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Thursday, 27 November, 2008

Ian Lacey | 17:47 UK time, Thursday, 27 November 2008

Gavin presents tonight's Newsnight - here's his rundown of what to expect.

"This is a horrific incident which has shocked and outraged people around the world" - Prime Minister Gordon Brown on the Mumbai terror attacks.

Who did it and why? We'll have the latest on the terrorist attacks and the hostage situation, plus analysis of the kind of groups who may have carried out these attacks. And the big question: was this internal terrorism or an attack given support from outside India's borders as the Prime Minister of India claims?
We will also discuss the future of India after this major terror attack.

Rich Gulf nations are ploughing money into Sudan - using its fertile land to grow food for their people. This at a time when the people of Darfur are starving and relying on handouts from the international community.

Baby P
Martin Narey, Chief Executive of Barnardo's - which has promoted its cause recently using some very shocking and arresting advertisements - said last night:

"The tragic probability is that had baby P survived, and following a childhood of abuse, he might have been unruly by the time he was 13 or 14. At which point he'd have become 'feral', 'a parasite', 'a yob', 'helping to infest our streets'. All quotes used recently, on newspaper websites about children. And our response? We'd probably have locked him up."

Beyond the shock value of this statement, is there something to the wider argument that in many developed countries there remains a group of families in a continual cycle of poverty and abuse, where those who do the abusing have themselves been scarred by some history of childhood abuse? We'll debate.



  • Comment number 1.

    " there something to the wider argument that in many developed countries there remains a group of families in a continual cycle of poverty and abuse, where those who do the abusing have themselves been scarred by some history of childhood abuse? We'll debate."

    But it isn't a matter of 'debate' is it? Truth is not determined by 'debate'. Thee truth of issues likes this are determined by empirical research. Will there be any discussion of that on the programme or will it come down to people 'debating' (opining and arguing) maybe a popular vote from the public, i.e. one for Frank and his twiddly knobs?

    One gets the impession that most journalists don't understand what 'evidence based' refers to. The term 'debatable' is used in science to highlight when the empirical evidence is equivocable.

    For example, how does one tease apart (for instance) whether adult abusive behaviour is a consequence of having been "scarred by some history of childhood abuse" or just through having inherited the behaviours genetically from parents?

    There are procedures for answering such questions, and they do not include 'debate'.

  • Comment number 2.


    Today, I heard Most High Paddy Ashdown deploring acts of terror - of which he recited a list. But he left out 'Shock and Awe'.
    When we bombed Baghdad, it was not called 'Comeuppance' nor 'Death and Destruction'; it was called: SHOCK AND AWE.
    Shock at the ferocity and awe at the scope, adding up to a TERRIFYING EXPERIENCE for the human's caught up in it. In short it was a TERROR ATTACK on 'innocent women and children' just like those nasty terrorist do.

    Either the Americans did not care who knew, or they were too dumb to realise what a Freudian give-away the name was.
    Fine heroes for Pure White Tony to cling to!

    So let's remember (can you hear me Paddy?) WE are no less tainted with the ways of terrorism than the 'bad guys'. So let's drop the stance - to late with the bombs.

  • Comment number 3.

    #1 JadedJean
    As you regularly quote highly dubious "empirical research" you have probably shot your own argument in the foot.

    You could also have been clearer about why you want to talk about genetics - because you want to talk about race. Because you are a race "realist".

    Newsnight will not obey you so why not just explain that resistance is futile and threaten to invade Poland or something equally exciting. You could take your pals with you and share the car.

    On India it had seemed that the intelligence on "spectaculars" by al Qaeda affiliates had improved - does Mumbai show that international coordination was not up to scratch? I find it hard to believe something as large and well planned as this did not show up on the radar.

  • Comment number 4.


    Isn't all evidence open to debate? I find it very difficult to believe that something can be 'proven' 100%. All the evidence can suggest that something is true, but is that the end of it? A piece of evidence tomorrow could discount all of that.

    And that's discounting the 'interpretation' of statistics.

    That is actually a pretty profound statement from Barnardo's, and it's no doubt accurate. The vilifying young people is a cause of the 'problem' in my opinion, not to mention the barriers it puts in place to actually coming up with proper solutions.

