Solidarity Welcomes Abolition of GTC But Dismisses Gove’s Comments as “Uninformed at Best and Lies at Worst”
The Solidarity Trade Union has welcomed the planned abolition of the General Teacher’s Council (GTC) but has dismissed Education Secretary Michael Gove’s comments on the Adam Walker case as “uninformed at best or lies at worst.”
Mr Gove gave Mr Walker’s case as a reason why the GTC was no longer needed.
Mr Gove said that the decision to allow the BNP activist to remain on the teaching register after “describing immigrants as savage animals” on an internet forum was proof that the GTC has “has failed to protect us.”
Mr Gove has either read the details of the case, and chosen to deliberately lie, or he has not bothered to read the case at all.
“In reality, Mr Walker did not describe immigrants as savage animals,” said Pat Harrington, secretary general of Solidarity.
“The comment, posted on a local Teeside discussion forum, actually said that those immigrants who had been convicted of raping and murdering British people were savage animals.
“It is a complete distortion to say otherwise, as Mr Gove has done,” Mr Harrington said.
“The GTC ruling specifically pointed this out and that was why Mr Walker was not guilty of racial intolerance because the comments were directed at violent criminals who could be of any race.
“Furthermore, Mr Gove’s allegation that the comments were made on what he called an extremist website are laughable,” Mr Harrington continued.
“The forum, called Teeside Online, was a non-political general discussion forum for local people. Its topics included sport, local issues and events.
“Only one thread — out of thousands — dealt with the reasons for the rise in popularity of the BNP in Teeside. It was on that thread that Mr Walker made his anonymous comment about criminals.
“It is thus clear that Mr Gove’s comments are uninformed at best or lies at worst,” he said.
“Nonetheless, we welcome the abolition of the GTC as it was set up to interfere in the private lives of teachers,” Mr Harrington continued.
“It busied itself with gross intrusion into such things as if teachers went to the pub and other silly things.
“It is, however, totally wrong to use the Adam Walker case with which to beat the GTC. Ironically, this was a case where the GTC actually did something right, not wrong.
“Solidarity defended Mr Walker precisely because it is the only union which believes that a member’s political views are his or her own business,” Mr Harrington concluded.