The common pursuit

It seems to me that the great characters of the classroom are a dying breed. By that, I do not mean that teaching does not now, as it always has done, attract men and women of conspicuous ability and inspire in them remarkable service. But the culture of teaching has changed. That change was in process before my time, but took a significant step forward while I myself was at school, spurred by the Thatcherite ethos, and had gathered pace under Tony Blair when I came to teach in my twenties and thirties. Now the process appears largely complete.

The detailed examination of the roots of that change can be left for another time, but its manifestations are easily noted; the micro-management of the classroom, the increase in bureaucracy, the demand for uniformity (dare one say, blandness), and the reductive nature of the examination system. As backdrop, we might cite both the loss of our civil religion – Christianity not as a system of religious observance, but as the warp and weft of our national life – and the vaunting of low culture at the expense of high. We might also cite the way in which our universities have turned away from scholarship for its own sake, and from an emphasis on their life as a community of scholars, to one of narrower specialisms, more circumscribed intellectual enquiry, an emphasis on quantitative output, and the imposition of scientific method and peer review upon the arts and humanities. It is a form of commodification; a set of values that a generation ago would have been dismissed as inappropriate for an academic setting because their commercialism cheapens and ultimately debases scholarship.

The foundation of most learning is curiosity, and the effective teacher builds on this curiosity to foster enthusiasm and knowledge. Boundaries are inimical to such an approach. It can be summed up as “scholarship for its own sake”, or the traditional phrase “a liberal education”.

This attitude was once the dominant paradigm in our education system, both at secondary and postsecondary levels. The quality of donnishness – not so much “teaching” as instruction, but more akin to the shared exploration of a subject – was born in the universities but also could be applied to many schoolteachers who saw in their work a particular scholarly vocation both to their pupils and to their subjects, and who continued to make a significant wider contribution to those subjects through creative work, books and research papers.

Intellectually-rounded people were seen as the product of the rounded education; the idea that a detailed knowledge of other subjects informed one’s own specialism. This perhaps found its greatest expression in the view expressed to me in former years that if one had obtained a good degree from a good university, one could then master and teach any subject within reason. This was reflected in a number of eminent university scholars whose degree was not in the subject they taught (or, in rare cases, who had not earned a degree at all), and many more schoolteachers who were in the same position. Education did not merely teach a given set of facts and precepts, it taught its subjects how to learn, how to conduct research, how to apply critical (and self-critical) faculties, and moreover imparted the development of an aesthetic sense – a sense of discrimination between qualities that led to an appreciation of why some things were superior to others. A more nebulous expression of the same concept came in the form of the role of sport in the liberal education; I must say that this was largely lost on me at school, but in subsequent years I have come to appreciate that there are aspects of character and strategy that are perhaps better expressed in Test cricket than anywhere else.

These values are, I would argue, essentially anti-capitalist and anti-materialist, and do not sit well with reductive models of output and assessment. They are values that precede and supersede those of the computer age, and in which, certainly in the arts and humanities, the love of books is foremost. They give vigour to the learner rather than encouraging passivity. And lastly, they mark out, through merit, those who are capable of insight, even of originality, from those who are merely capable of following instructions. They are values that lend themselves to competition, and that produce an inequality of outcome. Lastly, they are values that have been under threat during much of the past century, and that will survive only with cultivation and determined effort.

The deaths of two of my own teachers at The Latymer School, Edmonton, prompts some reflection on these matters. Brian Binding, who taught me English and was my form tutor in my fourth year, died recently as a result of complications from COVID-19 at the age of 85. Andrew Granath, who taught me History, died last year of COVID-19 at the early age of 68.

The Latymer School, Edmonton (©Google)

Brian Binding read English at Downing under F.R. Leavis (whose wife, Queenie (Q.R.) Leavis, a distinguished critic in her own right) was an Old Latymerian). He taught at another of the three schools founded by Edward Latymer, Latymer Upper in Hammersmith (then a direct-grant boys’ grammar school), where his pupils included the late Alan Rickman, before arriving as Head of English at Latymer in Edmonton (also a grammar school, though this one mixed) in the year of my birth, 1972. One of his pupils at Latymer Upper captured something of his essence,

“He had the power of turning an English class into a kind of shared meditation. He could sit perched on a radiator in silence while we watched him think. The most important thing I learned from him was disrespect for the canon, since if he did not like the set text (in our case Much Ado About Nothing) that he was supposed to be teaching he spent the minimum time on it and used the lessons to read Lawrence stories or analyse passages of James.”

Neil Roberts, “Leavisite Cambridge in the 1960s” in F.R. Leavis; Essays and Documents, ed. McKillop and Storer, Sheffield Academic Press, 2011, pp. 14-15.

That freedom of approach was born of intellectual confidence. Leavis is not so much in fashion these days, being very much contrary to the mores of our age. He stood for a certain sort of uncompromising rigour that was unashamedly that of an intellectual elite. In his essays in “Education and the University” (1943), Leavis proposes the university as a “focus for the finer life of cultural tradition” and draws attention to the disappearance of the traditional liberal education in favour of increasing specialisation. He writes “if something is not done…this country will not long retain, and will not deserve to retain, any of the influence belonging to the culturally senior partner.” Essential to Leavis’s argument, too, is a confidence in the qualitative pre-eminence of English literature over its foreign counterparts, not from crude jingoism, nor from innate superiority, but rather that “greater maturity means – or should mean – greater vitality.”

Although there were certainly those who studied with Leavis and reacted against his approach, those who were sympathetic to his ideas formed a kind of scholarly disciplehood, gathered among the university faculties and the better schools, which was designed to perpetuate the values that Leavis and his followers held dear. It was to their numbers, presumably, that Leavis (echoing Matthew Arnold) addressed his words “in any period it is upon a very small minority that the discerning appreciation of art and literature depends: it is (apart from cases of the simple and the familiar) only a few who are capable of unprompted, first-hand judgment. They are still a small minority, though a larger one, who are capable of endorsing such first-hand judgment by genuine personal response.”

In his essay quoted above, Neil Roberts speaks of the network of which Brian Binding was a part, and the way in which informal contacts directed able school-leavers to sympathetic dons as they became the next generation to carry the torch. He says of the influence of Leavis that this persuaded him that “the study of literature is a compellingly serious matter”. This was also something that I understood both from Brian Binding’s teaching and from his example, and not merely literature but culture more generally. I thought it significant that in the mid-1980s, he did not own a television, nor attached any importance to that medium. What I also remember were his many enthusiasms in literature, and his dry, unstuffy sense of humour allied to a quick wit. He was also a notable pipe-smoker, a pursuit impossible without a modicum of patience and a ruminative desire to sit, think and talk while enveloped in an aromatic, even ethereal, cloud.

