Ex-Mayor Livingstone

Mayor publishes Muslims in London report

The Mayor has been looking at Muslims in London and publishes this report today, just as Muslims are celebrating Eid ul-Fitr.

It makes interesting reading. As ever the Mayor draws the wrong conclusions though.

The report identifies a weakness in the level of educational achievement by this group and points out that attainment in English is a major handicap. This handicap is exacerbated by an unwillingness of some to speak English in the home.

I have noticed the same mistake being made by the newly-arrived Polish community in Ealing. If you don’t speak English at home your children will always be disadvantaged at school, this will feed through to low educational achievement and, in the end, relative poverty.

The Mayor’s prescriptions include:

  • The DfES and local education authorities should work towards eliminating direct and indirect discriminatory practices by educational institutions.
  • There needs to be Londonwide accesible and affordable interpretation services for people with a first language other than English.
  • Local Education Authorities must work with communities to increase the proportion of Muslim teachers and Muslim school govenors in areas with significant Muslim communities.

My prescriptions would be:

  • Hire more great teachers like Gerry Curran.
  • Shut bad schools quickly and make sure investment goes into good schools. Muslims, like the rest of us, are quick to spot and use good schools.
  • Provide free or subsidised English teaching to all new immigrants that need it.
  • Extend the We are Londoners campaign to be a “Londoners speak English” and “Speak English at home” campaign.

One London

The Mayor spends £100 million a year on advertising. It is a shame he can’t spend it doing something useful like making sure that London kids get the best start in life. One way to achieve that is for them to speak English as early as possible.

5 replies on “Mayor publishes Muslims in London report”

The Mayor is pedalling a discredited eighties creed which has let down thousands of children. Instead of teaching Urdu in schools, we should be teaching English, so that everyone can have a stake in society that reaches beyond their own community. Instead of offering coucil publications in 20 different languages, we should be offering English lessons. More expensive in the short term, but ultimately more productive.

And his remarks at the press conference about England being like 1930s Germany following Goebbels were typically ill considered.

If you want to see what Roger is getting at follow this link to the Mayor’s press conference yesterday. Move the slider to about 5:33 and listen to the Mayor’s answer to Nathan Holloway of Blink. He talks about the the demonology of Nazi Germany and gives name checks to Hitler and Goebells. I am not sure if he was referring to the media, the debate about the wearing of the veil, much of the Labour Cabinet or employers and housing authorities. The Mayor makes so many references to the Nazi era it has become his standard way of describing those who disagree with him. If you disagree with Ken Livingstone you are a Nazi.

I disagree with the that not speaking English at home automatically leads to lower educational acheivement. The children of Chinese and African Asians immigrants have the highest levels of educational acheivement in the UK, and they do not speak English at home.

It is too easy to lay the blame there. The fault lies with the schools and more fundementally in our TV and tabloids, dumbed-down culture.

The current swing towards integration at the expense of multiculturalism is running a bit out of hand.


I would be interested to hear what you would actually do to improve the attainment of Moslem children and the integration and achievement of Moslem adults. Does the Mayor’s to do list look like the way forward?


All the suggestions above look sensible, but I am not sure how much can be done by any government. Ultimately the push for integration has to come from the Muslim community themselves. Clumsy propaganda can do much more harm than good. From my perspective, “Londoners speak English” does not look good, but I am not their target audience.

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