This looks planned, very deliberate, long-term and unkind.
First, in December, we had the announcement that foreign university students wouldn’t be allowed to stay in the UK to find work, once their courses were over. This, of course, removes the benefits of continued cultural rub; of exchange; of future potential research; of human development more generally (the bold is mine):
While the NHS fee may not appear huge, it’s symbolically pandering to an anti-immigrant rhetoric. It’s one of many measures that negatively affect international students – including attendance monitoring, proposed landlord checks for migrants and credibility interviews.
Almost all of these have come along in the last few years. Is this coincidental? Or is it a systematic attempt to reduce the number of non-EU students, because of the rise of an anti-immigrant sentiment in the UK?
Systematic attempt, eh? Well. The proposals and objectives were limited, in this case, to non-EU foreign students.
So maybe we could be charitable and assume the government only had such students as the goal of its plans.
Without wider ramifications.
Some might have wildly argued it was edged with a desire for proactively cleansing future ethnic change. But we’d probably have accused such accusers of being wild conspiracy theorists.
Today, in the meantime, I read this astonishing piece from the Telegraph:
Nursery school staff and registered childminders must report toddlers at risk of becoming terrorists, under counter-terrorism measures proposed by the Government.
Talk about the nanny state. Goodness me, but Blair’s New Labour had absolutely nothing on this lot.
Anyhow. Couple the above with the news on foreign uni students, and the accusations of proactively cleansing possible ethnic change in the future begin to seem less of the tinfoil-hat brigade.
The Home Office appears clear about where it wants to go: killing two birds with one stone, it positions the terrorism frontline in the field of education at the same time as it aims to remove as many “foreign” ways of thinking from the country.
This is surely a long-term strategy, make no mistake about it. They’ve learned from Blair in another matter too: “Education! Education! Education!” Only, this time we have a rather twisted reinterpretation. Don’t educate to make society better. Educate to find out what people are thinking – in the case of toddlers, before they themselves even know what that means!
In bad faith I might observe (as some on Twitter already have) the opportunities that spying on toddlers would present for a paedophile-plagued establishment.
But apart from cheap shots like that, once – at toddler level – a duty of care of such characteristics were imposed, it’d be so easy to move into judging families on the basis of what children exploringly were heard to chatter; to read into so much stuff so much other stuff; to misunderstand from ethnocentric positions the attitudes, meanings and behaviours of those from other cultures; to observe in order to prove preconceptions.
Or simply to turn angry words into fully-fledged positions – and daily conversation into a permanently self-censored balancing-act of citizens, unable, any more, to express their honest dissatisfaction about anything without fearing the serious consequences of doing so.
Spying on people doesn’t make them more likely to engage with you.
Spying on toddlers gives them every reason to distrust.
And distrustful children who grow up unclear of the reasons for being distrusted – because, for Chrissakes, they’re only toddlers! – will never, but never, grow up into trusting, responsible, friendly and confident adults.
All of which a terrorism-free society needs in bucketfuls right now.
So what’s the point? What’s the plan? Why is our government attacking so fiercely the very early and very late edges of our children’s development and exposure to the outside world?
What are they looking to achieve with such incompetent and counter-productive strategies?