But above all, the Leavisite legacy was that of literary criticism. Literary criticism has now been largely replaced by literary theory and its associated cant of postmodernism, post-colonialism, gender and identity politics. Both Leavises would have had none of that, and Q.D. Leavis was a particularly mordant critic of feminism. Some certainly found the Leavis approach forbidding, holding up a standard so high that it would inhibit any but the most confident from thinking they had something worthwhile to say. But that was not my impression. When I came to read the work of both Leavises – some years after Brian Binding had retired from teaching – what struck me was its abundance of sense, its communicative and persuasive qualities, and the confidence of judgment which, even if one sometimes disagreed profoundly with it, was reasoned and not infrequently hit the mark. Enthusiasm and condemnation alike were the consequence of a developed taste; it was inevitable that if one’s attachment was to values and qualities, then one would then discriminate based on them. As I.A. Richards rightly put it in a passage quoted by Leavis, “to set up as a critic is to set up as a judge of values.”

Critical theory never produces the same reactions. Firstly, it is impenetrable, being addressed entirely inward to the academic establishment, and not aiming at a wider audience. Secondly, it is inherently political, framing itself in the language and ideas of post-war Marxism and being inseparable from that creed. Of course that is not to suggest that Leavis was apolitical, or that his disciples did not include those who embraced socialism, but their version of socialism was (and I shall return to this shortly) quite different from that which would take over academia during the first decades of the present century. In particular, it was a socialism whose dialectic of class was not accompanied by a similar dialectic of intellect, and indeed that appealed to a certain kind of social conservatism. It was common in the grammar schools to encounter the view that intellectual merit was to be celebrated and encouraged, and that high culture was an end to which all might aspire – if not as creators or critics, then at least as an appreciative and informed audience. The best things in life were for everyone, and the good teacher would lead his pupils up the foothills of Parnassus, even if not all would make it to the top.

At a selective grammar school, there was an expectation that we pupils would form an intellectual elite – it was certainly the norm there that the majority of school-leavers would go on to the more selective universities. Certainly it was an atmosphere in which scholarship was given primacy and a remarkably free rein, and the values which this produced contributed to the overall humane and civilised ethos of the school. I do not think this had changed too much since the post-war era in which the universities were suddenly opened up to the new influx of working-class students from the grammar schools. That generation certainly proved itself worthy. Unfortunately it would later also show a remarkable propensity for pulling up the ladder behind it, as the selective principle in education came under sustained attack from the establishment and many grammar schools found themselves forced to choose between charging fees or becoming comprehensives.

Another idea of Leavis’s that remains significant to me is that of the “organic community”. In this, he calls upon England’s pre-industrial heritage to recall lives whose rhythms are those of traditional rural life; folk tradition and folk song. This is in essence an anti-modern concept, but one that found much resonance and active revival in the England of Leavis’s time. One might reflect on the utopian socialism of Eric Gill’s community at Ditchling, or the revival of folk traditions in John Hargrave’s Kibbo Kift, or in the economics of Social Credit and Distributism, or in the Guild Socialism that developed out of William Morris’s ideas. Indeed, this was also an era when English music emerged from Continental influence to rediscover its national roots through the folk song revival of Vaughan Williams and his contemporaries. The Romanticism of these currents was always tempered by a strong measure of practical idealism, and by another English characteristic, the distrust of sentimentality. The appeal, as with Leavis, was to vigour rather than to comfort.

Andrew Granath arrived at Latymer in my fourth year there, and made an immediate impression on our class of GCSE historians. Visually, he was extremely tall and striking in appearance, with features that suggested that he had been hewn out of stone. But it was also obvious from the start that he was the “real thing” academically, with an authority and intensity that made you feel that what was being taught really mattered, and we soon became accustomed to working hard and at a high level. The syllabus in those very early days of GCSE was far fuller than it became when I taught GCSE History a little over a decade later. Andrew brought it all alive. But more than that, he was a remarkably interesting person with an unusually wide range of interests. He was passionate about boxing, and saw in that noble art far more than mere sport. He rode classic motorcycles (as had Brian Binding before him). And he was from Basildon.

Basildon is an unremarkable suburban town in Essex, not a vast distance from Latymer in Edmonton. It is the ostensible subject of Andrew Granath’s only book, Searching for the Promised Land, which he wrote at the age of fifty. This, however, is to underplay its hand. Searching for the Promised Land is a meditation – even in places a Brian Binding-esque meditation – on the essence of Basildon as a metaphor for the changes in the post-war working-class. It is a consciously unruly book; not conventional history, but rather a personal and subjective narrative. At times it is extremely funny, and at others sad, touching and thought-provoking. There is a tone of lamentation for the deliberate destruction of the working-class community that once formed Basildon. One passage emphasises the optimism of the post-war vision, and the way in which it, as with so many visions, came to be corrupted,

“Fifty years ago, in the stasis of the post-war years, it was assumed that the working class was not meant to be aspirational. Give them a watertight house, and elementary education, free health care and a modestly-paid job and the world could carry on indefinitely as if 1955 represented the end of history. Today, in the new, thrusting post-Thatcher Britain where we are all bewildered by the pace of change, it has become a way of life. It is difficult to overstate the optimism that was left at the time for those who had escaped the grim cramped life of inner London. Within the authoritarianism imposed by a lack of choice, a whole new vista opened up to us. It was a grand view of gardens, parks, countryside, neat brick-built houses, open airy schools, bright modern shops and willing citizens revelling in the munificence of government – ‘Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive.’ In 2003 it all looks rather different. Talking to the elderly of the town – those who arrived as young adults in the 1950s – there is now a pervasive sense of disillusionment that the dream failed to live up to their expectations. The promises of the good life have not been kept. As Nigel Birch put it to Harold Macmillan at the time of Profumo crisis: “Never glad confident morning again.” It is now impossible to imagine that the state would ever again have the confidence and self-belief to create such a community in the hope that it could transform the quality of peoples’ lives. We truly believed, fifty years ago, that it would be possible to build that shining city on the hill if we all pulled in the same direction.”

That optimism is also seen in a number of his other topics. Inevitably, he discusses socialism, but with a scepticism born of experience of the failures of central planning. As a former member of the Woodcraft Folk (which had grown out of a rift in the Kibbo Kift), he knew utopian socialism at first hand,

“By the 1930s, Letchworth, in particular, had acquired a reputation for what George Orwell rather contemptuously called ‘sandal and nuts’ socialism. It was the Letchworth ILP Summer Schools, with their espousal of progressive utopian ideas, that goaded Orwell into his famous denunciation (in The Road to Wigan Pier) of ‘every fruit juice drinker, nudist, sandal wearer, sex maniac, Quaker, Nature Cure quack, pacifist and feminist in England’. For Orwell, the Letchworth middle class socialist was summed up by the two men who got on his bus while riding through the town. ‘They were dressed in pistachio-coloured shirts and khaki shorts into which their huge bottoms were crammed so tightly that you could study every dimple. Their appearance created a mild stir of horror on top the bus. The man next to me murmured, “Socialists” as who should say “Red Indians”. Every generation has its discontented minority looking for a different way of life. In the 1930s, they flocked to Letchworth, particularly those who had tired of the tyranny of the ‘meat and two veg’ diet of the inter war years. By 1935 the town boasted seven vegetarian restaurants at a time when the whole of London could barely muster the same number. For the ‘simple lifers’ who flocked there, the principle was even more simple – ‘more air, less alcohol’. For Orwell, a meat-eating, chain-smoking, beer-swilling despiser of the middle-class socialists, the lure of Catalonia must have seemed irresistible.”

