Let’s close for David Koresh’s birthday

Two councils in East London have irritated a lot of people (and perhaps pleased a few, though that looks doubtful) by instructing all schools under their control to shut for the annual celebrations of Eid-Ul-Fitr, Diwali and Guru Nanak’s Birthday. They have their reasons.

The council has said that the policy is intended to “raise awareness of different faiths and cultures within the school community, which in turn supports cohesion for the wider community”.

Dear god – do people just swallow nauseating bromides in pill form so that they will belch them for a stipulated period afterwards? Do they get them inscribed on the inside of their eyelids? Or am I over-thinking this – is it simply a matter of learning five or six key words and then just trotting them out on all occasions so as not to have to think at all ever under any circumstances? I ask because that sure is what it looks like – and it frankly makes me want to punch something. Community community community, pause, cohesion. Then again – community community different, cohesion community different. Let’s raise awareness of our differences so that we can have more cohesion. Are you sure about that? Are you sure that’s how it works?

Especially when, if the Telegraph is right, there are more Jews in Waltham Forest than there are Sikhs, yet ‘schools have not been told to close for any Jewish holidays.’ What’s that about?

I have a question, too. I don’t understand this usage:

Parents and teaching unions have joined in the criticism of the Waltham Forest policy, which affects all community primary and secondary schools in the borough, although not Church of England or Catholic schools.

What on earth does ‘community’ mean there? Is it a euphemism for secular? If so, why is a euphemism needed? It presumably doesn’t mean ‘state’ since C of E (and Catholic?) schools can be state schools…right? Or am I confused? Does ‘community’ just mean ‘without specific religious affiliation’? Is that the normal way of saying that? Is it new?

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