Saturday, December 29, 2012
More "child protection" evil in Britain
The latest unbalanced proposals are more likely to hurt rather than help children. Both innocent and guilty parents will now avoid taking hurt children to hospital for fear of legal attack and losing their children
Many parents feel their blood freeze at the memory of something awful happening to their children.
And reading this week about the Government’s plan to introduce a register of children treated in accident and emergency departments evoked one such chilling recollection for my wife and me — and its deeply worrying aftermath. One evening 14 years ago, in the winter of 1998, I was at home reading when I heard my wife call out from upstairs, where she was getting the children to bed.
Our elder son was four, and the younger, Johnnie, 18 months. I went upstairs and found Johnnie standing in his cot, beaming and bouncing on his mattress while holding on to the bars. He had only just learned to walk and was still unsteady on his feet. My wife asked me to feel the left side of his head. It was sponge-like, though appeared to be giving him no pain or discomfort.
We agreed that she must at once take him to hospital, which was, luckily, less than ten minutes’ drive away: this was just after 7.30pm. I stayed at home with our elder son and put him to bed.
I knew the rule at casualty departments was that small children jumped the queue, so I wasn’t expecting to have to wait long before hearing how things were. It was a nerve-wracking time and, as the hours passed, I became more and more concerned.
It never occurred to me that Johnnie had a physical injury. I feared he had some sort of brain disease, and was deeply worried.
It was nearly 1am when my wife rang. Johnnie was going to be kept in for observation overnight — and she was staying with him — but would be released the next day.
We were horrified to hear he had a three-and-a-half-inch hairline fracture of the skull, running from about the middle of the back of his head round over his left ear almost to his temple. And my wife, completely innocent, found herself under suspicion.
Once the nature of Johnnie’s injury had been established, the tone of the medical staff changed dramatically.
She was regarded as, if not the perpetrator of the injury, then an accomplice to whoever was. She was kept at a distance from the child, except when asked to undress him completely — so doctors could examine him for wider signs of abuse — of which, of course, there were none.
To this day she remembers the coldness of the doctor and medical staff towards her, as if a decision had already been made about her guilt in the matter. Alarmingly for her, they would at first tell her nothing about Johnnie’s condition.
Only when she became distressed and insistent and asked them straight out ‘Is he going to die?’ did they eventually admit that he wasn’t. Neither was she informed about the procedures in place to alert social services.
Sure enough, the next thing she knew, social workers had been alerted. Having obviously debriefed the hospital medical staff about Johnnie’s condition and the nature of his mother, they set a condition for his being allowed home with his parents: the family’s GP had to agree that, in his opinion, we were not a pair of child beaters. That was the final indignity.
My wife came home to get an overnight bag and, in a shared state of shock, we discussed this revolting inference the medical staff had drawn about Johnnie’s injury. We also discussed how it might have happened.
That morning, while my wife had been out, Johnnie had been left with my mother at her house. She was then in her early 70s and, like my wife, as far from being one of nature’s Myra Hindleys as it is possible to imagine.
Johnnie, as I have said, was only just becoming independently mobile — like many second children, he had relied on his older sibling to fetch and carry for him.
But suddenly he had acquired the adventurous spirit, and was wandering, climbing and tumbling all over the place.
My mother had various pieces of heavy furniture that he could have banged his head on — but why had she not heard him cry out?
A doctor answered this: if a child is absorbed in some activity when sustaining such a knock, it can pass almost unnoticed — and Johnnie was always busy with something, whether a toy, a picture book or (as we suspected in this case) watching the Teletubbies.
This seemed to be the most likely explanation, but for all that it was not until our GP had been found and questioned — presumably by social services — the next day, that we were allowed to bring Johnnie home. Two weeks later he was right as rain.
I am, I repeat, very keen for people who do abuse their children to be detected swiftly, and to face the full force of the law when and if they are convicted. But how would we, as the parents of young children, have reacted if the proposed register had been in place when our boys were small?
Happily, we never had to take Johnnie to A&E again. But what if we had?