He might have gone on to add that the rather wonderful bastion of vegetarianism, teetotalism, Theosophy and free-thinking, the Liberal Catholic Church, had been established in Letchworth in 1923 and remains active there today.

This was socialism as a middle-class lifestyle choice, not the struggle of the working-class to overcome very real disadvantages. Among the faddishness, however, there was a genuine energy and some idealism that had more to it than the humbug that Orwell rejected. What Andrew Granath saw was the arc of that idealism; rising in the working-class London-exiled community that formed in the “plotlands” of Basildon where many families built their own homes during the 1930s, only to see them flattened by central planning bulldozers twenty years later. He visited as the last of these awaited demolition, “As I wandered past the neat little houses, I realised for the first time that, although the men and women that comprise government may be perfectly decent people individually, they are, collectively, given some sort of rationale, capable of acting in a grossly unjust manner. And here was the result of this misguided ‘we know best’ attitude.”

The central planning that Andrew Granath decried in Basildon is exactly the same malaise that has affected the teaching profession. All of the changes that have affected teaching in the last twenty years have been imposed from the top down, by governments and others who “know best”. They have, in my view, had the effect (and often deliberately) of vastly reducing the autonomy of the teacher in the classroom. In the early 1970s, Dr Robert James, who was regarded as one of the great headmasters of Harrow, gave his headmaster protégés the advice, “Appoint the best and leave them alone.” Few schools are always in the position of being able to appoint the best, but it seems to me that one rarely attracts the best with the prospect of endless circumscription and micromanagement.

At the point when I left school teaching in 2005, we had even reached the point where certain established styles of teaching, most notably “chalk and talk” had become officially deprecated. A lesson with Andrew Granath not infrequently consisted entirely of his exposition of a topic followed by dictated notes and the occasional question. Nothing was deemed to be learned until it had been codified. Of course he knew what I later discovered myself as a teacher; making the pupil do something active with the knowledge at hand, such as writing it down for themselves, is usually the best way to get them to remember it. There was nothing stale or passive about those lessons, but they reflected a scholarly approach that, despite its considerable effectiveness, has now become manifestly unfashionable.

Teaching has been diminished by the imposition of a quantifiable matrix that prizes assessment, value for money and accountability ahead of more subjective qualities. Inevitably, in the name of uniformity, much of humanity has found itself squeezed out just as the central planners imposed their stultifying vision on the sprawling individuality of Basildon’s plotlands. And it must also be questioned whether the reductive world of league tables is really cognisant of the true meaning of “accountability” and “value for money”, which have a much wider context than might at first glance be imagined. The aim of liberal education – to produce rounded individuals capable of fulfilling their potential and contributing in full measure to society – has been forgotten because it is by nature not easily quantifiable; it asks too many difficult and subjective questions and those answers that are available do not lend themselves to statistical analysis or computer processing.

I am not a revenant, and have, if memory serves, only returned to my old school on two occasions after leaving, those being both over twenty years ago now. There were, however, two encounters later in life with the teachers I have written about. Brian Binding surprised me one day in my early twenties when I was reading a book outside a café on Hampstead High Street. He told me that he had taken up a second career as a translator in retirement, and was greatly enjoying it, and we shared some memories of Latymer as it had been.

Andrew Granath wrote to me out of the blue in 2012, having found my website. Returning to his words after his death, I am struck both by his kindness and his intellectual curiosity.

“I hope you don’t mind me writing to you like this. It simply occurred to me just a few days ago I wonder what happened to John Kersey, I googled you and was both surprised and delighted to be see how brilliantly prolific and committed you are.

I hardly dare try to understand the sort of issues and beliefs that you are part of but it does seem to be an extraordinary and fascinating world that you have made.  You would have liked my Aunt who died a few years ago. She was a quiet disciple of Joseph de Maistre and Rene Guenon and had an extraordinary collection of early mystical books (hermetic, Rosicrucian and alchemical including first editions of John Dee and Michael Maier) that, to my irritation, were donated to the Warburg Institute. She was a friend of Frances Yates who you may be familiar with.

For Murray Rothbard and Joachim Raff to be admired and appreciated by the same person is a great feat and for that I congratulate you.

Latymer is a very different place from the one that you left I suspect more than twenty years ago. Neither better nor worse but different. For myself I think that I will do one more year after this and will then retire or rather do something else. I hope that you do not mind me sending you this message. Looking at the picture on the your website I can still see very clearly the 16 year old you.”

Of course I replied to him. But how do you say thank you to your teachers and give some idea of what their example has meant to you without lapsing into embarrassing sentimentality? It seems an impossible task. Perhaps there is something less direct that can be done, though. Alan Bennett, himself a grammar school pupil, gave us the definitive study of grammar school life in the early 1980s in The History Boys, which captures the intensity and the intellectual excitement of that experience together with the inevitable emotional complexities of teenage years. The final scene is visited by the spirit of the inspirational Hector, the general studies teacher, who directs his charges to “pass it on, boys”. And that. surely, is what it is all about.

Further reading:

Granath, Magnus C., Searching for the Promised Land: Basildon and the Pursuit of Happiness, London, GoldStar Books, 2004.

Professor of History in the Catholic University “Joseph Pulitzer”, Budapest, Hungary

I have been honoured to receive an appointment as Professor of History in the Catholic University “Joseph Pulitzer”, Budapest, Hungary. The University has been established by the well-known Italian lawyer Prof. Michele Morenghi and offers online courses in the history of the Catholic religion, international tax law, international contract law, cybercrime and other areas.

The University has also entered into a wide-ranging reciprocal recognition agreement with all the institutions under my control.

Fellowship of the National Federation of Church Musicians

I have been delighted to receive Fellowship of the National Federation of Church Musicians. The Federation is administered by the National College of Music, It says of the award, “In order to qualify, candidates are expected to demonstrate at least twenty years of fully-documented service in the field of church music in any denomination of the Christian church as an organist, choir director or singer, making the award of the FNFCM a formal recognition of long and distinguished service.”

Associate Fellowship of the National College of Music

I have been delighted to receive the Associate Fellowship of the National College of Music. The Associate Fellowship was introduced in 2020 and “is designed to recognise professional musicians who have made an outstanding contribution to the musical arena.” The award is reserved “to those who can provide evidence of the highest level of musical expertise during a course of a minimum of ten years. It will therefore be appropriate for conductors, choral directors, recitalists, composers, musicologists and those who have made an exceptional contribution to musical education.”

I was awarded Honorary Fellowship of the National College of Music in 2010, and am very pleased to continue my association with this institution.

