This Telegraph story about the new government proposals to offer everyone an MOT at five points in their lives in order to assess their fitness, (incidentally by old friend Alice Thomson)could be instructive in several ways.
First it demonstrates this current government's almost admirable ability to directly contradict themselves within the space of a sentence. Take Patricia Hewitt's "People don't want nannying or to be told what they must do but they do want more information, advice and support."
But this irrationality unfortunately is not entirely Ms Hewitt's fault. Although, apparently, people don't want nannying "more than three quarters of 1,000 people who took part in a "citizens' summit" in Birmingham last year said they would like a regular health check".
And so it is with many of the government's encroachments. We call for it ourselves without really thinking about what it all means. Despite the fact that there is hardly a single mother I have ever spoken to who doesn't in some way resent the intrusions of the health visitor, we blithely call for more intrusion, more nannying, all the while saying that this is not what we are doing. And let's face it too. Just how useless is this initiative going to be! Useless, expensive, pointlessly intrusive - so very much on form then.
These calls for coercive intrusion happen all over the place, usually in the guise of solving the problems of the world. If we all gave a certain percentage of our income we would solve the problems of poverty, etc, etc. We must just stop and think what this will mean.
(There are other direct contradictions and a good dose of ridiculous irrationality demonstrated lower down in the article, eg: GP's are meant to become more responsive to patients, and yet they are being told more and more from the top what they are meant to be doing...errgh...stop it, that's enough).
One of the many reasons why I so love home education is that the society is entirely voluntary, it forms spontaneously as a result of meeting the needs of individuals, and nobody is compelled to be involved if it doesn't suit them. We do take care of one another, sometimes extensively and in many different ways, practically and emotionally. It does work. More of this please...I know what I am asking.