If one takes a moment to avoid the Sixth From debating though, there is actually something deeply concerning about the policy in general (which was reported by the BBC yesterday as well). Take first, for example, the comment made by Beverly Hughes to the BBC, she said,
"It is now clear that what parents actually do has a huge impact on children's well-being and capacity to succeed, both at the time and in future."Now clear? Without wishing to sound glib, I'm wondering whether Hughes should perhaps be the Minister for Stating the Bleeding Obvious. The problem here is that the underlying assumption to what is, in fairness, an utterly absurd comment, is that somehow more is known today about what is "good" and what is "bad" in parenting. The logical conclusion therefore is that all parenting before now has been carried out in a state of partial or complete ignorance.
The second area of concern here is the one whch relates directly to state interference. The issue is not about compulsion so much as success though. As has been made clear by the Prime Minister himself, and by countless researchers, Sure Start, for example, has been a failure precisely because it's been felt as intrusive by those social groups it intended to target. These are, going on the basis, the same social groups that so parenting lessons, are going to target. That is clear from Beverly Hughes' comments about "children's outcomes".
Whilst the element of compulsion implied by the Mail, and reported by Iain is unlikely to be there, Iain's summary headline about the policy being "half baked" actually hits the nail right on the head. The policy makes blatent invalid assumptions about parenting in general and the past, and is actually likely to be rejected by those that it is designed to help because of feeling of state interference and nannying just like Sure Start.
typos will be fixed in the next hour - off to catch a train