Thursday, March 04, 2010
Pupils aged five on hate register: Teachers must log playground taunts for British Government database
It's the government that hates normal kids
Heads will be forced to list children as young as five on school 'hate registers' over everyday playground insults. Even minor incidents must be recorded as examples of serious bullying and details kept on a database until the pupil leaves secondary school. Teachers are to be told that even if a primary school child uses homophobic or racist words without knowing their meaning, simply teaching them such words are hurtful and inappropriate is not enough.
Instead the incident has to be recorded and his or her behaviour monitored for future signs of 'hate' bullying. The accusations will also be recorded in databases held by councils and made available to Whitehall and ministers to help them devise future anti-bullying campaigns.
The scale of the effort to stop children using homophobic or racist language was revealed after the parents of a ten-year-old primary school pupil in Somerset, Peter Drury, were told that his name would be put on a register and his behaviour monitored while he remained at school. The boy was reported after he called a friend 'gay boy'. His parents fear the record of homophobic bullying will count against him throughout his school career and even into adulthood.
In another incident last year a six-year-old girl, Sharona Gower, was reported for 'racist bullying' at her school near Tunbridge Wells in Kent. Sharona was chased by two 11-year-old girls, one of whom taunted her that she had chocolate on her face. The six-year-old responded to one of the girls, who was black: 'Well, you've got chocolate on yours.'
Many schools nationwide have already followed advice that they should record incidents of alleged racist, homophobic or anti-disability bullying. One report last year by the Manifesto Club civil liberties think-tank said that 40,000 children each year are having racist charges added to their school records.
But ministers aim to make reporting of supposed 'hate taunting' a legal requirement for every school, primary as well as secondary, and every local authority across the country from the beginning of the new school year in September. Incidents considered serious will have to be reported to local authorities. Children's Secretary Ed Balls is set to introduce rules that, officials said, 'will mean that schools will have to record and report serious or recurring incidents of bullying to their local authority. 'This will include incidents of bullying and racism between pupils and abuse or bullying of school staff. The Government is clear that schools must take seriously any complaints made of abuse or bullying by pupils.'
Head teachers were first advised to keep records of racist incidents eight years ago. Then, in 2007, heads were told to include disability-related and homophobic bullying in their tallies. Rules for heads say that using language such as 'gay' - which has had near-universal usage among British schoolchildren in recent years to denote something as inferior - counts as homophobic bullying, even if pupils do not have any homophobic intention in mind when using the word. Primary school pupils must be taught 'the nature and consequences of homophobic bullying', according to the rules.
Schools Minister Vernon Coaker said: 'The majority of schools already record incidents of bullying. 'However, we want to make sure that all schools have measures in place to prevent and tackle bullying and show they are taking it seriously.'
But concerns have been raised that the system turns everyday banter among children into incidents of racism or homophobia when none was meant. Margaret Morrissey, founder of campaign group Parents Outloud, said: 'This is totally appalling. The use of such language is part of the learning process. Children need to learn where the boundaries lie. And I very much doubt they understand what they are saying. 'This does not mean that the behaviour shouldn't be challenged. It must be explained that it is wrong. But to keep a register that will haunt them for years to come is going far too far and is against all rights.'
Michele Elliott of the charity Kidscape said: 'Children are being criminalised and singled out here from a very early age when they don't know what they're doing.'
Tory MP Ann Widdecombe said: 'Abuse in the playground has always happened and always will. 'Children have to learn to take this as part of growing up and you can't punish children for doing something they don't understand while they are very young.'
Penny Drury was furious when her ten-year-old son Peter was put on the local education authority's 'hate list' after he called a friend a 'gay boy' outside school. Mrs Drury, 43, was called into her son's primary school to be told by the headmaster that another mother had heard Peter using homophobic language. She was told that the incident would be registered and his file monitored while he was at Ashcombe Primary School in Westonsuper-Mare, Somerset.
'He doesn't even understand about the birds and the bees, so how can he be homophobic?' said Mrs Drury, pictured with Peter. 'Peter is a very naive boy who didn't know what he was doing and is now very upset as he is now in trouble. It doesn't mean he is going to turn into a homophobic attacker when he is older. 'He must have picked up the word from somewhere and thought it to mean stupid. 'If I heard it I would have been the first to correct him and tell him not to use it, but putting him on a register seems way over the top.'
