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« The wisdom of African cats | Main | What is the point of Shami Chakrabarti? »

Liberty awakens?

Rubbing the sleep from its eyes, Britain's premier human rights organisation has snuffled sluggishly from its summer slumber, ready to shuffle valiantly to the aid of the oppressed.

Is there a problem, they wonder?

News reaches me that Liberty has finally got round to replying to some of the inquiries about where it stands on the Badman review of HE. This was published something like six weeks ago, but no doubt the freedom fighters have had other things on their minds, like Shami's latest TV appearance.

If Liberty are going to stir themselves into action, that's good news. There's plenty for them to get angry about in relation to the Badman review:

1. Presumption of innocence. It should not be for parents to prove anything to the state.
2. Warrantless searches. Even freed criminals are not subject to search of their homes without a warrant.
3. Discrimination. Preschooling families are not subject to warrantless searches etc. Why should HE families have to endure this? Or is the intention to extend the new laws to everyone?
4. Breach of right to family life (protected under the Human Rights Act)?
5. Breach of right to education according to ones principles (ditto)?

I think this will create a problem for Liberty. Their instincts will be to follow the woolly lefty line of  "balancing the human rights of parents and child". If Shami does come out with this line, it will have the unfortunate result of making her sound clearly and unequivocally like a cross betweeen David Blunkett and Charles Clark. 

This would, I'm sure you'll agree, be rather unfortunate.

Another alternative is of course to recognise that there are some pretty fundamental civil liberties in play here: the presumption of innocence and warrantless searches (although the latter is now a liberty that is honoured more in the breach than in the observance). Can Liberty really come out and say that these are going to have to be secondary considerations?

My prediction - Liberty will equivocate. They will say that entry should be demanded sensitively, or some words to that effect.

Or then again, maybe they'll find it more tactful to curl up and go back to sleep.


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Reader Comments (12)

"Discrimination. Preschooling families are not subject to warrantless searches etc. "

don't tell badman !

i am sure he will work out a way to get rid of the discrimination problem...
Jul 12, 2009 at 2:28 AM | Unregistered Commenterper
In a way, that's what I'm hoping. As it stands, the HE community is a relatively isolated minority who can be attacked by the government without anyone taking much notice. If they start trying to legislate against all families, people will take notice.
Jul 12, 2009 at 5:56 AM | Registered CommenterBishop Hill
Children should have the right to privacy, intellectual property, freedom of association and freedom from unwarranted searches too. Many HE children are saying quite explicitly, (in two separate surveys now), that they do not want to see LA personnel in any capacity. Results: 77% and 78% said no to any visit. 90% of HE children refused to see LA officer alone, as Badman recommends.

Shami needs to know this - she should be fighting for the liberty of CHILDREN, just as HE parents are fighting for this as they see it as their duty. She should support us unequivocally.

She also needs to know that Badman's recommendations were based on faulty figures. He claimed that a high number of HEors were "known to social care" which is not the same as being known to be at risk of abuse. Loads of HEOrs are "known to social care" as a result of spurious referrals and using services for special needs children. FOI results now show that in fact the rate of abuse in HE community is actually under half the national average. Shami needs to know this too: Badman's proposals were based on false premises.
Jul 12, 2009 at 8:50 AM | Unregistered CommenterCarlotta
"Discrimination. Preschooling families are not subject to warrantless searches etc. Why should HE families have to endure this? Or is the intention to extend the new laws to everyone?"

I read an article reviewing abuse cases this week that suggested precisely this. Can't remember who was making the recommendation, will have a search and see if it comes back to me.

Ah yes, here we go:

"The introduction of a compulsory annual visit by a health visitor or trained advocate is suggested to ensure that the most at-risk children (about 68 per cent of cases involved children from birth to four) can express concerns to a professional."

Because obviously children up to 4 will know that they can express their concerns to a health visitor won't they? They won't know what they are living through is not normal!

The odd thing was that as far as I could tell from this article, pretty much all these children were known to the authorities one way or another, there is no hint that any of them were hidden. What is being said is that the warning signs were missed or just downright ignored by the ppl they came into contact with. So obviously it will help to have to add a whole bunch of children to the at risk category just because they are home educated. :(
Jul 12, 2009 at 8:57 AM | Unregistered CommenterJax
I do wish that Home Educators would learn how the world actually works.