  • Comment number 5.

    thegangofone (#3) "As you regularly quote highly dubious "empirical research" you have probably shot your own argument in the foot."

    What argument is that? Are you sure that you understand what others write?

    Why are you inciting contributors to invade a member state of the EU? Isn't that (at least) against House Rules?

  • Comment number 6.

    #3 re #1

    The points made in that post seem entirely valid. Debate may lead to a conclusion based on the prejudice of the most charismatic of the debaters (or the one with the biggest gob).

  • Comment number 7.

    This is off thread but worthy of note.

    "Tony Blair has joined the ranks of wealthy Labour donors, Electoral Commission figures show.

    The former PM, who has earned up to £12m since leaving No 10, gave £7,500 to the party in September this year.

    The ex-PM is estimated to have earned about £12m since quitting as PM, from public speaking engagements, a £4.6m book deal and about £2.5m for advising two banks. "

  • Comment number 8.

    Barrie, I think there are others you should be directing these sorts of comments at before Paddy Ashdown. The Lib Dems opposed the events you talk of.

  • Comment number 9.


    I found this on the BBC Monitor site , maybe a clue to the timing and motives of the terrorist attacks ?

    December 7, 13, 17, 24

    KASHMIR: Fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh phases of legislative election in Jammu and Kashmir (Indian news agency PTI)

  • Comment number 10.

    #1 JJ

    Are you asking fundamental questions that your Uncle Barrie has warned us about asking?

    Are you asking questions you already know the answers to?

    Though I do do those "less attractive jobs" construction, engineering and farming that Grad Student 1 talked about.

    Unbelievably I have also been a contributor to Government reports on "evidence based" research and policy.

    I also end up in London at conferences to 'advise' the Government. More Professors in the room than you can shake a stick at, senior civil servants etc.

    The only people who aren't there, are politicians. So I am told things and learn things, from other people who are right at the top.

    In 2004 we were talking about evidence based research and policy etc. As one very senior civil servant told me.

    You can have all the evidence based policy you want. But when it ends up on a Ministers desk they can decide to take it or leave it. It seems such a waste with so much time and research going into something, but it can end in the bin with the click of a finger and thumb. So much science gone.

    So who are these people who 'debate'. You know the answer. Those with the verbal skills. Barrie recently wrote about having philosophers and psychologists in Westminster.

    I would add engineers, ecologists, oceanographers etc. Not sponsored by or working for the corporate dollar. But pure and independent.

    If you have evidence based stuff coming through you undermine the lawyers, barristers etc who make up a vast part of the Westminster machine.

    There are truths, absolute truths and stuff that those with verbal skills will present as truth and try and convince that it is absolute.

    JJ what you are suggesting is moving towards changing the whole basis of how Government(s) survive.

    Neil Robertson (if he is there) I have no doubt be better placed to inform on the Tay Bridge disaster and the subsequent rapid changing of the engineers of the Forth Bridge.

    We have a situation were the verbal debating people some how have just incurred us with a minor £ 1 trillion of debt. Yet they are still there debating why it wasn't their fault.

    I can only surmise that the recent strict banning of knives may be to do with a possible future requirement of politicians to be Samurais and follow the Bushido code.

    Celtic Lion

    PS #2 Barrie. Thank you. You leave me with absolutely nothing more to say or add on this matter tonight. I refer all to comment #2. That's a bit House of Commons ish.

  • Comment number 11.


    Hi Nick. To me, red, yellow, blue, purple or what have you, they are all Westminsterers. Within those walls, the parties form a non-aggression pact in conniving at (even espousing) hypocrisy and dishonour. When any one of them puts their head above the parapet, with an utterance that I feel deserves a poke - I poke. It was Paddy's turn today, but that is simply because he spoke of terrorism as if it is all down to 'them'. I suggest that was prejudice; and we are all intolerant of THAT -aren't we?

  • Comment number 12.

    Hi Barrie,

    Yes, I know your feelings on our parties and perhaps I should have said he opposed the war, rather than the Lib Dems.

