Due to the move of the blog to Wordpress posts from Jan 2012 onward will have commenting disabled (when I remember to do it)
Cheers - AE

Thursday, 16 July 2009

More Helen Lovejoyism.

Just when you think the madness can't get any more ridiculous the fucking maniacs come up with this:
Beginning October 12, 2009, the Vetting and Barring Scheme (VBS) will require that all adults who work with children, including authors such as J.K. Rowling and Philip Pullman if they make special visits to schools, will be required to register with the database for a fee of £64.
Philip Pullman is among those telling the government to sod off according to The Telegraph (en bloc):
Philip Pullman, the best selling author, will be banned from reading his books in schools because he refuses to be vetted for a new anti-paedophile database that he said "assumes my guilt".
The writer said the "insulting" requirement to be checked by the new Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) to speak to pupils sent the message to youngsters "that the world is a dark and nasty place, where everybody wants to murder and rape them".
The ISA was set up by the Home Office in the wake of the murders of schoolgirls Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman by caretaker Ian Huntley in 2002.
By November 2010, the 11.3 million people who want to work with children and vulnerable people – including teachers and childminders, but also casual volunteers - will have to be registered with the ISA.
But Mr Pullman said the scheme went "far too far" in requiring volunteers who only fleetingly came into contact with children to register.
The author of the His Dark Materials trilogy, whose book Northern Lights was turned into the film The Golden Compass starring Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig, will have to register to continue giving talks in schools.
However, Mr Pullman, who stressed he had a "non-existent" criminal record, said he was prepared to give up speaking in schools to make a stand against Britain's creeping surveillance culture.
He said: "It is insulting and I think unnecessary, and I refuse to be complicit in any scheme that assumes my guilt."
Mr Pullman is being supported by several other children's authors including Anne Fine, Anthony Horowitz, Michael Morpurgo and Guentin Blake, who object to their names being on the database.
Mrs Fine, the former Children's Laureate and author of more than 50 books, said the scheme was "governmental idiocy" which would drive a wedge between children and adults.
She said: "The whole idea of vetting an adult who visits many schools, but each only for a day, and then always in the presence of other adults, is deeply offensive.
"Our children will become further impoverished by this tiresome and ill-considered scheme, and yet another gulf will be created between young people and the rest of society."
Michael Morpurgo, another former Children's Laureate, said the compulsory database of school visitors was "a nonsense" which would put writers off visiting pupils.
He said: "It's yet another example of the Government going way over the top. Writers don't go to schools for the money, they do it because they want to bring their stories to children and make readers of them.
"The notion that I should somehow have got myself tested or passed in order to do this is absurd. I know there has to be security in schools, and that's fine, but this is insulting and doesn't go any way to protecting children."
Anthony Horowitz, the author of the popular Alex Rider series of children's spy novels, said the £64 fee had "a nasty feeling of a stealth tax about it".
He said: "Like so many of Labour's laws, it's just an ill-thought-out by-product of a general law to stop suspect people going into schools."
Go read the rest, or The Indie's version if you prefer. I get some hope from the largely negative comments on both articles, though there were a few who wonder why celebrities and authors should be exempt. Wrong question, of course. It's patently ridiculous to worry about an author visiting a school as if he's going to bugger the kiddies in front of everyone while flicking pages or signing autographs, but the real question is not why they should be exempt but why is everyone being treated as fucking suspects in the first place?

Of course, it's not the first time Philip Pullman has crossed swords with the Big Brother bastards who, in defiance of centuries of common law and the presumption of innocence, think that people are best served by treating everyone as a potential suspect - The Malevolent Whispers That Despise Our Freedoms did the rounds a few months back and is worth re-reading in full. For now I'll just highlight a couple of bits:
We do not want to hear you talking about innocence

Innocent means guilty of things not yet done

We do not want to hear you talking about the right to silence

You need to be told what silence means: it means guilt

We do not want to hear you talking about justice

Justice is whatever we want to do to you

And nothing else

Are we conscious of being watched, as we sleep? Are we aware of an ever-open eye at the corner of every street, of a watching presence in the very keyboards we type our messages on? The new laws don’t mind if we are. They don’t think we care about it.

We want to watch you day and night

We think you are abject enough to feel safe when we watch you

We can see you have lost all sense of what is proper to a free people


In a thousand ways they have led you to think that whoever does not want to be watched must have something shameful to hide


Freedom is too hard for you

We shall decide what freedom is

Sleep, you vermin

Sleep, you scum
Sadly it's not getting any less relevant, is it? The fucking state wants ever greater control and monitoring of the people to the point of taking the role of surrogate parent, and creepily doing so by fostering a culture of fear among actual parents, while simultaneously proving themselves to be utterly shit at it by their own fucking standards anyway.

H/T to Shibby, who points out that this reasoning that anyone who might commit crime must be monitored will inevitably lead to the conclusion that the whole fucking country has to go into the databases and computers. Of course, in the UK that might well be exactly the point. I'll leave the last word to Shibby, who puts it beautifully:
Don't worry, the compulsory database state is voluntary.

Actually Shibby's not getting the last word...


JuliaM said...

"Philip Pullman is among those telling the government to sod off..."

I heard him on the 'Jeremy Vine' show this afternoon, debating some woman (sounded Aussie, actually) who was all about the children. Nothing was too much trouble for ensuring their safety, etc.

He more than held his own, but the daft cow simply rabbitted on and on and on regardless.

Angry Exile said...

Was her name Helen?

Actually it'd be no surprise if she was an Aussie. Patricia Hewitt, the woman who is for me the Nanny State Incarnate, is an Aussie (from Canberra or thereabouts if I recall correctly). And of course there's my favourite Senator, Stephen Conroy, a Helen Lovejoy with a Y chromosome. Plenty about unfortunately.

Related Posts with Thumbnails