Sunday, August 08, 2010
Leftist bigotry again: British Ex-vicar banned from being a foster parent after refusing to let gay couples visit his home
Given the low quality of some foster parenting, any reasonable person would welcome an ex-Vicar into the pool
A former vicar and his wife have been barred from becoming foster parents after saying they did not want gay couples who are considering adopting to meet them in their own home.
John and Colette Yallop told the local council that, if approved as foster parents, they would be ready to help same-sex couples adopt children and would be happy for a gay person to visit on their own.
But they said they would rather meet such couples at a children’s centre than in their family home to avoid awkward questions from their own young son and daughter.
However, Lancashire County Council said it could not make exceptions to its equality and diversity policies.
Mr Yallop, 62, said: ‘We are not homophobic and have worked alongside gay people, but we believe inviting gay couples into our home for the handover process might be detrimental to our family life and our young children. ‘We don’t want to have to explain to our five-year-old daughter or seven-year-old son why a youngster we’ve been caring for has two mummies or daddies.
‘We accept council policies on equality and diversity. Even if we disagree with the rights of gay couples to adopt because it goes against our Christian beliefs, it doesn’t make us bad foster parents. ‘I suspect we’re not alone in believing children thrive where there is a mummy and a daddy, rather than two parents of the same sex. Nevertheless, this is a personal belief that doesn’t affect our ability to care for and love a foster child.’
Mrs Yallop, 43, said they told a social worker assessing them that they would happily have a single gay person or one partner of a gay couple as prospective parents in their home, or hand over a foster child at a centre. ‘This was something our social worker suggested we put in writing to the council. Then she said our application was being refused because of our views. We were shocked and upset.’
The couple, who have been married for nine years, said they had been told in an initial assessment they would be ideal. But the council’s Fostering Recruitment and Assessment Team wrote to the Yallops last month to say their assessment was to end because of the couple’s views about their ‘ability to work with particular groups of people (in particular gay and lesbian people)’.
The letter said the request to meet gay couples outside home would ‘greatly affect the child’s experience of the introduction to adopters or carers and would potentially affect the success of their placement’....
County Councillor Susie Charles, Cabinet Member for Children and Schools, said: ‘We must operate within relevant legislation and the council’s equality and diversity policy, which both rule out discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation.
'People who wish to foster must be open to working alongside all approved adopters to give the transition the best chance of success.’
But Andrea Williams, director of the Christian Legal Centre which is supporting the couple, said: ‘The Yallops have a loving family home to offer vulnerable children. It is not the homosexual community being discriminated against but the Christian community.’
The couple are expected to appeal against the council’s decision.
British police with Gestapo mentality again
Police officers 'smashed elderly driver's window and dragged him out of car' after he was stopped for not wearing seatbelt
For the apprehension of a disabled pensioner, it seemed a little excessive. A police officer jumped on the bonnet of retired businessman Robert Whatley’s car and kicked the windscreen while another hit the window with his baton 15 times until it smashed.
They then dragged the 70-year-old, who has a heart condition and recently recovered from a stroke, from his £60,000 Range Rover.
Mr Whatley, who lives in Usk, Monmouthshire, said: ‘I couldn’t believe what was happening. ‘The police went completely over the top – you would have thought I had robbed a bank. I was terrified when they started smashing in the window and trying to kick in the windscreen. ‘It’s something you might expect in America but not in the quiet of the British countryside.’
The officers have been suspended while the Independent Police Complaints Commission carries out an investigation.
A court heard yesterday that Mr Whatley, right, was originally pulled over in a country lane in Monmouthshire by traffic police who tried to issue him with a fine for not wearing a seat belt. But when an officer went round to the passenger side, the car lurched forward and he was knocked over.
Mr Whatley told Caerphilly magistrates court, South Wales, that he then drove off because he thought the matter had been dealt with, felt ‘frail and vulnerable’ and was worried he would suffer another stroke.
The police followed him for 17 minutes, during which time he did not break the speed limit. Mr Whatley said he thought the blue lights and siren of the police car meant the officers were giving him an escort home.
He finally pulled over when he was confronted by a police ‘stinger’ device to puncture his tyres on the road into Usk.
