Lynne Featherstone responds
Oct 15, 2009
Bishop Hill in Civil liberties, Home education

Lynne Featherstone has been kind enough to respond in the comments thread on my original posting. I am reproducing her comment here in full.

It is because I am interested in finding a way to back your freedoms that I firstly took time to meet constituents, secondly took time to write about the issue very broadly on my blog; thirdly took time to read and response to comments - and am open to the arguments people people have made. But if all the home educators'responses are simply about slagging me off for even wanting to hear the arguments, daring to examine the concerns raised by the Badman Review and see what the challenges are to complete and absolute freedoms - then how liberal are you? If you cannot tolerate discourse and scrutiny and your only response is to attack me ........

Anyway - you have all helped shaped my views and over on my blog there are one or two really good posts that I have found helpful and constructive.

Firstly I have to take issue with the comment about all home educators slagging Lynne off. None of the commenters on my earlier posting have made any personal comments about Lynne. I see nothing in my own post that could be seen as abusive either, although not being a home educator, I presumably don't fall into the category Lynne defines. Whatever might have been said elsewhere, I would hope that Lynne would recognise that this site has been conducted in orderly fashion.

That said, there is a conundrum for us on the outside looking in at our representatives. When we observe our parliamentarians discussing the abolition of long-cherished freedoms, are we really expected to stand and watch with equanimity? Are we to make polite representations suggesting that perhaps the abolition of the assumption of innocence is not such a good idea and maybe politicians might like to reconsider? Extremism in the defence of liberty is no vice and moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue.

I infer from Lynne's own site that she is now receptive to the civil liberties defence of home education, which is welcome, and speaks of a certain strength of character in the face of some strong criticism. But I'm still not satisfied (and when I say this I am not trying to "slag off" Lynne in particular, but parliamentarians as a whole): should it not concern us that we outside parliament are having to point out to our elected representatives that what they are proposing is such a disastrous infringement of our rights? How is it that we have elected people who need to have this explained to them?

Isn't the first job of parliamentarians to defend the liberties of the people?


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