Response to falsehoods published online

“We in Britain are entering a dangerous social condition in which the direct expression of opinions that conflict – or merely seem to conflict – with a narrow set of orthodoxies is instantly punished by a band of self-appointed vigilantes.” – Sir Roger Scruton

I wish to state the following in rebuttal of a defamatory article published online in 2017 by one Johnny Vedmore. The allegations put forth in the article are wholly untrue and I will address them in turn below.

My alleged “fake online diploma”

I have never procured any such thing: the Doctor of Education degree that I was awarded by St Regis University, Liberia (for which I paid the fees stated on their website, just as most university students pay fees) was fully earned, not bought. I have written extensively about my experience and views concerning St Regis University, Liberia, and its closure by the government of the United States following Operation Gold Seal. I have made it clear in my article that my dealings with SRU as a student were pursued with integrity and I do not regret my support for SRU. I have known schools with problems similar to SRU overcome those problems and turn around with the right management. I have also known schools that today are very much an established part of the educational mainstream that did not look so very different from SRU during the 1980s and 1990s. It is a tragedy that SRU’s potential was never truly realized.

I have never been contacted on any matter by the FBI or other American law enforcement authorities and therefore I was not contacted at any stage of the investigatory or pre-trial process by anyone connected with Operation Gold Seal. Had I been contacted, I would of course have co-operated fully with any investigation and offered any assistance that I could have provided. None of the vast number of court papers that I have seen (in the course of my own research) identify me or any of my business concerns, which were always fully separate from those of SRU, so I can only doubt the veracity of whatever documents Mr Vedmore claims to have seen.

What is true is that I have consistently advocated for non-traditional distance education for more than twenty years. In my professional practice, I have provided expert opinion on both traditional and non-traditional credentials from all over the world. I have founded and administered several non-traditional institutions myself, and served on the faculties and boards of others. In my exploration of distance education, I have sought quality and distinctive provision among schools that are not part of the mainstream sector, and on quite a few occasions I have found it.

All of my other doctorates are genuine, legally issued credentials, and the status of each one is explained in detail in this website. Three of my doctorates were issued by governmentally accredited universities listed in the International Association of Universities/UNESCO World Handbook of Universities.

The Traditional Britain Group and my supposedly “far-right” views

I remain a Vice-President of the Traditional Britain Group. I look forward to continuing to serve the TBG and am proud of what it has achieved. My speeches to the TBG, available on this website in both video and transcript, with the videos also on YouTube, show my style as hardly being that of the populist rabble-rouser: I am not, as Mr Vedmore has maliciously asserted, a “hate-filled demagogue”. I do believe there is a need to focus on the problems in our society and their negative effects, and I am happy to widen the debate about them.

It is certainly not the case that I “care only for the English”. I have spent the entirety of my student years and subsequent career in international environments, have studied and worked at foreign universities and with people from all over the world, and have devoted considerable effort to educational projects in Africa. Some indication of my international involvement might be gained from the fact that I have been recognized for my work by four governors of states of the USA and President Barack Obama, who awarded me the President’s Lifetime Achievement Award for Volunteer Service. I hold several honours of a chiefly nature from Africa, and have also received several of similar rank from South-East Asia, including from an Islamic sultanate.

I have never spoken publicly on the issue of climate change. I believe strongly that all have an imperative to care for the natural environment, and find a number of themes in “green” politics with which I agree.

The charge that I am “obviously homophobic” is absurd and baseless. My friends and family members include people who are homosexual. I have worked as a musician, a teacher and a clergyman alongside colleagues who are gay and lesbian without difficulty. As a former officer of the Libertarian Alliance, I argued in a number of papers and blog posts against state interference in matters of sexual choice and expression that are properly the business of the individual. What I have certainly steadfastly opposed is the political use of minority gender and sexual identities as part of the ideology of leftist identity politics and postmodernism. But I also believe that those who disapprove of homosexuality or of aspects of its practice, whether for religious or other reasons, should be free to say so openly. In religious matters, there is a distinction between the doctrinal and the pastoral. I do not interpret the Christian doctrinal position on homosexuality as being other than disapproving, but equally I believe that our pastoral approach to those who are homosexual should be inclusive and supportive.

The alleged “fake” company

I established Marquess Educational Consultants, Ltd., in 2005 to undertake educational work, including both consultancy and the provision of distance education. I was the sole director of the company. The existence of this company can easily be confirmed with Companies House using their WebCheck service which includes records for dissolved companies. Mr Vedmore’s statement that Marquess Educational Consultants, Ltd. “was never a registered company in the UK” is completely false. I should add that since I was a director of Marquess Educational Consultants, Ltd., from its foundation in 2005, my personal information was on record at Companies House from that date onward. I would hardly have been seeking to keep my name off records in which it had already appeared for several years.

Certificate of incorporation for Marquess Educational Consultants, Ltd., issued by Companies House

Companies House WebCheck public listing for Marquess Educational Consultants, Ltd.

Initial register of Marquess Educational Consultants, Ltd., showing me as the sole director

My alleged “crimes”

I wish to refute in the strongest terms the comments made by Mr Vedmore that I have ever been a party to an allegation of fraud. Mr Vedmore’s accusation that I have made “a false representation with the intention of making a personal gain, causing a loss to someone else or exposing someone else to the risk of a loss” is an outrageous falsehood manufactured by him seemingly for the sole reason of sensationalism and to attack my integrity. I have never been arrested or questioned in respect of allegations of fraud by any authority either in the United Kingdom or overseas. Regarding my educational work, I have on several occasions had contact with the Department for Education and Skills and its predecessors, and have always been scrupulous to ensure that my institutions are maintained in compliance with relevant laws in the United Kingdom. Regarding the Traditional Britain Group, Mr Vedmore’s comments were clearly aimed at my colleagues in the hope that his lie that I have “risked exposing” the TBG to loss would be followed by my dismissal as they took fright, which of course has not happened.

My office as a bishop and my title of professor are both recognized by H.M. Passport Office and appear as official observations in my passport. I am not “pretending” to be anything that I am not. As to whether I am a “paragon of virtue” that is for others to judge: as a Christian I am certainly not seeking to portray myself in such a way. If my life contains moments of both achievement and recognition, I see no reason to cut myself down to size – even if others seem to want to do so.

I have never been convicted of any criminal offence whatsoever, and in my former career as a teacher was required to hold a full clearance from the predecessor agency of the Disclosure and Barring Service. There are therefore no “safeguarding issues at stake” as is vexatiously alleged.

Conclusions

The major failure of Mr Vedmore’s article seems to me to lie in its lack of humanity. Mr Vedmore has never met me, does not know me, and knows nothing about me other than what little he has managed to glean from the internet. He has not even managed to get the facts straight as shown above. Rather than subject my ideas to robust criticism and debate, which I would welcome, his choice instead is the crude path of libel and personal attack. Even in the heat of political debate, the act of dehumanizing one’s opponent is the mark of the extremist. Unlike Mr Vedmore, I do not demonize others, and indeed I know from personal experience that friendships can form even across the widest of ideological divisions.

