The right wing of the country is in the ascendency – indicative of a wider scepticism for the current political class of professional politicians, and its increasingly popular opposition to the European Union. Record unemployment and a real terms decline in wages over a five year period has hit the British public hard – and so the finding of a scapegoat i.e. cheap migrant labour from Eastern Europe, is an age old self-deception.
At closer inspection, the fact that UKIP has been able to gain any form of popular support, beyond the old Tory heartlands of South-East England, is peculiar. The knee jerk reaction of the public, following the 2008 recession, was to call for a purge of the banks, at fault for the abrupt grinding to a halt of years old economic growth. Ironic then, how the leader of the new force within British politics should be the very caricature of public disdain: a cigar wielding, ex-public school boy and city trader.
The stark incoherence of a wider manifesto outside of the populist message proposed in its’ very acronym will surely mean that UKIPs days as a force will be limited. Rudimentary policies on restoring grammar schools, even with the trump card of a referendum on the EU, won’t win an election. The rise of UKIP is small beer – it is the rise of the far right that forms a much more compelling threat.
The recent brutal murder of a British soldier on a London Street was despicable, and the reaction that followed -the rapid flocking of EDL members to intimidate Muslims at mosques throughout the country – equally disquieting. That Britain’s Islamic community should feel in any way targeted because of the deranged actions of two lone individuals is sickening.
Successive governments have rightly incorporated social cohesion and tolerance into the curriculum yet more can, and must, be done. So often criticised as artificially segregating society into the kind of one dimensional atmospheres that foster ignorance and bigotry, faith schools have in fact made genuine attempts to promote a greater understanding of others faith and cultures.
Education is central to tackling the spread of the toxic mantra of thugs- and averting the radicalisation of a vulnerable group of our society.