The Times - UK (2020-10-14)

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4 2GM Wednesday October 14 2020 | the times


News


White working-class children could


fall even further behind if forced to


apologise for “white privilege”, an


expert told MPs yesterday.


Working-class boys from white


families are the worst educational


performers, partly because they have


not been given as much attention as


other groups, the Commons education


select committee was told.


Matthew Goodwin, a professor of


politics at the University of Kent, said


society was “sending these kids the


message that higher education or pur-


suing further education isn’t for them.


They’re given a status deficit. Over the


last ten years our national conversation


has become more consumed about


other groups in society. That has led in


particular the white working class to


feel as though they are not being given


White privilege theory ‘destroys’


prospects for working-class boys


as much recognition and esteem as
others.”
Asked by Kim Johnson, the Labour
MP for Liverpool Riverside, whether
“white privilege” was a contributing
factor, Professor Goodwin asked:
“What do we even mean by that? And
what’s the empirical evidence that for
these children, this is actually a salient
and relevant concept?
“Because if we’re now going to start
teaching them in school that not only
do they have to overcome the various
economic and social barriers within
their community, but they also need to
now start apologising for belonging to a
wider group which strips away their
individual agency, then we’re just going
to compound many of these problems.
“If you go into these communities
and try to tell them that they’re
suffering from white privilege — it
seems to me a completely nonsensical
response to this problem. They are way

behind everybody else — they’re
falling through the cracks.”
Professor Goodwin said that it was
important to be careful in setting up
conversations about legitimate issues
over racism and injustice, adding: “For
this group, to try and suggest they
should be apologising because of their
wider group membership could be quite
catastrophic.”
He has written books about the rise
of populism and the “radical right”.
Concepts such as “toxic masculinity”
and “white privilege” could suggest that
working-class pupils were to blame for
underachievement, he added.
Professor Goodwin said: “My fear
now is with the onset of new terms —
toxic masculinity, white privilege —
this is even actually going to become
more of a problem as we send yet
another signal to these communities
that they are the problem. That it is not
the system more generally that has let

them down, it is they are now the
problem and they should make amends
for simply being who they are. That
would be a very dangerous turn of
events.”
Diane Reay, emeritus professor of
education at the University of Cam-
bridge, said: “I think there’s growing
levels of social resentment and a sense
of being left behind among white
working classes. Research shows us
very high levels of polarisation,
particularly between highly creden-
tialed groups, those of us with degrees,
and those people who leave school with
very few qualifications.
“There’s a lack of understanding and
empathy for the class ‘other’ among all
class groups, but I think that it has the
most power to injure and to have a
detrimental effect on those with the
least power in society, those who see
themselves as educational failures and
losers.”

Nicola Woolcock


Education Correspondent


Theresa May’s attempt to make Britain


a world leader against “modern slav-


ery” has provoked such a backlash that


officials have largely stopped using the


divisive term, a report discloses today.


The description, which covers forced


labour, human trafficking and child


workers, is seen as a “made-up western


agenda” and is particularly unaccept-


able in countries with a colonial history


of slavery. None of the 40 million vic-


tims of modern slavery played a role in


on slavery and forced labour began in
1926; Mrs May launched her campaign
as home secretary in 2014 and con-
tinued it from Downing Street.
“The UK has tended to ask others to
adopt its own approach, rather than
building on existing experience,” the
report states. British diplomats per-
suaded the UN to pledge in 2015 to end
“modern slavery” alongside forced
labour, human trafficking and child
labour. Most of those interviewed by
the commission, such as civil servants,
aid workers and former slaves, saw the

term as unhelpful for its connection to
colonialism. “It was also criticised for...
being too broad, vague and lacking in
legal definition,” the report says.
The watchdog formally rated the
performance of Britain’s £240 million
modern slavery effort as unsatisfactory.
The Foreign, Commonwealth and
Development Office said it did not
recognise the picture painted by the re-
port, adding: “The majority of the pro-
gramme is in early stages and already
producing a range of useful outputs.”
dkennedy@thetimes.co.uk

Dominic Kennedy


The sky’s the limit A kite surfer leaves the beach far below in Lytham St Annes, Lancashire. The sunshine will be back today — along with showers. Weather, page 57


Slow march for justice


The armed forces are so slow at
handling complaints that a
soldier could serve years in prison
for a crime before the relevant
service complaint against him
was processed, Nicola Williams,
the ombudsman told MPs. Less
than half of complaints are
resolved within six months and
four complaints made before 2016
are still outstanding.

Heart attack ‘care gap’


Women are more likely to die
after a heart attack than men,
new research suggests. A study
that tracked more than 2,
patients aged 50 or under for
about 11 years after a first heart
attack found women were more
likely to die from any cause,
scientists from Harvard Medical
School in the US wrote in the
European Heart Journal.

Bomber’s scouting trip


The Manchester Arena bomber
made three scouting trips to the
venue before his attack, the
public inquiry was told. CCTV
footage showed Salman Abedi
visiting the arena before a Take
That concert on May 18, the day
he arrived in the UK from Libya;
on May 21 before a lecture by
Brian Cox; and two hours before
the attack itself on May 22.

Ikea turns the tables


Ikea is to buy back used furniture
from its customers and sell it
secondhand in store, as part of its
aim to be “a fully circular and
climate-positive business”. Sellers
will be given a voucher worth a
maximum of half its value,
depending on condition, and new
owners can relax in the
knowledge that they won’t have
to put it together.

‘Sex pest’ reputation


John Leslie’s reputation as an
alleged “sex pest” may have made
the woman who accused him of
groping her at a party “curious”
to meet him, his lawyer told
Southwark crown court. The
former Blue Peter presenter
denies sexual assault. The
complainant rejected the idea
and said she recognised him from
television when she introduced
herself at the event in 2008 in the
West End of London, after which
Mr Leslie allegedly grabbed her
breasts. The trial continues.

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Modern slavery crusade provoked backlash against Britain


developing Britain’s approach to the
problem, according to the official aid
watchdog.
The urgency to end today’s slave
trade was reinforced by the death of 39
Vietnamese in a lorry in Essex last year.
The commitment to do so was seen as
one of Mrs May’s central achievements
but the review by the Independent
Commission for Aid Impact suggests
that Britain alienated other countries
by ignoring the international struggle
already under way to suppress labour
exploitation. International agreements
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