Thursday, 29 January 2009

How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Bomb Big Brother…

‘Times’ columnist Alice Miles has decided to lay into the critics
of the new children’s database, although she doesn’t mention (because it would spoil her entire ‘argument’) the exemption that celebrities and the powerful will get:
To hear the fuss from parents' groups and civil liberties campaigners about the new childrens' database that was activated this week, you would think that the Government was planning to post naked pictures of our kids for public officials to gawp at. It will be hacked, they warn; it will be abused; the bureaucrats will - horrors - put details of extracurricular activities such as piano and ballet lessons on it.
Oh, yes – how silly of those parent’s groups and civil liberties campaigners, to be worried about things like that! Really, we should all just accept that Big Brother means well, shouldn’t we?

And now here comes the strawman argument:
I find it baffling that a mother who routinely shops online, ordering children's kit from lunchbox fruitsticks to Doctor Who duvet covers, freely giving her address to companies from John Lewis to sellers on Amazon marketplace (who are they, anyway?), together with all sorts of personal data, suddenly feels the need to panic when it is local authorities to whom far less personal information is being entrusted.
Hmmm, yes, one of these things is not like the other, is it Alice? I don’t have to shop online, or give any data to these companies if I don’t want to. I can use the old fashioned methods, called ‘going down the shops’.

And I can therefore take my own precautions against these companies losing the data by not allowing them to have it in the first place. Just try that with the State. Mind you, you probably won’t have to – since ‘celebrity’ isn’t defined, even you probably qualify…

But it seems Alice thinks the system doesn’t go far enough:
It would be better to ask whether there will be enough information on the system to make it effective, not least since it appears that the children most at risk, who come from abusive family backgrounds, will have their details “shielded” to prevent hacking by dangerous relatives.
But let’s not mention the others who are similarly shielded, eh?

But the kicker is in her closing line:
Critics get it wrong when they dub this database Big Brother. What it is actually trying to replicate, all too often, is a good mother.
The State is not your friend, Alice. It most certainly can’t be your mother….

8 comments:

ranter said...

Another reason why I don't bother with newspapers much anymore. They are padded out with self satisfied empty headed pap like this. I only buy a Times or Telegraph on a Saturday these days but these are packed solid with complete bollocks, articles aimed at people who have the income and lifestyle of our political class and the commentariat. Supposedly middle class but these days so wide of the mark.

DavidNcl said...

The state has become what it is because too many fools like Alice Miles want it to be a good mummy or daddy to all the scummy people and make them nice - oh and everyone has to share their sweeties.

Beneath the preening, sanctimonious stupidity there's a nasty core of contempt too.

JuliaM said...

"I only buy a Times or Telegraph on a Saturday these days..."

I never bother. I just read them online.

"..articles aimed at people who have the income and lifestyle of our political class and the commentariat.."

Or who want to imagine that they do...

"Beneath the preening, sanctimonious stupidity there's a nasty core of contempt too."

Indeed, for so many of them. I think it must be in the job description!

Furry Conservative said...

I read that article. How a middle-aged, apparently educated person could have lived through the last twelve years and STILL think the State is a benign and caring entity must be stark, staring bonkers.

Alice, the acid test - why will anyone of any importance (i.e. political influence) be allowed the right to have their children's details not placed on the register? Hmm?

Umbongo said...

Do you think that the certainty that Alice Miles' child (father Andrew Marr - journalistic pimp to Gordon Brown and husband of Jackie Ashley) will definitely not appear on this database has any connection with Alice's relaxed attitude to governmental intentions/competence, her contempt for the "little people" and her forgetfulness in mentioning this little detail in her rant?

paul ilc said...

I never read Alice Miles'pieces. She's the Polly Toynbee of The Times.

JuliaM said...

"Do you think that the certainty that Alice Miles' child (father Andrew Marr - journalistic pimp to Gordon Brown and husband of Jackie Ashley) will definitely not appear on this database has any connection with Alice's relaxed attitude to governmental intentions/competence..."

The thought never crossed my mind...

;)

Umbongo said...

paul ilc

"I never read Alice Miles' pieces. She's the Polly Toynbee of The Times."

or you could say (which I do)

I never read Mary Riddell's pieces. She's the Polly Toynbee of The Telegraph.