The Trojan Horse event of 2014 in Birmingham, which saw a political and media campaign to prove a “Islamist plot” to “takeover” state schools, and its fallout will go down in history as an eerily textbook implementation of neoconservative “father” Leo Strauss’ vision of the closed society. Briefly, the fascist thinking of neoconservatism has exploitation of fear, public deception, ruthless militarism and a totalitarian society as its tools and aims. As I have covered in some detail citing neoconservative writers and thinkers, the idea is that an active military abroad will result in people handing their freedoms here at home on a platter to an intrusive, all-encompassing state controlled by a small elite. Ultimately, a society willing to sacrifice its life for the neoconservative state is the ideal. This seemingly dystopian vision however has more than flavour of reality in Britain.
The Trojan Horse fiasco – now known by Muslims as the “Trojan Hoax” – entrenched the far-right myth of the “Muslim takeover”. This was done by employing lying journalists to cook up stories of “extremism”, whilst neocon infiltrated education departments and regulators (Ofsted) were weaponised into feeding the myth of the Trojan Horse. Muslim teachers were purged on the flimsiest of reasons – privately held beliefs – in order to fulfil the interconnected purposes of providing a pretext for regulatory measures (PREVENT), and constructing the fifth column Muslim enemy archetype. Of course, Ofsted was criticised by a host of academics early on, the “Trojan horse plot” turned out to be an elaborate piñata constructed by neocons, and courts are now overturning bans on Muslim teachers.
Rockwood Academy Militarisation
Despite the slow but steady disintegration of the Trojan hoax pretext, the neoconservative machine is chugging away at chipping and socially re-engineering the open society into a closed one. Leading the way is the Muslim-majority, Birmingham-based Rockwood Academy, formerly known as Park View School – the first victim of the Trojan Hoax political Islamophobia in the education sector.
Towards the beginning of this year, I covered the takeover of Golden Hillock School in Birmingham by ARK Schools, the Academy chain which had, in scandalous circumstances, taken over another Muslim-majority school subjected to spin and lies: Oldknow Academy. I also found ARK’s links to the “Christian influence” (undue influence?), how ARK has been a favoured chain by the notorious anti-Muslim neocon Michael Gove, whilst Ofsted’s head, Michael Wilshaw, not only headed the first ARK Academy school, but was an Education Director at ARK before becoming Chief Inspector.
Disconcertingly, the “old-boys network” of pro-Israel, hate-mongering neocons also extend their links into ARK. “Vanilla tax”-avoiding Stanley Fink, a major donor of the Tories, bigoted Henry Jackson Society’s Israeli-crime whitewashing project Just Journalism, became the chair of ARK in 2009.
Applying the presumptions about Muslims propagated by neocons (Muslims are untrustworthy due to Islam and their actions are to be seen as a form of sinister subversion) the Trojan Horse test set out for Muslims, there is one hell of plot here for Peter Clarke to investigate.
The Trojan Hoax fiasco had a number of parties involved to pull it off. Some were merely pawns in the “Great Game”, whilst others were the ones moving the chess pieces. The sledgehammer which the neocon, anti-Islam Michael Gove smashed onto the Muslim minority of Birmingham was casted some years ago by the infamous and much discredited Quilliam Foundation. In a leaked 2010 memo addressed to Charles Farr of the OSCT, and signed off by Ed Husain and Maajid Nawaz, Quilliam outlined its plan in “dealing” with the terror threat. The contents despite it being made public, has been remarkable in its implementation and achieving the resultant targeted discrimination the Muslim minority now faces.
In the context of the education of the sphere,
“With the appointment of Michael Gove MP, who has previously spoken out on topics related to the Prevent agenda and has shown a good understanding of the issues relating to it, to the position of Secretary of State for Education, it looks as though Prevent at DfE will continue to develop and focus on the vital counter-ideological work necessary to prevent terrorism.”
Of course, in November 2009, this “good understanding” presumably referred to an embarrassing series of blunders, when Gove helped David Cameron set up a question to the Prime Minister on “Islamic extremism”, making false claims regarding funding and inspection of Islamic schools.
Back in December 2014 when exposing the continued hypocrisy panning out at Golden Hillock School, I asked the following,
“What is the end-game in all this? Perhaps Oldknow Academy can provide a clue?”
Oldknow Academy, which was the subject of an intense campaign of lies to vilify the school had been taken over by ARK Academies. More recently, Golden Hillock School, formerly a part of Park View Education Trust, has also been taken over by ARK Academies.
