back to article It shouldn't happen to a vetting database

Politicians and civil servants are at loggerheads over who should be added to the Government’s shiny new vetting database. If they can’t get their act together before the scheme goes live later this year, the entire system could be a laughing stock even before it is launched to the public. Problems arose last week when a number …

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Anonymous Coward

Yet again...

Yet again... ministers are better than regular folk.

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FAIL

MPs and abuse of trust? Are they serious?

I lol'ed.

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Stop

Trust?

Maybe MPs don't need to be vetted because nobody trusts them. Even kids can see through them.

On the other hand, a spokesman said the other day, that even if authors are infrequent visitors they should be vetted because they might (by chance) meet children who trsut them, outside of the school environment. Well, duh, so might anybody else. If we are worried about kids bumping into people they trust, maybe all TV presenters, actors, musicians, etc should be vetted as well. When I was at school we spent as much time in the local sweet shop as we did in any of our classes. So all the local shopkeepers should be vetted as well. And the bus drivers. And parents. And siblings. And those doing the vetting. And vets. And....

So why not put the entire population, apart form the MPs of course, on the sex offenders register, tag them all and give them a curfew. Job done.

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Big Brother

The mission is clear then...

Relationships in which children acquire trust in adults are the ones in which no one is permitted to trust each other except under official supervision. The function of the system is the eradication of informal trust - which is to say ALL trust.

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Joke

One rule for all (and one for MPs).

If I were to become an MP (and I have no intention of doing so), the first motion I would pass (other than, you know, one of those motions) would be to ensure MP's had passed qualifications to ensure they knew what they were doing.

Qualification would be given on the sucessful passing of the following course elements.

1) Arse & Elbow 101 - How to locate and identify both.

2) Brewery Party Management - How to organise a Pissup in a Brewery.

3) Liquid in Air Dynamics - How to avoid pissing in the wind...

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Anonymous Coward

No Exceptions !

"At base, though, the issue is about whether the law needs to regulate almost all significant interactions between adults and children. As it stands now, the answer appears to be yes"

Quite so. Parents must be vetted from the moment of conception. You just can't be too careful.

Only an advanced, right-thinking society like ours knows that children and the vulnerable are actually to be thought of as prey and victims in the making.

God bless the government. They'll keep us safe.

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Badgers

Career development

You'd think MPs, in particular Labour MPs, would be keen to be vetted ASAP (and have the tax-payer foot the bill). It'll make it *much* easier for them when they shortly cease to be MPs, and try to get jobs as eg. taxi drivers, or similar.

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WTF?

Shirley...

...anyone standing for any form of public office should be thoroughly vetted as a matter of course?

" Are you now or have you ever been a self serving slimeball?"

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Grenade

Is it me being thick today?

So, let me see if I understand it right:

The people that form an integral part of the scheme operation and enforcement (home office and educational minister) and the people who set the regulations of the scheme are not supposed to be vetted themselves. WTF?

In any case, it is all a scam to hide the real reasons for the scheme - to get "soft evidence" and use "guilty until proven innocent" vs as much of the population as possible.

What people are missing here is that the CRB checking standard is not used just by educational institutions. Presently many large employers use the CRB as well because it is the only way to get a possible negative reference on an individual. They will gladly proceed to use the ECRB and the vetting database the moment data becomes available. In fact, I am kind'a expecting to see a vetting check with a feeble excuse about its necessity in my next jobs.

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Go

On the other hand...

I don't mind blasting MPs when needed and to sort of add symmetry to the whole thing: compliments to Rt Hon John Battle for observing and reporting in an appropriate form.

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Joke

@ElNumbre

You forgot Complex Properties of Projectile and Metatarsal Ballistic Interaction

AKA How to not shoot yourself in the foot.

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All access should be vetted

I work at a senior school and have a daughter at a primary. Am a firm believer that eCRB should be applied to all visitors who could come into contact with children. This would include cleaners, caretakers, contractors, film crews, authors and MPs. Let's not two or three tier this, get a damn eCRB or don't come into the building.

What next? MPs and their staff allowed to bypass metal detectors until a disgruntled aide shoots up a school live on air?

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Black Helicopters

What about...?

Priests? Do they need vetting?????!

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Big Brother

I have children in School

And I want them exposed to as much as possible in the safe and controlled environment of their school. I would love them to meet authors, interesting people from the community and anyone else that will have a positive effect on their education.