What if, being an adventurous sort of lad, he had come off his bike and hit his head again, or fallen off the swing we put up for him in the garden, or tumbled out of one of our many trees or from his climbing frame?
We are always being told, quite rightly, that the development of children is being stunted by their being over-protected, and by their not being allowed to take risks.
But I must admit I would have brought Johnnie up differently if I had been told his name had been placed on a register, and that another visit by him to any other A&E would result in suspicions being raised about his mother and me. For those suspicions would, quite possibly, lead to us being questioning by the police or social workers.
Anything that might possibly have led to him ending up in A&E would have been contemplated only very, very reluctantly.
Of course, if a child is hurt you take him to A&E. But how many parents would hesitate, after a second innocent and genuine accident, if suddenly they were going to come to the attention of the social services?
The Government may mean well in trying to prevent child abuse by stopping ‘devious’ parents taking abused children to several different A&E departments to avoid alerting the authorities.
However, this treats a symptom of the cancer of abuse rather than its cause — and carries with it a danger of incriminating parents who are loving and decent towards their children.
I can’t help feeling this proposal is a sticking-plaster for the inadequacy of so many of our social services departments. Ideally, they would spot problem families long before a second or third visit to A&E — and their intelligence gathering should start at antenatal classes.
The new register is supposed to make the jobs of social workers easier. However, it is just as likely to make ruthless child abusers forget A&E altogether, so serious injuries go untreated, with possibly terrible consequences.
And it will cause decent families to live in dread of a visit to A&E and — as my wife felt she was when Johnnie was hurt — to be treated as guilty until proven innocent.
The Government has a role in protecting our children from cruelty. But this register will, in my view, harm decent families — fuelling the distrust and loathing that law-abiding Britons feel towards an ever-more intrusive and unaccountable state, while the guilty go on getting away with their crimes.
The RSPCA has lost the plot
By Ruth Dudley Edwards
Owen Paterson, Secretary of State for the Environment, regrets that there’s no chance of repealing the hunting ban in this parliament. So do I, although nothing would persuade me to hunt, and, like him, I’m an animal-lover.
As I child, I hated hunting and hunters. As a young woman, I agreed with my fiancé that we would become rich in order to buy up key pieces of land to wreck hunts. (We became neither rich nor stayed married.) Yet as an adult, I set one of my crime novels in the hunting world (Ten Lords A-Leaping) and had my protagonists passionately opposing a ban.
What happened? I grew up, I read the arguments, I became better informed about rural life and I realised that most of those excited about banning fox-hunting were bigots, class warriors or too sentimental to look properly at the evidence. And the evidence was that the fox population has to be controlled, that on balance, shooting them is less humane than hunting, and that those involved in hunting tend to be keen conservationists.
In A Journey, Tony Blair recalls that having committed himself to banning hunting, he began, too late, to educate himself about it. "The more I learned, the more uneasy I became. I started to realise this wasn’t a small clique of weirdo inbreeds delighting in cruelty, but a tradition, embedded by history and profound community and social liens, that was integral to a way of life." Unfortunately, by then it was too late and all he could hope was that the flawed legislation would not be enthusiastically policed.
In fact on the whole the cops have been reasonably sensible, but the zealots are again massing and they don’t seem much interested in the issue of cruelty. For the RSPCA to waste £326,000 on bringing a private prosecution against members of the Heythrop Hunt in Oxfordshire is an obscenity and I hope the Charity Commission penalises them for breaching their ‘duty of prudence’.
Gavin Grant, the RSPCA Chief Executive, seems to have it in for country people. He’s now threatening to name and shame those involved in legal badger-culling. And the League Against Cruel Sports has spent £1,000,000 spying on Boxing Day hunts.
Over the past decade, under an ex-MP, the Lib Dem Jackie Ballard, and now Grant, the RSPCA seems to have forgotten that its job is to work in the interests of the greatest happiness of the greatest number of animals. I’d recommend anyone anxious to help animals to donate to Compassion in World Farming or Blue Cross or other charities focused on combating cruelty rather than to those obsessed with the fate of a few furry vermin
Should it be mandatory to employ attractive women in the workplace?
