Sometimes I hate democracy. I hate the patronising attitude of "we know what's best for you" that governments have. It's like having a mother who still makes you packed lunches when you're 40 years old. (Happy Mother's Day for Sunday, by the way.)
Today the results of a government-commissioned review were published, and I didn't like what I saw. What made me hate it even more was that, although I didn't like the decision, I knew it was the right one, because actually the government does know what's best for me... most of the time.
The ruling I'm referring to is the decision not to ban teachers in England from joining any political party they wish. The report came about after a leaked list identified 15 BNP members as teachers last September and, although BNP members are still banned from the police and prison services, it is thought that the decision will be reversed if the BNP challenges it.
Banning all BNP members from teaching our children would clearly have its plus sides in my view, but the moment we start discriminating against people based on their views is the moment we become very similar to the BNP itself. The brilliance behind a democracy - and this is something I've said on this blog many times - is that it's OK to disagree with one another. Actually, it's more than OK - it's healthy.
Schools Secretary Ed Balls also welcomed the report on the proviso that the decision be reviewed every year. But the teaching union NASUWT said Maurice Smith, the review author, had "squandered a golden opportunity," arguing that: "The idea that a person who signs up to membership of the BNP can simply leave these beliefs at the school gate... is risible."
If the NASUWT really believed that teachers can't leave their views at the school gate, then it should also be trying to enforce rules that only allow religious people to teach religious studies, and that we have faith teachers for every individual religion.
It doesn't matter what a teacher's beliefs are. It's never been their job to teach what they think. I haven't been to school in a while, but I don't remember a lesson sandwiched between maths and science called 'teacher time,' where I would be preached at for an hour on my teacher's opinions.
All this decision means is that schools are going to have to make sure their teachers are unbiased. They have managed this for decades, so I'm sure this ruling won't mean we'll have miniature BNP members running around judging people by the colour of their kneecaps, while their mind-controlling masters cackle in front of the overhead projectors. What it does mean is that we are starting to practise what most of us preach.