Thursday, July 23, 2009

Ed Balls: The murderer of personal responsibility

Never, in my entire life have I seen a more stupid, idiotic, contradictory and incoherent load of nonsense than when I saw the details of Ed Balls' latest master plan that will involve the criminalisation of parents for naughty six years old; the introduction of stalinist snitching on your neighbours; the death of personal responsibility, and the total undermining of school authority by interfering ministers.

In someway it's difficult to know exactly where to begin with the criticisms of the latest plan that has been plastered across the front page, and one which Ed Balls proudly boasted was "tough intervention" yesterday. Let's start off with the criminalisation of parents for the behaviour of their children when they are at school.

The letters WTF come to mind. Schools are meant to be both places of learning and discipline. If little Johnny is a little shit, then it is little Johnny that is punished by the schools. What lesson about personal responsibility is taking place if pupils know that it is not them that will suffer from their own actions but their parents?

In effect, Ed Balls is not only punishing the parents for actions beyond their control, but he's also sending a message to pupils that says "don't worry, if your a shit at school and cause trouble those actions are not your fault, they're your parents". What sort of person is that child likely to grow into if the system inherently blames others for their actions?

What's more, what of the school's own authority in this? If legislation from high now decides what happens in schools in terms of discipline, then who is going to have respect for the authority of a head teacher? In fact, what's the point of head teachers if a politician like Ed Balls (public school alumnus) is going to micromanage them in such a way?

The incoherence in this strategy too is incredible. When the Tories propose marriage tax breaks the cry from Labour is "the Government has no place condoning lifestyle choices". yet here we have the Government condoning what it considers to be the "right" parenting and the "wrong" parenting. It's rank hypocrisy.

What I find most bizarre is the reason this policy even needs to exist. The Tories have often talked about a "broken society", an idea derided by Labour. Yet here we have a policy that is apparently addressing a problem that exists, which, to my knowledge hasn't existed before. That would suggest that something is broken wouldn't it?

The thing is it's all too obvious where the root of such problems lie. I mean, for Christ's sake, schools today have to get parents to sign papers saying that it's ok to take photographs of their children. Teachers are hampered to the point that they daren't put a hand on a child's shoulder to move them along lest be accused of assault at best and kiddie fiddling at worst - especially true if they're male.

That latter point is important too, there has been a constant and consistent fall in male teachers in primary education. This is driven by the classic "paedophile panic" - the "men that want to spend time with small children must be odd" mentality. The result and unintended consequence is feminisation in primary schools, which means a loss of the traditionally male disciplinarian as the ying to the yang of the female touch.

Unintended consequences are rife when you try to figure out why there might be a problem in schools in the first place. The massive growth in worklessness through a client state beneift system; the means test benefits system that slaps marginal tax rates in excess of 70% on the poorest thus stifling aspiration and social mobility. These things ensure that those in the worst estates stay there even if they don't want too.

Staying in the estates leads to the very anti-social behaviour that the Government says it wants to tackle. Their own policies have created a vicious circle. Chuck in the already mentioned "paedophile panic", along with Human Rights legislation which, whilst good intentioned, leads many teachers to fear intervening too discipline, is it any wonder that there is a problem?

Then - and this is what the Government does best - it doesn't pause for thought and analyse what the consequence of its own policies. No. It rushs out more policies to tackle the problem. They're like amateur DIY enthusiasts who gain the nickname "Bodge it and Fuck it". They find a problem, try to fix it and creating another problem elsewhere as a result.

The scariest thing is that it's so clear where this latest policy will lead. Were it to be implemented, and were it to stay in place loing enough, we would, in 20 years times have a young adult population that had been brought up on the notion that their actions are someone else's fault and not theirs. It won't stop little shits in schools, rather it will just tell them not to worry because their parents will take the flak.

Welcome to the future, I think I might just do myself in now and avoid the tears.

Update: It appears that this post has upset the Labour councillor Bob Piper. In response he has taken a picture of me and written the word "DICKHEAD" on it. When I saw it I cried and cried and cried, and then rubbed the scrotum on my forehead.

Note: Apologies for the rant

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