Although Katie Hopkins’ proposed speaking engagements in Welsh schools have elicited a good deal of criticism, there has been comparatively little reference to the Prevent Duty in these discussions. The Prevent Duty, unavoidably, invokes terms and phrases which are open to interpretation. However it could be argued that her visits are in contravention of this duty.
Here are a couple of examples taken from an NUT document which might indicate that a pupil is a risk:
- Pupils voicing opinions drawn from extremist ideologies and narratives.
- Use of extremist or ‘hate’ terms to exclude others or incite violence
British values include:
- The rule of law
- Individual liberty and mutual respect
- Tolerance of different faiths and beliefs
One school includes these activities as part of its Prevent strategy:
- Exploring other cultures and religions and promoting diversity.
- Challenging prejudices and racist comments.
Katie Hopkins’ views seems to contradict ‘British values’ in various ways.
Here’s a list of offensive statements from a few years ago – at this point she typically targeted people because of their age, appearance and social class.
Since then her focus has narrowed to a preoccupation with immigration and Muslims.
A recent example is her ‘final solution’ comment in the wake of the terrorist attack on Manchester – this got her sacked from LBC:
“22 dead – number rising,” she wrote on 23 May. “Schofield. Don’t you even dare. Do not be a part of the problem. We need a final solution #Machester.”
Particularly vile was her 2015 column in the Sun. This compared immigrants to cockroaches and to a norovirus – typical racist tropes. She also endorsed the use of gunships to stop migrants reaching Britain – and has more recently joined the far right Defend Europe group to disrupt the work of search and rescue vessels.
And even Fox News was startled by her call for internment camps in the UK.
I saw one person on Twitter citing this article as evidence that Katie Hopkins’ visits to schools were a good thing. But there are countless respectable centrist and right of centre speakers who would do a much better job at offering balance.