Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Launching Latin? What about the ‘Our Schools and the Black children’s Conference’? by Richard Sudan

Richard Sudan
An interesting article was published yesterday by The Daily Mail.

The author Lindsay Johns was praising the Mayor’s initiative to make Latin accessible to London school kids through a voluntary scheme engineered by the big wigs at City Hall. 

He highlights the benefits of Latin and argues that we must dispel the dry image that Latin has been tarnished with.

Fair enough you might say.

But when this is contrasted with the lack of noise made about Black history month for example, it should and will cause some to wonder about the priorities of traditional Tory mouthpieces, and equally about the agenda of our current Mayor.

Whilst the Latin initiative is said to be a voluntary scheme, why is it that City Hall didn’t push a voluntary scheme to celebrate and support Black History Month given the budget cut?

It’s fair to say there is probably a greater demand for an emphasis on Black History Month in London than there is Latin.  And furthermore for other needed provision- because there is further twist which raises even more serious questions.

The annually held forthcoming ‘London Schools and our Conference’ - Which this year has conveniently had the word ‘Black ‘omitted from it - has been for the last few years organized by Diane Abbott. The Hackney North and Stoke Newington Labour MP has been squeezed out this year with a notably unprogressive line-up assuming centre stage, including Lindsay Johns.

This hijacking of the conference, with one of the key note speakers effectively acting as an acceptable mask of respectability for The Daily Mail and the Mayor’s push to introduce Latin, seems naïve at best if well intentioned. 

The Mayor’s track record in dealing with needs sensitive to ethnic minority communities is not great. This could be an opportunity to remedy that, especially since the Mayor is scheduled to speak. 

But with angry rumblings already being heard in campaigning circles, the conference and the propaganda to boot are in danger of damaging the Mayor’s and Michael Gove’s reputation further, as the Secretary of State for Education is also scheduled as a keynote.

Such slick and well oiled propaganda is anything other than progressive and will not be viewed as such should the conference retain its current starting line up.

The conference is being held on Saturday 12th November.

By Richard Sudan