The Canterbury Tales need no longer be taught at Uni …


Well, there’s interesting: the RemainCentral Brussels correspondent has still got his job – not that his reports have had any impact on the rest of the MSM today. I’m exempting The Express where, if you are so inclined, you can find articles galore based on tweets or the utterance of one single MEP: that’s modern journalism, that is.

Elsewhere in the MSM there’s more on covid, vaccines and lockdowns but there’s also a shocking report on English as it will be taught at one university. Oh – and there was the inauguration of the USA’s new president. The photo of him signing his first ‘executive order’ which graced today’s MSM’s front pages said it all: wearing a mask while sitting at the desk in the Oval Office – words failed me!

Let’s look at the Brussels ‘News’ first. We recall some traders’ moan to our MSM that ‘fresh meat’ from the UK was rotting in EU ports because of the paperwork they weren’t prepared for. Of course, successful trading with the EU meant nobody had to worry about doing stuff like customs declarations for themselves.

One wonders why those traders didn’t speak to their colleagues who are trading with the rest of the world: they obviously must have experience in such matters. One does not wonder why they don’t blame the EU for this situation. Perhaps they knew from their ‘sources’ what was coming: Brussels using customs ‘difficulties’ for UK exporters to keep us under their boots:

“The EU is prepared to ease post-Brexit border friction if Britain drops its plan to create a “Singapore on the Thames”, according to senior diplomatic sources. Problems and delays at borders are increasingly affecting exports, with fish and meat sellers hit particularly hard. European diplomatic sources have indicated that Brussels is open to talks on freeing up trade but only if Boris Johnson abandons plans to tear up EU rules such as the working time directive. “Of course we can in future discuss how to have less friction,” a senior European diplomat said.” (link, paywalled)

Well, isn’t that gracious of those Brussels diplomats! And what contrast to their attitude towards China where an ‘investment deal’ has just been signed. This went a bit by the wayside thanks to covid and lockdowns, but here’s an assessment in the FT:

“Over the past year, China has crushed the freedom of Hong Kong, intensified oppression in Xinjiang, killed Indian troops, threatened Taiwan and sanctioned Australia. By signing a deal with China nonetheless, the EU has signalled that it doesn’t care about all that. As Janka Oertel, director of the Asia programme at the European Council on Foreign Relations think-tank, puts it: “This is a massive diplomatic win for China.” (paywalled link)

Yes, well, the ‘fate’ of UK workers having to slave away under a new, non-EU working time directive is of course unacceptable while China’s treatment of their people and workers is simply ‘business as usual’. Must be because China isn’t on the EU’s doorstep – no, wait: they’re already inside. 

Perish the thought that Brussels will be conciliatory in any way – they will use this ‘friction’ to make us crawl back – and there’s no Frosty any more to front up to them, he’s vanished. Here’s how Brussels will try to make us ‘behave’:

“[The diplomat] added: “Discussing further facilitation or ways to reduce friction would depend on what the UK is doing and where they want to go. Initiating that conversation and negotiation will not be made easier if the other side of the table is talking up deregulation or Singapore on the Thames.”  (link, paywalled)

There’s more – this has to do with covid, on the face of it. In the dying days of her chancellorship, Ms Merkel has put a proposal to the EU which would allow EU governments to “ban all UK residents from entering their countries and to cut all passenger transport links with Britain” (link, paywalled).

This text, seen by RemainCentral’s Brussels correspondent, is apparently ‘certain to be agreed’. It looks a bit more general as it addresses ‘all non-EU countries’ rather than just the UK., with Ms Merkel allegedly being “keen to avoid an impact on freight and trade after French measures to ban road haulage last year caused chaos”, but it’s not exactly reassuring:

“In all these efforts, essential supply chains and the integrity of the internal market, in particular of the cross-border transport of goods and supplies, have to be guaranteed,” the text said. Although the bans would be temporary, under existing rules they would remain in place until Britain could satisfy the EU that the spread of the new virus variant was under control and infections were falling.” (link, paywalled)

Given the experience with truck drivers’ ham sandwiches being confiscated because: ‘new rules’, given that Brussels is going to use the issue of border crossings to get us to accept their ongoing diktats, this means that it’ll be Brussels deciding if we’re a good, covid-free state. It beggars belief that we’re actually being punished for having sequenced that ‘UK covid mutation’ and having made this discovery public to all countries – only to be labelled ‘lepers’ in order to facilitate even more Brussels’ attempts to punish us for Brexit.  

