Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Freedom or Death

Tech, Freedom In Education blogger, recently made a comment on her Facebook status:
"Capitulation? No thanks. I'll go down fighting for what is right, not what is the best of a bad job!"
I may be wrong, but this may be in response to Kelly's post on her blog, suggesting (opening for debate, not advocating) that home educators in the UK might consider working for a change in law that may be beneficial rather than rejecting any change out of hand.

The following was my initial reaction. I will probably tidy this up and repost it at some point, time, work and poorly baby permitting.



The thing is we've been put in a position where capitulation, or compromise of any sort is now impossible. Fourteen months ago, when I was a young, silly optimist, I'd have said that fair negotiation towards mutual preference were the secret of civilised life. However now the government have shown they are anything but civilised or fair (and I've no reason to believe the other parties would be any better) it's become impossible to do anything but go for a hard line defence of what are basic human truths: the parent has first and only say in the upbringing of their child and the state should be severely limited in it's powers so that it acts as a safety net to catch those for whom there is evidence of need, not as a watchdog, seeking out bad things to pounce on.

This would go a long way towards sorting out the problems that led to the deaths of Khyra Ishaq, Baby Peter, etc as it would mean SS were available and resourced to deal with real problem cases and not spending all their time and energy running around doing 'just in case' checks on hundreds of people who are doing very well on their own.

Also if LA powers were thus limited, and the staff properly trained and motivated, people who
do want help and guidance might be more willing to call on them voluntarily as a service. After all, a public service is what they are supposed to be.

Finally, if LAs no longer had statutory duties to invade the privacy of anyone they fancy, they would not have the grave responsibilities which lead to all and sundry desperately trying to cover their backs, pass the buck and avoid potentially litigious issues. Perhaps then some more kids might actually get help they need.

But we live in the real world and the vast, creaking machinery of control and supervision that has been constructed in the name of the god of safeguarding is unlikely to be dismantled quickly. It has been built over decades and would take decades more to deconstruct, even if there was a popular will to do so, which there certainly isn't. Despite recent movements like the Convention on Modern Liberty, there is an underlying feeling among the majority of the population of the UK (and of Europe, and probably most of the Western world) that the state
should monitor and adjust and look after its people. Safeguarding (the paranoid and precipitate idea that "it shouldn't be allowed" and "someone should do something" that kills any kind of personal responsibility) is the cry of a lazy public who want everything done for them. There can be no victory for freedom until the vast majority of people are made to see what passive, docile suckers they've become. Given the effort that has been put in over the last century to turn human beings into consumers (passive, isolated, receptive, selfish), I'm not sure how likely this is.

Freedom or death was the Suffragette cry. As a people we are no nearer true freedom than we were a century ago. In the absence of an escape route, it seems all we can choose is to slide further towards death, kicking and spitting as we go. If anyone has evidence for the contrary, reason for hope, please let me know cos it's looking pretty bleak from here.

25 comments:

  1. I used your facebook comment in my most recent post, which also quotes Techla. As I said there, in my heart, I am with you. I find even notification an invasion. In fact, you guys have inspired me so much that I may just have to practise my little tiny act of civil disobedience this year and allow Peanuts and Ramalamadingdong to go unregistered (shock horror!). Although, frankly, here, nobody's going to notice.

    I am sorry it is looking bleak to you. Wish I had something useful to contribute. Of course, it could go like Bruce says and the money to spend on stupidities, like chasing down home educators, will simply dry up. Actually, I think that's pretty likely. Things must be looking pretty bad for the pound, actually, because Bruce ordered shoes from Harrods today, and he only does that when the pound is very, very weak.

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