Monday, June 09, 2014
Scotland's sinister 'Named Person' system abolishes parental rights
Please watch this brief interview with James and Rhianwen McIntosh. They are demonstrably intelligent, eloquent, loving parents who know what's best for their four children. Notwithstanding their experience as parents and their intuitive capacity to nurture and love, they have been informed that their children have all been assigned a 'Named Person' to oversee their welfare, supervise their upbringing and intervene where they deem it to be appropriate, even when this conflicts with the will of the praents.
This sinister 'Big Brother' scheme is not due to come into effect until 2016. But in a letter from the Scottish NHS, Mr and Mrs McIntosh were shocked to discover that all future letters and medical reports would be shared with their children's 'Named Person' - without their consent. Holyrood has effectively passed a bill which nullifies parental rights and endows the state with higher baby-sitting authority: Scotland has become the progenitor and guardian of all her children - not ultimately or in extremis, but right from the beginning.
It has also been reported in the Express that parents will be reported to the state for trivial family incidents, such as forgetting a child’s doctor's or hospital appointment. Although the scheme is not set to be fully implemented until August 2016, the Scottish Government guidance is now being used by the NHS to justify sharing data on children with head teachers. Some parents received a letter from a paediatrician in NHS Forth Valley that said, “we are now required to inform the Named Person for your child if your child fails to attend an appointment”.
“In addition, we may also send them copies of future relevant reports,” it continued.
The bizarre thing is that a child's 'Named Person; is not available for consultation or discussion: they may be a health worker or teacher tasked by the state to monitor the child until they reach the age of majority. As Aidan O’Neill QC observes, this is “predicated on the idea that the proper primary relationship that children will have for their well-being and development, nurturing and education is with the State rather than within their families and with their parents”.
Director of The Christian Institute Colin Hart said: “This is the kind of situation we have been warning about since MSPs decided to meddle with the rights of families to have a private life. The state seems intent on usurping the role of parents and reducing them to helpless spectators in the lives of their children. Mums and dads should be very afraid of this kind of Big Brother invasion into their lives and their homes.”
One must hope and pray that the Coalition policy outlined in the Queen's Speech - to criminalise causing psychological or emotional harm to children - is not a step on the way to a UK-wide 'Named Peron'. We must all be rightly appalled when children suffer neglect and harm, but a state policy which potentially criminalises the likes of James and Rhianwen McIntosh is manifestly one which impinges upon liberty and will surely target the innocent.
International free movement of labour bad for Britain's youth
More than a quarter of British people who voted in the recent elections to the European Parliament voted for the UK Independence Party (UKIP). I was one of them.
UKIP wants Britain to leave the EU. It also supports immigration controls in place of the free movement of labour required by EU membership.
A left-wing friend challenged me on this. Wasn’t I being inconsistent, arguing in favour of free markets yet voting for a party that wants to shut down Europe’s free market in labour?
My answer was that free movement of labour worked well when EU countries were at roughly comparable levels of prosperity (which was the case when the European Economic Community was first set up). But today, the EU encompasses poor countries as well as rich ones. Romania’s average wage levels are about one-fifth those in Britain.
A free EU labour market is great for bright, enterprising Romanian workers, who can go to Britain and earn more money. It’s also good for UK employers, who get good workers at a low price, and UK consumers, who can buy cheaper goods and services as a result.
But it is bad for hundreds of thousands of young, relatively low intelligence, poorly-educated, and often lazy Brits with no social skills. They won't and can't compete for the low-level jobs in McDonald’s which Poles and Bulgarians are now doing, so they end up on welfare instead.
If Britain didn’t have a welfare state, free movement of cheap labour from poor countries might work, for Britain’s poorly-motivated youth would have no choice but to compete for whatever low-level jobs are on offer. But with a welfare state, unrestricted immigration cements them into long-term, large-scale welfare dependency instead.
A few years ago I wrote two CIS papers (available here and here) addressing the problem of finding low-skill jobs for low-ability youngsters to do. I argued that if we want to push poorly-motivated youngsters of limited ability off welfare and into work, we have to ensure there are enough routine, low-responsibility, low-skill jobs for them to do.