    But I agree with you broadly. The whole we are right, they are wrong, we can have nuclear weapons because we are 'responsible' and they can't because they're not argument is utter nonsense.

  • Comment number 13.


    Thanks Nick. Now I can move toward your position without losing face. Wisdom is clearly not yet dead in these lands. (:o)

  • Comment number 14.

    KingCelticLion (#10) You clearly revel in hobbnobbing with 'important' people. Few people are in my experience, and those who do good work often shun the limelight in my experience. It's what's said and done which matters in the end, not people and their egos/narcissism.

    You (and Barrie?) might like to have a look at 'Whitehall: Tragedy and Farce' by Clive Ponting if you haven't already read it. The British Civil Service does employ scientists (they used to be classed as 'Specialists' whilst the rest were classed as Administrators). This all changed in the 80s/90s, as part of unified grading and the general politicisation/undermining of the Civil Service/Public Sector. Like many things which have happened, it was not for the good of the country, just the free-market and those who prosper from it.

  • Comment number 15.

    NickThornsby (#4) Science does not proceed by debate despite New Labour's efforts to feminise the curriculumbut by rigorously testing relations between observations, or more accurately, conjunctions of observations. Conjecture and refutation is not a matter of argument by data and prediction. That debate is not what science is about shold have been clear as far back as 1951 when Quite published 'Two Dogmas of Empircism'.

    Narey was DG of HMP Prison Service and Chief Executive of NOMS, he 'moved on'. What we're hearing now is just more New Labour 'it's all nurture' spin. We know that PPOs can be identified very early in life. The key issue is whether the critical risk factors are genetic.

    My point is that the 'Baby P' issue is being used politically so New Labour and the PC brigade in general can continue peddling their bankrupt environmentalism.

    See HeadStart, SureStart, Aiming High, SEAL and lots more like that. It's all as bad as Brain Gym and 'psychotherapy'. There's no evidence any of it works, and that is not a matter of debate (not thatthat matters these days sadly).

  • Comment number 16.

    NickThornsby (#4) "That is actually a pretty profound statement from Barnardo's, and it's no doubt accurate. The vilifying young people is a cause of the 'problem' in my opinion, not to mention the barriers it puts in place to actually coming up with proper solutions."

    That's rhetoric. 'Young (male) people' and high criminogenic risk go together. Do you recall the internal report on unwitting 'institutional racism' in schools which the press effectively forced out of the DfES (see their Standards Site entitled 'Getting It Right' a year or so back? Look at who they cited as a reference.

    Children can be any up to 18 years of age, and crime peaks in the late teens. Be very wary of all this seemingly innocuous talk of 'children' and how at risk they are. It's political and it's subversive.

    What's needed is better control. Without it, there will be more and more trouble.

    That's an evidence driven statement. It will be interesting to see if we get evidence tonight, or just argument/debate. The latter counts for nothing, it's just rhetoric/spin.

  • Comment number 17.


    So, there's no hope?

    If intervening to try and shape someone's life does not work, that's it? So what can be done?

  • Comment number 18.

    NickThornsby (#17) I'm sad to say, one has to reduce their breeding rate. We can contain some of the behaviour, but that doesn't really amount to changing it the way that most people think. Look at knife and gun crime in our inner cities, epspecialy London. The idea that we can make a difference through changing the environment is definitely not evidence driven. Reconviction rates show that. Despite the recent rhetoric, in the longer term, the crime rate has been going up ever since WWII. The difference between what this government says and what the evidence shows is quite appalling.

    To change populations one has to change how populations are constituted. If one wants to change the phenotype of cattle, pigs, you name it, you don't put them on courses, you breed the characteristic in or out. Why does anyone think that human behaviour is any different?

  • Comment number 19.


    What do you mean by 'better control'?

  • Comment number 20.

    #14 JJ

    You somehow manage to judge people from some bizarre stand point of putting people down.

    Once a year I will go to London, when invited. Is that reveling?

    I have just been for a walk. The stars here are sharp and bright. I have just look back a billion year. The infinity and eternity of the cosmos.

    From here I can walk a few miles and I am in the mountains, alone. With just the occasional deer, Ospreys, Red Squirrels whatever.

