University of Edinburgh Prof Raj Bhopal: My late mother, born under British rule in 1925 and who came to Glasgow in 1955, would have applauded David Cameron’s ideas on education in English. She was passionate about education, but never went to school. She would, though, have been appalled to think that she was potentially a second-class citizen, and worse, that she might not be able to communicate with her children.
With her self-taught, broken English she raised eight children (seven university graduates) and helped to run the family business. She taught her children Punjabi, and they taught her English. She wore a headscarf for modesty and she would not have countenanced lessons on dressing from my father or Cameron. My mother was a Sikh but she saw that criticism of her Muslims sisters included her. She loved both Punjabi and British values.
Mothers like her give people the strong identity required for multicultural values. She would have found Cameron’s ideas well-meaning but shallow.
Herftfordshire John Catton: As the editor of the King’s African Rifles Journal, I once published an obituary of Dr Bridget Mapstone, who was a military medical officer in Kenya in the late 1950s. She eliminated the mosquito infestation at Lake Nakuru by importing fish, which would eat the larvae, from a neighbouring lake. I have often wondered why this idea has not been taken further.
The Daily Telegraph