Yet another splendid plan from David Cameron: teach English to Muslim women living in the UK, to help them integrate and reduce the risk of becoming radicalised.
The PM has made it clear that there is no simple cause and effect going on here. Nevertheless, he says, not speaking English probably contributes to a lack of integration, which might make people at more risk of something or other, affecting something something, and in the end you get more terrorists.
Cameron apparently said this actual sentence:
“some of these people have come from quite patriarchal societies and perhaps the menfolk haven’t wanted them to speak English” (source: here)
First, calling them ‘menfolk’ instead of just ‘men’ makes them sound like some tribe whose primitive rituals he is documenting during an expedition in the 1800s. Picture him in a bright white pith helmet, striding purposefully around our inner cities, instructing people with brown skin on how to enunciate properly.
Second, if there is any truth in this statement, then Muslim women who have male family members trying to influence their language abilities now also have a highly privileged white man they have never met trying to influence their language abilities. Is that supposed to be an improvement? It is reminiscent of Spivak’s critique of ‘white men saving brown women from brown men.’
Inspired by all of this, here are some more bold policy ideas based on imaginary chains of possible influence that certainly seem plausible inside my own mind. I hope Team Cameron will give them full consideration:
- Teach ballet to dogs to prevent them fouling our streets.
- Teach camouflage to black people to decrease their likelihood of being shot by police.
- Teach tax evasion to junior doctors to help them get by on lower wages.
- Teach badminton to lesbian wheelchair users to make them get out more.
- Teach law to criminals to stop them filling our jails.
- Teach swimming to Syrian migrants to enable them to avoid drowning.
- Teach Mandarin to bigots to broaden their horizons.
- Teach suicide bombing to pigeons to reduce their numbers.
All of the above will definitely work.