The Alinskyite activist and former Mayor of Chicago Rahm Emanuel, inspired by Machiavelli, coined the phrase 'never let a good crisis go to waste'.
In the UK, a similar refrain: 'It's a good day to bury bad news', was utilised by Jo Moore, a government aide who was then working for Transport Secretary Stephen Byers, on the day of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.(1) When these comments came to light the public was rightly outraged at the thought of such a cynical exploitation of such a horrific act in order to provide cover to implement policies and agendas which are highly unpopular with voters.
Although this specific example of cynicism was uncovered, it remains the case that unscrupulous bureaucrats, ministers and advisors will attempt to exploit adverse situations to push through unpopular measures while people's attention is engaged elsewhere by an unfolding crisis or shock. This is as true today as it was on 11th September 2001. While people are trying to make sense of an unfolding chaotic situation, bad news can be buried and bad policies can be implemented without the usual amount of scrutiny and attention.
The current Brexit situation is just such an occasion which provides excellent cover to 'bury bad news'. It should have been very simple to leave the EU: the British government could have offered a free-trade agreement in goods and services and told the EU to take it or leave it. The EU decided to play hard-ball, so the UK should have simply walked away from the negotiating table and declared that we are leaving the EU on WTO terms. This has not happened however and the combination of EU intransigence, and the unwillingness and incompetence of remain-supporting negotiators and politicians to fight for the best interests of the UK means that still nobody knows what is going to happen with only days to go before Brexit Day on 29th March.
It should come as no surprise then, that one of the most unpopular policies of the current government is being quietly pushed through Parliament with very little attention. The Children and Social Work Act 2017 allows provision for a statutory instrument to be laid in Parliament to make Relationships Education compulsory in primary schools and Sex and Relationships Education compulsory in secondary schools.(2),(3) The draft statutory instrument was published on 25th February, and must be voted on in both Houses of Parliament within 40 days. The votes are highly likely to take place during the week of Brexit at the height of a potential crisis, when very few people will be paying attention.
If it passes in both Houses of Parliament, it will become law for all schools to teach these subjects from September 2020. This is despite a consultation in which respondents were overwhelmingly opposed to these new subjects, particularly as guidance from the Department for Education has said the subjects must be 'LGBT-inclusive', and the right for parents to withdraw their children from Relationships Education and its highly sexualised content will be abolished. This especially tramples on the rights and wishes of Christian, Jewish, Muslim other socially conservative parents who want to bring up their children according to traditional family values, and hold to the scientific fact that there are two sexes: male and female, determined by anatomy and chromosomes.
Books such as 'My Princess Boy' which promote transgenderism to children as young as five-years-old are already widely available and used in primary schools, usually without the knowledge of parents.(4) Worksheets like 'The Genderbread Person' usurp the innocence of the childhood activity of cooking gingerbread men, and warp it into promoting the ideology of genderqueer theory to innocent children.(5) Similar materials teach children that they are not boys or girls, but can choose their gender out of dozens of options when they get up in the morning. They can be a boy on Monday, a girl on Tuesday, a mermaid on Wednesday, androgynous on Thursday, and end up the week being a queer butch demi-girl.
This fringe ideology is quickly being mainstreamed by activists and presented to children as though it were fact instead of unscientific nonsense. It is unsurprising therefore that there has been a 4000% increase in children presenting themselves with gender dysphoria over the last decade, many of whom are referred to 'clinics' where they are given puberty blocking hormones, and later on cross-sex hormones.(6) Anyone who has such a treatment will be sterile and will never have their own children. This is especially tragic as the majority of children who present as having gender dysphoria desist within a few months or years.(7)
The implementation of this statutory instrument throws open a legal conundrum which is potentially unsolvable and could lead to it being thrown out if it were to attract adequate scrunity. The guidance for Relationships Education makes repeated reference for the need to adhere to the requirements of the Equality Act 2010 which transposes three EU Equal Treatment Directives into UK law. It insists on 'paying particular regard' to the needs of groups with protected characteristics. There are nine protected characteristics listed in the Equality Act including sexual orientation, gender reassignment and religious belief.(8) It is impossible, however, to reconcile the demands of these protected characteristics. The requirement of the parents with religious beliefs with traditional family values and the demands of militant LGBT activist groups who want to introduce lessons on transgenderism and same-sex marriage to primary schools are irreconcilable.
At the same time, the European Convention of Human Rights (Protocol 1 Article 2) guarantees 'the right for parents to have their children educatedin accordance with their religious and other views'. The UK is legally bound to follow the ECHR by the Human Rights Act 1998. By removing the rights of parents to remove their children from LGBT-inclusive lessons which may go against their religious belief, the statutory instrument denies parents the right to bring up their children according to their faith and thus contravenes the Human Rights Act.
This right is contradicted again by a European Parliament report on 'Comprehensive Sexuality Education' (CSE) which is being rolled out across the world in various guises. The EU report singles out the UK as being one of the few countries in the Europe which does not have compulsory CSE.(9) Relationships and Sex Education is the branding given to CSE in the UK by Theresa May's government. It has already been implemented in many other countries but it has had disturbing results and always undermines traditional family values.(10)
In the plan to bring this before Parliament in Brexit Week, when it will be buried under a torrent of other news concerning our exit from the EU, this highly unpopular measure will pass into law if no-one is paying attention. However, if enough people write to their MPs about it about this now, it will raise awareness and at the very least not allow it to be buried in the cacophony of a potential crisis. It may even be that enough MPs will vote against and save our children and grandchildren from the damage which will done to their young minds by thwarting the plans of current government to make these subjects compulsory.