How do I decide who will have a positive effect on my child's education. I take a interest in my child's education. Radical idea I know having an input into what my child learns and not relying on the school to just do their job.

But I do expect all these visits to be supervised by her teachers who I trust implicitly. They have all been checked because it is reasonable considering the amount of time and influence they will have over my child. So I don't see why vetting is needed for casual visitors or even casual Professional visitors. At no time will these visitors be allowed to have a private sessions with my child or take them away from school.

This is just another example of Labours belief that the magic bullet of a database can cure all of societies ills.

Icon: Big Brother obviously

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Coat

A matter of trust...

"The conclusion from their two year consultancy exercise focused on the potential for a relationship of trust to build up. The logic is clear: the more trust children place in particular adults, the greater the potential for abuse of that trust."

Since no one ever trusts a politician, not even children, it seems fair enough that they shouldn't be vetted.

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Laughing Stock?

"If they can’t get their act together before the scheme goes live later this year, the entire system could be a laughing stock even before it is launched to the public."

Methinks it's a bit late for that, really....!

@ AC 12:04, rgds "I am kind'a expecting to see a vetting check with a feeble excuse about its necessity in my next jobs."

I'm applying for jobs at the moment, in advance of redundancy in September. I've already noticed a helluvalotta application forms include details about how they wanna CRB & Credit check me - and not for positions where it would be a relevant or proportionate thing to do either (e.g. working for a bank). I expect to see this one introduced as well once it properly goes live. Twunts.

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Is this a replacement for the ID card database?

The government suddenly goes cool over ID cards, but is extending this database like crazy.

Soon they'll want to put all adults on it - which, when you think about it, makes sense.

Just think EVEN NOW children are in the unsupervised presence of adults when they go to shops, cinemas or riding on a bus. Some of these strangers will try to talk to the children using phrases such as 'Good morning,' 'Can I see your ticket?' or even 'Hello' - chillingly, all these words are known to have been used by paedophiles.

The evidence is clear.

Honestly it'll be for our own good if we're all databased, tagged, chipped and followed around by a power-mad government.

Just think of the children. No not that way - that's creepy.

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Numbers?

So how many authors and MPs, comparatively, have been caught buggering a child in a school? I don't recall anything in the Daily Fail or Screws in the last ten years. Clearly there has been a recent surge for it to now be a problem.

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X

"At base, though, the issue is about whether the law needs to regulate almost all significant interactions between adults and children. As it stands now, the answer appears to be yes."

So presumably it's only a matter of time before parents-to-be will need to be CRB checked as well.

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Big Brother

Breakdown of society

This government seem determined to sew seeds of distrust between as many groups as possible.

Our children are being taught that the government _have_ to make sure that the people they come into contact with are safe. Therefore any person who has not been checked is by definition evil and has evil intentions toward them, and is possibly, sorry wrong word - probably even a sexual predator as well.

Everyone is being fed the idea that men only go into care services or primary teaching if they are sexual predators. And children in general need to be ‘protected’ from men. Thus the number of men in teaching has fallen to an all time low, and men as a whole are viewed with distrust.

Adults are suspended and their careers and lives are ruined on the flimsiest accusation from a child and now adults distrust any interaction with children because their lives can be ruined on a child’s whim. And when these accusations are shown to be blatant lies nothing happens to the child as punishment, further eroding the remnants of trust between generations.

Unsubstantiated accusations and claims of misbehaviour are added to secret checking lists, these may be total fabrications but are incredibly difficult for a person to remove from ‘their record’ even (or should I say especially) when they are innocent. The accused isn’t informed of these accusations and may not know of their existence until it if far too late to refute them even if the ridiculously torturous processes in place for doing so would allow them to do so.

The unemployed are encouraged to remain so by a support system that values their non-contribution to society above that of contributing workers (and in this I discount the civil service as they are not wealth generators they are wealth consumers just like the unemployed.) Taxes are raised without reason or excuse and earners are punished at every turn with even more demands on their overstretched resources. Thus the earners look upon the unemployed as leaches sucking the lifeblood out of their lives.