I note that Mr Vedmore, in a particularly nasty and mean-spirited previous article, has taken it upon himself to accuse Theresa May’s dead father, on the most absurdly tendentious of grounds, of being a paedophile. He has also previously come to the attention of the blogger Richard Bartholomew, who has written “There’s no point arguing with this sort of author (and those promoting the garbage on Twitter): they don’t give a damn about what’s true or not…All they care about is…weaponizing a concocted claim for some reason or another, usually to do with politics.” Lastly, and perhaps most directly, I recall the words of Dr Andrew Joyce, writing at The Occidental Observer, who has said of the proper approach to such activists, “Our priority is winning cultural influence and political power, not confronting small numbers of social effluent.”

I am grateful to the person who has brought this article to my attention. If anyone has any further information regarding the dissemination of libellous accusations against me, I would appreciate it if they would send them to me (I will preserve their anonymity if they request it.) This will enable me to take the appropriate action against those doing so by the appropriate legal means.

Publication of “La rivolta dei “Boxers” nella Cina dal 1899 al 1901”

I have contributed a preface to the book “La rivolta dei “Boxers” nella Cina dal 1899 al 1901” by Prof. Dr. Luca Scotto Tella de’ Douglas di Castel di Ripa, published by Aracne Editrice in Rome. I am also one of the dedicatees of the book.

The Rebellion of the “Boxers” (boxers, specifically Chinese Boxing practitioners of the Kung Fu Wu Shu), or more correctly the Yihetuan Movement, was the culmination of the nineteenth century Chinese resistance to Western Colonialism and to foreign and Christian influences in China. Foreign colonialism was not the only trigger for the violence that broke out in Shandong and the plains of Northern China, but it was certainly one of the main causes of resentment. After being defeated in several wars, China was forced to allow the incursion of Western culture and influence through unequal treaties. Christian Missionaries, an extension of their Western governments, often disrespected the Chinese people and constantly provoked them. In 1897–98, Shandong Province was hit first by drought and subsequently by floods. Threatened by hunger, the farmers were forced to flee to the cities, however the Missionaries fed only those who converted (the so-called “Rice Christians”). In November 1897, a group of gunmen killed two German Missionaries in what became known as the “Juye incident”.

The book is of 760 pages. It is available from Amazon and other booksellers.

Publication of “L’Ordine Equestre del Santo Sepolcro di Gerusalemme”

I have contributed a preface to the book “L’Ordine Equestre del Santo Sepolcro di Gerusalemme” by Prof. Dr. Luca Scotto Tella de’ Douglas di Castel di Ripa in collaboration with Maurizio Cancelli, published by Aracne Editrice in Rome.

The Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem (in Latin: Ordo Equestris Sancti Sepulcri Hierosolymitani, OESSH), also called the Order of the Holy Sepulchre or of the Knights of the Holy Sepulchre, is a Roman Catholic Knightly Order placed under the protection of the Holy See. Its main mission is to “support the Christian presence in the Holy Land”. According to ancient tradition, the Knights had the power to create other Knights, thus obtaining even the privilege of making even those Knights who were not nobles from birth become nobles. In addition, the acquisition of nobility also came from belonging to the Order. Among the privileges of the Order, registered by its Guardian in 1553 and approved by subsequent Popes, were included some of the greatest granted to any Order. Among these we should remember the ancient papal tradition, never repealed, which gives the Knights of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulcher of Jerusalem the title, granted by the Holy Father as Head of the Vatican State, of Count Palatine “Comes Palatii” (ad personam) of the Sacred Lateran Palace. The Order takes precedence in ceremonies and Apostolic Palaces over any other Religious-Chivalric Order and, according to experts and historians, in the hierarchy of the Pontifical Orders it would come immediately after the Order of the Golden Spur (currently quiescent), according to the ancient custom, although this rule is currently under discussion.

This study of the Order is undertaken from a perspective independent of the Vatican, and considers the Order in its historic, religious and nobiliary context.

The book is of 860 pages. It is available from Amazon and other booksellers.

Publication of “Attacco alla Massoneria”

I have contributed a preface to the book “Attacco alla Massoneria” by Prof. Dr. Luca Scotto Tella de’ Douglas di Castel di Ripa, published by Aracne Editrice in Rome.

This powerful monographic text on Freemasonry and its enemy, Anti-Freemasonry, is not only the umpteenth valuable cultural and didactic work of the author, well known and appreciated for his detailed, painstaking, exquisitely interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary research (for example, his latest book, on the Kamikaze, Vento Divino, was published by Aracne in January 2019) but also represents an encyclopedic and university-level publication of a unique scientific and academic importance, of international and world caliber, since such a monumental study on Freemasonry, richly illustrated and enriched both by many footnotes, and by a large and highly accurate Masonic, religious, philosophical, spiritual and numerological glossary-dictionary, was never created, much less conceived before now. The topic is treated as usual across the board and so as to allow even those who are not already experts in the field – Freemason, esotericist, Gnostic or professor of History of Religions – to understand this ancient initiatory path, with a core of Solomonic and Hiramitic wisdom and with sapiential, mystical and initiatory contributions from the greatest and most ancient civilizations of our planet. This theme is still unfortunately unknown and misunderstood to most, so much so that the Free Masonry, or Freemasonry, or Royal Art, in the collective imagination, in Europe and especially in Italy, has always been wrongly connected to Satanism, thanks to the totally fictional books invented by Léo Taxil (1854–1907), to the underworld, and even to organized crime, while in reality the greatest philosophers, religious, statesmen, scientists, artists, musicians, captains of industry and philanthropists of history have been Masons. Freemasonry has been and is, in the history of humanity, similar to the sun in that everyone has enjoyed its salutary and life-giving effects (even unwittingly) and whose rays have shone and still shine refracting on every side. Nobody knows how to penetrate its sacred origin, because it is divine, to discover its luminous process and its intimate essence.

With interviews with Lidia Reghini di Pontremoli, Davide Scaranari, Ilenia Mastroscusa, Agostino Mario Cannataro; a Glossary, a Masonic Dictionary and multiple culturally useful curiosities.

The book is of 1,656 pages published in two volumes. It is available from Amazon and other booksellers.

Publication of “Vento Divino”

I have contributed a preface to the book “Vento Divino” by Prof. Dr. Luca Scotto Tella de’ Douglas di Castel di Ripa, published by Aracne Editrice in Rome.

The volume is a comprehensive study of kamikaze pilots and their missions. The topic is treated across the board, also from an interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary perspective: origin of the term, birth, training and personal values, businesses, testimonials, the touching farewell letters of the young pilots, the museums dedicated to them, the cards of the airplanes and vehicles used by both the Japanese and the Allied sides, the semantic restatements. It forms a short and fascinating historical parenthesis that closes the end of the Second World War. Furthermore, the author treats with detail not only the airplane pilots, but also the land and sea suicide bombers, piloting both explosive motorboats – small boats and mini-submarines, pocket-sized, with the explosive warhead and the so-called slow-running torpedoes , dear to the raiders of the Navy, modified for suicide missions.