Countries like Australia and Britain have seen millions of these jobs disappear in recent decades due to global competition (the Chinese are doing them) and new technology (machines are doing them). The minimum wage doesn’t help, either, with wages often set above the value of the work that might potentially be offered.
These problems are made even worse if the low-skill jobs that remain in the country all get taken by keen, young immigrants. It’s great having bright, polite Poles serve me my Macchiato in Costa Coffee, but it means idle British-born kids are rotting their lives away on benefits.
So unless Britain is prepared to scrap its welfare state (unlikely), it needs an immigration policy like Australia's, where you can come in only if you can offer skills the economy needs.
The crunch problem, however, is that Britain is not allowed to introduce an Australian-style strategy of selective immigration based on skills. Australia can do this, because it is a sovereign country. But as an EU member, the UK no longer has the freedom to make such decisions.
Modern Language Association’s (MLA) anti-Israel Resolution fails to pass
At the January meeting of the Modern Language Association (MLA) in Chicago this year, a resolution was proposed that would censure Israel for applying visa restrictions to academics whom it regarded as a security threat, promoted by some radical MLA members who claimed to be motivated by their passionate support for the free exchange of ideas.
The anti-Israel measure barely passed the MLA’s Delegate Assembly at that time, and Scholars for Peace in the Middle East (SPME) has previously criticized both the process by which the MLA’s Resolution 2014-1 was introduced and debated, and the intent of the resolution itself.
On June 4th, the entire MLA membership voted on the resolution and it failed to pass,with only 6% of members voting for it.
SPME congratulates those MLA members who chose not to approve this resolution. As academics, Scholars for Peace in the Middle East strongly supports the principle of unencumbered scholarly travel. Unfortunately, the MLA’s Resolution 2014-1 engaged this topic in a lopsided way, focusing exclusively on Israel. Critiquing only Israel among all the nations on earth—many countries where academics are denied even the ability to study, attend classes, or travel—is both counter-productive and disingenuous, since Israel guarantees individual and human rights of its own citizens and visitors.
Over the past months, the resolution has been considered by the MLA’s 28,000 members, who began voting with on-line balloting set to this week. In order to provide an opportunity for its members to debate the resolution, the MLA set up a members-only listserv on which opinions for and against the resolution could be posted and argued.
The postings on that listserv have now been made public, and SPME is extremely concerned about some of the statements made there, specifically those which seem to expose values and opinions which are contrary to academic debate, conspiratorial, and even some which seem on their face to be virulently anti-Israel and some which echo anti-Semitic tropes.
One commenter alluded to “Zionist attack dogs” who apply pressure “on universities by Zionist funders and lobby groups to quell any dissent,” presumably suggesting that these MLA members do not wish to have their anti-Israel ideology, and this resolution, even questioned or debated by anyone having contrary opinions.
A similar conspiratorial comment on the listserv was laced with the traditional anti-Semitic trope that Jews control media, government, and academia, and then use that influence to suppress criticism of Israel. The individual who posted pointed to the “humongous influence that Jewish scholars have in the decision-making process of Academia in general,” presumably suggesting that those academics—both within the MLA and elsewhere in academia—who have spoken out against the MLA’s resolution did so, not because there was another side to this debate, but because they wanted to use their enormous influence to suppress the ideas and speech of others with different views.
It never apparently occurred to these radical individuals within the MLA that it may be the weakness of their argument that is the issue, not the tactics of their ideological opponents. And by accusing those who opposed the resolution of being motivated by sinister, rather than sincere, values, some MLA commenters on the listserv revealed a characteristic anti-Semitic libel.
As Professor Cary Nelson, an MLA member and former president of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP), suggested in opposing Resolution 2014-1, the revelation of some of these comments, and their tone, reveal “. . . what has been the most troubling aspect of the MLA’s effort to delegitimate the Israeli state—its clear component of anti-Semitism. All the countries that restrict faculty travel need to be pressed to improve access for research and teaching, but a rag tag group of English and foreign language professors is ill-equipped to judge how any country’s security needs shape its visa policies. What is clear from the anti-Semitic comments scattered through the MLA debate is that some of those promoting the MLA resolution singling out Israel are doing so for reprehensible motives. All who support the resolution are now tarnished as a result.”