What rights does an employer have over whom he employs and whom he doesn’t employ? What classes should be protected from discrimination? There are many interesting questions tied up in the case of Dr. James Knight, who fired his assistant, Melissa Nelson, because he found himself tempted by her.
But my thoughts on this issue regarded the moral matters tied up with Dr. Knight’s behavior towards Nelson in the workplace, and then his decision to fire her. Thankfully, Jonathan Turley brings the moral issues into focus by being 180 degrees from correct.
"Knight is described as a deeply religious man, though his communications to Nelson do not speak of religiosity or restraint in a pious man. Indeed, he comes across as pretty creepy. I always thought that religion taught the pious to resist temptation not eradicate its sources. Yet, Knight actually fired Nelson with a pastor present…."
Yes, Knight behaved inappropriately, even creepy. What religion does is not to make us magically uncreepy and always appropriate, but to teach us more reasons why it’s bad when we are creepy and inappropriate. Also, my faith — Catholicism — and most of Christianity, as far as I know, teaches the opposite of what Turley has always thought it teaches.
Man is a fallen creature, born in sin. Throughout our lives, we continue to sin, whether we are Christians or not — whether we are Saints or not.
When a Catholic goes to confession, he confesses his sins, and then, after receiving absolution, resolves to “sin no more and avoid the near occasion of sin.” Often, when we do bad things, if we examine our conscience, we find that moment of greatest culpability was not when we gave into temptation, but when we entered into the circumstance where we knew there would be temptation that might overwhelm us.
Dr. Knight behaved badly. He wanted to stop behaving badly. Jonathan Turley thinks that Knight’s faith should have been sufficient to cure him of being attracted to this other woman. That’s silly. Knight, his wife, and pastor concluded that the best thing to do was to let her go. That seems prudent.
It also is completely unfair to Nelson. She is being “punished” for her boss’s sins and weaknesses. She should be angry. But would it be fair for the state government to tell Knight that he must remain in this near occasion of sin?
The Myth That Kills
Some comments by a woman who is impatient of feminism
I’m very afraid this is another of those posts that will get me accused of being a “gender traitor.”
That’s just fine. If you think a gender – the fact that you were born with one piece of physical equipment – demands your loyalty and forces your opinions to be the same as those people with the same piece of equipment, call me a traitor. Guilty as charged.
You see, I tend to think of people as people. This has largely been a handicap in writing fiction in the current age, because I’m expected to view women as saints-and-martyrs and men as oppressors-and-satyrs.
Have I met some examples of those? Oh, heck yes. Hasn’t everyone? But I’ve met the opposite too. Hasn’t everyone? So why is only one of those the “correct” thing to put in a novel?
Ah, but you’re going to tell me that pushing women as victims, as saints, as nurturers is the way to go, so we can carry on with the feminist victory and equality of the sexes.
(Looks across the computer at you) I don’t think that word means what you think it means.
Equality means, in this as in anything else, equality before the law not equality of results. This is something that we keep forgetting. Look, that was the ultimate difference between the American and the French revolutions. Americans wanted equality before the law. The French wanted equality of results.
They had justifications, too. They were dealing with an historically beaten-down peasantry, starved, uneducated (though not nearly so much – the revolution happened because education had started to spread. Never mind. We’re going with how they viewed themselves) used to being deferential. They needed more than just equality before the law, they said. They needed to redistribute some of those advantages, to enforce equality of results for a while.
We all know how that ended up, right?
It always ends up that way. Humans are individuals, not groups. When you empower the groups, you empower the worst in any group. The power-thirsty, the aggrieved, those who want to manipulate group-outrage for their own purposes.
It is the same with women. It’s lots of fun to read the more sentimental writers of centuries past (and the not so sentimental and totally un-ironic feminists of the last century) go on until your eyes bleed about women being kinder, gentler, softer, nicer.
Poppycock. Poppycock with powdered speciousness. Yes, women presented that way. This was the result of centuries where women had the subservient position.