The subsequent scene of the police officers attacking his vehicle was filmed on the patrol car video and shown to the court. Mr Whatley was found guilty of not wearing a seatbelt, failing to stop for a police officer and having tinted car windows which did not conform to legal requirements but cleared of failing to stop after an accident. He also admitted having a registration plate which did not adhere to regulations. He was fined £235 with £300 costs.
Gwent Police confirmed yesterday that two officers had been removed from operational duty following Mr Whatley’s complaint to the IPCC.
Deputy Chief Constable Carmel Napier said: ‘We expect the highest professional standards of police officers and we can assure Mr Whatley and the public that this matter will be thoroughly investigated.’
SOURCE (Video at link)
Idle parenting means happy children
Cancel all clubs, ditch the after-school activities and leave those kids alone, urges Tom Hodgkinson
An unhealthy dose of the work ethic is threatening to wreck childhood. Under a tyrannical work-obsessed government, years that should be devoted to play and joyful learning are being stifled by targets and tests. Leisure time is being invaded by the commercial and escapist virtual worlds of the computer.
Pushy parents don't help by making childhood a stress-filled time of striving and competing.
Our children's days are crammed full with activities: ballet, judo, tennis, piano, sport, art projects. At home they are entertained by giant screens and computers. In between, they are strapped into cars and made to listen to educational tapes. Ambitious mothers force hours of homework on bewildered 10-year-olds, hanging the abstract fear of "future employers" over their heads.
Then they buy them a Nintendo Wii, the absurd, costly gadget that's supposed to bring some element of physicality to computer games. It's only a matter of time before children have their own BlackBerrys.
I think of the New Yorker cartoon of two kids in a playground, each staring at a personal organiser and one saying: "I can fit you in for unscheduled play next Thursday at four." All these activities impose a huge burden of cost and time on the already harried parent. They leave no room for simply mucking about. They have the other unwelcome side effect of making the children incapable of looking after themselves. When they are stimulated by outside agencies, whether that be course leader, computer or television, they lose the ability to create their own games. They forget how to play.
I recall when our eldest child, a victim of chronic over-stimulation by his anxious parents, screamed "I need some entertainment!" during a bored moment. A chilling comment, particularly from a five-year-old. What now? What next? These are the questions our hyper-stimulated kids will ask. What has happened to their own imagination?
There is a way out of this over-zealous parenting trap, a simple solution that will make your life easier and cheaper. It will make your kids' lives more enjoyable and also will help to produce happy, self-sufficient children, who can create their own lives without depending on a Mummy substitute. I call it idle parenting and our mantra is: "Leave them alone."
The welcome discovery that a lazy parent is a good parent took root when I read the following passage from a DH Lawrence essay, Education of the People, published in 1918: "How to begin to educate a child. First rule: leave him alone. Second rule: leave him alone. Third rule: leave him alone. That is the whole beginning."
To the busy modern parent, this idea seems counter-intuitive. Aren't we always told to do more, not less? All parents have a nagging sense that somehow we are doing it all wrong and that more work needs to be done. But the problem is that we put too much work into parenting, not too little. By interfering a lot, we are not letting children grow up and learn themselves. The child who has been overprotected will not know how to look after himself. We are too much in children's faces. We need to retreat. Let them live.
Welcome to the school of inactive parenting. It's a win-win situation: less work for you and better for the child, both in terms of enjoying everyday life and also for self-reliance and independence. I am not advocating slobbish neglect. (Maybe I went too far with my idle parenting when I dozed off on the sofa in front of the woodburning stove, while "doing the childcare", as the ugly modern phrase has it, to be woken by the screams of a toddler who had placed his hands squarely on the hot metal and burned his fingertips.) Clearly we don't let our children jump out of windows or go about with unchanged nappies. There is carefree and there is careless, and there is a difference.
But to create a household free of care would be a wonderful thing. It has become obvious to me, watching our three children grow up, that the more they have been ignored, the better. The eldest had a surfeit of anxious parental supervision and is still the trickiest and most needy (although we're working on it). The second had a little less attention and she is more self-sufficient. The third was born on the bathroom floor and has had to get on with his own life. And he is perhaps the best of all three at playing. Certainly he is the most comical.