    Against all these there is no ego. That's the way I like it.

    I have just been watching a bit of Apocalyse Now, about The Horror, about dropping bombs on children. And about judging people.

    I read everything you post, it even may come as some surprise that I even follow all your links.

    I don't bow to you as some God because I assimilate everything and add it to my own reality matrix. Either take it on board or dismiss it. Depending.

    Obviously you are very intelligent and knowledgable. But unfortunately you come across as writing from the narrowest perspective of reality I have ever come across. A one trick pony, a very good one trick pony, but still a one trick pony.

    What is this?

    KingCelticLion (#10) You clearly revel in hobbnobbing with 'important' people. Few people are in my experience, and those who do good work often shun the limelight in my experience. It's what's said and done which matters in the end, not people and their egos/narcissism.

    You post after post about science and evidence, You whine on about 'opining'. Yet you are the one person who will 'opine' without a full knowledge of the evidence, facts or truth.

    Start applying the mirror of your 'evidence based research' to yourself.

    In my opinion you are coming across as a very intelligent, but insecure person. On what you are projecting.

    Strat living, start loving. If you haven't got a sense of humour, think about it.

    Sometimes I will post something. You will 'educate' me with your knowledge of the subject. I already knew everysingle word of what you posted. This is a general open blog. I know as much as you about the structure of the brain in relation to evolutionary biology.

  • Comment number 21.

    #18 "If one wants to change the phenotype of cattle, pigs, you name it, you don't put them on courses, you breed the characteristic in or out. Why does anyone think that human behaviour is any different?"

    Doesn't prove course could not work for humans. You would need evidence to support such a claim.

    Personally I favour the threat of very harsh punishment as a deterrent. I base that on a mixture of morality from which I hold individuals responsible for their behavior* and observation over the years (most people do not like pain; as Corporal Jones said, "They don't like it up 'em.").

    *There would be exceptions for those intellectually incompetent.

  • Comment number 22.

    Oh **** I went for a walk and looked at the stars. Bought a bottle of red wine on my travels. Somehow I have hit the post comment. [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator] Well JJ there it was. Chill out. We have all a global mission to be part of, if we are to survive. Together. Celtic lion

  • Comment number 23.

    NickThornsby (#19) This is essentially what risk/offender-management is all about - i.e. behaviour-management. Realistically it has always been what 'disposal' (whether in the community or in custody) has been about. It used to be what parenting and schooling was all about too. Spend some time in an inner city secondary school and you'll see how bad it has become.

    People who know very little argue with those who do. Why is that?

    Having watched the programme tonight, I wasn't at all surprised (just disappointed) to hear what Narey had to say. he presided over the NOMS debacle becaus he never listened to those who were behind the original work. As a consequence, the Home Office became 'not fit for purpose' (it was't just the IND). What one has to look at very closely is at what the behaviour-geneticists are saying these days, instead NN had a 'neuroscientist' on which these days may as well have been a 'soup scientist'.

    It would have been better to have had someone like Plomin on. Nobody wants to hear what the truth most probably is. It's not PC, just evidence based.

  • Comment number 24.

    Oh Dear

    Will this get through, you post something I never intended to post. Then moderate me on something I intended to post.

    I went for a walk and looked at the stars.

    Bought a bottle of red wine on my travels.

    Somehow I have hit the post comment.

    Well JJ there it was.

    Chill out. We have all a global mission to be part of, if we are to survive.

    Celtic lion

  • Comment number 25.

    13thMan (#21) Which is why I referred to HeadStart, SureStart, Aiming High, SEAL, 'Cognitive Skills' and I could name dozens of others.

    We know this doesn't work. It's invariably those who don't know the evidence who believe the contrary.

    Trust me on this (or go and check it out). Most people have no idea what 'learning' or behaviour management really is.

  • Comment number 26.


    KingCelticLion (#20) "I know as much as you about the structure of the brain in relation to evolutionary biology."


    How do you know that then?

  • Comment number 27.

    GOODBYE TO ALL THAT (Blogdog! This is irony.)

    Oh dear, as other posters on here are showing serious human failings, in all fairness, I had better assume I come over the same. (I have had the odd hint!)