The first one of you to open her mouth about how this is the injustice feminism needed to correct is going to go to the corner with the dunce cap, so help me bog.
The reason women were “oppressed” for six thousand years (longer, for certain values of women) had NOTHING to do with men dethroning the goddess myth and destroying the perfect matriarchal society because they’re evil or any other re-writings of the Judeo-Christian myth of Eden. Marija Gymbutas was – yes, I’m crossing Godwin, and I have a reason – as much of a fabulist as Hitler, and about as good a scientist. She didn’t have armies at her disposal, but those who believe in her might in the end bring down civilization as effectively as the Nazis would have done, so I do not apologize for using the analogy. (If you don’t think convincing women that all men are their enemies, handicapping boys in school, running men out of the teaching profession, and generally making men guilty-until-proven-innocent is a civilization-killing meme, you need to go out and meet some real men and some real women.)
Women were subservient in society due to that horrible oppressor: biology. When you were going to have to be a celibate or spend half of your life pregnant, you missed out on other aspects of life. Yes, I love those of you who had no problems in pregnancy. I had to diametrically opposite experiences: the first pregnancy would have killed me without strict bed rest, for the second I kept forgetting I was pregnant. HOWEVER in both of them in retrospect, not at the time, I missed vast chunks of intellectual function. There is an hormone cocktail that is supposed to make you fat, happy and dumb during pregnancy. It is what it is.
Worse, even for women who never get pregnant, until modern hormonal treatment, we women were prisoners of our hormones. Even now I have more than a friend who hit menopause and… became someone else. In very rare instances, the change is for the best. Most of the time it’s a “What on Earth happened to your brain?”
I thought I had dementia for a long while – I literally couldn’t remember the names of my characters or what had happened from a chapter to the next. And if I wrote it down, I’d have to go look at the notes, and then when I came back to the book I’d forgotten what I’d looked up. For a while (most notably the last Musketeers mystery) I had to have a friend check my work because I’d forget what I was doing and had tons of internal inconsistencies.
Turned out it was an hormonal problem, not dementia and not menopause, as I thought.
Now, that’s an extreme case, mind you. But it’s not unusual. And though men, too, can have this type of issue, it is considerably more common in women. What makes us women — the ability to generate new life – also makes us cyclical creatures, both in the monthly sense and in the life-cycle sense. And if you think your hormones don’t affect the way you think, let me tell you the only reason you think that is that you’re inside your skull and being affected. Until my experiences with hormonal insanity I too thought I was impervious.
Anyway, the point is until modern medicine with contraception and hormonal supplements, women were swimming with an iron vest strapped on. Add to that that only women can be sure that their children are theirs. This made men – of course – wish to make sure women were controlled, to make sure the kids they were providing for were their own. It made for a society where women were somewhere between children and chattels and men had all the responsible positions. (Though even then some women managed to break through. Individuals are… individual. It’s one of their characteristics.)
Does any of that still apply? No. Thanks to modern medicine, we even can figure out whose daddy is whose without keeping women in purdah.
And though it took a little while, society changed. Women started taking the place of equals in society. Like the French peasantry, which would have come along once barriers to their equality under the law were removed, we have started taking intellectual callings and sometimes physically intensive callings.
We are now, if we want to be, equals.
The problem is that most of us don’t want to be equals. And the reason for that is that most of us have been sold on the feminist creation myth of the great mother and the perfect society with men as the spoiler of paradise and the villain. And most of us are stupid enough to buy it. (Yes, I know men worshipped goddesses. If you think that made the society feminist, you have birds in your brain and you probably also believe there’s some magical herbs that are as effective as the pill and have no bad side effects. (No. There aren’t. There was a bush that had similar properties, but it went extinct in Roman times). Societies that worshipped goddesses often demanded the most control over women and engaged in temple prostitution. They also had a marked tendency to child sacrifice. On the other hand, most societies worshipped both.)
Also, most men are of course bigger than us. Stronger. And there’s the whole historical inequity. Just like the French peasants. So we demand laws that favor us and more importantly we demand the blood of our enemies. And we demand to be treated with a respect and a care that would have scared Victorian maidens. We use the slightest thing as a weapon. Because only when the oppressors are gone, will we be free.