Mrs Drury and her husband Brian, a manufacturing manager, asked for Peter to be removed from the register but to no avail. Mrs Drury added: 'I'm now worried if this is going to affect him applying for universities in the future. I just think the whole thing would be better sorted out by the teacher or parent explaining to them that their language is wrong and not to do it again.'
When rhetoric rules the roost
There is something pathetic about what passes as European foreign policy these days. Quite simply, more often than not, the concerted positions of the EU member nations have nothing to do with any of their national interests.
Take the EU’s initial response to the killing of Hamas terror-master Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in Dubai on January 19. A senior terrorist engaging in the illegal purchase of illicit arms from Iran for Hamas-controlled Gaza is killed in his hotel room. The same Dubai authorities who had no problem with hosting a wanted international terrorist worked themselves into a frenzy condemning his killing. And of course, despite the fact that any number of governments, (Egypt and Jordan come to mind), and rival terrorist organizations, (Fatah, anyone?) had ample reason to wish to see Mabhouh dead, Dubai’s police chief Lt.-Gen. Dahi Khalfan Tamim blamed Israel.
Not only did he blame Israel, to substantiate his claims, Tamim released what he said was video footage of alleged Mossad operatives who entered Dubai with European and Australian passports.
Relying only on Tamim’s allegations, EU leaders went into high dudgeon. Ignoring the nature of the operation, the basic lack of credibility of the source of information, and the interests of Europe in defeating jihadist terrorism in the Middle East and worldwide, the chanceries of Europe squawked indignantly and threatened to cut off intelligence cooperation with Israel.
In Britain for instance, Foreign Office sources told the Daily Telegraph, “If the Israelis were responsible for the assassination in Dubai, they are seriously jeopardizing the important intelligence-sharing arrangement that currently exists between Britain and Israel.”
It reportedly took the intervention of the highest echelons of Europe’s intelligence agencies to get their hysterical politicians and diplomats to stop blaming and threatening Israel. After being dressed down, on Monday, the chastened EU foreign ministers abstained from mentioning Israel by name in their joint condemnation of the alleged use of European passports by the alleged operatives who allegedly killed the terrorist Mabhouh.
And lucky they held their tongues. Because on Tuesday, Tamim claimed that after the hit, at least two of the alleged members of the alleged assassination team departed Dubai for Iran. It’s hard to imagine Mossad officers feeling safer in Iran than in Dubai at any time and certainly it is hard to see why they would flee to Iran after killing an Iranian-sponsored terrorist.
What the initial European reaction to Tamim’s allegations shows is that blaming Israel has become Europe’s default foreign policy. It apparently never occurred to the Europeans that Israel might not be responsible for the hit. And it certainly never occurred to them that cutting off intelligence ties with Israel will harm them more than Israel. They didn’t think of the latter, of course, because Europe has no idea of what its interests are. All it knows is how to sound off authoritatively.
THIS HAS not always been the case. It was after all Europe that brought the world the art of rational statecraft. Once upon a time, Europe’s leaders understood that a nation’s foreign policy was supposed to be based on its national interests. To advance their nation’s interests, governments would adopt certain policies. And to facilitate the success of those policies they developed rhetorical arguments to explain and defend them.
Contemporary European statecraft stands this traditional foreign policy model on its head. Today, rhetoric rules the roost. If actions are taken at all, they are adopted in the service of rhetoric. As for national interests, well, the Lisbon Treaty that effectively bars EU member states from adopting independent foreign policies took care of those.
With national interests subordinated to the whims of bureaucrats in Brussels, Europe does little of value in the international arena. As for its rhetoric, as the EU’s rush to threaten Israel for allegedly killing a terrorist shows, it is cowardly, ineffectual and self-defeating. If the Mossad did in fact kill Mabhouh, then the operation was an instance in which Israel distinguished itself from its European detractors by acting, rather than preening.
Unfortunately, such instances are increasingly the exception rather than the rule. Over the past 16 years or so, Israel largely descended into the European statecraft abyss. Rather than use rhetoric to explain policies adopted to advance its national interests, successive Israeli governments have adopted policies geared toward strengthening their rhetoric that itself stands in opposition to Israel’s national interests.
Take Israel’s positions on Iran and the Palestinians, for instance. Regarding the Iranians, Israel’s national interest is to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. Today, the only way to secure this interest is to use force to destroy Iran’s nuclear installations. Given Iran’s leaders’ absolute commitment to developing nuclear weapons, no sanctions – regardless of how “crippling” they are supposed to be – will convince them to curtail their efforts to build and deploy their nuclear arsenal. Beyond that, and far less important, the Russians and the Chinese will refuse to implement “crippling sanctions,” against Iran.
