I wish I could have got to the Positive Action Group meeting last Monday on the upcoming Children’s Bill (see http://positiveactiongroup.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=207:children-bill-2010-why-all-parents-should-be-concerned-&catid=113:children-bill-2010&Itemid=132 to get the basic idea).
Tristram Llewellyn Jones has had some excellent letters in the local press about this ugly bastard offspring of Big Brother and small town fundamentalism, and I would have liked to see him speak. Ironically, the reason I couldn’t was because, being a serious parent, I have other duties in the evening!
I’m not sure what annoys me most about this dim-witted law. Is it the Big Brother aspect, is it (as Henry Porter of the Guardian pointed out last year) that the UK blueprint is more to do with depriving kids in secure care of any rights than it is with protecting any vulnerable kid, or is it just the gobsmackingly mediocre intellect of most of the people who would gain more legal rights to snoop and comment on my family life?
I have absolutely no hesitation in stating that the biggest danger to children on this island comes from Social Services, the Education Department, the Department of Home Affairs and, in particular, the moronic fundamentalist groups whose members have first dibs on any job with the above. By comparison, I've met smack dealers with more socially responsible attitudes and long term mental institution inmates with a firmer grasp on reality.
It is nothing less than a sick joke that the excuse offered by the Manx government for a further intrusion on family life is that they don’t want another double murder in a kids home – a tragedy caused by the sheer amateurism of the very government agencies which now want to pry and report on, and impede, the capable and self-reliant even more.
It reminds me, too, of the cultural critic Jon Savage’s early 1980’s prediction of what might, in this particular example, be dubbed A Very Manx Fascism.
As Savage quipped, German Nazism at least had great architecture and well tailored uniforms. But if a British variant ever evolved it would be from a dowdy collection of mean-minded, parochial know-nowts. Sad, inadequate nobodies who would turn everything social and joyous into a beige wasteland because they can’t bear to see anything good, any sign of intelligence or people creating things because it might be fun, or useful, or make us happy.
Remind you of anyone we know locally?
I will probably ignore this Bill (if it passes) just as I have (at best) been mildly amused by most efforts of the various incompetent legislators and other control freaks I’ve outlived, side-stepped and generally ignored since I was a child. A ten year old with learning difficulties would have little trouble outwitting such simpletons, so I have few fears for kids, like mine, who have been taught since birth by decent parents to think, ask pertinent questions and stay away from slack-jawed lunatics with mad-eyed stares who talk to invisible friends.
For those of more serious demeanour, take a look at Llewellyn Jones’s contribution to the debate at http://positiveactiongroup.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=209:should-they-tell-you-how-to-raise-your-child&catid=113:children-bill-2010&Itemid=132 , and also some thoughts of Iain McDonald, the gent with the ill-fated job of Data Protection Supervisor to the Manx government, at http://positiveactiongroup.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=213:children-bill-and-data-protection&catid=113:children-bill-2010&Itemid=132.
3 years ago