The book consists of some 808 pages and is available via Amazon and many other booksellers.

Traditional Britain Group Conference 2018

What has gone wrong with our education system? These days more than ever there are profound concerns among the public as to what pupils and students are being taught, and as to the influence of particular political and other ideologies upon both the nature of their studies and the manner in which schools and universities deliver them. In my talk today, I am going to deal with some of these problems and explain some of their roots. In doing so, I will point out some potential solutions. Before any of this, I want to be clear that the reason why these matters are of such concern is because education, above almost anything else, is of crucial importance in establishing our society’s values and in setting the tone for the culture of our nation. We ignore it at our peril. It is one of the most difficult nettles for politicians to grasp, but it is of crucial importance that they do so.

Let us start with the political dimension. Our education system is not run by the government, but primarily by the teaching unions. The prospect of a Secretary of State for Education who is prepared to oppose the teaching unions, to tell them that their comfortable Guardian-reading left-wing shibboleths are harming their charges and selling their pupils short, makes the average teacher’s blood run cold. The only Education Secretary in recent years who dared to take on such a mission was Michael Gove, and I believe the reason he did so was because his own background was one where he had risen from poverty. It was not necessary to explain to him how much education mattered or what difference it made to the life chances of those who received it. He knew those things at first hand, and he also knew that he was facing a wall of left-wing opposition in an attempt to introduce reform and to correct some of the worst excesses of the school system. He called that opposition, consisting of the teaching unions, university education departments, council education officers and myriad more left-wing institutions, “the blob”. Under his tenure, the blob was pushed back and despite its boiling resentment, and voodoo dolls of Michael Gove – made in Brighton – selling like hot cakes, it was contained. Gove’s most important analysis of the problem was when he said that left-wing ideology meant that schools “shouldn’t be doing anything so old-fashioned as passing on knowledge, requiring children to work hard, or immersing them in anything like dates in history or times tables in mathematics. These ideologues may have been inspired by generous ideals but the result of their approach has been countless children condemned to a prison house of ignorance.” His plans were radical and rigorous. At one point, they included the abandonment of the GCSE exam and its replacement by a new version of its more rigorous predecessor, the O level, alongside less academic qualifications for less able students, the scrapping of the National Curriculum and the creation of a single exam board in place of the various competing bodies that currently exist.

But politicians are limited by the constraints of the practical. A small but reliable majority in the House of Commons is enough to enable some degree of authority to be wielded. A shrinking and then non-existent majority is a mandate for nothing but the drift of presiding over the status quo. What we have now, in respect of education, is a government that is nominally in charge, but in reality has very limited power. It has withdrawn from the blob, and has let the blob have its own way. Gove could not survive after two of the main teaching unions had passed votes of no confidence in him, 100 academics had signed a letter criticising him for placing too much emphasis on the memorisation of facts and rules, and another 200 prominent figures had issued a further letter criticising his reforms as posing enormous and negative risks to children.

A stronger government, and a stronger Prime Minister, would have backed him, but the political cost had become too high. Gove had become isolated, and it seems to me that he was also being undermined by his own civil servants. His family were receiving death threats from Leftists which his wife described as “vicious and aggressive”. This was the price of a reform that could, if successful, have transformed our education system for a generation. We should salute the considerable courage needed to advance a vision for education that almost nobody actually working in education agreed with. But above all, Gove’s achievement was to say that education did not belong to those who work in it. Rather, it belongs to the pupils who are being educated and whose futures are being decided in consequence. It is their interests which are neglected at the expense of appeasing the education lobby.

Governments with small majorities cannot go to war with the teaching unions. More than that, the Conservative Party knows that if it is to win a majority at the next election it will not do so by appealing to those of us on the Right. We do not meet sufficiently the demographic or numerical targets they need to achieve. In order for them to win, they must persuade people who currently vote Labour to vote Conservative, and the only way they can do that is to appear to be sufficiently soft on areas that Labour traditionally regards as its own – education being a prime example. If the Conservative Party is seen to be opposed to the majority of teachers, it will not only lose their votes but those of many other Labour voters for whom education is a key issue and for whom teachers are put on a pedestal in the same way as those who work in the NHS.

This is why we have seen, particularly over the last few years during which we have had a minority Conservative administration, a veritable tide of damaging nonsense in our schools and universities. We have seen the erosion of their traditional commitment to free speech, with “no platform” policies and crude, intolerant protest silencing voices that do not conform to Leftist orthodoxy. We have seen the rise of grievance studies and the balkanization that results from minority groups being encouraged to seek not merely equality, but dominance. We have seen, in short, the Left in its own ideological bubble, secure on its home turf, playing fast and loose with our young people’s futures and seeking to bring its own ideology to bear not least because traditional education and traditional values have now become the preserve, as the Left would see it, of the “nasty party”. But above all, the issues are these: Trump and Brexit have been two of the most damaging blows the mainstream Left has ever received in recent generations. They have responded to these reversals by uniting and becoming better organized. The Labour Party under Jeremy Corbyn certainly does not appeal to Blairites but it does have a huge appeal to grass roots left-wing Labour supporters who will give him money, time and energy. This is why education, which is seen by the Left as its own territory, has become emboldened in its embrace of lunatic Marxism. They are dealing with a government too weak to oppose them and they are preparing for a time that they believe will come quickly when the Labour Party will be in power again. Against this, the Right is in disarray and the intellectual Right is largely absent. These are things our enemies note and take advantage of.

Let us now consider some of these matters in practice. Until 1990, homosexuality was classified as a mental illness by the World Health Organization in its International Standard Classification of Diseases and Related Problems. That reclassification is, broadly speaking, the point at which attitudes towards homosexuality in respect of British public life began to change profoundly. Now consider that the same organization declassified gender dysphoria, including transsexualism, in March this year. The classification or declassification decisions are not made on an empirical basis, as they would be if we were, for example, discussing human disease. They are made on the basis of a consensus view from psychiatrists, particularly American psychiatrists, and the declassification decisions have also taken into account the lobbying efforts of groups representing homosexuals and individuals with gender dysphoria who object to the classification of their traits as mental conditions and wish them instead to be seen as entirely normal. There is too high an element of subjectivity in these decisions for them to be free from political and other biases, and yet such is the deference to expert culture and such is the decline in educational standards in our age, that people with a very legitimate say in how these traits should be regarded in and by society – in other words the general public – are not consulted and their views are unheard, the political consensus across all the major parties being simply to accept expert opinion unquestioningly. To take a Gove-like stand – to reject expert opinion and instead take a wider view with the good of our young people at the forefront – is seen as far too costly a move.