This was bad enough when it was the French peasantry. But men are not some aliens dropped on the Earth from afar – they’re our fathers, brothers, sons and husbands. They’re an integral part of what makes humans humans. They’re not a monolithic group, just like women aren’t, but statistically they’re better abstract-and-visual thinkers and the people who are more likely to think outside the box, just like statistically we’re the socially-oriented people, more detail-specialized and better at cooperating.
Society – a civilized society – needs both to survive and go forward.
But women have been sold on males-as-the-boogeyman and therefore they see evil intention and coordination and conspiracy behind males’ being people. Meet one abusive male, and you’ll go through life convinced that all men are like that. Does anyone do the same when meeting an abusive woman? I don’t know about you, but I’ve had bosses from hell in both genders. So, why is only one accused of being “oppressive”?
Because it’s the myth. And it’s a myth the power-hungry people who took charge of the feminist movement (one that initially only wanted equality under the law) are happy to perpetuate. It’s a myth every college, every entertainment gatekeeper cherishes.
It’s a poisonous myth. It’s also a stupid one. No one in their right mind would talk about “War on women” for instance. Are you insane? Why would normal men – yes, your husband, your brother, your son – want to make war on women? And yes, that means you, your sister, your mother. Hell, even my gay male friends like women and have mothers and women friends. And yes, for those of you about to be stupid, even males on the opposite side in politics have all of those, and no, none of them hate women. (Except perhaps the occasional pathological case.)
(If you bought that wanting to not pay for contraceptives out of the public purse and at the expense of other people’s religious conscience is a “War on women” you might want to inform yourself. Not giving you something for free is NOT restricting access. Otherwise, people are restricting your access to food, housing and entertainment. Is that a war on humans?)
I’ve watched the rise of this myth with slack-jawed amazement. HOW can you even think that. Guys, my men – and I live with three of them, husband and two sons – couldn’t “conspire” to keep chocolate hidden from me (they’ve tried.) And they’re all three of them brighter than the average bear. WHY would you think men in general would want to conspire to keep you in submission? Most modern guys wouldn’t know what to do with a truly submissive woman.
Oh, I know. It’s the myth you heard, from Gimbutas and her sisters in school all the way to the latest movie you watched. Males want power over you.
Well, some males maybe. Those who belong to a religion that dresses women like upholstered furniture. But it’s just one culture and there’s reasons for that (including but not limited to a culture of scarcity and a tradition of bride kidnapping.) It’s not all men, and it’s certainly not MOST men men of the western world.
Like the women who no longer remember why women were “historically oppressed” the men alive now were never in a society where men had the upper hand.
I have a friend who believes that it’s a pendulum. Men had the upper hand, now women do, then it will swing back.
Unless science has some sort of pendulum too, I don’t see where she’s right.
What I see is women who were freed by tech advances and who THINK they were freed by marching shoulder to shoulder and taking permanent offense. These women live in a state of paranoia, dreaming up male privilege that is invisible to anyone but them, and taking offense at ever more ridiculous things – even things that have nothing to do with gender – because they’re so terrified of men taking the upper hand again.
I look at them going to war with spelling: Womyn, Herstory. I look at them dancing around dressed as vaginas (!) because apparently the most important thing in these women’s lives is their sexual organs. I look at them acting as a pack and attacking whoever they’re told to attack because “so and so is anti-woman” and I think… these are humans? These are civilized people? Don’t they see they’re being tools of the Marxist divide-and-conquer strategy? Don’t they see the end of this is either societal destruction or TRUE backlash for the sake of saving civilization?
Apparently not. So… carry on. Dance around in your little fabric vaginas. Think that all men are out to get you. Refuse to have children, because some of them might be male. And scream, scream, scream about made-up outrage.
That’s the way to bring civilization down and destroy the technological advances that brought us equality. If that’s what you want, DO carry on.
Apres nous, le deluge.
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, 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. Email me (John Ray) here.