    I will take one of Celtic Lion's walks, keep my own counsel and chemically sterilise my sons (when they are looking the other way). Then I'll fake a terminal illness, and it's off to Switzerland.

  • Comment number 28.


    Newsnight is to be congratulated on inadvertently pointing-up a fundamental truth of this mad world.

    The (extended) top news item was young men, with an extreme mind-set, being murderous and destructive.

    The final SHORT item inspected the installation of such fury in the minds of the young (with a desperate attempt to make it into a shallow wrangle).

    CLEARLY: The most pressing story is how the young are vulnerable to any impinging force - deliberate or incidental - and that this will keep the world in turmoil (at least) until it is addressed constructively. BUT IT CAME LAST. there is the mad world in a media nut-shell.

  • Comment number 29.

    Very disappointing 'reporting' today. If you must go beyond the facts, at least let's have some intelligent opinion. Ditch the tired and facile suggestions that the cause of terrorist acts can be blamed on a “failure of intelligence”, the unfounded implications that “India blames Pakistan” and the silly factual inaccuracies (“Bombay, the Indian IT industry centre etc.).

  • Comment number 30.

    Baby P 'could have ended up a parasite'

    I suppose he 'could'. We'll never know, will we?

    This Barnado's 'CEO' has not been off the airwaves lately.

    And when he's not there are TV ads that are as incomprehensible as they are misguided.

    'Provoking anger' can be effective at times, but this is purely at the altar of awareness and I wonder how much is to fill executive pay requirements and how much to help kids. Of course, ratings-hungry media are more than happy to be complicit. Thing is, 'could' is really not news, is it? Or maybe I 'could' say, 'should it be?"

    Not a penny of my money will go to this charity's way whilst such a regime and mindset is in place.

    Was this the reaction they sought?

    I'm sure that when he has finished dealing with the main issues at hand in his busy schedule, such as writing to X Factor losers, Gordon 'I think I speak for the world..' Brown will be available to comment? Unless Strictly Come Dancing tears him away to another BBC studio.

  • Comment number 31.

    Sorry didn't watch all Newsnight last night, missed Narey.

    My only comments, my daughter is a new teacher, (I might have said that) and from what she says the older teaching staff have little faith in the children. My daughter is very enthusiastic, and encourages the worst of children, she treats them with respect and has managed to get the majority to respect her, I'm not quite sure how she does it, perhaps her sense of humour. The school is in a very poor area, and the kids are treated as if they will never achieve anything, so their future is already set before they've started secondary education. She does say too many kids are given labels, i.e. ADHD etc. and she feels the kids live up to their label, often she feels it's just the usual childish behaviour. But because in this PC world no-one is allowed to correct a child the kids exploit it to the most.

    And my other comment, my childrens headteacher at their primary school, now retired. Said you can look back through the records of over a hundred years, and it is still the same names coming up year after year in the discipline book. Now why is that? Is it breeding as JJ maintains, or is it that as soon as born they are no-hopers. I can't decide at all, as having helped with reading etc. in that school, some of these kids seemed very bright, but didn't seem to be able to apply themselves. Now is that nature or nurture?

  • Comment number 32.


    Dear Ecolizzie - you have lifted my spirits - and that takes some doing. I was not an 'easy' pupil at school (went to the brink of expulsion, testing mettle). In the Grammar School, I encountered a handful of teachers who (contrary to the dopy saying about good men) triumphed by 'doing nothing'. They embodied those intangible attributes that our society has now seen off; they had presence and dignity; I guess your daughter is one such. The rest manifested varying degrees of psychological damage. (From Dickens to modern comedy, the bitter, sarcastic, vengeful teacher is almost an archetype; but it goes unaddressed.)

    That head teacher's comment on 'the same names in the discipline book' is fascinating.
    I am poised now to write an essay so I'll stop.


  • Comment number 33.

    Well, we can be thankful some still thinking there is no danger of the police becoming politicised might now give pause.

    We are also now in an era of guilt even by association, so just being on the wrong blog (even defending a view) is probably enough to have the Blogstapo alerted. Certainly such as the Guardian is tippy-toeing around trying to be 'balanced'. But it's often those who stray from the core who are first dealt with.