IN LIGHT of these facts, it is distressing that Israel’s leaders have made building an international coalition in support of “crippling” sanctions against Iran their chief aim. And this is not merely a rhetorical flourish. Over the past several weeks and months, Israel’s top leaders have devoted themselves to lobbying foreign governments to support sanctions against Iran. Last week Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu went to Moscow to gin up support for sanctions from the Russian government. This week, Defense Minister Ehud Barak traveled to the UN and the State Department and Strategic Affairs Minister Moshe Ya’alon flew off to Beijing just to lobby senior officials to support sanctions.
It isn’t simply that this behavior doesn’t contribute anything to Israel’s ability to destroy Iran’s nuclear installations. It harms Israel’s ability to do so, if only by diverting our leaders’ focus from where it should be: preparing the IDF to strike and preparing the country to withstand whatever the after-effects of such a strike would be. Moreover, by calling for sanctions, Israel contributes to the delusion that sanctions are sufficient to block Iran’s race to the nuclear finish line.....
To avoid Europe’s encroaching fate, Israel must abandon its current course. The purpose of rhetoric is to support policies adopted in the pursuit of a nation’s interests. And Israel has interests in need of urgent advancement.
Geert Wilders to visit Britain
The article below from "The Times" is a bit biased but is informative nonetheless. Rather infantile to make his hair an issue. If that's the best the British establishment can do, it doesn't say much for their argument
Boyish, topped with a bouffant mane of bleached blond hair, cheerful and cherubic, Geert Wilders is the unlikely new face of the far Right in Europe. But appearances are deceptive. The leader of the Dutch anti-immigration Freedom Party has emerged as one of the most divisive politicians in Europe, the purveyor of a virulent brand of anti-Islamic rhetoric that calls for a tax on Islamic headscarves and a ban on the Koran, which he likens to Mein Kampf.
Mr Wilders is facing trial in a Dutch court for “inciting hatred”. Last year he was banned from Britain and turned away at Heathrow when he arrived here planning to show his short film, an incendiary anti-Islamic diatribe that the Dutch Prime Minister described as serving “no purpose other than to offend”.
On Friday, after successfully appealing against the Home Office ban, Mr Wilders will return to Britain at the invitation of the UK Independence Party (UKIP) to show his controversial film to an invited audience at the House of Lords. The English Defence League is expected to demonstrate in his support and Muslim groups are all but certain to mount protests.
To his enemies, the 46-year-old Dutchman is an old-fashioned racist demagogue in a new suit; a bottle-blond bigot. To his growing ranks of supporters he is a champion of free speech, a bulwark against what he calls “the Islamic invasion of Holland”. He may be dismissed by some as a crank but he is an increasingly powerful and popular one. On February 20 the Dutch centrist coalition Government collapsed, deeply divided over keeping troops in Afghanistan, paving the way for a general election in June in which the Freedom Party is expected to do extremely well. Polls suggest that the party will triple its tally of seats, becoming at least the second-biggest parliamentary party and quite possibly the overall winner. Mr Wilders is likely to be a key player in any coalition, with a profound impact on the political agenda.
Nicknamed “Mozart” on account of a platinum hairdo that looks strikingly like an 18th-century wig, Mr Wilders has played on the dischords in Dutch society with virtuoso skill. As in Britain, many Dutch voters are alarmed by the scale of immigration, battered by the global economic crisis, culturally anxious and increasingly receptive to his grim warnings about a “tsunami of Islamification”.
The political heir to Pim Fortuyn, the Dutch populist politician who called for a halt to Muslim immigration and who was murdered in the 2002 election campaign, Mr Wilders has portrayed himself as the only politician in his country brave enough to stand up to militant Islam, a threat that he has compared to Nazism. “A century ago there were approximately 50 Muslims in the Netherlands. Today there are about one million. Where will it end? We are heading for the end of European civilisation,” he predicts. Promising strict limits on immigration, he has also called for a “head-rag tax” of €1,000 (£922) a year on Muslim women wearing headscarves.