The police act, and in most cases react in such overbearing ways that the trust which used to exist between the public and the police is now all but a myth. Photographers are treated with such heavy handed arrogance that mass protests are held. The Community Support Officers (which really should have been named Community Suppression Officers) enforce laws which they themselves make up or have interpreted so badly as to belong to the court of the queen of hearts. Police effort seems to be directed more towards soft targets (such as drivers and people putting rubbish in the ‘wrong’ bin) rather than in the areas which concern the local people.

Local councils are seen as overbearing overlords, taking money of us whenever and wherever they can. Snooping on and filming parents who have the audacity to want their younger children to go to the same school as their older siblings. Councils who change local parking restrictions against the wishes of the local residents, purely to be able to collect more parking fees, and then collecting these fees with illegal charges while ignoring proper rebuttals of these fines.

Terrorists are now supposed to be on every corner, so we, the people must allow our government and the police to arbitrarily stop us, search us for a suspicion, or for no reason what so ever if we dare to travel within certain distances of the government itself. If you look at the proscribed places you will see that these are for the protection of the government itself not the people or the infrastructure which supports our modern city based way of life. The Irish terrorists bombed the UK mainland a number of times and they killed many people, but never were restrictions placed on our way of life as we have now.

Since the 1960’s I cannot remember any time when so many groups distrusted so many others. And in every case I look at I see one of two things, the protection of the government itself and the enforced dependence of the people on this Labour government.

Society is breaking down and when it does there will be nothing that the government will be able to do to protect themselves. They are bringing this upon themselves.

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Poorly defined even if you accept the premise

Parents? Family and friends of parents? Neighbours? Of course, none of these are places of work*, so no need to check there - the kids will be safe as houses. Its only the employed-while-working who are a danger to childern. Apparently.

*unless you work from home which happens to be near some childern: do you need one then?

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Big Brother

Why have a vetting database?

You lot are completely missing the point.

The purpose of a politician is to convince the electorate that the electorate needs politicians. In order to do this they must keep doing things which they can tell the electorate needs doing, like making new laws. As long as they keep doing this the electorate will keep paying the politicians to tell the electorate what to do.

No serious politician can ever even hint that the electorate is in any way competent to act on his or her own, think independantly or be trusted to be a reasonably decent human being.

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Anonymous Coward

The great bollocks farce.

Yes, that sounds like a good name for the whole vetting idea.

I was an IT technician at a local council supporting schools. I was a regular visitor to some schools, an infrequent visitor to others and a rare visitor to even more.

I was also never CRB checked in the 7 years I did the job, and at times had to work with school management databases to resolve issues listing all the kids details from next of kin to home address to medical records.

I was left alone with children quite often, much to my dismay because without teacher around they can be quite annoying little shits.

So herein lies the problem then, all the laws and regulations in the world wont give schools enough teachers, or teachers enough time to follow visitors everywhere they go, or ensure if visitors aren't followed that kids don't sneak off to annoy visitors as they had a rather annoying habit of doing.

But it goes deeper than that, CRB checks only catch past offenders, they wont protect kids from first time offenders. More to the point though, if someone is a past offender why are they out on the streets in the first place? Either they've done their time, had their punishment and are safe to have in society again and so CRB checks are an unfair picture of the rehabilitated person they are now, or they're not rehabilitated and shouldn't be out on the streets in the first place.

What Labour is saying then, is:

"We've got a bunch of people roaming the streets that probably shouldn't be, as well as some that are safe to roam the streets but we're going to hold their past against them for eternity anyway. We're not sure whose who anymore so we're just going to put an ineffective measure in place to make you think we're good at this. Oh, and by the way, that'll be £5bn please, but don't worry, we know you can't afford it now, we'll just burden the very kids we're supposed to be protecting with this and the rest of the debt we've managed to accumulate for their entire adult lives."

Smart people, for the most part, don't become MPs.

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FAIL

Trouble is......

The people who formulated the rules for this type of system were probably not elected by anybody, nor were they likely to be civil servants, in fact you can bet your life that the people who defined the requirements worked for a consultancy, who then passed those requirements to a department who the issued a tender that asked for someone else to implement it. Meanwhile the people who had thought up the requirements had moved on to another department to think up some equally half baked scheme that had no basis in reality.

It is highly likely that the first most ministers will know about how the scheme is put together, will be when it goes wrong. Bare in mind that the ministers who's idea it was are no-longer in post, so its the current minister who'll get it in the neck, followed by the CRB, and the service providers.

