THOUSANDS of the worst families in England are to be put in “sin bins” in a bid to change their bad behaviour, Ed Balls announced yesterday.
The Children’s Secretary set out £400million plans to put 20,000 problem families under 24-hour CCTV super-vision in their own homes.
They will be monitored to ensure that children attend school, go to bed on time and eat proper meals.
Private security guards will also be sent round to carry out home checks, while parents will be given help to combat drug and alcohol addiction.
Around 2,000 families have gone through these Family Intervention Projects so far.
But ministers want to target 20,000 more in the next two years, with each costing between £5,000 and £20,000 – a potential total bill of £400million.
Ministers hope the move will reduce the number of youngsters who get drawn into crime because of their chaotic family lives, as portrayed in Channel 4 comedy drama Shameless.
Sin bin projects operate in half of council areas already but Mr Balls wants every local authority to fund them.
Internet reports are now circulating that Obama’s Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy, John Holdren, penned a 1977 book that approved of and recommended compulsory sterilization and even abortion in some cases, as part of a government population control regime.
Given the general unreliability of Internet quotations, I wanted to go straight to this now-rare text and make sure the reports were both accurate and kept Holdren’s writings in context. Generally speaking, they are, and they do.
The Holdren book, titled Ecoscience and co-authored with Malthus enthusiasts Paul and Anne Ehrlich, weighs in at more than 1,000 pages. Of greatest importance to its discussion of how to limit the human population is its disregard for any ethical considerations.
Holdren (with the Ehrlichs) notes the existence of “moral objections to some proposals…especially to any kind of compulsion.” But his approach is completely amoral. He implies that compulsory population control is less preferable, because of some people’s objections, but he argues repeatedly that it is sometimes necessary, and necessity trumps all ethical objections.
Pretty sick. Gets better.
The recording begins with the sound of a child’s voice. It belongs to a little girl and she is clearly bewildered and distressed.
At one point she begins to cry. At other times she is sobbing uncontrollably. ‘Have you seen the judge yet?’ she can be heard asking pitifully in between the tears before pleading: ‘I want to go home with [you] Mummy and Daddy.’
The recording – and dozens of others just like it – was made during a supervised meeting between the youngster and her parents after their daughter was taken away from them by social workers.
They are known as ‘contact visits’ in the soulless vernacular of the care system, and took place in a room with a table and chairs and a few toys.
One hour. Once a month. That’s the extent of the relationship now between this little seven-year-old girl and her traumatised parents.
There are some parents who do not deserve to see their children more than once a month. Irresponsible parents. Neglectful parents. Abusive parents.
According to care workers, the mother and father of this little girl were found to fall into this category after their home was raided by the RSPCA and at least 18 police officers to deal with a complaint about supposed mistreatment of dogs.
But what if social workers have got it wrong? In the light of Baby P and so many other scandals, it’s hardly impossible is it?
Certainly, the recordings stored on a computer at the family’s home on the South Coast seem to contradict the damaging claims by social services that the girl, whom we shall call Jenny – the girl’s real identity has been suppressed by the courts – did not wish to return to live with her parents.
Jenny’s father spent months taking down every word of the recordings by hand, only to be told by a judge that they had to be professionally transcribed.
By the time they were, it was too late. Moves to put Jenny up for adoption were under way.
This week, after 74 separate court hearings over two harrowing years, the family finally lost their fight to have Jenny returned to them.
The Court of Appeal in London ruled that their daughter must be given up for adoption. If and when she is, they may never see her again.
AMERICAN drone attacks on the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan are causing a massive humanitarian emergency, Pakistani officials claimed after a new attack yesterday killed 13 people.
The dead and injured included foreign militants, but women and children were also killed when two missiles hit a house in the village of Data Khel, near the Afghan border, according to local officials.
As many as 1m people have fled their homes in the Tribal Areas to escape attacks by the unmanned spy planes as well as bombings by the Pakistani army. In Bajaur agency entire villages have been flattened by Pakistani troops under growing American pressure to act against Al-Qaeda militants, who have made the area their base.
Kacha Garhi is one of 11 tented camps across Pakistan’s frontier province once used by Afghan refugees and now inhabited by hundreds of thousands of Pakistanis made homeless in their own land.
So far 546,000 have registered as internally displaced people (IDPs) according to figures provided by Rabia Ali, spokesman for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, and Maqbool Shah Roghani, administrator for IDPs at the Commission for Afghan Refugees.
The commissioner’s office says there are thousands more unregistered people who have taken refuge with relatives and friends or who are in rented accommodation.
Jamil Amjad, the commissioner in charge of the refugees, says the government is running short of resources to feed and shelter such large numbers. A fortnight ago two refugees were killed and six injured in clashes with police during protests over shortages of water, food and tents.
Pakistani forces say they have killed 1,500 militants since launching antiTaliban operations in Bajaur in August. Locals who fled claim that only civilians were killed.
Zeb said he saw dozens of his friends and relatives killed. Villagers were forced to leave bodies unburied as they fled.
Pakistani officials say drone attacks have been stepped up since President Barack Obama took office in Washington, killing at least 81 people. A suicide attacker blew himself up inside a paramilitary base in Islamabad, killing six soldiers and wounding five yesterday.
I’m pretty sure the ‘change’ people were expecting was not an increase in drone attacks.
In his book, Democracy: The God that Failed, Hans Hoppe argued that democracy and government has made people less farsighted and not as concerned with providing for ever more distant goals. Thus, society is tending toward decivilization. As Hoppe described, adults are being turned into children.
Children have very high time preferences, living “day to day and from one immediate gratification to the next,” Hoppe explained. American society has essentially lengthened childhood by creating: adolescence. In a very provocative new book, The Case Against Adolescence: Rediscovering the Adult in Every Teen, psychologist Robert Epstein contends that when mammals reach puberty, they function as adults – except in America that is. Starting a hundred years ago, Americans gradually increased the age of adulthood to what many Americans now believe to be 26. You’ve heard, “30 is the new 20,” and “50 is the new 30.” Soon we will all be kids again.
In a test for “adultness” co-created by the author, the difference between how adults and how teens scored was statistically insignificant: “Age is simply not a reliable measure of adultness,” Epstein writes, “at least not once people are past puberty.”
So what should we do about all of this? Obviously abolishing the myriad of laws restricting teens would be a good first start. But, unfortunately, Epstein believes young (and old) people should be given rights only if they can pass competency tests. And one gets the feeling that government would be doing the administering of these tests – as if government bureaucrats should be trusted with the job.
As well done and interesting as Epstein’s book is, he doesn’t go far enough. As Murray Rothbard wrote in The Ethics of Liberty, a child has rights “when he leaves or ‘runs away’ from home.” Forget the tests; just set kids free.