The  so-called 'Trojan Horse' affair centred around an alleged 'Islamic plot' to take over schools. It was fantasy, yet why did so many want to believe it? And why has a more sinister plan gone unnoticed?

The plot, as many may have read, centred on an alleged attempt by a sinister if vaguely defined group of radical conspirators to take over schools in Birmingham by means of installing new headteachers sympathetic to their cause. 

The negligence of their local council officials would then allow the plotters to begin the process of indoctrinating a whole new generation.

Sinister fundamentalists, incompetent and venal local government officials, hopeless education authorities, the gang’s all here. There was only one problem, the entire plot was a total fantasy based solely on a single letter later exposed as a “crude forgery.” 

The only really noteworthy aspect to the whole affair is why so many people willed themselves to believe it. Even now those media commentators and journalists who call out others for being conspiracy theorists still want to latch on to the idea this plot was real and a genuine threat.

For those interested, a more thorough debunking of the fantasy can be found on Serial’s Trojan Horse podcast series.

For me though, one of the more intriguing subplots is the irony that our fantasists accidentally managed get it half-right. There are indeed sinister forces taking over our children’s education, but not quite those they have imagined.

Unfortunately, corporate branding has become a fact of life in many of our schools but surely, we’d be entitled to think that fairy tales branded by arms companies entertaining children as young nine is a bit much? 

Yet that’s precisely where we are now with schools in particular making use of videos produced by defence contractors who supply jet components to the Israeli and Saudi air forces.

Favourites like Cinderella and Jack and the Beanstalk are being read out by personel to some extremely bemused (we can only hope) youngsters.

But wait there’s more.

Raytheon, manufacturer of missiles currently being used by Saudi Arabia in Yemen, runs a national dome-building competition for children in UK schools every year, according to The Independent, while Bolton’s own MDBA, another missile maker, has found time away from supplying the Saudi military (yes them again) to run “robot rumble” sessions for British eleven-year-olds.

Maybe we can be charitable and assume companies like these, having become jaded with profiteering off the back of the Middle East being burnt to cinders, just want to give a bit back.

But we’re still entitled to think to ourselves, how does one entirely fictional 'Trojan Horse' plot cause so much panic, while a real one goes under the radar?