It’s September 2015. I sit, eager-eyed, in my seat, awaiting my first A Level Politics lesson to begin. Not yet knowing my own political views, I’m filled with an indescribable excitement to discover my beliefs. As I wait for my teacher to formally begin the lesson, I take a look around the classroom for inspiration.
In the far corner of the room, is a cardboard cut-out of a formidable looking lady, dressed in a blue suit, with a pair of red horns protruding from her ears. Odd, I think to myself.
Affixed to the adjacent wall, are pieces of laminated paper with the caption “Don’t Let Blair Do A Maggie.” These sheets of paper accompany a disturbing series of photographs in which Tony Blair (of whom I’m vaguely aware at this point) morphs into a woman. Do a Maggie? I ask myself. Very odd. I’m still clueless, at this point, of the immense left-wing bias my teacher holds.
It’s only as the course continues through the year, and I begin to learn more of British politics, that I realise what this paraphernalia stands for. The more I learn, the more remarkable I find it all.
Every week, without fail, my teacher marches across the cardboard cut-out of the woman I discover to be Margaret Thatcher, and begins preaching to us, his eyes wide and finger jabbing at the cardboard shoulder of the former Prime Minister, on the evils of her policies and on the ruthlessness of capitalism. He goes on to explain to us how deregulation of the markets means the poor will always become poorer and the rich will always become richer. I, along with the rest of my class, simply sit and listen, absorbing his every word as the ignorant sponges we are. We’re first-time Politics students, how are we to know? We are relying on his every word to formulate our opinions and ideas. What’s more, he is aware of this.
So when our teacher proclaims that Lady Thatcher did not suffer enough in her old age, that she should have been imprisoned for the loss of the coal mines, it is understandable that, for a short period, we nod along, subserviently. “Ok, Sir,” we say, “We’ll make a note of that.”
So how is it that I became a Conservative activist and advocate of Thatcherite policies?
It was a battle against the odds, one could argue.
With the majority of my peers adopting a similar view to our ‘preacher’, the more I strayed from his Socialist propaganda, the more I became alienated from the group. Luckily, this didn’t deter me. I was not one for turning.
To seriously analyse the environment that was created here, in what is supposed to be, after all, a democratic institution, where students are overtly encouraged to explore a vast range of ideas, the results are simply astounding.
On the walls: anti-Thatcher material. Cut-outs, posters, cartoon strips, all denouncing the revolutionary leader and her Party, with the occasional Conservative logo poking out from beneath socialist propaganda, to keep things impartial as it were.
Our sources of information during lesson time came from a variety of media. National newspapers to which we were exposed included The Guardian, The Guardian and, that’s right, The Guardian. Anything considered right of centre rarely greeted our desks: not The Telegraph, not The Times, and God forbid anyone suggest ‘fascist filth’ like the Daily Mail.
Most interesting, however, was the rhetoric forced down our throats from the individual who was responsible for our self-development: our teacher. To this day, I remain astonished at the vitriol that often erupted from his mouth like a scene out of Pompeii. Lengthy rants on why Brexiters are mere ‘Little Englanders’ seeking to return to the days of the British Empire, speeches on why the Conservative Party loathes poor people, torrents of insults aimed at Thatcherites and all who are right of centre.
In this day and age, when we supposedly champion freedom of expression and freedom of thought, when the Left boast of being ambassadors for human rights and liberties, it is frankly appalling to know that scenes like these are playing out across the nation. With a recent survey showing that 80% of university professors alone proclaim to be ‘left-wing’ (Adam Smith Institute, March 2017), it is more clear than ever that we have a fundamental flaw in our education system. Teachers, professors, lecturers, heavily unionised and reeling from their own political zeal, are seeking to enforce their strictly socialist values onto their students, whilst brandishing any who dare to opt for a capitalist society, as repugnant and intolerable.
This is not just an issue, this is a direct threat to a generation of democracy.
We have heard of the crackdown on free press across university campuses, we are aware that right-wing students are facing all kinds of persecution, including Conservative societies being barred from social media. Yet we remain quiet.
The fact of the matter is, there is an ugly political war being fought by senior members of educational institutions across Britain that is both bullish and anti-democratic. It is simply absurd that those on the Left have assumed moral superiority. It is outrageous that such attempts to brainwash our youth are allowed to take place. We must accept it no longer and actively fight back.