Sunday, 29 November 2009


Quem deus vult perdere, dementat prius

Fearful officials jump gun on paranoid Government

To test the depth of the UK's latest moral panic, the uncritical bureaucratic terror in the face of the current folk devils, 'paedophiles', have a look at a news in this morning's print and broadcast media. This morning's Sunday Times offers one example. Read the headline, and weep:

Schools vet parents for Christmas festivities

Read the whole article, and despair:

The most appalling thing about all this is not that such pathetic, wimpish behaviour is possible from public servants, nor even that people feel that they have to put up with it, bad enough though both of these are. What is truly awful is the terrible, corrosive collateral damage that this does to the very fabric of bringing up children in this society. Yes of course this is just a 'symptom' of deeper malaise but one that may prove so powerfully experienced in itself, both individually and collectively, as to become a vicious, socially iatrogenic force in its own right.

What is reported today from Cambridgeshire and Norfolk cannot simply be laughed off as a ho-ho story from a couple of East Anglian Hicksvilles. However appropriate the harsh judgement of public ridicule in specific instances, by next year the new 'vetting and barring' regulations will mean that such sad goings-on may no longer be the exception, but the rule.

What a country into which to try and introduce the humane, emotions-based, transactional and discretionary pedagogy essential to Conductive Education!

The reported comment from sociologist Frank Furedi says:l:

Once you institutionalise mistrust, you incite people to take these things further and further, finding new areas to implement criminal record checks.

It becomes a badge of responsibility and a symbolic ritual. It doesn’t matter if it doesn’t make sense.

It certainly does not make sense. But it does matter. It erodes civil liberties, it devalues the personal autonomy of citizens and inflates the authority of an already overweening state bureaucracy, it undermines democratic parenting, and it costs the country money that , if it had it, would be far better spent on something useful.


Foggo, D., Grimston, J. (2009) Schools vet parents for Christmas festivities, Sunday Times, 29 November

Sutton, A. (2009) URGENT: UNITED KINGDOM, Conductive World, 25 November

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