In 2008 he released a 15-minute film entitled Fitna (the Arabic word for “strife”) which provoked outrage across the Muslim world: it opens with an image of the Koran, followed by footage of terrorist attacks and a litany of stonings, beheadings, honour killings, homophobia and child marriages. It ends, predictably, with the Danish cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad that sparked fury in 2006. Al-Qaeda is believed to have ordered the killing of Mr Wilders after the film was released. Ban Ki Moon, the UN Secretary-General, has described the Dutch politician as “offensively anti-Islamic”. His most incendiary remarks are aimed at the Koran, which he calls a fascist book. “The Koran incites to hatred and calls for murder and mayhem,” Mr Wilders told the Dutch Parliament. “It is an absolute necessity that the Koran be banned for the defence and reinforcement of our civilisation and our constitutional state.”
In January a Dutch court ordered the public prosecutor to try Mr Wilders on charges of fomenting hatred and discrimination. Mr Wilders indicated that he would call witnesses in order to prove Koran-inspired violence, including Mohammed Bouyeri, the man convicted of murdering the Dutch film-maker Theo van Gogh in 2004.
Although he faces 16 months in prison if convicted, the trial represents a political goldmine for Mr Wilders and helps to explain his recent rise in opinion polls. If he is convicted he will paint himself as martyr to political correctness; if he is acquitted he will claim vindication. The trial has been suspended until after the election.
Inadvertently, Britain also did much to boost his standing in February last year by banning him from entering the country as an “undesirable person”, citing EU laws enabling member states to exclude someone whose presence could threaten public security. Mr Wilders loudly condemned Gordon Brown as “the biggest coward in Europe” and some 84 per cent of Dutch voters objected to the way that Mr Wilders had been ejected by Britain.
The ban was later overturned by an asylum and immigration tribunal. On Friday, at the invitation of the UKIP leader Lord Pearson of Rannoch and Baroness Cox of Queensbury, he will show Fitna to MPs, peers and guests before giving a press conference at Westminster.
“The issue of militant Islam is the greatest issue facing our Judeo-Christian culture,” Lord Pearson said. “I don’t agree that the Koran should be banned but we want it discussed ... mild Muslims should stand up and debate their militant co-religionists.”
Mr Wilders has sought to distance himself and his party from the traditional standard-bearers of the extreme Right in Europe, such as Jean-Marie Le Pen of the National Front in France and the late Jörg Haider of the Freedom Party in Austria. He has made no contact with the BNP. “My allies are not Le Pen and Haider,” he says. “I’m very afraid of being linked with the wrong rightist fascist groups.” His prime political role models are said to be Margaret Thatcher and Winston Churchill.
The son of a printer, Mr Wilders was raised Roman Catholic but is now an atheist. He worked in a Dutch social insurance agency before becoming a speechwriter and then MP for the liberal People’s Party, which he left in 2004 to form his own party.
As a prime terrorist target he lives under 24-hour police guard, changing his location nightly. He is seldom seen in public and gives few interviews. Even contact with his wife, a Dutch-Hungarian former diplomat, is limited by security concerns, This way of life, under constant threat, is “a situation I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy”, he once remarked.
“They are trying to shoot him all the time,” says Lord Pearson, noting that Mr Wilders will be coming to Britain with five state-hired Dutch bodyguards. “He has a really, really tough existence.”
Mr Wilders opposes expansion of the EU, most particularly Turkish membership, and Dutch military deployment in Afghanistan, but the core of his message lies in an appeal to defend traditional Dutch culture against perceived encroachment by Islam. “Islam is the Trojan Horse in Europe,” he told the Dutch Parliament. “Stop all immigration from Muslim countries, ban all building of new mosques, close all Islamic schools, ban burkas and the Koran ... Stop Islamification. Enough is enough!”
Some polls suggest that after the June elections Mr Wilders may lead the biggest single parliamentary party, raising the prospect that a former fringe provincial politician with extreme views and peculiar hair could end up leading the country. “At some point it’s going to happen and then it will be a big honour to fulfil the post of prime minister,” he says. If that comes to pass it will mark both the triumph of a new, more subtle brand of right-wing politics in Europe, and the final demise of the stereotyped image of the Netherlands as a nation of bland liberal views and easygoing tolerance.
The penalties of being a fussy middle-class woman
"I chose to have a baby without a father and it's brought me huge joy - but also chaos, exhaustion and despair"
A couple of nights ago, I tiptoed out of my two-year-old daughter's bedroom, having tucked her up with her beloved Doggy - a revolting scrap of balding fur with a torn nose and one eye - pressed up against her cheek. Millie had warm milk in her tummy and there were endless verses of The Wheels On The Bus Go Round And Round spinning in the air. I was stopped short in the doorway by a chirpy call of: 'Goodnight, Mama!'