    Originating one is now probably enough for the midnight knock on the door. It's night, and the knives are long.

    The BBC has a few tricky choices to make now. And keeping schtum will be very much still be an active choice, much as it might be felt of as an out.

    Signs are good that this may be discussed, though perhaps not as much as might happen in other circumstances, and I am still wondering about the overnight special email that merely said: 'Conservative MP arrested', with the following by way of clarification: 'Conservative immigration spokesman Damian Green, MP for Ashford in Kent, has been arrested but not charged, says the Conservative Party.'

    Not exactly how it's panning out in the cold hard light of day.

    Often what is not mentioned (or who is invited to comment) can be as telling as what (or who) is.

  • Comment number 34.

    #31 Ecolizzy

    'Mornin Ma'am

    Yes you did say before your daughter was a teacher. I was hoping last night you would put a post.

    I agree with what you say. I haven't done 'teaching' but I have done community work, teaching kids how to put on music/rock concerts and once when I was an asst countryside ranger in woods next to a 'high social stress' estate I was told I was running the summer play schemes, 5 minutes later I had 60 kids to entertain for 6 weeks.

    Plus a few other things related.

    A 'good' politician (sorry Barrie I can see you unmoderated above) may be able to speak. But take away the autocue and the notes?

    A 'good' teacher may do well sticking to the lesson plan, but when it all goes belly up?

    Sometimes you have to let the group go where it is motivated in going. A sort of freeform guidance. Teaching then becomes improvisation. You have an idea where you want to get to, but you have to allow the kids partly to decide the route, because if given the opportunity they will throw in things that interest them. Once they are interested or allowed to be involved then everyone starts learning off each other.

    The teacher becomes a referee keeping some sort of direction. The lesson being played by the kids.

    Your daughter sounds very good, she seems a natural. Especially within a system where the teaching of knowledge, thinking, understanding etc very often takes second place to the passing of tests.

    From experience your daughter may have more problems from a system wanting her to conform to a model which she may realise doesn't work in some circumstances.

    Thanks for making me smile again.

    Celtic Lion

  • Comment number 35.


    ecolizzy (#30) and barrie (#31) It's fine for well meaning people to voice lofty aspirations, preach hope and care etc, but the harsh reality is that experience (both personal and collective(scientific)) teaches professionals that this is just emotive nonsense which doesn't actually make any constructive difference. The professions which work at the coal-faces have high attrition rates and the failure to deliver comes at a high personal cost too. Obviously young professionals believe they can change all this....but they are young, i.e. inexperienced.

    Until more people face up to the reality that people's behaviour is largely an expression of the genes which they inherit, we will just continue to raise false hopes, squander money, and blight lives (including those of the caring professionals).

    What we can do is keep a better eye on those who are at risk, but that is a very expensive strategy in terms of resources and at some point, if it is indeed genetic, people are going to ask the obvious questions.

  • Comment number 36.

    #35 Yes JJ you do voice some of my thoughts there, I keep thinking it's just young enthusiasm, and the older teachers are wiser and as you say have experience.

    Last year she was alloted as a form teacher, and she and her form a year 7 class, all arrived new together. She will be with this form all the way through their years at the school. Now almost half way through year 8, not one has put a foot wrong, they all wear the uniform, she won't even allow a hairslide the wrong colour. But she never shouts at a kid directly, but make some jokey comment, i.e. "and what do I see in your hair, don't let me see it tomorrow". She has an awful lot of these comments, and makes the girls laugh, so they can see she likes them. I will be very interested to see how this form turns out, and what grades they obtain, as it's a mixed ability group. They go to sets after registration etc.

    It's also amazing the quality of these kids lives, out of a class of 23, 7 are statemented. This can be anything, from abuse at home, to deafness in a child, but she can't tell me much about it, as it is all confidential.

    I would agree with you about false hope JJ. Through having my children and talking to teachers over the years, I have gathered kids are given a false sense of hope. A lot think they are going to get fabulous jobs, when in fact they are not clever enough, and no-one wants to train for work i.e. plumber, painter, carpenter, engineer. You are right there should be a more realistic approach to lifes opportunities.

