‘faith-based prep’ is what I was hearing

I don’t like this Momentum Kids thing. I’m all for extending and incorporating childcare, especially for single parents and for reasons that are not work related. But that is not the bit of this news that has caught my mind.

’The initiative will also aim to increase children’s involvement in Momentum and the labour movement by promoting political activity that is fun, engaging and child-friendly”… Momentum ‘will use the left-wing movement’s network of 150 local groups to help youngsters who want to get involved in politics.’

It’s the partisan political activist education being rolled out bit that makes me go cold. It’s naive, at best. I think organised religion is politics with added conviction and, as I read the piece, ‘faith-based prep’ is what I was hearing.

As you know, dear Reader, I don’t like faith-based schools. I believe organised, religious indoctrination, if it must still exist, is for the designated temple and that in the compulsory years of education, religious study should be facilitated by informed debate and explored under the wider umbrella of Philosophy. So, too, should Politics. Children often need a counterbalance to their parents’ religious/political beliefs. They don’t need them confirmed and cemented by another self-appointed authority.

Children, especially young children, soak up everything. How would this go down if it was a Brexit-teaching crèche? A Scientology-teaching crèche? What about UKIP? Or the TaxPayers’ Alliance?

Is this ethical greyness healthy? I don’t think it is. Nor is it necessary. We have schools already. We have a national curriculum. There is where the pressure for improved learning about civic engagement should be applied. Regardless of the problems we can all cite over the state of our compulsory education system, therein is still the safest objective space for children’s well-rounded, non-partisan education.

Last week, Corbyn was rightly ridiculed for suggesting Labour Organising Academies and people raised justifiable concerns about dogma and ideology in the context of Theresa May’s reinforced support for faith-based schools. Both instances just reaffirmed, for me, why I don’t put much store in Corbyn’s or his team’s judgement and why I am so often offended by May’s.

When there is destabilised society, groups and individuals come to the surface and paint themselves or get painted as saviours and champions of the people. Sometimes, they are. But how many times, throughout history and across the world, has a group or individual become the unlikely romanticized hero, only to distort or corrupt a community by means of brainwashing or bribery?

It feels like the capacity for selective memory and cognitive dissonance is ever-increasing. Left to right, from cynical to starry-eyed, the country seems determined to overlook how easily the road to hell is paved with good intentions. And, of course, most of us want to believe that our intentions are good.

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