CIB wishes to congratulate CIB member Michael Clark on his letter to The Times
There is no shortage of media coverage on Greece’s current financial crisis. This piece, however, paints a different picture from most. It is written by Thanasis Laskaratos of EPAM, the Greek People’s movment. EPAM is a cross-party campaigning organisation, similar to CIB.
Last October, Robert Oulds of the Bruges Group delivered a presentation entitled “Independent from the EU and into the wider world” at a CIB-hosted meeting at Chelwood House, Somerset. Robert explained how we could exit seamlessly from the EU by invoking Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty and negotiating to re-join EFTA. No other exit option is viable for, if we left the European Economic Area (which we would not under this secenario), the barriers to trade with the EU would take years to address, thus putting many UK businesses at risk.
Although much has happened since Robert gave this presentation, the arguments he set out last year still form the basis of the EU exit strategy most likely to command sufficient popular support to secure the all-important “out” vote in the forthcoming referendum and the only one which can answer all the concerns of the business community. The video can be accessed here.
By Chris McGovern
The EU referendum promised for 2017, or sooner according to some reports, will coincide with the teaching of a new topic for GCSE history – migration to Britain. Given that this topic is, also, likely to have considerable prominence in the public debate it is instructive to consider what will be taught about it in the classroom.
Two of the three major exam boards have included ‘immigration’ in the new exam to be taught from 2016. Currently, the specifications are awaiting final approval by the exam regulator, Ofqual. The version to be offered by the OCR Board – “Immigration to Britain c1000 to 2010”- is illustrative.
The board is very clear about its aim for the new history exam:
“We have updated traditional and popular topics at GCSE and combined them with new and innovative options that aim to address comments in the wider historical community regarding the prevalence of white, male dominated history.
“One of the ways that we have are addressing this is by working with BASA [“The Black and Asian Studies Association”] on our new migration options in paper 2 and paper 3 (J410/08 and J410/11).”
The OCR Board then quotes an endorsement from BASA:
“This course will enable students to learn the long history of how the movement of people – European, African, Asian – to and from these islands has shaped the story of this nation for thousands of years. The history of migration is the story of Britain: in 1984 Peter Fryer wrote: ‘There were Africans in Britain before the English came’…We are delighted to be working with OCR to offer a course which will both open up an analysis of Britain’s place in the modern world and allow every student a personal connection with our shared history.”
A bold BASA ‘kitemark’ is firmly and prominently attached to the top of the syllabus itself.
As Education Secretary, Michael Gove called on schools to stop the trashing of our past. Disastrously, he lost his battle to require the teaching of the landmark personalities and events of British history as part of the national curriculum. Now, we can see that GCSE history, too, is being subverted to provide a vehicle for a politically correct views on history in general and on immigration, in particular.
This new syllabus will ensure that, at the same time as the EU referendum campaign and debates on border controls, pupils will be given some strong and seductive arguments in favour of seeing current immigration as a natural evolution of a long historical process. According to campaigning think-tank MigrationWatch UK, however, current levels of immigration, resulting from ‘free movement’ within the EU, are at levels unprecedented in the history of Britain and are far from being a natural evolution:
“There have always been episodes of migration to Britain but…those episodes were small and demographically insignificant until the Second World War… In the late 1990s the pace and scale of migration increased to a level without historical precedent… This massive increase dwarfs the scale of any previous inflow in our history.”
This crucial numerical aspect of the immigration narrative is missing from the syllabus. The EU receives a passing ‘fag end’ reference at the end of the syllabus -“issues raised by EU ‘open borders’” – but there is no requirement specifically to consider the issue of numbers raised by MigrationWatch UK.
Pupils will hear a lot about a group of African soldiers stationed on Hadrian’s Wall but less, I suspect, about the enslavement of Britons by the African Emperor, Septimus Severus who died in Eboracum (York). The enslavement of Britons by an African, after all, does not fit the desired narrative of immigrants having a monopoly of being subjugated or maltreated.
19th century Irish ‘ immigration’ fits the subjugation idea much better and is specified for teaching. However, these Irish were born UK citizens as fully as those born in the home counties. The new syllabus veers towards equating deprivation with immigration.
For all its importance, immigration is a political minefield these days and not a straight-forward topic to teach. History GCSE should not be a vehicle for promoting particular viewpoints, such as that of the BASA. Equally, it should not be a vehicle for promoting racism or xenophobia. The OCR should not be in the business of boasting a ‘kitemark’ of political correctness, it should be focusing on a balanced presentation of the past that allows for the input of MigrationWatch UK as much as the Black and Asian Studies Association.