Between 1988 and 2003 in England and Wales, Section 28 of the Local Government Act 1986, applying to all maintained schools, provided that a local authority “shall not intentionally promote homosexuality or publish material with the intention of promoting homosexuality” or “promote the teaching in any maintained school of the acceptability of homosexuality as a pretended family relationship.” The intention behind this legislation was not to persecute homosexuals, but rather to emphasise the following aspects: that childhood and young adulthood are times when pupils should be free from any form of promotion of homosexuality, and that homosexual relationships are inferior to heterosexual relationships in respect of the upbringing of a family. The background to the legislation was the result of a number of Labour councils, notably the GLC, giving substantial public funding to a number of gay and lesbian groups. Perhaps some of us will remember a book that was reported in 1986 as being in use in a school library called Jenny lives with Eric and Martin, which depicted a young girl living with her father and his homosexual partner and which was held by a number of newspapers to be a work of homosexual propaganda.

Against this background, the Labour Party, at that point strongly controlled by the unions which had formed an alliance with a number of homosexual groups, had passed a resolution at the 1985 conference that would criminalize discrimination against homosexual and bisexual people. During the 1987 election campaign, according to the Conservative Party, Labour wanted a number of books that not only promoted homosexuality but described, in a manner to be understood by young children, the mechanics of homosexual activity, to be used in schools. Dame Jill Knight of the Conservative Party and the Monday Club, one of the leading lights behind Section 28, said “I was contacted by parents who strongly objected to their children at school being encouraged into homosexuality and being taught that a normal family with mummy and daddy was outdated. To add insult to their injury, they were infuriated that it was their money, paid over as council tax, which was being used for this. This all happened after pressure from the Gay Liberation Front. At that time I took the trouble to refer to their manifesto, which clearly stated: “We fight for something more than reform. We must aim for the abolition of the family”.

So here we are in 2018 and it would appear that the problems of thirty years ago have come back with a vengeance. Of course the tone was set by then-leader of the Conservative Party David Cameron in 2009 when, as reported by The Independent, he apologised for Section 28 and hoped that the Conservatives would give Britain its first gay Prime Minister. Now, we are told that forty secondary schools have banned girls from wearing skirts lest this offend pupils who identify as transgender. Toilets have become either unisex or open to pupils to choose whichever gender they identify with. The government’s former mental health tsar has told headteachers they should only use gender-neutral language when addressing pupils, and at least one school, Altrincham Grammar School for Girls, has, despite its name, made this compulsory for its staff. “Drag queen story hour” is now a thing in primary schools. Indeed, since 2011, lesson plans have been available from the Training and Development Agency for Schools in maths, science, geography and design and technology to encourage teaching about homosexuality and transsexualism to children as young as four as part of  “LGBT History Month”. And parents  are being told that if they object to their children identifying as another gender, then they will be reported to Social Services! Truly the movement for the abolition of the family is well advanced.

All of this points to one thing: the calculated and intentional sexualization of our children. A traditional view was that matters of sexuality and gender dysphoria certainly affected young people of school age, and that those young people needed to be treated with understanding and support, but that it was not until a good way into adult life that one could arrive at a maturity of judgement necessary to know oneself and one’s nature fully, and to reconcile that knowledge with one’s chosen moral and cultural framework in terms of how that knowledge would find expression. It is generally forgotten in these debates that people may have instincts and deep emotions which they choose for whatever reason not to act upon, and people may not wish to identify with any particular label or cultural movement that deems itself their spokesperson. The prevailing culture of the aggressive promotion of minority rights is allied to a view that these are not private matters for the home and bedroom and for friends and confidants, but that they are matters of public and political discourse in which any repression is unhealthy and any expression of identification with the trendy cause is to be celebrated and acted upon, even when those actions have unwanted, and in the case of surgery for transsexuals, severe medical consequences. I must say the prospect of gender reassignment for children, even for those before puberty, is of great concern. Nothing makes these people happier, it seems, than when a young person makes a declaration of allegiance to their cause. We may speculate, of course, as to why these particular causes would put so much energy into promoting themselves to children.

If we look back to some examples from the last century, same-sex relationships, often platonic, sometimes not, were commonly reported among young people being educated in single-sex environments, as well as intense emotional feelings towards teachers of the same sex. Consider Evelyn Waugh, who had several homosexual relationships while at Oxford, but in adult life, and according to his biographers entirely as a result of his choice and inclination, married twice and had seven children. People are complex and childhood and young adulthood are times of transition and discovery. People who have homosexual experiences do not always choose to repeat them, and may come to the conclusion that they are not, in fact, to be a part of their mature sexual identity. We should never force our young people into making decisions about their identity and preferences that they may subsequently regret, and that may lead them to much greater anguish and distress than if we were to use that saying from my time, “it’s probably just a phase he’s going through”. Whether or not it actually turns out to be a phase, the point is that it should be allowed to be a phase and not something that defines them permanently in their own view or in the view of others. Once that definition of one’s identity has occurred, something will be lost if it is abandoned. The aim of politicised minority groups is to create a culture whereby those who put themselves outside them, particularly those who might come to oppose them, have a lot to lose as a result.

Of course within the Left’s adoption of postmodernism, such fixed ideas about personal identity are cast aside. The traditionalist understands personal identity to be rooted in one’s racial heritage, genetic stock and a culture which perpetuates enduring values discovered anew by each generation. Traditionalism teaches that childhood and adulthood are different, and that adulthood is characterized by maturity, duty and purpose. Postmodernism, on the other hand, holds that identity is essentially a construct to be adopted or discarded at will. Nothing in the postmodern view of identity endures, and nothing is necessarily preferable to anything else. You may, and some people do, say you are a woman for five days of the week and a man for the other two. And if the Left are in power, they will take you seriously. Because of this weakness concerning identity, this view relegates adults to perpetual children. It teaches that there is no need to grow up, to take responsibility or to assume any form of duty towards others. If one wishes to change one’s identity or cast off responsibility then the state will take up the slack.

We should be clear that what is going on in our schools is effectively the promotion of minority sexual and gender positions, and that this is being done not through any explicit legislation but through a creeping political correctness; a commitment to equality and diversity that actually means that the majority is deliberately hindered and inconvenienced for the sake of the minority. This of course is explicitly Marxist; the majority is held to be the oppressor and the minority cause justified because of its perceived victim status. Even when the apparent victim is deliberately advanced by being given special treatment, that does not mean they can ever stop being seen as the victim or being oppressed. This in turn is allied to the creation of a myth surrounding the supposed utopia of equality and diversity that is being created; that it is under constant threat, and that it can only survive if a safe space is created whereby any expressions of dissent or criticism are censored and designated as “hate speech”. The reality is that the threat is of a rather different nature – it is the threat that the shibboleths of equality and diversity will be shown to be absurd and counter-productive if subjected to rigorous critique. Truly, the emperor has no clothes.

