Browse > Home /

| Subcribe via RSS

Living in a sci-fi horror movie – only for real

By Angela Harbutt
October 21st, 2009 at 7:00 am | Comments Off on Living in a sci-fi horror movie – only for real | Posted in UK Politics

blofeldYesterday’s DAILY MAIL newspaper headline read as follows “CRIMINAL CHECKS ON SCHOOL EXCHANGE FAMILIES”. And yes its true. Despite there being no known cases of child abuse resulting from an exchange, the Government is insisting that parents of British host families submit themselves to child protection checks before they can put up an overseas pupil.

This is government “protection” gone mad. Not only will it hinder the opportunities of our youngsters, it will offer NO protection to British children staying in foreign homes (and only requires that the British parents register – not any other adult living in the home by the way).

The only conceivable outcome of this policy is that fewer British parents will be prepared to participate and so fewer British kids will get the opportunity to expand their horizons, experience  different cultures, improve their language skills, or spend, what for many will be, a life-changing first taste of time away from their parents or teachers. (Thats OK they can always hang around the streets drinking…)

What’s the point ? I cannot even begin to guess who thought this was a good move or, indeed, why.  It’s just insane… so what’s behind it, chaos or control-freakery?

Is there really such chaos and anarchy in the halls of power that the so-called “sensible people” have all already left the building? Or do they have their heads so far down behind the parapets they dont even know what’s going on?  Are only mad men left?

Is there perhaps a be-gloved whitehall mandarin sitting there, stroking his long-haired white cat saying  “I may have lost the ID card debate Mr Bond but I have another plan to get the information I need… I will “use the chiiiildren”- no British person will complain if we use the chiiiildren to get the information we crave. You know the line …”if it saves just one child then any measure is justified blah blah blah nothing to fear , nothing to hide, blah blah blah…. hahahahahahaha….. I will not be stopped Mr Bond..”

Or is it worse than even that.. are we are being herded by fair means or foul into the “database” by some headless monster? Has the “system” actually , finally taken control – determined to ensure that data on every single adult in the British Isles is captured and cross referenced. Not a single individual you can identify by the way – just “the system” – manically executing a “must capture all data on all subjects” programme because no one said “stop”. Like some hideous sci-fi movie – only its real.

What ever it is, it isnt sensible. .. We’ve had Fathers For Justice climbing onto the rooftops of parliament …. its about time we had Parents For Privacy taking this to its ultimate conclusion -November 5th is just around the corner.

That’s “James Bond”, “The Cube” and “V for Vendetta” (with a splash of “The Matrix”) all in one blog – but it really does feel like I am living through a sci-fi horror movie I can’t get out of. So please someone help me… get me The Doctor, fast.

Tags: ,

Why feeling safer is dangerous

By Angela Harbutt
September 11th, 2009 at 11:10 am | 7 Comments | Posted in UK Politics

http://photographyofgrace.comMany of us  will have woken up this morning to find that parents who regularly drive children for sports or social clubs , and those that host foreign students, will have to undergo criminal record checks or face fines of up to £5,000 if they dont. The rules are intended to stop paedophiles from coming into contact with children.

Informal arrangements between parents will not be covered, but “anyone taking part in activities involving “frequent” or “intensive” contact with children or vulnerable adults three times in a month, every month, or once overnight, must register”. And here’s the first problem that strikes me. Busy parents with kids, work and other commitments may easily find themselves falling foul of this unintentionally. My sister-in-law is not a “regular” volunteer but I don’t think she even knows  how many times a month she is asked by after-school club organizers to “stand in” and take another child home from the same village (once twice, maybe three times?). Her sensible reaction from here-on-in must be surely to say “no”, unless she carries a checklist with her at all times, or risk picking up a £5000 fine – not that the club will dare ask.

 Here’s my second concern. The government estimates these new rules will put over 11million adults (that’s about in 1 in 4) on this register. I don’t believe for one second that the government has a system in place that can cope with such volumes – nor do I believe it will be accurate. Not only will the “occasional” parent find themselves in a position where they have to decline to stand in , but the delays involved will result in thousands of volunteers not being able to do this work as they await their checks to be completed.

 That is without considering those parents who will fail  because of some minor misdemeanor in their past lives (or error on the system!) or are (reasonably in my opinion) unwilling to be subjected to the entire process.

 The inevitable result will be swathes of volunteers unable or unwilling to assist in out-of-school activities. So whilst we seek to protect our children from the slight danger of encountering a paedophile, the actual result will be that many kids will be denied the opportunity to participate in sports and other important social activities. Result: fat, bored kids who will – apparently justifiably- be terrified of every adult they encounter.

 Now, I know that there will be those that say we should go to every length to protect our children. That people should be willing, eager even, to subject themselves to these checks if it protects “just one child”.

 But I don’t think that’s right. We have become such risk-averse society that we are willing to kill innocents in Afghanistan – and see our own soldiers killed – to reduce “the threat” of terrorism in the UK. We are willing to strip millions of honest UK citizens of their privacy, with the introduction of id card’s,  in order to guard against some undefined threat. We are probably about to stop clubs , arts groups and sporting outlets access to £millions from alcohol sponsorship because of  the minority who cause trouble on our streets on a Saturday night. We are now going to deprive thousands of children from a swathe of beneficial activities because of the small threat of roaming paedophiles.

 We have become a fearful, impotent nation that is willing to allow regulation after regulation to rule our lives because we are frightened of bearded foreigners, men in macks and bored teenagers collecting on the streets at the weekend. Is that really the society we want? It’s not the one I want. Bit by bit we are surrendering concepts such as parental responsibility, common sense  and neighbourliness to anonymous bureaucrats in Whitehall who make the majority of us feel safe. And thats without considering the impact on those we seek to vilify.In reality these checks – as with almost all the other measures introduced from the corridors of power – will not stop harm – they will make us all take less care of ourselves and our children and more suspicious of everyone else. And that ‘s just not sad, its downright dangerous.

Tags: , ,