Saturday, 26 September 2009

A Breath Of Fresh Air in ‘CiF’….

Cracking article by Jenni Russell yesterday, nestled uncomfortably among the usual ‘No borders for cute foreign children!’ rubbish churned out there on a daily basis:
It was never in any election manifesto, and yet it will be one of this government's most disastrous legacies. The transformation of the relationship between adults and children into one of caution, suspicion, confusion and fear will outlast many other Labour reforms.
It will indeed, Jenni.

Mainly because, despite the thrust of this article, it is not as a result of direct legislation proposed by the current government, but as a result of the creeping progressive colonisation of our major institutions.

Hence, it will not suddenly reverse itself when we swap Gordon’s morons for Dave’s shiny ‘new’ Tories…
Stealthily, and without open political debate, we have moved from the assumption that all adults have a role in socialising children, towards a new and uncertain world in which contact with children is increasingly regulated by officials and the state. It is a kind of collective madness, in which the boundaries of what we are allowed to do shift too fast and too secretly for us to keep up.
The catalyst for her column seems to have been the case of school dinner lady Susan Hill.
As soon as the school discovered that Hill had told the parents the truth, she was first suspended for several months, and then sacked by the governors for "breaching pupil confidentiality".

This is a new world, in which schools may effectively lie to parents about traumatic events affecting their children, and yet where the only offence committed is by a person who unwittingly breaks that official secrecy. It is no longer the proper role of adults, even those in a tiny village, where everyone knows everyone else, to discuss the behaviour of children. It is for the state to define who may speak and who must be silent.
Working as intended, Jenni…
What happened in Essex isn't an aberration, but evidence of a new philosophy in action. It's one that expects people to act not as concerned adults, but as automatons.

Yesterday morning the chief executive of the National Association of Headteachers was asked what he thought Hill should have done in the instant that she realised Chloe's parents were in the dark. His response? That she should have refused to comment, and then followed "proper procedures and processes" within the school if she was unhappy with what the family had been told.
So, you see, no secret Whitehall Department run by Peter Mandelson or some other bogeyman is needed to push this stuff forward.

We can’t simply find the single man responsible, remove him, and all will be well.

This stuff is being pushed by all institutions across central and local government.
You don't have to be an employee to fall foul of the new norms. Parents are being caught out by them too. In London this July a mother was banned from her five-year-old's classroom for politely asking another child to stop his continual hitting of her son. Repeated requests to the school to do something had had no effect. It turned out that she was breaking the unwritten rule that says that no unauthorised adult – not even a parent – can remonstrate with a child.
And Jenni reaches the same conclusions about the intended result of this that bloggers came to a long time ago:
This removal of general authority from adults, and its gradual replacement by state-sanctioned interventions, is utterly corrosive. It infantilises grown-ups, who lose one of the roles that societies have always expected them to fulfil. It makes them timid, and demeans them in the eyes of their children, who see that they are powerless in the face of injustice. And by suggesting that adults may not approach, discuss or reprimand a child, it completely undermines the notion of a community, and the importance of social pressure and shame.
It’s the removal of societal pressure and shame, as well as the diminishing consequences for non-compliance with society’s rules that has led us to the point where police spend their days alternately harassing innocents while seeing attacks on them by habitual criminals go unpunished by the very justice system they are themselves a part of.
Exchanging these traditional bonds and constraints for sanctions imposed by schools, courts and police is not only wrong-headed, it is doomed to failure. The state can't enforce order everywhere and at all times; nor should we want it to.
We don’t want it to, Jenni. The progressives do.

And they are well dug in, like all parasites. Uprooting them isn’t going to be as simple as placing a tick in the right box come election time…


Quiet_Man said...

It's getting to the stage where trimming back the state is going to involve a flamethrower rather than mild pruning. It's the ingrained attitude of the thinking that worries me though, where on earth did these ideas come from and how in hell did these people holding them ever get into positions of power over us?

Unknown said...

To 'Quiet Man' - have a look at 'In Praise of Prejudice' by Theodore Dalrymple. It gives a few pointers ...

Von Spreuth. said...

Von Spreuth said...

remonstrate with a child.

I am sorry.. WHAT was that? "remonstrate with a child."???

BOLLOX. A good slapped arse is what the bastards need.

"Remonstrate" Weare NOT talking international diplomacy here we are talking about disciplining something with less brain thatn a 2 year old chimpanze fer FEKS sake!!!

NickM said...

I have been saying just this for years now...

NickM said...

Seen this utterly vile bilge?

JuliaM said...

"It's getting to the stage where trimming back the state is going to involve a flamethrower rather than mild pruning."

That's the part that bothers me the most - there's no indication that our next PM intends to do anything more strenuous than a bit of light weeding, and maybe claim he's letting the rest of the garden go fallow 'like nature intended'.

When what we need is the 'Ground Force' crew and a fleet of earthmovers...

"...have a look at 'In Praise of Prejudice' by Theodore Dalrymple. It gives a few pointers..."

Oh, yes, indeed.

""Remonstrate" Weare NOT talking international diplomacy.."

Exactly. It isn't rocket science, and the obvious drawbacks of the current 'softly softly' approach must surely be visible now to even the dimmest do-gooder...

"Seen this utterly vile bilge?"

Oh, yeah, that's the one LfaT had up this morning.

Utterly unbelievable, especially in light of all the protestations the ISA crowd were making over their monitoring scheme not applying to 'informal arrangements' the other week.

So much for joined up government...

woman on a raft said...

Re: the women with their childcare problem. This follows automatically from the definition of childminder and it's extension to reciprocal care defined as 'reward'.

There are three main ways round it.

a) Go to the child's home to offer the care. Registration is voluntary, not compulsory, for private nannies. In the case of the women, this is exactly the same amount of travelling they would have to do anyway. Arguably, it will help both of them if the childcarer comes to the home, or they arrange a 'hand over' somewhere on the journey. So long as it doesn't count as care in the home of the childminder.

b) Relative care is exempt. So find out (i.e. swear blind) you are related. If challenged, play the race card. Do Ofsted check whether Muslim or Caribbean families are complying with extended family care, or do they just take whatever is said at face value?

c) If not already married, the women should consider a civil partnership with each other. They need to check if it would affect their benefits status. There is no requirement to live with one's partner, and - it appears, but I've got to check - that a post-nup agreement is legally enforceable. So they can keep all the property in separate bags and split up when they no longer need reciprocal childcare.

If enough people bend this stupid law round enough corners, it should eventually snap.

Mark Wadsworth said...

I would comment on this, but of course I wouldn't like to breach confidentiality, so I'll just run my comment past the appropriate regulatory body first and get back to you!

blueknight said...

Seen this utterly vile bilge?

Yes. There must be literally thousands of other families doing this. These two were Police Officers, others may be cleaners or secretaries or bar staff.
I am willing to be that if these rules were enforced, it would bring the country to a standstill..

Mike said...

WOAR I like your ways round the law but feel it would be missing the point to not mention that this is a good example of the law being quite simply wrong.

The people who reported this and the authorities involved should be pursued for attempting to bring or bringing about a malicious prosecution, making false statements and harassment.