The great thing about children is that they like being busy. Since parents like being lazy, it makes sense for the children to do the work. This idea was partly explored in the 19th century, when children as young as five were sent into the factories. The fact that meddlesome liberals have since introduced child labour laws does not need to prevent the idle parents exploiting their own offspring.
One morning, not so long ago, V and I refused to get up. I imagine we were hung over. At about nine o'clock, the bedroom door swung open and in walked Arthur, then six, with two cups of tea. A lot can be achieved by lying in bed. Simply by doing nothing, you can train children to do useful things. During the last holiday, we found we were lying in bed till 10 or 11. By abandoning our kids, they had taught themselves how to get up, make themselves breakfast and play.
Paradoxically, the idle parent is a responsible parent because at the heart of idle parenting is a respect for the child, a trust in another human being. It is the irresponsible parent who hands the child over to various authorities for its education and care, whether that is childminders, schools, CBeebies or the virtual world of Habbo Hotel. Or it is the parent who tries to impose his own vision on the children and does not simply let them be.
Another great advantage of being idle is that it avoids causing resentment in the parent. There is nothing so corrosive or pestilent as resentment stewing in the breast. Imagine making all those sacrifices, putting yourself out for your children, going without, and then they go junkie on you. No, there is no room for martyrs in the world of the idle parent. Our happiness comes first. And that is the right way round. As a cab driver said to me the other day: "My kids are happy because we're happy." Do not suffer. Enjoy your life.
The idle parent is a stay-at-home parent. Not for us costly leisure pursuits at the weekend. We reject the cheap thrills of expensive padded plastic fun palaces, zoos and days out in general. We find fun in our own backyards. We make aeroplanes out of cereal packets and it's amazing how many catching and tickling games you can play with your kids while sitting on the sofa.
The idle parent is a thrifty parent. We don't work too hard and therefore we can't expect to be rolling in cash. With thrift comes creativity. "Waste is unpoetic, thrift is creative," as GK Chesterton wrote. With no money, you start to discover your own inner resources. You make things and draw. Put a pile of A4 paper on the kitchen table, along with a stapler, scissors, crayons and glue, and you'll be amazed at what your children come up with. Forget digital gewgaws. Go analogue. It's more fun and a lot cheaper. Put a bird feeder outside the kitchen window. Fun does not need to be expensive.
We don't care about status and career advancement and how we are perceived by others. We are free of all of that rubbish. We simply want to enjoy our lives and to give our children a happy childhood. What greater gift could there be from a parent? If our children tell their friends in later life that they enjoyed their childhood, I would count that as a great achievement. Better to have a happy childhood than a high-achieving one that brings a big psychiatrist's bill in adult life.
Idle parents are sociable. We recognise the importance of friends. They lighten the burden. A myth of modern society is the idea that "you're on your own in this world". Instead of talking to friends and neighbours, anxious people seek advice in books, websites and internet forums. We resist asking for help or admitting weakness. Be weak! Give up! You can't do everything. Lower your standards. Get friends to help you. Organise little nurseries at your house where parents can chat and kids can play while you ignore them.
I love DH Lawrence's idea of childcare. He says babies should "be given to stupid fat old women who can't be bothered with them… leave the children alone. Pitch them out into the streets or the playgrounds, and take no notice of them." Do not view them as raw material to be moulded into an obedient slave for the workplace of the future. Let them play. And yes, get your friends around. Life is so much easier when the work is shared. Friends bring laughter and joy. There's no sadder sight than the lone parent, pushing her child around the gloomy municipal park, trying to tell herself that she is having a good time.
My idea of childcare is a large field. At one side is a marquee serving local ales. This is where the parents gather. On the other side, somewhere in the distance, the children play. I don't bother them and they don't bother me. I give them as much freedom as possible.
But the life of an idle parent is not so easy. Children do not always adapt to the anti-consumerist model that the natural parent promotes. They want stuff. Children get in your face. They make a terrible mess. They scream and whine. And the mother and father seem to disagree on pretty much everything, from paint colours to mealtime manners, as a matter of marital policy.
