The Year of the Trojan Gift Horse

The Year of the Trojan Gift Horse


Written by: Robin Richardson

A seasonal reflection by leading educationalist Robin Richardson.

2014 was the year of the Trojan gift horse – equus donatus troianus – bestowed on (and gratefully received by) quite a wide range of people. In no particular order, the eager and happy recipients included:

  • the sections of the media that prosper and profit from peddling moral panics about plots, threats and dangers, and the decline of CAWKI (civilisation as we know it);
  • politicians of all parties seeking to demonstrate, in the ukipophobia that is gathering in the run-up to May 2015, that they can be more vicious and hateful than any of their rivals towards Muslims and Islam;
  • the regiment of people known sometimes as securicrats – civil servants, think tanks and security services seeking recognition and additional resources for their highly dubious set of theories about the nature of ‘extremism’, and how to deal with it;
  • the senior leadership of Ofsted, as they scurry and curry favour with the DfE and the right-wing media, trying to change their remit to that of thought police;
  • supporters of military invasions of Muslim-majority nations;
  • anyone who, for whatever reason, rejoices in the troubles and travails of Birmingham City Council.

None of these recipients looked the gift horse in the mouth, let alone studied its dental records. They’d got a horse, one that would run and run and be a winner. They were happy to keep on flogging it long after its sell-by date, and didn’t care who else jumped or clambered on the bandwagon the horse was towing. And oh, the avoidance of muddled metaphors was the least of their concerns.

What of 2015? Will it be the year of the fight back? Time will tell. Time will be told.


IRR News story: ‘Hatred, hysteria and a Trojan Horse’

IRR News story: ‘Naming the narratives: the Trojan Horse affair in Birmingham

The Institute of Race Relations is precluded from expressing a corporate view: any opinions expressed are therefore those of the authors.

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