And so to ‘our universities’ – obediently in lockdown – and the teaching of English. We’ve known for some time that lefty ideology is what is taught in our halls of learning, we’ve seen the results in the ‘wokeism’ which has spread from universities into the MSM and politics. We’ve seen how wokeism has infiltrated our NGOs who are supposedly preserving our heritage. Here is the latest, a shocking proposal indeed:

“The University of Leicester will stop teaching Geoffrey Chaucer’s work and other medieval literature in favour of modules on race and sexuality, according to new proposals. Management told the English department that courses on canonical works will be dropped for modules “students expect” as part of plans now under consultation.” (paywalled link)

‘Students expect’ – oh dear. Or do they? Are they perhaps being told that this is what they ought to ‘expect’? Or can it have something to do with this:

“President and Vice-Chancellor Professor Nishan Canagarajah said that changing modules was part of the long-term strategy to “compete on a global level”, adding: “To facilitate this, we may need to cease activity in a limited number of areas.” (paywalled link)

With 60 jobs allegedly under threat already, here are some more truly shocking details:

“Foundational texts like The Canterbury Tales and Anglo-Saxon epic Beowulf would no longer be taught under proposals to scrap medieval literature. Instead the English faculty will be refocused to drop centuries of the literary canon and deliver a “decolonised” curriculum devoted to diversity.” (paywalled link)

How is it even possible that ‘academics’ can propose to teach university courses on English by cutting the foundation of that language off at the knees? How is it even possible to ‘decolonise’ English literature by dropping Chaucer? Was he a slave owner perchance and mustn’t be mentioned ever again? There’s more:

Academics now facing redundancy were told via email: “The aim of our proposals (is)  to offer a suite of undergraduate degrees that provide modules which students expect of an English degree.” New modules described as “excitingly innovative” would cover:  “A chronological literary history, a selection of modules on race, ethnicity, sexuality and diversity, a decolonised curriculum, and new employability modules.” Professors were told that to facilitate change management planned to stop all English Language courses, cease medieval literature, and reduce Early Modern Literature offerings. (paywalled link)

Using Chaucer on Twitter might be a tad difficult, you have to agree – so who needs him! However, what happened to ‘academic freedom’ when professors can be told by management to stop their courses? Never mind – NHS management has been telling doctors what to do, regardless of medical necessities so why should universities be any different!

Here’s more, and one doesn’t need to be a prophet to predict the consequences when one realises that these students will go into schools or the BBC: drilled in wokeism and no foundations for the language they’ll be using. Savour this, the final quote:

“Despite Chaucer’s position as “the father of English literature” the 14th century figure will no longer be taught if plans currently under consultation go ahead. They would end all teaching on texts central to the development of the English language, including the Dark Age epic poem Beowulf, and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. Sir Thomas Malory’s Morte D’Arthur, the Viking sagas, and all works written earlier than 1500 would also be removed from the syllabus. Cuts to Early Modern English modules could see texts John Milton’s Paradise Lost omitted, according to concerned academics, with teaching on Christopher Marlowe and John Donne potentially reduced.” (paywalled link)

If something can be done it will be done, especially if there are plans already being mused about. Like Chesterton’s remark about Christianity having been found too difficult and therefore not having been tried, Chaucer and the others have been found ‘too difficult’ and won’t be tried or taught. 

And who needs John Donne anyway (wasn’t he a … Christian?) when there’s ‘exiting’ new de-colonised literature to be had – even as his poem ‘No man is an island’ seems very appropriate in these lockdown times where we’re being isolated by covid government decree, forced into becoming islands entire of ourselves.

I leave you with news that another former PM is exhorting the current one – did he want to upstage the other former PM, a certain Ms May? Mr T. Blair tells BJ to vaccinate 600,000 people every day to get us out of lockdown in March (link). That’s the same Mr Blair who has cashed in on his PM-ship, with his family duly following in his footsteps – not as politicians but as ‘super-rich’ (link).

Well, when one’s Blair petitesses such as a bottleneck in producing vaccines as announced by Pfizer just don’t matter. Perhaps Mr Blair should have a word with his Welsh colleague about that vaccination drive – he created ‘devolved’ Wales, after all. 

And finally – Sir John Redwood’s Diary has had a make-over. It looks very pretty. Let’s hope it’ll be a case of ‘plus ça change plus c‘est la même chose’ in regard to the content.




Photo by rocor

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