  • Comment number 37.

    ecolizzy (#31) "Is it breeding as JJ maintains, or is it that as soon as born they are no-hopers."

    That's the same thing is it not?

    Ask experienced teachers how schools can improve their results. The answer will be ' improve their intake'. Behaviour modification/management is all a matter of selection and apposite allocation.

  • Comment number 38.

    #32BS You are right about sarcasm, my daughter couldn't stand teachers who were like that. She finds if you are sarcastic with the girls, they have very good answers and instantly dislike you. She seems to have insight into how these young womens lives are, and how they feel, she in fact surprises me. She was bullied very badly at school, and the teachers did nothing, that was a very good lesson for her. She can't abide teachers who do nothing, which is a bit how this country is altogether now, no-one will stand up and be counted. I suppose 'cos we'll be shot down! ; )

    A little more on the headteacher comment. One of the children I helped at school, I mentioned his name to my father (now 85), he said where does he live. He immediately knew of the family, and the way they lived their lives even as a child he knew they were trouble. So why don't generations improve with education?!

    I'm glad I lifted your spirits, I also slip down very easily. : )

  • Comment number 39.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 40.

    #34 Ah CL, goodmorning serf, ; ) you'd laugh even louder if you knew my husbands name! ; )

    You should see the constraints on teachers it's incredible, everything must be by the book. They must follow very strict PC guidelines, she must not lay a finger on any of them. She has had great problems with the younger ones hugging her, and she has to explain it's inappropriate behavoiur and she could lose her job.

    You are right about firing the kids imagination, she tries to do that. And you are spot on when you say you have to find a point or opening they are interested in. Of all things she teaches RE not a subject kids like at all. But she tries to apply it to our modern times, and they talk a lot about morals and philosophy, the subject covers a very wide area these days. Even running into media education and citizenship and human rights etc. And yes I can see problems with her non conforming ways, because passing that test is all, not making a well rounded, educated about life, human being.

  • Comment number 41.


    'Blogstapo' is high value coinage Junkk - will you spend or save? You could buy a 'Blogdog Sniffer-Dog' that sniffs out the Blogdog prior to attack!

    It would be nice to know quite how the Blogstapo operate. I sometimes sense Herr Flick's presence but on other occasions it is definitely von Schmallhausen.

  • Comment number 42.

    On the economy there have long been concerns about debt as expressed in PFI and student loans and the social implications.

    On student loans are there any indications that students from less well of backgrounds are now reconsidering higher education due to current economic fears?

    To save time with the "ultra" propagandists above I think education for all is a good thing and don't think too many females at University is a bad thing.

  • Comment number 43.

    ecolizzy (#38) "So why don't generations improve with education?!"

    Because most people (including most teachers) still don't understand what education/learning really is? Ask them and most will give intentional term loaded 'explanations' which really amount to no more than shifting their lack of understanding to yet other things which they don't understand. That may sound obscure but the paradoxical truth is that mentalistic language/terms are not helpful when one is trying to appositely manage behaviours.

    ADHD is a category of statemented SEN. It requires professional assessment, so anyone disputing an ADHD SEN statement is in effect saying they know better than the professionals or that they don't understand the nature of the condition (it has high heritability and CNS basis). As its prevalence is as high as 5% it's likely that almost every class will have one. The behaviour has to manifest at home and at school, i.e it is not just responsive to particular settings. 'Apple' is also a label as is black and female. They are useful discriminative terms which allow us to better manage behaviour.

  • Comment number 44.

    Barrie #41

    the really irritating characteristic of Blogdog for me is how slow it is. Couldn't they get a younger, faster one? The current model must be wracked with arthritis poor thing. Maybe they could feed it up a bit with some nockwurst?

  • Comment number 45.

    thegangofone (#42) "I think education for all is a good thing and don't think too many females at University is a bad thing."

    Firstly, that depends what one is referring to as 'education for all' does it not?

    Secondly, does it make much difference what one 'thinks'? Most of us believe some things which are in fact false. This is the problem with mentalist (intensional) notions. Is it not more rational to look 'objectively' (extensionally) at the practical social consequences of policies, and on the basis of empirical evidence, let that probabilistically determine what one affirms and denies?

