Blair’s Britain, lecturers, spy on ‘Asian-looking’ students

Blair and human rights, cartoon

From London daily The Morning Star:

Rising tide of reaction

(Monday 16 October 2006)

THE attempt to build a racist and dangerous anti-Muslim climate of opinion in this country continued apace yesterday, but welcome signs of resistance are at last forthcoming from all sorts of sources.

The outrageous reports yesterday that university staff could be asked to spy on students have sparked a bitter response from students, academics and vice-chancellors alike.

And so they should have.

Even the phraseology employed by the leaked 18-page consultation document betrays its racist and reactionary roots.

Talk of spying on “Asian-looking” and Muslim students has only one possible origin and that is extreme prejudice and a bias which has its roots in a xenophobia of such appalling dimensions that it should have no place in this society.

And, thankfully, this has not gone unnoticed by the academic world.

In an almost unprecedented display of unity of purpose the committee of vice-chancellors has joined the National Union of students and lecturers’ union the UCU in denouncing the document.

The criticism of it by joint UCU general secretaries Sally Hunt and Paul Mackney is in the best traditions of the trade union movement, at once subjecting the analysis implicit in the paper to a harsh, but entirely deserved scrutiny and, at the same time, refusing point-blank to accept further government incursions on academic freedom and free speech on campuses up and down the country.

Even vice-chancellors’ spokesman Professor Drummond Bone has criticised the paper’s suggestions as unreasonable and counter-productive.

As Mr Mackney pointed out clearly, “the government’s premise is wrong.

Radicalisation is not the result of Islamist segregation, but government policy, especially in Afghanistan, Palestine and Iraq.”

And he was undoubtedly prophetic when he warned of the dangers of an anti-Muslim McCarthyism being generated.

Although a government spokesman back-pedalled furiously and, in the now traditional new Labour idiom, declared that “the guidance has not been finalised” – newspeak for we “won’t do anything until the dust settles” – this seemingly didn’t get through the ever-thickening skin of Communities Secretary Ruth Kelly, who was still prattling on about whether police and local council officials are doing enough to root out “extremists” in schools, colleges and universities.

See also here.

And here.

Tony Blair’s role: here.

By the way, spying especially on ‘Asian-looking’ students … It reminds me of Hitler’s occupation of The Netherlands, when nazis were hunting especially so-called ‘Jews of Asian appearance’ …

UK terror police told to target black and Asian people.

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