Still maybe it'll all work until the Tories get in, then it'll be their fault. It will however be a very brave minister of any colour that cancels this, as this along with the Police National Database is a part of the response to the Bishard Soham Inquiry, remember it's all for the kiddies, and we have to do something lest it happen again.

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Anonymous Coward

No smoke without fire

Book authors go to talk to children, so do pedos, ergo book authors are likely to be pedos. No smoke without fire you know!

I just read the Home Office paper that claims 52% of people arrested and released without further action go on to commit an offense within 6 years. I am so f*cking angry, have you read it?

http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/documents/cons-2009-dna-database/

The essence of his claim is:

Study 1 shows criminals often go on to re-offend (mostly the hard core who are sent to prison, but he skips that part).

Study 2 shows that people released without action, commit a similar rate of future offenses to people convicted, well at least if I take out the people sent to prison and ignore the clear lack of correlation in the numbers and don't mention the normal population rate future conviction rate.

Study 3 shows that 8 serial murderers in Chicago would have been caught quicker if their DNA had been on file.

Ergo innocent people are really future criminals who wouldn't be caught if we didn't keep their DNA on file.

Throw in a lot of dangerous crap about 'families getting closure if someone is convicted'... throw in a low of straw men 'fewer convictions would result if we take the DNA *after* the conviction'... who is suggesting that??? and there you have this paper. Which presumably hasn't gone through the office of official statistics, because is deceptive gibberish.

Dogs have 4 legs, tables have 4 legs, hence tables eat the tops of trees like giraffes.

Dogs = people arrested and convicted.

Tables = innocent people arrested DNA taken, yet no evidence of crime and released, even with the DNA they get a clean bill of health!

Giraffes = hardened criminals who re-offend a lot and usually get custodial sentences. They are mammals like dogs, only much bigger...

Thank god that idiot Jacqui Smith was sacked (resigned my ass), this meta study is total gibberish.

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@ AC 12:04

As far as I am aware not all employers are allowed to requst the highest levels of CRB check, that's certainly true in Scotland not so sure about England. Up here there are three levels of criminal record check - Basic (lists only convictions unspent under the Rehabilitation of Offenders act), Standard (lists both spent AND unspent convictions) and Enhanced (lists spent AND unspent convictions AND any presence on barred lists AND so called "soft info" -allegations etc). For an employer to request either a Standard or Enhanced disclosure their particular proffesion has to be deemed as Exempt from the Rehabilitation of offenders act i.e Teachers, Care home workers etc. As such employers not working solely with children or vulnerable adults CANNOT request the higher level of disclosure.

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Flame

Here's a cost saving idea.

Why don't we sack all the MPs and disband all the Whitehall departments.

As a suitable substitute, we can photocopy the op ed and letters pages of the Scum and the Daily Heil, tipp-ex out the titles and write "Hansard" on it in biro. It'll save time too as the vitriolic kneejerk bullshit can go straight to law without all that tedious debate that's such an important part of the rubber-stamping process now.

We'll lose the Parliament channel, but I reckon that continous reruns of "The Muppet Show" should serve as an adequate replacement.

Nobody will ever know the difference.

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FAIL

Not worth The Paper their Printed On

There are a couple of problems with CRB's and Vetting lists.

1. Like MOT's they only give a statement of the data for the day the search/recording is carried out.

2. If you've been naughty, but haven't been caught, nothing will show.

I'm a scout leader and have to renew my E-CRB every 5 years.

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@Tust#/JSP

Bus drivers are already checked. And by Cumbria County Council, they're also checked against Social Services lists, not just CRB, just to make sure that you're OK to work with vulnerable adults. Even if you only drive a school bus...

MInd you, all my engineers are CRB checked too, but we are the schools IT engineers...

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FAIL

It's fine until one MP fails the vetting

Perhaps MPs are just worried that one of them might fail the vetting - how would s/he be able to retain any credibility in such circumstances.

Hence using the old argument that of course, since none would fail, it implies they'd all pass, so no need to bother with the vetting in the first place...

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Flame

@lukewarmdog

I hope you've CRBd yourself. And your parents. And your friends. In fact, to protect your brat, let's force every adult in the country to get a CRB! What's that? Kids physically/sexually/mentally assault other kids? Well, we'll put them on the database too! No worries that the government's record for building, maintaining and securing such databases is absolutely abysmal - it's for the children!

