Monday, March 19, 2007

Give me the child, and I will give you the government quango

YOU MIGHT think that your local council would be busy enough finding ways to fine you a couple of grand for chucking a waxed cornflake packet into the wrong recycling bin or smoking a crafty gasper in a bus shelter.

Unfortunately the devil makes work for idle hands, and the Turkey Army is so vast in number that there is always a spare battalion of public sector busybodies with time on their hands.

This might explain why 12-year-old children in Torbay were sent a personally addressed questionnaire asking them how much alcohol they drank, what illegal drugs they took and how often they had penetrative sex. Yes, I know.

The local authority, which sent the survey directly to 400 youngsters aged between 11 and 18, bleats that it was “undertaking partnership work with schools” to combat teenage pregnancies. There are two points to make here. Firstly, when I was 12 years old, contact with the opposite sex was limited to throwing worms at them, and remained that way for at least another couple of years. Secondly, if you ask a 12-year-old about his or her drinking habits, drug use or sexual encounters, doesn’t that suggest to a young mind that perhaps they’re falling behind their peers by not indulging?

I realise that times have changed. Today’s pre-teens aren’t the pre-teens of the Just William books. But let’s at least give them a chance to decide for themselves just when they want to start behaving like the Bishop of Southwark.

(Incidentally, did you see the story about the Israeli ambassador to San Salvador who was found outside his embassy drunk, naked, trussed in bondage gear with a gag and rubber ball in his mouth and surrounded by sex toys? I bet invading Lebanon was easier to explain away than that.)

BUT WAIT, the social engineers aren’t just content with turning your 12-year-old into a drink-crazed sex pest junkie; they’re now after messing with your five-year-old’s head as well.

A new series of books to be used in primary schools include the story of a prince who shuns three beautiful princesses before falling in love with a man and living happily ever after. Other stories involve a spacegirl with two mothers and a baby penguin with two dads. Yes, they’re Fairy Tales. And Grimm indeed.

The scheme, funded by your taxes, is run by the sort of organisation that is regularly spotted advertising well-paid jobs in the Guardian’s Turkey Army section. Its aim is to show that homosexuality is a part of everyday life and to reduce homophobic bullying in the playground.

Now hang on a minute, we’re talking primary schools here. How many five-year-old kids at your children’s school do you see mincing across the playground like a cross between Quentin Crisp and John Inman? So where’s the bullying?

Project boss Elizabeth Atkinson says: “The most important thing these books do is reflect reality for young children.”

No they don’t. Reality for young children is at least a mother and usually a father as well. Reality for young children is a Happy Meal and Shaun the Sheep, not a Shirley Bassey CD and Queer as Folk.

They want to be careful. I can’t see our notoriously tolerant Muslim communities taking too kindly to all this.

BUT WAIT, the social engineers aren’t just content with turning your five-year-old into a Nancy boy; they’re now after controlling your baby’s life as well. Under a new government curriculum – legally enforceable and linked to future funding – nurseries and playgroups must now test the development of the children in their charge against a 69-point checklist.

Babies up to 11 months old must communicate by “crying, gurgling, babbling and squealing”. Two-year-olds must “seek to gain attention in a variety of ways”. By the age of three, they must be able to “make random marks with their fingers and some tools”. Hardly challenging, is it? So what’s the point?

There is nothing quite as competitive as a new parent. Every blink, twitch and mumble of their genius offspring is carefully measured against other kids. It is imperative that they are always a step ahead, whether it’s potty training or painting the dog. Quite why the Thought Police feel we need legislation to impose this is beyond me.

Anyway, what are they going to do with the thick babies who fail? Will social workers take them away from their parents? Then what? We already have a burgeoning underclass. As far as I know there aren’t any vacancies for trainee scrotes. Maybe it’s time to follow the lead of the Spartans and just leave them out on the hill in the snow.

IT IS immensely satisfying to learn that staff at the Health and Safety Executive, storm troopers of the Jokeforce, the government quango that provides copy for satirical columnists, have been involved in 500 accidents of their own over the past three years.

What puzzles me is the nature of some of these life-threatening incidents. One person slipped on a raisin (not even Claims Direct have come up with that scenario) while another, quite delightfully, cut his head by walking into a warning sign. Karma there.

Strangest was the woman who reported a bruised eye after a toilet paper dispenser fell from the wall and hit her. What was she doing for a toilet roll dispenser to hit her in the eye? The mind boggles.

KARMA AGAIN. A North Pole expedition meant to bring attention to the impact of higher temperatures caused by global warming was called off after one of the explorers got frostbite. Ann Bancroft and Liv Arnesen abandoned what was intended to be a 530-mile trek after Arnesen suffered frostbite in three of her toes, and extreme cold temperatures drained the batteries in some of their electronic equipment.

Apparently it was quite a bit colder than expected, with temperatures inside their tent touching 58 degrees below zero, and outside temperatures were exceeding 100 below zero. Silly women. I can hear those stranded polar bears laughing from here.


Anonymous AndrewM said...

Better late than never, Bazza. You don't sound very angry - are you mellowing?

1:54 AM  
Blogger Al said...

Re the questionnaire to teenagers about their alchohol, drug & sexual habits. I wonder how accurate they expect the data gathered to be anyway. Surely if you ask your average teenager about these subjects they will tell you they drink like a fish, puff joints 24/7 and shag like rabbits. What conclusions do they expect to draw from such data? It certainly won't tell them anything about the true habits of the respondents.

4:17 AM  
Blogger Neal Asher said...

I've no doubt that the very low temperatures during the Arnesen and Bancroft trek were due to global warming. Or 'climate change' as it has been rebranded to cover embarrassments like this.

2:15 AM  
Anonymous Mr Cliff said...

Do you still sell T'shirts?
They'd sell like hotcakes on this site.

7:23 PM  

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