Posts Tagged 'Mother State'

Raging shock as ‘the powers that be’ increasingly run out of control

The road to hell is paved with good intentions.

It was good intentions that saw healthcare professionals raise concerns about the food that some children were being given in their packed lunches.  It was good intentions that saw education professionals say they should therefore advise parents what a balanced packed lunch should contain.  It was good intentions that then saw education and healthcare professionals unite to dictate what food and drink should be in the child’s packed lunch, or else there would be consequences.  As surely as night follows day it was a certainty that these good intentions would be hijacked and transformed into an agenda to wield control over other people.

Two weeks ago a local news story from Dagenham, east London showed this control agenda in action and running into some scattergun resistance from confused and frustrated parents.  A water-only policy for the drink in a packed lunch has clashed with some parents’ desire to put sugar-free squash in the lunch instead, due to their young children – just fancy – not liking the taste of water.  It turns out the school has made an application for the London Healthy Schools Award, hence its zealous dietary restrictions.  The actions of the school have prompted some parents to keep their children off school, affecting what passes for an education there.

In fact, it is the desperation of Valence Primary School to achieve that award, that has seen staff have been removing drink cartons from children and throwing them away, and pouring out drink from containers to check the colour of the contents.  The school’s headteacher, Elizabeth Chaplin, said that the school had a policy where midday supervisors disposed of half-empty drinks and yoghurt pots to prevent spillages in lunchboxes, which makes things sound inocuous enough, until she goes on to say that children who were questioned over their drink contents were “more than happy to confirm or demonstrate the water content”.  The few reactions to the story from those of an authoritarian bias, prompted me to leave this response:

This local example of the powers that be running out of control has now been added to by a national story from the Daily Mail.  That paper reports that Colnbrook C of E Primary School near Slough, has suspended a six-year-old child because his parents refused to stop putting a pack of Mini Cheddars in his packed lunch, in contravention of their ‘healthy eating’ policy.  This follows a letter sent to all parents in mid January which included the following:

Chocolate, sweets, crisps and fizzy drinks are not allowed.

If your child’s lunchbox is unhealthy and unbalanced they will be provided with a school lunch for which you will be charged.

To be picky, Mini Cheddars arguably do not fall into the list of prohibited foods.  But regardless, such behaviour by this and other schools is another example of the machinations of the state taking ownership for the raising of children and imposition of constraints on parents.  That is unacceptable.

The state’s agents are out of control.  And as for the lack of perspective, for the sake of a cheesy biscuit snack comprising a small part of a child’s diet, that child is having his education, such as it is, adversely affected because the school wants to assert power over his parents.  This is more than wrong, it is perverse.  It would be wrong to describe this as the nanny state, nannies tend to be kind and affectionate rather than power crazed obsessives who abuse their positions to pursue an agenda set down by those who believe they know best and everyone has to fall into line with their viewpoint.  It’s time for parents to shake off their fear of officialdom and take back control of the raising of their children.

Cameron turns nanny state into overbearing Mother State

“I think this whole debate about nanny state is nonsense.

“Parents want help. It is in our interest as a society to help people bring up their children.

“We’re taught to drive a car. We’re taught all sorts of things at school. I think it makes perfect sense to help people with parenting.”

For once, David Cameron is right.  This is not the nanny state at work.  No, this is the modern, intrusive, hectoring and all powerful Mother State in action, desperate to direct the way parents bring up their children – irrespective of whether they need help at all.

The major concern here is that parents who reject the intrusion of the state into the raising of their children could end up listed as presenting a risk to their youngsters for not welcoming agencies in with open arms.

Whenever the organs of the state are held at bay by parents, its agents develop a suspicion of the parents’ motives.  When one considers events that have taken place behind the closed doors of  family courts and the case review meetings of social services departments – and the way in which the state can simply decide to remove children from families on the basis of guesswork or prejeudice – it can only be cause for concern that the tentacles are being given extended reach.

Children are the responsibility of their families.  The state has no business routinely muscling in on the upbringing of those children.  Where families are dysfunctional and their children are genuinely neglected or at risk, then there are already measures in place to provide support to them – although time and again we see stories of abuse and neglect of youngsters who are ‘in care’ yet are allowed to fall into a nightmare of drug addiction, sexual exploitation and criminality.

The parents who are unable to cope are nearly always known to the various departments and agencies due to their existing problems.  Surely those people can be offered guidance in how to feed, bathe and care for their offspring as part of their existing contact with the agencies, without a nationwide programme being introduced at huge cost that effectively positions the government as surrogate parents.

Far from working towards a smaller state and affording people greater privacy and personal freedom, this latest government wheeze flies in the face of all three pledges.  It is the real face of the control freak autocrat who occupies Number 10.


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