Oh, sorry, did I say "protect" up there? Protect them from what? The minute and unchanged-since-records-began chance of them being abused? How is it going to do that?

Or should we be protecting them from the facile, short-sighted, paranoid, insular, impractical thought processes of people like you?

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amendments...

Senior Labour politicians have very different views as to how (everything) is meant to work

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Where does it end ?

I get the bus to work every day, at roughly the same time every day. Quite a large number of school kids also get the same bus and a significant proportion I can actually recognise from day to day as having been on the same bus at a previous juncture.

If I was so inclined I could no doubt work it out to get *exactly* the same bus each morning (there are a number that run on the same route for me, hence it cahnging).

Does this mean I should be checked ? I mean, i'll be in proximity to them and on a regular basis.

I may be older than the younglings of today, but I was a teenager less than 20 years ago and I don't remember *ever* being in fear of any adult. Well, except the rozzers, but this was when they'd give you a clip round the ear and a lift home, to face the wrath of your parents.

This government are not making the world/country a safer place, because if you remove an individuals ability to realistically assess risk, then they will completely lack that risk assessment when they critically need it. Far from making things safer, they are creating a massive problem for the future.

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Grenade

What's new...

Politicians have been making laws for the masses and exempting themselves for years. Example 'The smoking ban'. Where is the only place in the UK where you can smoke in a pub? The house of commons bars.

It is time for people to realize that the government is dividing the country. One law for them, and another for the masses. This non sense is just a continuation of this agenda.

Laws of the land should apply to everyone equally, no exception, no matter how stupid or idiotic the law is.

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Boffin

@Big Bear

Yes, Priests and other ministers and lay workers (including voluntary ones) are CRB checked as a matter of routine. As I am a lay minister, the CofE automatically CRB checks me.

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Joke

"MP's do not work...."

Best quote ever :)

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Megaphone

Demolition of Democracy?

What about the implications for democracy itself?

Let's suppose MPs do need to be vetted. What happens if an MP fails to pass the test?

Are they no longer allowed to be an MP? That would mean the State - as a collective of its various manifestations - would have great power to veto those regarded as undesirable. The potential for abuse of this system is truly staggering. You can vote for and elect anyone you like, as long as they first meet the State's approval. Democracy (what little of it we have) is destroyed.

Or are they still able to be MPs, but unable to properly do their work? How is that democratically acceptable? What about the stigma? Wouldn't that just lead to much the same end result? Democracy, again, could so easily be destroyed.

It's clear to me that there are very, very strong grounds for MPs, and all such candidates, to be exempt from "enhanced" vetting. Of course, it's entirely right for voters to know what criminal convictions candidates and actual MPs have got, but beyond that, it's not merely injustice, but dangerously destructive of democracy itself.

There are also grounds for going no further than merely allowing voters to know what criminal convictions candidates have. If people are barred from standing for election on the basis that they have criminal convictions, that itself can be exploited by a corrupt State as a way of keeping the "wrong" people out of parliament.

It should be for us, the people, the voters, to decide - at the ballot box - who is and is not acceptable. We have the democratic right not to be pre-empted in this by the State.

Now, I know some people will strongly object to the idea that MPs and candidates should be specially exempt, but it would be a huge mistake to let a corrupt, power-hungry State and political establishment swindle us out of our democratic rights. It is not for MPs' benefits that such "enhanced" vetting should be opposed, but ours. If we support "enhanced" vetting of MPs, we're letting this corrupt political establishment firmly entrench themselves even more - why on earth would we want that? We're ending up with the 21st century equivalent of a one-party State - you can vote for any party you like, as long as they're part of the establishment.

"Enhanced" vetting - and vetting more generally - should be restricted to only those jobs, roles, offices, etc, where it's genuinely necessary and justified. Where there are viable alternatives - such as by having visitors to schools accompanied by school staff at all times - those alternatives should be used. This widespread "enhanced" vetting that's being introduced is totally unacceptable in what is supposed to be a free, just, democratic society.

If we get it right, then MPs won't be seen to be somehow specially exempt when they're not required to undergo "enhanced" vetting.

Talking about dangers to democracy, and how little of it we have: Is it time for an active pro-democracy movement here in the UK? You know, with banners and marches and stuff. Pro-democracy movements are the sorts of things associated with undemocratic countries, dictatorships and totalitarian states. Isn't it about time we had a proper pro-democracy movement here?

