As Ofsted finally releases its reports into a number of schools in Birmingham – and yes, I’ll have something on that later today – the Telegraph’s expert in finding Scary Muslims, Andrew “transcription error” Gilligan, has discovered the source of the problem: yes, it’s the Guardian wot done it.: “Trojan Horse: how The Guardian ignored and misrepresented evidence of Islamism in schools”.
The article demonstrates Gilligan’s ability to call “liar” on anyone taking a position that is not in total agreement with Himself Personally Now, while illuminating his pursuit by the light of his burning trousers: “There’s a lot of bad journalism about Muslims in this country, but not all of it is at the tabloid ‘Islamic-only toilets’ end of the market. On the subject of the hardline takeover of Birmingham schools, I think The Guardian may be Britain’s most dishonest newspaper”, he tells.
And why might that be, Andy? “It’s a very good paper in some ways – but it has a complete blind spot about any story involving Islamists. Its coverage of Tower Hamlets has been spectacularly misleading. And the reporting on Trojan Horse by its education editor, Richard Adams, has been execrable”. As no evidence of any “hardline takeover” has been found, that’ll be “trousers still alight”, then.
Indeed, what is emerging from today’s Ofsted publications casts more doubt on the competence of that body, and of Michael “Oiky” Gove, than disproving anything that the Guardian might have published. There is no evidence, repeat no evidence, repeat no evidence, of any organised plot. The suspicion remains that the “Trojan Horse” letter – unsigned, remember – was indeed a fake.
Gilligan’s rant recycles old copy, like suggesting a letter signatory “has written a book calling for adulterers to be stoned to death”. Ah, Andy says books that advocate stoning are A Very Bad Thing. YOUR HERO GOVE JUST SENT A COPY OF ONE TO EVERY SCHOOL – IT’S CALLED THE BIBLE. Distortion is that easy.
Gilligan also has his excuses ready for recent Ofsted reports which gave a rather different picture of the schools now deemed a hotbed of Islamism: “Regulators often miss the great scandals. That’s partly why they become scandals. Several of these inspections were conducted in the halcyon days when Ofsted gave schools 48 hours’ notice – easily long enough for them to put on a show”.
Yeah, let’s just ignore any report until we get one that agrees with Gilligan. What the Guardian has done – and this is why Andy hates it so much – is treat the scaremongering strictly on its merits, and to say when it has none. Moreover, Adams clearly advocates caution and a measured approach. Gilligan just wants everyone to agree with the conclusion he reached beforehand, then gets nasty when they don’t.
Right now we need that measured view, and not Gilligan’s crude witch-hunt.