Gabriel Brahm, another MLA members and an SPME Fellow, said that the “minority-inspired anti-Israel resolution reveal three things that should make voting for it off-limits to fair-minded individuals who care about the MLA as an institution. (1), there manifestly is anti-Semitism in evidence; (2), the underlying aims of the backers of resolution 2014-1 further than explicitly stated; (3), the hardcore realpolitikers behind the proposal all this, and untroubled by it.”
All and all, the results of the vote prove that there are enough academics who are willing to speak out against radical fringe voices.
Scholars for Peace in the Middle East commends it colleagues within the MLA, and the membership at large, for standing up for true exchange of ideas and legitimate public discourse, hopes that these voices will continue to prevail, and is pleased that there are positive trends in both the MLA and academia where scholars are willing to stand up for academic integrity and true academic discourse.
Email from Scholars for Peace in the Middle East
Birth control heroine was a monster
Marie Stopes was one of the most influential women of the 20th century: a distinguished fossil expert, brilliant academic and pioneer of birth control.
Also a feminist visionary, she opened the first birth control clinic in Britain and her book, Married Love — which argued marriage should be an equal relationship between husband and wife — was an international bestseller.
And yet, in her private life, she was a staggeringly selfish monster.
She was anti-Semitic and believed fervently in eugenics — or “improving” the human population through selective breeding. Though she made her name as a marital expert she publicly humiliated her two husbands.
The greatest irony of all though, was that the woman who wrote another bestseller, Wise Parenthood was an atrocious mother.
She treated her only son as a social experiment, dressing him up in girl’s clothes, choosing, and then discarding, adoptive brothers for him, and later cruelly victimising his wife.
When Marie Stopes died in 1958, at the age of 77, her son found she had cut him out of much of her will, she had remained so angry at his marriage.
That son, Dr Harry Stopes-Roe has just died aged 90. Remarkably, not only did he survive his mother’s wicked treatment, but he flourished as a philosopher and remained happily married to his own wife for nearly 70 years. He even defended his mother against riticism and censure.
His willingness to forgive his horrific parent is all the more extraordinary when you consider the misery of his childhood.
Marie Stopes didn’t allow him to read books when younger, because she thought they stopped children thinking for themselves. Until the age of 11, he was forced to wear skirts as his mother took against trousers, which she considered ‘ugly and heating-in-the-wrong-places garments’. Bicycles — thought equally wicked by her — were also banned.
When Harry Stopes-Roe was born in 1924, his mother was 43 and world famous. Her father was a prosperous brewer, her mother a Shakespearean scholar, and she was brought up in an intellectual hothouse.
The first female academic at the University of Manchester, she became an expert on fossils before turning her mind to birth control. Her 1918 book, Married Love, sold 750,000 copies and made her a household name. She edited newsletter Birth Control News.
Her Mothers’ Clinic in Holloway, North London, opened in 1921 and was the first in the country to offer birth control advice. Over the next 22 years, more opened nationwide. During her lifetime, none offered terminations. An anti-abortionist, Stopes argued that preventing pregnancy through birth control was the way forward.
But, as her professional career flourished, her private life was torn apart by her raging megalomania and a belief she was some sort of divine messiah.
When she addressed a conference of Anglican bishops, she greeted them with: ‘My Lords, I speak to you in the name of God. You are his priests. I am his prophet. I speak to you of the mysteries of man and woman.’
Her first marriage to Reginald Ruggles Gates, a Canadian geneticist, was a disaster. After marrying in 1911, Stopes filed for divorce just two years later on the grounds that the marriage was never consummated. Gates’ sexual failure became widely-known — a shameful humiliation for the distinguished scientist.
Her second marriage in 1918 to Humphrey Roe, a rich philanthropist and World War I flying ace, wasn’t much more successful. Though they had a son together she soon grew bored by Roe as a lover and companion. She forced him to write a letter — which she dictated — freeing her from their marriage vows.
Though they did not divorce, she banished Roe to the attic of their 18th-century mansion, only letting him enter family rooms if he had first completed chores.
The separation from his son caused Roe anguish. ‘I hope you will allow me to see Harry sometimes,’ was his heartbreaking plea to his wife.
