Monday, September 22, 2008

Adam Walker

Adam Walker is a Supply Teacher and a member of the BNP. He is up before the GTC on a charge of racial and religious intolerance. It's not that clear from the various news reports, but he appears to have made comments on an internet forum criticising homosexuals, asylum seekers and immigrants.

Crikey, I hope that the GTC don't read this Blog, then.

Now I don't know whether Mr Walker is a perfectly decent chap who I'd enjoy a pint with, or whether he's a thoroughly nasty piece of work. If he was busy posting comments whilst he should have been teaching then he should get a good telling off for that (along with everyone else who has ever looked at an internet site on a spare computer during a dull IT cover lesson- oh dear; that's me stuffed then.)

What I do know is that the GTC wouldn't dream of prosecuting him if he was an immigrant criticising local people in his town, a fundamentalist Muslim expressing their distaste of homosexuals or a French exchange teacher saying that most asylum seekers make false claims because they know that Britain is a soft touch.


Billy the Fish said...

Only one 'e' in 'Aborigine', sweetheart...
What are you, a P.E. teacher or something?

Anonymous said...

I act as the Union Rep for Adam Walker. I have to say I find the charge that he made postings that were 'suggestive of racial and religious intolerance' deeply ironic. Perhaps the GTC don't see this as they have only a vague idea of what tolerance is and apply it selectively?

Adam accepts he was wrong to look at sites in class-time. This was sporadic and while pupils worked on projects. There has never been any suggestion that he has ever discriminated against any pupil and in fact considerable evidence to show the positive effect he has had. The stereotypical view of a BNP member doesn't fit Adam at all.

I think that it is sad when employers single out a worker for victimisation. No other teacher at the school had their internet use monitored in the way Adam did. Increasingly employers are using such monitoring to target and get rid of anyone they don't like. It isn't always politically motivated it might be just because 'your face doesn't fit'.

Adam resigned his post and found employment elsewhere. That should have been the end of the matter I feel. Instead we have this being kicked to the GTC. Teachers should ponder whether they want the GTC to be able to decide what views they are and aren't allowed to express. Do they want to be in a special class of citizen with more limited rights of freedom of expression?

Pat Harrington, Solidarity Trade Union

AnneDroid said...

I would be unhappy about a member of the BNP teaching my kids.

I would be unhappy about our country becoming one where he was not allowed to hold these views, unpleasant though I find them.

The second concern wins - just.

Anonymous said...

I think that you have to look at the behaviour of teachers. There are all kinds of views that teachers hold which are different from my values and outlook. It is the way they behave with kids that counts.

Nick! said...

Ultimately, I think I'm going to come down on the conservative (little c) side on this one.

You're right that all intolerant or bigoted views aren't treated equally, and I think they should be.

But I struggle even more with the BNP now that the skinhead thugs are all dressed in bouncer gear in the background and not quite out of shot than I did when they were out and out racist scum half a step away from the NF. At least you knew what you were getting with them back then.

Adam Walker shouldn't have become a news item - that's just the ongoing side-effect of how news is handled these days but I firmly believe that everyone, from ex-convicts to high-flying celebs should be entitled to a level of privacy.

However I've found that only two sorts of people tend to actively support the BNP - the naive people who have short memories, and the bigots, and I think we should be setting our standards a little higher when it comes to our teachers.

But the idea that it's suddenly okay to be a card-carrying BNP member because other groups get to be racist or otherwise intolerant scumbags is buying into anxieties that the newer, cleaner-cut BNP have been working on for a few years now.

The sad fact is that some affiliations come with extreme ideological attachments that it can be assumed will overwhelm a person's ability to be objective in a teaching role. This applies to fundamentalists of pretty much every stripe - I think it's safe to say that Mel Gibson would be as poor a History teacher as Osama Bin Laden, for example.

And the BNP have yet to convince me that they're somehow suddenly not intolerant so-and-sos who would be just fine with the idea of me and mine sent on our way with a boot in our bums back to a country that we weren't even born in.

Teaching should be a level playing field, yes, but that shouldn't mean letting everyone play. It should mean applying the same standards across the board - and trying not to let any dick-heads in, regardless of colour, creed or gender. In a way, it's a beautiful dream of unity I have!

Having said that, in the few years I've worked in HE and FE, I've heard so many bonehead things said by lecturers to students and other staff that racism is probably the least of our worries.

Anonymous said...

He is just being picked on because of his political views, I think the whole thing is disgusting. The B.N.P. is a legal political party. The liberal elite who live in areas untouched by immigration have made it an unspeakable thing to talk about. Look at their nasty, vindictive behaviour once again when anybody dares to say 'well actually I don't agree with your worldview'.

Nick! said...

Well, I don't know about that, anonymous.

Personally, it'd be pretty laughable thinking of me as elite, let alone liberal - I wouldn't care if a remarkable percentage of the population were struck down tomorrow, as long as it wasn't anyone I cared about, and that is a small group indeed.

And I don't think inner city Southampton really counts as an area untouched by immigration.

I think you'd actually find that both of the key sides in this particular debate are predominantly white, middle class and living in areas not as touched by immigration as they think - these viewpoints aren't carved out by people on the street, they just end up being adopted by them.

What I mean is, the people who create and enforce these stupidly unbalanced "PC gone mad" rulings are not liberal at all - they are merely people in political, management or middle management positions who are desperately worried that they won't appear liberal enough, and gesticulate accordingly. They are just as guilty of making racially general assumptions as their counterparts on the other side of the fence, most of whom, it has to be said, would have the same problems with poor people living in their neighbourhoods if tomorrow everybody a bit foreign disappeared.

We are steered by media to take one view or the other, but both are flawed. The fact is, if the government spent less time trying to protect everybody's feelings - including, I have to say, yours - and more time creating fair systems that actually fucking worked, this wouldn't be as woolly an issue as it is.

Because then, moderate and otherwise sensible people wouldn't feel compelled into taking these ridiculous, manufactured sides by a country slowly unravelling, casual racism would stay where it belongs, as a small and niggling discomfort with the other that is after all perfectly human, and we could get on with picking out the real villains in each faction, rather than busying ourselves with the misguided sorts who get swept up in it all.

But I have to tell you, I don't think I'm being vindictive in not going along with this idea that the BNP are anything other than racists in concerned citizens clothing.

My given name is Nicolas Papaconstantinou. I'm second generation Greek Cypriot, which means among other things I only speak the one language - I'm not Greek enough for my grandparents, but in the early nineties I wasn't quite white Anglo Saxon enough for the BNP, either.

I've lived in some shitholes, and I have to tell you, I don't much like walking past a huddle of Eastern European guys staring vacantly into space, but I'm no big fan of packs of white English lads fronting and pushing people out the way, either. And I know who I've seen start more trouble.

The country's culture is circling the drain, but if anybody thinks that the solution is a more divisive mentality, they need their heads checked.

Anonymous said...

I don't support the BNP but I do support their members when others try to take away their rights. Rights are universal. That is why I signed the petition at:-

Anonymous said...

I will be picketing the GTC on November 17 in support of freedom and against political vetting of teachers. I will be taking a drum to 'Make a Noise for Freedom'. I will be there from 9am to 5pm. I don't support the BNP but I oppose the New McCarthyism which is hounding them, bringing in ID cards, putting us on databases that they then lose etc. etc. Enough is enough!