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Nasty questions lurk behind racial selection

June 3rd, 2007

A letter to the Sunday Telegraph which was published on 3rd June 2007.

The amazing suggestion by David Willetts, the Conservative education spokesman, that schools in multiracial areas should select their pupils by race (News & Comment, May 27th), shows just where the current obsession with social engineering among some politicians can lead.

Actually the proposal is not so much to select as to restrict the admission of native English children into the schools desired by their parents in areas like Burnley where there is a heavy concentration of children of Pakistani descent.  If implemented, this would be a rerun of the Dewsbury case of 1987 when the parents of 26 children declined to let them be used by the local authority to reduce the preponderance of Asian children at Headfield school preferring rather that they should go to nearby Overthorpe with their friends and where (it was eventually admitted by the local education authority) there was room for them.

Not only would Mr Willetts’s proposal run into furious opposition and the Human Rights Act, it would bring a nasty whiff of apartheid South Africa and Nazi Germany in some inner city areas where there are significant numbers of mixed race children.  The sort of question that would be bound to arise would be: would three grandparents of one racial group be needed to insist that a child go to a school short of its allocation of that group, or would two be enough?

By their policies of intermittent and incompetent immigration control over the past 50 years, politicians have inflicted race problems on our country, as David Blunkett has been honest enough to confess.  The least we can expect is that they don’t make things worse with schemes like Mr Willetts’s.