Sunday, June 25, 2006

Meaningful Freedom in UK Hangs in the Balance

OK, so the reference to Nazis probably wasn't the best PR move ever, but I think this story of the current Home Education situation in Belgium is pertinent and instructive, given what is going on here in the UK with the implementation of the Every Child Matters.

We gather from the Belgian story that HEors there, having had a relatively easy time, are now required to sign up to UN Convention on the Rights of a Child which all sounds so benign, all those laudable aims and objectives; but if we pause to look more closely, we immediately find that the contents of this particular document are so frequently directly self-contradictory and ultimately so utterly meaningless that the urge to scream is difficult to resist. By way of a quick example, (though there are a plethora of similar howlers):

"1. No child shall be subjected to arbitrary or unlawful interference with his or her privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to unlawful attacks on his or her honour and reputation.
2. The child has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks. "

...though clearly here, the matter of what constitutes arbitrary interference is a matter that is established by law and therefore the child does not have protection when the agency of interference is the government/UN itself.

So here they have it the poor old Belgians. The message they get: "Go on just sign on the dotted line, this thing that looks so laudable, and that even proposes the protection of political conscience and freedom, but then again if you don't sign it, we will prosecute you. In effect, children and parents are left with no power to make decisions in almost all areas of their lives. The government and the UN decides and directs and requires that everyone abide by their decisions on every matter of life, including that people be happy. And so, if some poor Belgian HEor refuses to sign this document (on some fairly reasonable pretext, for example say, that they ain't signing anything produced by an organisation that is remarkable only for it's expense accounts, corruption and incompetence), then they get banged up good and proper.

And terrifyingly we run precisely the same risk here in the UK. In a neighbouring county, we hear that the enactment of some of the objectives of Every Child Matters, ie:

* to Be Healthy,
* Stay Safe,
* Enjoy and Achieve,
* Make A Positive Contribution
* Have Economic Well Being.

is underway. Some perspicacious HEors in the area have organised a meeting in a response to a proposal by educrats to discuss how this may best be done. My guess it that most of those who are going to this meeting are wised up to the possible implications of the enactment, though goodness knows, these outcomes all sound so cosy that it would be quite understandable if someone were to innocently walk into some quite appallingly Orwellian situation without any awareness of the dangers.

In aiming to meet the above objectives, government (if it is as good as its word) will be stumping up the cash. If any innocent member of the public actually uses this money, the ptb will want to see that it is well-spent, and will start to monitor the users. Given that the agenda is aimed at every child in the country, it rather looks as if every child will be required to use these services, ergo every child, every family in the country will be monitored by government - freedom of political belief and conscience and right to privacy go hang.

Call to arms, guys. It may be that the best we can do here is to ensure that the uptake of any services created to meet these objectives is voluntary, and many congrats if you can manage this, for this is certainly considerably better than the nightmare alternative of everyone being forceably monitored for every mood swing and repeatedly tested to ensure that we never fail at anything.


Yarner said...

Actually, the "educrats" contacted the Home Educators at the suggestion of Parent Partnership (who are responsible for HE in the county).

They asked for a group of HEing parents to meet with them and have an open discussion.

Carlotta said...

Thanks Yarner.

Have altered the post to make this clearer, though I am not sure that it substantively alters the argument that I would be putting to them, which would be that unless there is reason to believe that a family may be abusing/neglecting their children, I would urge for the uptake of services remain voluntary, that the privacy of a family be respected and that parents are not punished or regarded suspiciously if they refuse services.

I say this because we have already heard tell of families who have got into trouble one way or another, for not sending their children to nursery or for refusing HV services.