I ask this question with my tongue firmly in my cheek of course. The English language is spoken throughout the world. It is very often the second language for most developed countries. There is however a serious point to my title, especially here at home in Great Britain.
Information from the NHS has recently been released to say that in the three years leading up to 2010 £64.4 million was spent on translators for none English speaking patients. I await with interest the cost for the three years up to 2013 and from then up to 2016. I suspect the figure is much increased, especially given that we have had a third of a million people net, per annum settling in this country throughout most of those years.
In the Bradford East Parliamentary constituency 59% of 24,358 pupils in 51 schools have English as their secondary language to that of their native tongue. The figure nationally is 20%. Of these children in Bradford, 21% also receive free school meals so you might ask if this is a sign of deprivation. NUT spokesman Ian Murch denies this saying: “This is not a sign of deprivation.”
In 2015 David Cameron, the then Prime Minister suddenly from nowhere, bearing in mind the austerity plan, made available £20 million in funding so 190,000 Muslim women across the country who had little or no English could learn or improve their English. This was also to include childcare and travel whilst they were learning. Nothing more has been heard about this programme. I cannot find any measurement as to its success or failure.
I hope that this money was not channelled through some of the colleges delivering training and courses in the English language through government funding. Much fraud, cheating and theft took place at such colleges and eventually the government got its act together and closed 170 in London and the South East. I do not think anyone dare calculate the cost to the tax payer for this organised crime spree.
There are other issues surrounding people speaking the English language in this country and as with most things, it starts with educating our young people. Private and state run faith schools have a lot to answer for. Their cultural issues and faith dogma are worrying.
In private faith schools, which make up a 1/3 of our education establishments, pupils do not fare much better. Segregated governors’ meetings, pupils who thought France was part of Britain, toilets without paper or hot water and broken fire escapes were among the “serious concerns” uncovered by Ofsted inspectors during visits to private faith schools across England.
The failings were outlined in a letter by Ofsted’s chief inspector, Sir Michael Wilshaw, to the then education secretary, Nicky Morgan, after inspections of 22 independent Islamic and Christian schools made by Ofsted since dismantling the inspectorate previously overseeing private faith schools.
Nine of the 22 schools were judged to be inadequate, with a further eight given its next lowest rating of “requires improvement”.
“Seven hundred children attend schools where inspectors considered that pupils were not being adequately prepared for life in modern Britain. This is deeply worrying given our national focus on this work over the past year,” Wilshaw told Morgan.
Pupils at the Cornerstone school, a small Christian faith school in Epsom, were reported to have “a limited view of the world” and not “open to the views of those who might have different beliefs than those offered by church members”.
A mixed school with 168 pupils aged between three and 11 was also found to have inappropriate books freely available. “For example, the library contained a book asserting that women are less reliable witnesses,” the inspectors reported.
I have two very dear friends who bought a house in France a few years ago. They are to retire this year to live there. Like many other people settling to live in Europe, they have had to learn the language themselves under their own steam and at their own cost.
This is right and correct of course. It is their decision to make the move and settle in France. It is only fair and good manners to learn the native tongue. There is no requirement for them to speak French to go live there and there is most certainly no financial assistance to do so either.
Amongst other things, such as the requirement to have health insurance, a job to come to and no previous criminal convictions, it is Ukip policy that people wishing to come and live in this country and work here should have an understanding and a basic command of English.
Draconian some shout, racist even, but my argument is that this policy is neither. But it does smack of common sense. We simply cannot keep paying for people who turn up at our borders to learn to speak our native tongue. We cannot keep funnelling millions of precious funds from the front line care of patients to assist people who just cannot speak nor understand English when they partake freely of our wonderful health care.
We owe it to the young people of this country too, to educate them properly in well maintained and properly funded schools. Faith will always have a part to play but it should never usurp the basic learning of the native language. Education should also be based on common sense with a firm eye on equality of opportunity. Education should also be fair and balanced. It should never ever be allowed to preach hate and prejudice.