Granted, it wasn't a quotation from Hamlet, but when it's your first child wishing you goodnight for the first time in her 24-month existence, having heard you whisper it to her with your every goodnight kiss, it generates an exquisite flutter of delight and the mad desire to run and share it with someone special.
In my case, that was my mum. And then my best friend Christine. And then my other best friend Adam. They were all out, so they heard my news by voicemail several hours later. Not for the first time, as I sat on the sofa, hugging my knees to my chest, bursting with pride and dripping with tears of joy, I wished my daughter's father could be by my side, to gasp and coo with me at yet another tiny, but momentous, development in our daughter's life.
But that's never going to happen, because my daughter hasn't got a father. She's the donor- conceived child of a single mother, the result of an agonising decision I made some years ago, complete with its intricately complex and agonising repercussions.
So, when I read Zoe Lewis's poignant and admirably honest description in Saturday's Daily Mail of her fears and doubts about her decision to go it alone as a single mother, I understood her turmoil better than most people. And it made me want to give her a hug and tell her that everything is going to be fine. Tiring, but fine. Because I've been there, felt that, doubted that, feared that and lived to tell the tale with ceaseless delight and a lot of pride, however difficult I've found it at times.
For all the joy a new life brings, it's going to be a tough road ahead for Zoe, whether it's the practical hardships you think you can prepare for or those emotional bombshells that explode when you least expect them.
Two years and two months ago, I gave birth to my beautiful baby girl, conceived after five gruelling cycles of IVF using donor sperm. It was, and remains, the most spectacular experience of my life, the achievement of which I am most proud, the moment when I felt I truly became who I was destined to be. But it so very nearly did not happen. Unlike my core group of friends, I had remained single throughout my 30s - my biological clock shrieking, my options diminishing, anxiety and depression clouding my days.
Getting married and having children, that most common of experiences, seemed to be slipping out of my grasp. With great reluctance, I was forced to confront a terrifyingly stark choice: live the rest of my life childless; just hope Mr Right-ish would turn up at some point; or seize control of my future and try for a baby on my own.
Like Zoe, being a single mother wasn't what I wanted, or hoped for, or dreamt of. But not being a mother was unendurable. I steeled myself for tough times ahead, and I certainly got them. Four years of fertility treatment, five cycles of IVF, three failed pregnancies and a bill for £42,000.
The cost to my emotional, psychological and physical well-being was inestimable. But so was the joy of my daughter's arrival. There aren't sufficient words in the English language to express its magnitude. Euphoria doesn't even come close. And it's a feeling that's remained with me ever since.
For while I am ecstatic, awestruck, privileged and humbled on a daily basis, I am also semi-comatose with exhaustion and permanently worried about money and my ability to earn enough of it.
I am frustrated at being stuck in a small flat without a garden and a teensy bit tired of borrowing other people's husbands to put up shelves, assemble furniture and untangle my computer malfunctions. Single motherhood, I have found, for all its walks in the park, is not a walk in the park....
I made a decision to deny my child a father, and we live with the - at times unbearable - consequences of that decision every day. One morning last week, we arrived a little late at nursery. My daughter's class was in the middle of a play session and the teacher was holding up a series of pictures of activities - a man raking leaves, a woman baking a cake - and asking the children to identify them.
As I took off my daughter's coat and started changing her shoes, the teacher held up a picture of a man shaving and asked: 'Whose daddy shaves in the morning?' The entire class shouted back 'My daddy does! My daddy does!', while my little girl looked on bewildered.
Blinking back my tears, I gave her a massive cuddle, praying she hadn't fully understood the question, and whispered into her neck 'I love you', as I picked up my coat to leave. 'I ruff oo!' she called back cheerfully, as I reached the door, beaming for all her worth.
I dissolved into tears in the car and sobbed for most of the day. I've put us into this delicate and complex situation, it's my responsibility to deal with it, but it's the hardest thing I've ever had to do.
No single woman I know who has followed the same path as me has done so lightly or without a considerable battle with her conscience. My feeling is that we didn't actively choose to become 'single mothers'; we actively chose not to be childless. And I believe there's a profound and easily ignored difference. I would never advocate single motherhood as a lifestyle option; it's tougher than you could ever imagine, stressful, exhausting, expensive and fraught with complications, both obvious and subtle.
Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.
American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.
For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here or Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.