Megaphone - POWER TO THE PEOPLE!

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Anonymous Coward

Harman

> Harriet Harman’s call for "common sense" suggests either that she does not understand her government’s legislation – or that she is trying to distance Labour from the consequences of their own law

Not an exclusive or, of course. Also possible that she wouldn't recognise common sense if she tripped over it...

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Stop

Screwed if you do, screwed if you dont.

I used to coach sports at a local sports center until about 7 years ago when I failed a CRB check. No reason stated, other than I was unsuitable to work with vunerable people.

It took me months before I was finally able to find out the reason - a contested parking ticket, by which time I had let my coaching qualifications lapse and I have no intention of having to go through the humiliation of failing a CRB again (as I no doubt will as I've since contested more parking tickets).

If a job now requires me to have a CRB check, or this vetting crap, I wont apply. As soon as you fail one of these CRB checks everyone seems to know about it and your looked on with scorn as you only ever fail if your a paedophile. Failing for a f*****g contested parking ticket is absolutely outrageous and puts a lot of undue stress on the person at the centre of it all as they try to clear their name (not that everyone will ever believe you again).

Now that the scheme can include rumours and false accusations I definately dont want to go near any jobs that require it.

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FAIL

Does this mean

an end to seeing that Gordon Brown hanging around schools every time he wants a photo-opportunity.

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Pint

Well said, Sir!

"In other words, Ministers do not work: they merely visit."

Couldn't have put it better or more succinctly myself.

Full marks.

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Terminator

is anyone else...

....sick to the back teeth with this government. It's one farcical implementation after another.

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Gold badge

Re: All access should be vetted

"Let's not two or three tier this, get a damn eCRB or don't come into the building."

Careful how you phrase that last bit. No parent would be happy with a situation where they were legally obliged to send their children into a building that they themselves are barred from. Classroom helpers are one thing, but if I have to come into the school to talk to a teacher, I'm not going to get a CRB check first.

Happily, neither of my children's schools are daft enough to ask for such a thing. Sadly, they clearly are torn between wanting to hear from you but under pressure to ensure that you don't come into contact with other people's children whilst doing so.

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FAIL

You can trust us...

... but we don't trust you.

- HM Government

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Big Brother

The world goes bonkers...

Delightfully bonkers - but just wait for all the injustices to come. I just hope I'm not a victim. The Guardian published a piece recently about a man who was sacked from his job as a teacher (having been employed for only 8 weeks) because he'd been accused of causing an affray. The jury acquitted him on the grounds that he'd been attacked and had acted in self defense. The school took the view that being accused of a crime was the same as being convicted of a crime, and therefore sacked him.

What an interesting future we're going to have!!

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Trust in the hyperreal

The real and the surreal in this issue have as usual been well aired here. Time to look at the hyperreal.

> The conclusion from their two year consultancy exercise focused on the potential for a relationship of trust to build up. The logic is clear: the more trust children place in particular adults, the greater the potential for abuse of that trust.

The first thing about the hyperreal is that there is no real, no representation. The hyperreal is always bigger, better, more real than reality. The second thing is that trust, as an index of practise, functions like narratives do for the theoretical. Thus 12 years of nu liebore spinning necessarily has entailed 12 years of the progressive corrosion of the concept of trust. Trust is suspect per se - there is effectively no trust, and no-one to trust. Bona fide relationships are thus inevitably untrustworthy. But there is one exception - and it is very necessary for it to be there to prevent the concept of trust disappearing completely from redundancy or neglect, or from being totally meaningless (or only as a gauge of spatio-temporal proximity).

The paedophile, we are told, is an absolute expert in creating trust - in "grooming" children to have a relationship. Totally dedicated, totally irridentist - not even the best physicians can distract the paedophile from his (or her) mission. But the paedophile's relationship is purely for sex, which makes it a minimal sort of relationship - it is difficult to conceive a paedophile appraising a child for his/her wit, intelligence, material success, charm, grace, etc etc. Yet in this hyperreal, the successful paedophile, for all his limitations in relationships in general, is in fact the exemplar of success in relationships, relatively speaking. Within his/her frame of reference, noone does relationships better than the paedophile. Of all relationships that are give and take, his is most weighted towards take, and paid for with apparently the least - the most economically and politically efficient. That makes the paedophile hated and envied, just as success does in other fields, but particularly from the economic and socio-political points of view. His/her tendency to avoid the limelight only compounds that hate and envy.