She became obsessed with her only child and set out to control him to a horrifying degree.
Too old to have any more children and worried Harry would be lonely and anti-social without a sibling, Marie Stopes advertised for an adopted brother, who had to be ‘absolutely healthy, intelligent and not circumcised’.
The first candidate, Robin, was a three-year-old orphan, reluctantly handed over by loving, but poor, aunts. Two years later, they took him back, horrified, when Marie Stopes said their nephew would be improved by ‘a few whippings’.
Then came Dick, who was sent back to the National Children’s Adoption Society because he would ‘never bloom so as to be a credit to us’.
The third adopted brother, John, was rejected because he lacked ‘academic ability and literary and artistic sensibility’.
Barry, the fourth, was renamed Roy by Stopes because she didn’t like his original name. When he wet himself — one can imagine through sheer terror and distress — she declared he was ‘unfit to live in a decent household’.
In this desperate, lonely childhood, one of Harry’s few consolations was his family’s friendship with Ernest Shepard, the illustrator of Winnie The Pooh.
Shepard once sent a deeply poignant letter to the little boy, with a sketch of Pooh crying at the prospect of not making his birthday party.
Shepard wrote, ‘Dear Buffkins [Harry’s nickname]. I am very sory that I cant come to yr party but I am going away to the igsle of wite on Saturday 24nd and I am verry verry sory. Pooh.’
In spite of everything, Harry flourished. After Charterhouse school, he read physics at Imperial College London, then gained a PhD in philosophy at St John’s College, Cambridge, and embarked on an academic career. But it proved impossible to escape his mother’s bullying.
She was determined to decide who her son would marry, someone who would be ‘his peer in looks, inheritance and health’.
When Harry fell for childhood friend Mary Eyre Wallis, daughter of Sir Barnes Wallis, inventor of the bouncing bomb, his mother reacted with fury.
Mary was short-sighted — a sign of terrible genetic weakness, according to Stopes’s unpalatable eugenicist views.
She wrote: ‘Mary and Harry are quite callous about both the wrong to their children, the wrong to my family, and the eugenic crime.’
Stopes was a fellow of the Eugenics Society and, in 1921, founded the Society for Constructive Birth Control and Racial Progress.
Its aim was to promote eugenic birth control. She backed ‘the sterilisation of those totally unfit for parenthood [including] the inferior, the depraved, and the feeble-minded’. She believed, too, in the idea of ‘racial degeneration’, caused by sexually-transmitted diseases and ‘overcrowding’.
She refused to have a Jewish refugee child to lunch during World War II, saying it would offend guests. In 1942, she wrote a poem which said: ‘Catholics, Prussians / The Jews and the Russians / All are a curse / Or something worse.’
She even sent a copy of a collection of her poems, Love Songs For Young Lovers, to Hitler, whom she greatly admired.
She wrote: ‘Dear Herr Hitler, Love is the greatest thing in the world: so will you accept from me these [poems] that you may allow the young people of your nation to have them?
‘The young must learn love from the particular till they are wise enough for the universal. I hope too that you yourself may find something to enjoy in the book.’
So incensed was she by her daughter-in-law’s supposed genetic weakness, that she refused to attend the wedding. And, when Stopes died of breast cancer a decade later, she cut Harry out of her will almost entirely because she believed ‘he had betrayed her by this marriage’.
She bequeathed Harry 13 volumes of the Greater Oxford English Dictionary and a Cornish cottage, while her large fortune went to the Eugenics Society and Royal Society of Literature.
And yet throughout his life he continued to defend his mother and the contribution she made to sex education and the welfare of the poor. He even said he was now ‘prepared to laugh’ at the way he had been brought up.
Meanwhile, his own career prospered. After Cambridge, he became a lecturer at Birmingham University and later rose to become vice-president of the British Humanist Association.
His marriage to Mary, a fellow academic, was a deeply happy one. Together they had four children and when their two boys and two girls were young they would all holiday together in Cornwall.
He set out to create his own ideal of ‘Married Love’ and endeavoured to right with his own children all the appalling wrongs of his own wickedly selfish mother.
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 and DISSECTING LEFTISM. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.