It is that time of the year: a hectic month as the British people recover from their frenzied Christmas shopping, briefly punctuated with the peace of the annual family get together, only to be followed by scrambling over various items thanks to the hype produced by corporations eager to increase the debt through boxing day “sales”. As the recovery from these activities begins and the damage to the bank accounts dawn, we take advantage of this lull for some customary reflection.
This year has been a particularly unsettling one; the sordidly racist campaign which ultimately culminated in Brexit; the far-right terrorist attack claiming the life of Jo Cox – the first killing of an MP in 26 years; the B-movie being played in the US starring Donald Trump, the West-wide rise of the far-right and unleashing of political and social xenophobia, security globalisation via totalitarian measures like the Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) agenda; Britain passing one of the world’s widest and intrusive surveillance laws; the list goes on. Sadly, it is the Muslim minority, either through scapegoating or being subjected to the fruits of this dangerous concoction of nationalism, disenfranchisement through the global neoliberal order, and neoconservative domestic and foreign policies, which has by and large, bore the brunt.
I was experiencing some hesitation in writing on Louise Casey’s review into opportunity and integration, for there is no theme or narrative in the report which I have not deconstructed and then exposed as being underpinned by fascist, neoconservative ideas. However, bar a few incisive comment pieces on the report, many articles have barely scratched the surface in terms of articulating just how repulsively dangerous the content of this Review really is. This requires documentation.
The drums of “integration” have been beating for years as minorities, and in particular the Muslim minority, have been objectified as convenient fodder for political exploitation; they are the glutton for systemic policy failures and the problems flowing from an ever widening economic (and reality) gap between the establishment and broader society. The review into integration by Louise Casey however, has a more explicitly sharper ideological slant, which can be traced to David Cameron’s reign and in turn, his circle of psychotic neocons.
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.