Liberty is a sham organization, a fake charity fronted by a barrister that used to work for the Home Office.

Millions of people are fooled by Liberty and accept its leader as being genuine because she looks like an 'Indian' and has short cropped hair making her 'probably a lesbian'. What better cover for a government agent to run a front organization like Liberty? No one would dare question its motives or the honesty of the people in it, especially its mouthpiece, because everyone assumes that a 'Lesbian Indian' could NEVER be a double agent working for the government as a gatekeeper.

Read this:

For a rundown of Shami Chackrabati.

Even if Shami and Liberty were 100% genuine organizations, they have no power to remove legislation from the statute books or directly protect you in any way. All they do is talk. Alot. Appealing to them successfully and having them proclaim that the Badman Report is completely contrary to your rights and liberties will achieve exactly nothing. The Government will ignore them and their conclusions just as they always do. You are wasting your time writing about Liberty and Shami in this way, and whoever sent an inquiry to them to comment on the report is also a time waster.

Your liberty is not something that you get by appealing to a third party. Is is something that you need to take for yourself. If Shami and Liberty say, as you propose they might, that 'a balance needs to be struck' or some other weasel words, does that mean that they are right? Of course it doesn't. Right and wrong are not determined by the pronouncements of the heads of fake charities, or governments. All of the above are the reasons why appealing to Liberty are wrong headed; if they say you are right and 'stand up' for you, nothing happens. If they say you are wrong, what they say doesn't count as it is invalid on its face. You are in a lose lose position with Liberty and Shami Chackrabati. They exist to waste your time, to divert your energy away from planning and doing things that will get you what you want.

If you want to achieve anything, you need to think clearly and then set the goal in advance before you act. Your goal must be well defined. If your goal is to go fishing, you go to a river or the sea with a fishing rod and and the right bait, and then fish. If you wanted to fish, you would not write a letter to a fake charity and then expect to catch a bass would you?! The same logic applies to this matter.

I say to you that you need to put your foot down and declare what you will not accept. You need to be prepared to do anything necessary to preserve your liberty and the liberty of your children. Appeals to government, fake charities and their impotent talking heads will do nothing to help you. Whatever action you decide to take, it needs to be clearly thought out, with your winning at the end of it being the only goal. If you cannot say that what you are doing is going to lead directly to what you want, you are better off putting your energies towards something that will.
Jul 12, 2009 at 11:51 AM | Unregistered CommenterDonald Duck
What would you suggest?
Jul 12, 2009 at 7:20 PM | Registered CommenterBishop Hill
Ideally what I would accept...short of compulsion in education being removed entirely, that autonomous education be written into statute as a legitimate option.
Jul 12, 2009 at 7:54 PM | Unregistered CommenterCarlotta
I have heard that same theme elsewhere - that Sharmi is just there as a fake opposition, a kind of lesbian straw man.

The idea goes like this: The govt announces yet another crack down on something. Maybe farting in the bath for example. Universal Shami appears on the "Today" programme the following morning going all sanctimonious and and preaching away like she does. The average listener is so pi55ed off at hearing her yet again that they just tune out and think the original govt idea must be sensible.
Jul 13, 2009 at 6:12 AM | Unregistered CommenterJack Hughes
I don't think she's a lesbian - married with children IIRC.
Jul 13, 2009 at 7:57 AM | Registered CommenterBishop Hill
As I imagine HE are nearly all middle-class and white Liberty won't be particulary bothered. They are way, way down on the list of "oppressed minorities".
Jul 13, 2009 at 4:07 PM | Unregistered CommenterRob

I don't think that's right - the research suggests that it's a complete cross-section of society.
Jul 13, 2009 at 5:53 PM | Registered CommenterBishop Hill
I really believe they are bringing in these changes for home educators - a minority group where not many non home educators are prepared to support- in order to set a precedent for bringing it in for the under fives. That would bring much louder opposition but if there is already a legal precedent with home education then they can argue to bring them in line with what happens for other "unseen" children who don't use state childcare/education services.
Jul 14, 2009 at 8:38 AM | Unregistered CommenterJo

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