT contradict these “British values” of the rule of law, individual freedom (including the freedom to denounce and leave Islam?) and so on.

    So that is all right then – as long as one believes that out leaders are expert Islamic theologians who know what they are talking about.

    The last 14 centuries of conflict have been a dreadful misunderstanding – based on people misinterpreting Mohammed.

    Mohammed was not a military commander and political leader of genius – who repeatedly tricked his rivals (promising peace and then attacking) and slaughtered them (sometimes with his own hand – sometimes by sending others to kill old blind poets, or pregnant female poets, who had mocked him).

    No this is all wrong – a misinterpretation. Mohammed was actually a peaceful person who ran a commune in North Wales.

    The last 14 centuries have, therefore, been a mistake. As I said above – a misunderstanding (a misinterpretation).

    I am preparing a script on the “The Truth” (T.M.) – for the BBC, which will be broadcast by them and by ITV, C4 and Sky.

    All schools and universities will also teach from my textbook – of the same name.

    So all will be for the best, in the best of all possible worlds.

  4. I have no problem going back to 600 A.D. for a do-over, as long as I can take my Macs, ethernet, plumbing, the electrical grid, and the dog along with me. Maybe we could get a better approximation to Enlightenment this time — and put it into practice properly.

    Ian, you are too pessimistic. As long as there are wild strawberries and old-fashioned, almost flesh-free tomatoes so bursting with juice that they crack, what could possibly go wrong?

  5. This is the typical dickhead lash up which will have zero effect on Islamism but will be used to attack any non-PC opinion. What are the fuckwits going to do about anyone deemed to be at risk of being “radicalised”. In the case of kids taking them off parents is obviously the plan–but Uni crew? Approach ’em and ask “Please don’t be a mossie terrorist?” (or a Libertarian for that matter). A plan more calculated to confirm people in their chosen course of action could not be imagined. This is tyranny as devised by the Marching Morons.

  6. I prefer to call them English values (sorry you other foreigners), and our masters have no idea what they are. they just parrot the idea. e.g English rule of law requires consent of the governed, liberty and democracy are not bedfellows but enemies. democracy says you must have the whole “package” of a party manifesto; so, while you may only vote for one or two of their policies which you like it is thus implied that you give your consent to the whole: liberty on the other hand says you have the right to accept OR reject one policy at a time. QED?

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