ARK is the international charity founded and overseen by a number of UK-based, heavy-hitting hedge fund managers including Arpad Busson of EIM, Ian Wace and Paul Marshall of Marshall Wace and Aurum Funds’ Kevin Gundle.
With such oversight, there isn’t a shortage of cash. According to their accounts dated August 2014, ARK had a net fund of £339 million.
There is a lot of disturbing controversy surrounding ARK, or “Absolute Return for Kids”, however conspiracy theories are of no interest to me. My concern is the possible grand government orchestration which may explain the eventual takeover of Muslim-majority schools by ARK.
Nepotism is one of the allegations which was relentlessly hammered against the Muslim teachers at Park View Trust, which, fuelled by leaks by questionable teachers (who these are and what their positions are now will be elaborated on in a follow up expose) to the contradiction of other (non-Muslim) teachers, mutated into what Peter Clarke in his methodologically flawed, lop-sided “investigatory” report, called an “orchestrated plot”.
Nepotism, though is only problematic if it happens to be Muslims allegedly practising it. White evangelical Christians who purportedly do the same though, are not problematic and do not attract similar levels of smear and demonisation. If anything this demonstrates the institutionalised discrimination pervading neocon Britain today.
“Tactical Nepotism” by Colin Diamond
New allegations of nepotism extend to the upper echelons of the school employees. Sources close to PVET are stating that, Kamal Hanif, the Chair of PVET, assured parents that Tony Wilson, the principal of Golden Hillock School (PVET Academy), had come through a rigorous process of recruitment.
Recently it was reported that the Muslim minority face the worst job discrimination of any minority group. Perceived as a “threat” and “disloyal” fuelled by the continuously increasing anti-Muslim atmosphere, Muslim men were 76% less likely to have a job compared to white British Christians.
The Muslim Purge Continues
The teachers at the Birmingham Trojan Hoax schools, now rendered unemployable thanks to a barrage of lies, twists and imposed interpretation of statements perhaps can relate to the above report. In a previous blog I noted how nine Muslim teachers (and one Sikh teacher) had been suspended. The latest news according to sources is that a further five Muslim teachers have been suspended. And so the Muslim purge continues. If anything the blatant Muslim targeting and discriminatory treatment is exasperated by the fact Golden Hillock School’s evangelical, controversial Riverside Church-linked Jo Tyler, who has serious allegations of nepotism, financial mismanagement and questionable contract-dealings, has still not been suspended pending further investigation.
It is not only the professional section of the schooling structure which has created a discriminatory atmosphere. According to sources, parents of children at Golden Hillock School are feeling the pressure from the agenda-driven incursion forced in by Michael Gove.
The Threat of PREVENT Police
I have heard of many anecdotal reports of PREVENT police acting possibly illegally, from putting off Islamic venues from hosting speakers and events to scaring mosques in order to discourage support for peaceful protests. The PREVENT officers, if reports are to believed, are the slightly timid form of the gestapo.
When the Trojan Hoax plot started to unfold, and as neocon, anti-Islam agenda-driven Michael Gove stood as the “statesman” in charge of sorting out “those Muslims” in Birmingham, I wrote my thoughts on it, parsing through the information as it disseminated through a partisan media via the penmanship of questionable individuals known as “journalists”.
I had hoped to offer a counter-narrative; an attempt to employ standards I believed would be equally applied had the target been Jewish or Christian-majority schools in order to challenge the architected status quo which posited the Muslim as a criminal before discriminatory investigations which targeted Muslim areas exclusively, had even finished. Never have I doubted that there may have been any issues; my contention has always been, if investigations are to be conducted, they should be done equally, targeting all schools applying the same flimsy criteria and tests which have been insidiously used against the Muslim minority. Of course when Christian and Jewish schools are affected, then the media reports the grievances positively without any ascription of “extremism”, and the government accedes to the contentions of the Christian and Jewish communities against the Trojan Hoax policies (see a further example here). If anything, this proves that Muslims can be freely bludgeoned into assimilation without question, but if Christians and Jews are affected by anything approaching the same, then their identity and concerns are voiced loudly and protected. So much for “pluralism”.
Justice: A slow start
In the course of my writing, I have encountered information which much of the mainstream media have ignored and the government has blatantly glossed over. I have tried to reveal the other side of the story which has been muzzled and filtered out through a process of osmosis where the (neocon media) membrane seems to allow through only that information which incriminates the Muslim minority and holds-in similar claims of misconduct when the perpetrator happens to be white and non-Muslim.