This article first appeared in Conservative Woman. Chris McGovern is Chairman of the Campaign for Real Education. CIB will be organising an event to launch his recent booklet .A Genaration Betrayed, hopefully some time in June. More details to follow.
CIB Committee member Dr Lee Rotherham has just published a booklet entitled titled “Manning the Pumps – A handbook for salvaging the Eurosceptic credentials of the Conservative Party“ in conjunction with The Freedom Association.
Last week marked the first time that voters elected a representative from the UK Independence Party to the UK Parliament. A key reason for this is a dissatisfaction amongst voters with the strategy of the main Westminster parties – especially over issues that are influenced by the European Union.
What is needed is a clear strategy from the Conservative Party to defend UK interests and provide reassurance to the British public that its concerns are being taken seriously.
Dr Rotherham’s booklet provides a list of twenty suggested steps to help form the right strategy that can send a clear message to Brussels on behalf of the British people.
As mentioned in the forward by Sir Bernard Ingham, without such a clear strategy the fear of the “unknown” will lead to either intimidation to remain in a largely unreformed EU or will “marvellously fudge the outcome of negotiation“.
This will breed further dissatisfaction amongst voters.
With seven months until the next General Election, now is the time to develop a strategy and present a clear and credible path to the British public. As Dr Rotherham writes:
“This is a rare opportunity. Achievement, after all, is vision plus motion. A pointy stick sometimes helps: the polls now provide the incentive to get things right.“
To download the free booklet, please click on this link.
The Campaign for an Independent Britain held a public rally at the Emmanuel Centre in Westminster, London on Saturday March 11th.
The rally featured speakers from a number of affiliated eurosceptic groups – highly appropriate given the title of the meeting was “Stronger together, looking forward. Bringing the Eurorealist groups together”. The meeting was chaired by CIB’s chairman Petrina Holdsworth and both George West, CIB’s President and our Hon. Secretary Edward Spalton, gave addresses. The other speakers came from organisations affiliated to CIB – John Mills from the Labour Euro Safeguards Campaign, Simon Richards from The Freedom Association and Robert Oulds from the Bruges Group.
The prospect of a referendum if David Cameron is returned to power in next month’s General Election dominated the meeting and has unquestionably been a factor in encouraging eurosceptic groups to recognise the need to work more closely together. The speakers agreed that a referendum before 2017 looked to be highly improbable, but it was pointed out that Cameron has selected the second half of that year deliberately to coincide with the UK presidency of the EU. Although a Conservative victory is by no means a foregone conclusion, it is most likely that Cameron’s team have agreed on the choreography with the main players (such as Germany’s Chancellor Merkel) that will enable him to claim a significant concession that will pull the wool over the electorate’s eyes. In other words, he is seeking to repeat Harold Wilson’s trick in 1975, where nothing of any significance was really agreed.
All the speakers acknowledged that we start as the underdogs, although underdogs have a long history of pulling off surprising victories. Simon Richards suggested that several different campaigns to suit different sections of the electorate may be one way forward. John Mills mentioned his involvement with Business for Britain and the importance of winning support from the business community. He mentioned the slogan used by the “out” campaign of 1975, in which he played a prominent role: -“Out of Europe, into the world”. Given the gradual re-orientation of our trade away from the EU in recent years, this ought to have resonance forty years later.
Robert Oulds emphasised the need to be able to sell an exit model that will not cause job losses. He explained the reasons for his support for the EEA/EFTA model as used by Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein. He also explained why the “Swiss”, “Turkish” and “WTO” options would not be feasible as an immediate exit route, although he also stressed that while EEA/EFTA would be the only route to a seamless exit, it is not an ideal long-term relationship between an independent UK and the EU. He emphasised the volatility of public opinion. Euroscepticism tends to increase in times of economic downturns.
However, the cause is not lost. Bruges Group surveys indicate that when the voters are offered a choice between the EU and EFTA – in other words, between a political Europe and a trading relationship – the result is overwhelmingly in favour of EFTA. He stated that both Richard North and Hugo van Randwyck have met with senior officials from EFTA, who indicated that the UK would be very welcome to re-join. We must be positive, said Mr Oulds – emphasising joining something rather than leaving something.
A series of videos of the day’s proceedings will be posted to the website in the next couple of weeks. However, as a post script, Edward Spalton mentioned that, in the 1975 referendum, his father voted to stay in because although he felt distrustful about the whole Common Market business, “If that man Tony Benn is against it, there must be something good about it!”
Given that Tony Blair has come out so strongly in favour of us staying in, could history repeat itself and a thoroughly mistrusted politician once again act as a recruiting sergeant for the side he opposes? We can but hope.