I took a dislike to Cristina Odone years ago, some time when B&W was very young. She hadn’t commissioned a hatchet profile on me as she did to Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, she’d merely said something narrow-mindedly faithy, perhaps even overtly Catholic, which got up my nose. (Why ‘even’? Because she doesn’t always admit [to put it mildly] that that’s where her narrow-minded views are coming from, and I suspect that she prefers to leave that out of the picture when she can get away with it.) I can’t remember what it was, or when, but no matter, her unpleasantness now gives us more than enough to scowl over.
Ed Balls began his witch-hunt against faith schools last spring, unleashing informants to trawl the country, knock on doors, note down names and infractions…Many see this inquisition as the latest twist in Labour’s internal politics.
That’s a good example of the not admitting habit right there – she accuses Ed Balls of doing things that the Catholic church used to do (and that Ed Balls of course is not doing) and delicately doesn’t mention her own loyalty to Catholicism. It’s a bit rich to see a bigoted Catholic charging non-Catholics with witch-hunting inquistions when no such thing is going on. A bit rich and more than a bit disgusting.
And then there’s the breezy way she says ‘Ball’s charges against faith schools can be dismissed one by one’ as if mere dismissal were the same thing as actually rebutting. Of course the Ball’s charges against ‘faith’ schools can be dismissed one by one, any charges can be dismissed one by one; it’s dead easy just to say ‘no’ repeatedly, and by gum that’s all Odone does. But that doesn’t tell us anything except that Odone doesn’t like the charges against ‘faith’ schools. The BHA gives some details on why Odone’s dismissal won’t cut it.
The BHA points out that the state funded faith schools which the report seeks to promote differ from state funded community schools in that, for example:
They are allowed by law to discriminate in their admissions policies;
They are allowed by law to discriminate in their employment policies;
They teach their own syllabus of Religious Education without the regulated syllabuses that apply to community schools.
Strident stuff, eh?