Ed Balls at the DCSF is an ex hack. As such he knows well how to spin a story. As a cabinet minister his insulation from reality is hermetic, almost perfect. Even his name is more hyperreal than real.

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Joke

Baby face

I thought kissing babies was how you became an MP.

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Anonymous Coward

What about work experience kids?

Following the goverment's logic, because we occasionally give 2 week work experience placements to 15 year olds, should everyone at my place of work be vetted?

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Megaphone

@is anyone else

"....sick to the back teeth with this government. It's one farcical implementation after another."

I am. I'm quite surprised at the level of hatred I have for the government. If I were to get wind of a modern-day Guy Fawkes plot, I genuinely do not know whether I'd tell anyone.

However, having said that and despite all appearances to the contrary, I don't believe that they really are a bunch of fascists. Yes, Paw Broon has all the charisma of a sack of potatoes and far too many of his ministers are utterly, irretrievably and terminally incompetent, but they genuinely do believe that they're doing what the Great British Public wants.

Most of the people who read The Register are educationally and intellectually way above average. No, I can't prove that, but I'm suggesting it on the basis that if you're as thick as pigshit, you'll struggle to hold down a job in IT. Spare the management jokes for a moment folks, this is serious.

The point is that you can be as thick as pigshit and still have a vote. To get into power, politicians have to attract the votes of the chavs, the feckless, the illiterate and the lazy - in fact everyone over 18 who isn't in the slammer or banged up in Broadmoor.

The analysis done by The Register has provoked quite justifiable anger and outrage among its readers. However, we're bright enough to understand the consequences. There are a few folks on here who I'd love to put on Question Time against some of the more idiotic government ministers.

Now, compare that with the garbage that fills the BBC's Speak Your Branes. You're far more likely to find a more representative example of the Great British Public there than you are on El Reg. Just about everyone's heard of the BBC. Skim read it for a while. Don't go into detail - your brain may start rotting - but look at the sentiments. The Government should do this. The Government should do that. The Government should lock up the hoodies. The Government should give me an index-linked pension. The Government should guarantee my savings. The Government should come round and wipe my arse after I've taken a dump.

Ever since 1945 - and possibly before that for all I know - political parties have based their manifestos on making things wonderful for all of us. And we've voted for that, time and time again. Both Labour and the Conservatives have been guilty of this, so it's pointless blaming ZaNuLiarBore or Margaret Thatcher - Milk Snatcher. It goes back a very long way.

It's 64 years since the end of the war. Since then, we've had twelve prime ministers, six changes of ruling party and a whole generation is nearing or past retirement age having known nothing else other than a government that knows what's best for us. Complacency is widespread - turnout at General Elections is consistently low and getting lower. Some of the reasons for not voting are pathetic - "they're all as bad as each other", "there's no party that represents my views", "there's nothing in it for me", "it's my democratic right not to vote" and so on. And I'm willing to be that a lot of the people who piss and moan the loudest on Speak Your Branes about ZaNuLiarBore couldn't be arsed to get themselves down the polling station at the last General Election.

Faced with that, successive governments and oppositions have become ever more populist and tabloid in their approach. Shock horror headline? Out with some more half-arsed legislation, as the government has to be seen to be Doing Something About It. And a database or two or three or four.

Don't lay all the blame at Labour's door. They're merely the latest and most inept incarnation of the populist approach so far. The Conservatives were just as guilty - the Video Recordings Bill and Dangerous Dogs Acts are two examples that spring to mind. Knee-jerk reactions after tabloid hysteria.

Unless there's a major change of attitude very soon, you can expect more of the same from the Conservatives. They may get rid of the more invidious elements of the fascist police state that Labour have built, but they'll still have a nanny state attitude that will manifest itself in restrictive legislation and social engineering through taxation. ICBW, but I think it was Nigel Lawson (Thatcher's first Chancellor) that came up with the idea.

The only way to change that approach is to seriously upset the political apple cart. A huge turn away from the mainstream parties is just about the only thing I can see that would succeed. That, or a particularly nasty and violent revolution.

But neither of those things will happen while people can't be bothered to vote.

Megaphone, because I keep thinking of a certain Pink Floyd film.

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