There are more worries. Is it mean to deny a child an iPod Nano for his birthday and instead give him a ball of string and The Dangerous Book for Boys? Should I really put a broadband connection in the tree house? Should I work even harder so that they can go skiing and wear expensive trainers? Would I be less grumpy if I drank less alcohol?
Sometimes we doubt our own gospel. So over the coming weeks, I hope to outline an enjoyable parenting philosophy in Weekend, while acknowledging that it isn't always easy.
I will confess my many parenting errors. I am a disaster-prone, chaotic layabout and so should warn you not to listen to my advice. Certainly my friends say the idea of me advising other parents on childcare is absurd.
With that caveat in mind, let us go forth, throw away the rule books, forget what other people think and enjoy family life and all its joys and woes.
The British Empire was good for India
By Sean Gabb
As a libertarian who looks at it from the English point of view, I can see nothing good in our conquest of India. It raised our taxes above what they would otherwise have been. It raised up wealthy special interest groups that were not particularly liberal. It involved us in otherwise unnecessary – even unimaginable – overseas entanglements. Had I been alive and writing in the nineteenth century, I would have been on the extreme radical wing of the Liberal Party, arguing for an immediate departure from India.
But this is the case only when I look at things from the English point of view. When I look at them from the Indian point of view, they appear wholly different. By liberal English standards, India was barbarous or, at best, semi-barbarous. It was a jolly enough place to live for those with money and power – and I can understand why many of its early English rulers went native. But for everyone else – that is, about ninety nine point nine something of the people of India – it was a hellish place. It was a place of rigid caste boundaries, of destructively rapacious landlords and tax collectors, of extreme and arbitrary injustice, of suttee and thuggee, of forced castration and forced prostitution, of outright slavery.
Until the death of Aurangzebe in 1707, India was at least reasonably united and reasonably at peace. After 1707, however, it fell into a growing chaos – a chaos that impacted most on those at the bottom – that was only terminated by the rise of the East India Company.
India never knew the really lunatic parasitism shown in Mel Gibson’s film Apocalypto. But it was, before the English conquest, similar in many respects to our own ancient world. These similarities, though, extended only to the evils of antiquity. India had no equivalent of those arts and sciences that redeem the ancients and that have made the study of their civilisation so enduringly profitable. When, in the 1830s, he looked at what sort of popular education the East India Company should encourage, Macaulay saw no alternative to an entirely English curriculum. He was advised that the vernacular languages were, as they then stood, deficient as vehicles of instruction. He was willing to accept that the classical languages of Arabic and Sanscrit might be respectable in themselves, but had nothing but contempt for the “wisdom” their literatures offered to the Indian mind. This “wisdom” was made up of
“medical doctrines which would disgrace an English farrier, astronomy which would move laughter in girls at an English boarding school, history abounding with kings thirty feet high and reigns thirty thousand years long, and geography made of seas of treacle and seas of butter. ”
It would be far better, he said, to let the Indians learn English and become as English in their thinking and outlook as their circumstances allowed. And, so far as circumstances allowed, it was English and English ways that, during the century that followed, were given to the Indians. They were given English science and administration. They were given a rational and human penal code based on English principles. They got due process of law and trial by jury and freedom of religion and the press. Slavery and sacrificial murder were put down.
That all this was given at gunpoint is no valid objection. Let us, for the sake of argument, accept that all states are evil. It does not follow that all states are equally evil. It may not be to the benefit of one nation to conquer another. But it will be to the benefit of one nation to be conquered by another when the state directing that conquest is more liberal. The English State was more liberal than any Indian alternative, and so the result of conquest was beneficial to all those classes of Indians outside the ruling elites. The main use of English power in India was to stop the Indians from being quite so beastly to each other as they would have been left to their own ways. The whining of some modern Indians about “colonialism” and “oppression” tries but cannot obscure this fact.