This Marxist viewpoint in turn gives rise to the poison of identity politics and to what has been referred to as grievance studies. It originates in our universities and it runs riot in the humanities and in education. The recent expose by three academics shows this for exactly what it is. They created fake, but achingly trendy, research papers and submitted these to leading peer-reviewed academic journals in the humanities. At the point where the hoax was revealed, they had had seven papers accepted and several further papers likely to be accepted. Among those published were papers suggesting that men should be trained in the same manner as dogs, that white male college students should be punished for historical slavery by asking them to sit in silence in the floor in chains during class and to be expected to learn from the discomfort, and that superintelligent artificial intelligence should be programmed with feminist and leftist nonsense before being permitted to rule the world. Each paper was chosen to be deliberately absurd, and yet its absurdity was merely an exaggeration of a genuine leftist concept.

In their essay explaining their hoax, the three academics make some trenchant comments. I was particularly taken by this, “This problem is most easily summarized as an overarching…belief that many common features of experience and society are socially constructed. These constructions are seen as being nearly entirely dependent upon power dynamics between groups of people, often dictated by sex, race, or sexual or gender identification. All kinds of things accepted as having a basis in reality due to evidence are instead believed to have been created by the intentional and unintentional machinations of powerful groups in order to maintain power over marginalized ones. This worldview produces a moral imperative to dismantle these constructions. Common “social constructions” viewed as intrinsically “problematic” and thus claimed to be in need of dismantling include (amongst others) the understanding that there are cognitive and psychological differences between men and women which could explain, at least partially, why they make different choices in relation to things like work, sex, and family life, and that Western liberal cultural norms which grant women and the LGBT equal rights are ethically superior in this regard to non-Western religious or cultural ones that do not.”

In brief, what they point out is that what is now going on in the humanities is an attempt to replace scientific theory with critical theory in the name of so-called “social justice”. It is an attempt to smear science and the scientific method as sexist and racist and to abandon any impartial pursuit of truth in favour of grievance-based identity politics. Likewise, the Western philosophical tradition is rejected because this also emphasises rigour and reason over solipsism and superstition. We might very well see in this the opposition to Michael Gove’s emphasis on facts and rules over what his opponents wanted instead – “understanding”. Of course what is meant by “understanding” is something much more easily manipulated to political ends than facts and rules. But what is for sure is that this movement against science and rational thought is deeply dishonest. It is concerned with setting up imagined conflict in society that is then used to fire others up with the powerful emotions caused by believing that they are not themselves responsible for their misfortunes but that they can blame them on their sex, gender, race or other protected characteristic. In turn, this is then exploited to take advantage of middle-class liberal guilt, and there is little that is more easily manipulated than that. The peer review system in academia has long been defended as a means of ensuring reliability in research, but at least in the humanities it was always in danger of becoming an echo-chamber filled with ideological conformity.

This is not a problem, however, that is confined to academia. It has a direct influence on society as a whole, because these ideas inevitably leak out and gain wider currency, which is exactly what academics intend them to do – they are, after all, charged with educating the next generation. When we look at television advertising at the moment we might believe that the government had issued the advertising industry with a directive that every advertisement must contain at least one member of an ethnic minority, preferably a couple of mixed race, or a homosexual couple, or people with a visible disability. No such directive exists. Nor has this been in response to particular campaigns by minority groups, or particular complaints about given advertising campaigns.

What has happened is that corporations have realised that their audience is one that is led by these trends that have begun in academia, then been extended through the media, and that now require promotion as politically correct social norms. They are terrified that deviation from those norms will lead to them being accused of being homophobic, racist, transphobic or whatever other made-up term is current with the Left today. They are, indeed, so terrified of this that they will prioritise the avoidance of any perceived bigotry even over appeal to their target audience, thus defeating the prime objective of advertising in the first place. We are told that when surveyed by The Times, half of the advertisers said they were no longer using white people in their adverts because they “no longer represented modern society”. What has happened to the advertisers is the same as what these academics want to do to our young people. They are not responding to actual racism but to “perceived” racism. In other words, they are promoting ideology, not responding to fact. And in doing so, they are perpetuating a monstrous and grievously offensive falsehood, which is that to be white, to be male or female, and to be heterosexual, must be irrevocably racist, homophobic and transphobic, and, while those people must forever do penance for the fact, they can never atone for it.

There is a further aspect to this that might give us all pause for thought. Our schools no longer allow transgressions to be forgotten, as they were in my day, or dismissed as the excesses of youth. Nowadays, every punishment and every failure is recorded permanently in a form that travels with the pupil from childhood through to their university years. This is Orwellian, but moreover it is likely to be a precursor for something much more sinister. Communist China is already introducing a computerised Social Credit System, and this has nothing to do with Major C.H. Douglas or distributist economics. China’s social credit means that every citizen has a computerized publicly-available reputation score based on their credit score and so-called trustworthiness, which is generated from their social behaviour. The Chinese government says violations of the social order will be punished by a lower score. This score is then used, at present, to determine whether a person is allowed access to such things as good school places for their children, travel outside the country, access to credit and even fast internet speeds. One important criterion for China is ideological conformity. If you challenge the prevailing orthodoxy, you lose points on your credit score. What China wants, and I do not think it is so different from the Left over here, is for all of the behaviour of its citizens, online and offline, to be monitored and controlled so that people compete with each other according to indices of virtue. In literal terms, the more you conform to the politically correct ideal, the higher your social credit score becomes, and it is your score that will determine access to almost everything you need in life. In the kind of society that leftist academia in Britain is promoting, violation of the safe space and opposition to social justice will make one into a technologically updated version of the Soviet non-person. This is what the future holds.

What can then be done? The weakness of opposition to these matters is above all seen in a lack of intellectual firepower among those in power and their lack of the necessary courage to challenge so-called experts whose expertise has been gained within an ideological bubble. The humanities and the social sciences have become rotten to the core with this ideological cant. Anyone who speaks out against it is no-platformed and it has become, as Sir Roger Scruton has long pointed out, impossible to pursue a career as a conservative intellectual in this country. The only reason why it has remained a possibility in the United States, incidentally, is because of the strength of traditional Christian institutions within their education system. If we look to the churches to exert a similar influence in this country we will look in vain.

If we are to combat this movement in our schools nothing short of radical action will suffice. It may, indeed, take a boycott of the maintained school system before government takes notice. In the meantime, concerted parental pressure must be applied to ensure that our children are educated in a fit and proper manner, and not subjected to Leftist indoctrination when they are at a formative age. If the headteacher’s day is spent dealing with correspondence and angry representations from parents, and the governors and local education authority with complaints about the school’s lack of action, this will create a problem that will need to be addressed. The only reason this is being imposed upon our schools in this way, is that those imposing it believe they can get away with it. But a school can only work on the basis of consent. It covenants with its pupils and with its parents and it must learn that a necessary part of that covenant is treating their views with respect even when those views are not the same as those of the teaching staff or leadership team. And above all, the political bias in our education system must be countered. Already, we have all but driven men out of primary teaching for fear that they be labelled paedophiles for wanting to work with young children. An all-female school is not a healthy environment for young boys to be educated in. More significantly, it is now near-impossible for people of conservative political views to become teachers or lecturers. There is an ideological conformity imposed not just in training but in practice, and it has already done great damage to the culture of our nation. Unless we have the will and the means to fight it, it will soon be too late.