Nor is it valid to cry up the examples of real brutality by the English in India – for example, the blowing apart of Sepoys after suppression of the Mutiny. Though it is never right, it is the nature of the strong to tyrannise over the weak. There is nothing unusual about English brutality. It is regrettable, but common to all powerful nations. What is notable about English rule of India is its settled benevolence. And I suspect this is what so outrages the modern Hindu nationalist. If we had behaved in India as the Belgians had in the Congo, he might actually think better of us today. Atrocities are more easily forgiven than benevolence from a position of overwhelming physical and moral superiority.
Let me pass now to some of the specific objections to my case that I feel are in need of separate answers. The first is the emphasis that one of my Indian critics placed on the Bengal famine of 1943 – as if this was somehow an indictment on English rule. It might be an indictment if there had never before been Indian famines. But to claim this would be manifest nonsense. Famine has haunted India since time out of mind. The reason we know so little of it before English rule is that the native chroniclers of India were always more interested in reporting court intrigues than the condition of the people. But take this by Fernand Braudel:
“The cataclysms were often irremediable, such as the terrible and almost general famine in India in 1630-1. A Dutch merchant left an appalling description of it: ‘People wandered hither and thither,’ he wrote, ‘helpless, having abandoned their towns or villages. Their condition could be recognised immediately: sunken eyes, wan faces, lips flecked with foam, lower jaw projecting, bones protruding through skin, stomach hanging like an empty sack, some of them howling with hunger, begging alms.’
The customary drama ensued: wives and children abandoned, children sold by parents, who either abandoned them or sold themselves in order to survive, collective suicides…. Then came the stage when the starving split open the stomachs of the dead or dying to ‘eat their entrails’. ‘Hundreds and hundreds of thousands of people died,’ the merchant continued, ‘to the point where the country was entirely covered with corpses which stayed unburied, and such a stink arose that the air was filled with it and pestilential.’” [Capitalism and Material Life, 1400-1800, Harper & Row, New York, 1975, p.41]
The problem with India under English rule was that every improvement in circumstances was attended by an increase in numbers among the lowest classes. Because these Indians would consider no limits to their own fecundity, they faced the same Malthusian checks in 1943 as in 1630. Those Indians who blame England for this are as pitiable as the Irish who blame England for the blight that killed so many of their potatoes in 1845.
Second, there is the claim by Kevin Carson – made on the Libertarian Alliance discussion forum – that European colonial rule damaged native civil society, and made it inevitable that these countries, once independent, should fall under kleptocratic rule. He says:
“I’m afraid I agree with Burke rather than the “liberal” imperialists. One might have said similar things of England ca. 1214 or so. But the constitutional framework of liberal democratic Britain was gradually built, over centuries, from that crooked timber. I think Third World countries are overrun with kleptocracies is, in part, because their civil societies were so nearly liquidated by “progressive” foreign powers, leaving a vacuum when those powers withdrew.
Gandhi’s movement was as much a reformist movement against the most barbarous aspects of authoritarian Hinduism, including the caste system and the burning of widows, as it was against British rule. The contest for power in post-independence Indian national politics, conducted by people like Nehru, detracted from what was most valuable in Gandhi’s thought: the promotion of a decentralized, federal, village-based anarchism.”
Now, I do have the greatest respect for Mr Carson. Nevertheless, I am not at all persuaded by this claim. Outside Europe, and those parts of the world settled from Europe, there has never been anything worth calling civil society. This is true of those places that were only lightly colonised – Ethiopia, for example – or that early threw out their colonial masters – that is, Haiti. India may not be so stark an instance as China – where no room for stable association has ever existed between the family and the State. But I do not see, when I survey what little we know of Indian history before the English conquest, any of those associations that, in Europe, repeatedly checked, and even partly humanised, the rule of the parasitic classes. The only difference between pre-colonial and post-colonial governments, in India and in the much less fortunate Africa, is that the latter have modern technology to assist their oppressions – but also the often fading impression of English ways to limit their oppressions.
To say that, but for western conquest, most of Asia and Africa today would have strong and vibrant civil societies, in which individuals were protected by mutual guarantees from misgovernment and the misfortunes of life, is a romantic fiction. More realistically, the only time in their histories that most parts of Asia and Africa were not governed tyrannically was when they were governed despotically from Europe.
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, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine). 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.