  • Comment number 46.


    Consider the lilies of the fields - they pars not neither do they solve.

    I strongly suspect the human brain is configured to learn, 'osmotically' through being presented with example behaviours in adults.
    I strongly suspect institutionalised schooling is alien to brains that are so configured.
    I am in little doubt that SCHOOLING should take two different forms for males and females, if optimum results are to be achieved and oppression minimised.

    If (as it would seem) we are determined to school our young, let's school them for life competence, up to puberty, then do the 'cramming for Mammon' after that.

  • Comment number 47.

    #40 Ecolizzy

    Gawd Bless Yer Ma'am

    My sister was a nurse went and did a teaching qualification as she had other degrees, so went teaching straight way. Think she had qualifications for teaching other nurses. So knew a little about the 'codes'.

    It's even worse for men just being men alone. I'm 6ft plus and built like a WWF wrestler, got curly hair to my shoulders and a beard that grows in a day. You would think I would send out an aura of "I am a grizzly bear with a bad head go away".

    Oh no. If a dog gets lost it follows me. That's how I got mine who just died after 17 years. Kittens, baby birds, injured birds I find them all, or they find me.

    Then my dog made it worse, was even better than me at finding them and wouldn't give up until I did something. I had birds at the bottom of the bed feeding them every 2 hours and also running a shuttle of injured ones to a RSPCA hospital.

    I always find the young hedgehog lost on the road, the one with the baler twine wrapped on their legs. I was out with the dog a few years ago at midnight and a fox came up to see us. The dog and fox are sniffing noses while I stood there. I swear at the beginning of the summer April/May ish I was walking to the shop and a bird flew straight into my hand had a rest for quarter of a mile, then just flew off again.

    This is all very innocent, but if I am in a crowd of 10,000 people in a city of a million. I will turn round and there's a 7 year old girl or other child.

    "I've lost my mummy" then they start to cry and grab hold of your hand.

    Its always when the girlfriend or my mother isn't with me.

    Twenty years you would just deal with the situation. Where, which shop or find a police man etc. Comfort them, reassure them, calm them down. Just take control, because that is what they want you to do, that is why they have come to you, for help, because they are in a situation they can't deal with.

    Now the first reaction is panic. Help! what do I do?

    You can look after birds and other animals, but not children. What message are we sending out to children?

    Until I read your post I thought/ assumed female teachers were the one group immune and exempt from the paranoid society. Can we no longer just innocently care for others because we are human?

    Your most 'umble servant

    Celtic Lion

  • Comment number 48.


    barrie (#46) Do you not think that the main purpose of schooling is just to keep them off the streets whilst their parents are at work? It also gives the state an opportunity to identify and manage both problems and talents. It's all a big selection, sorting and management process as I see it. I wish more saw it that way.

  • Comment number 49.

    Had a girlfriend once who got custody of her ex boyfriends son, not hers.

    She slapped him on his leg one day.

    "Why did you do that" I asked?

    "Because he was naughty", she said.

    "No, he was being a 7 year old boy", I replied.

    She was a Senior Manager for Social Services. Bizarre!

    #44 New Fazer

    While you're putting in your order for a new Blogdog, could you get a bucket of those squiddly squiggly things........pound signs.

    Mine's run out. Has anyone elses?

    Celtic Lion

  • Comment number 50.

    KingCelticLion (#47) Is the NN Blog the new Facebook?

  • Comment number 51.

    I trust that tonight we'll have good coverage of the Treasury struggling to borrow all the money it needs? See eg Or will your correspondents be bemoaning the lack of press conferences in Mumbai instead?

    OT but on the poetry thread - people might want to check out the lyrics of Dire Straits' song Industrial Disease. Dates back to 1982, but it's surely the only pop song to include the phrase "monetary squeeze"...

  • Comment number 52.

    #47 CL 'ello, 'umble,

    Yes female teachers have to be just as careful. The dreaded word Lesbian, comes to mind. You can have a child in front of you bawling their eyes out, but you mustn't touch them in any way. You mustn't mother the children at all, in fact you mustn't show them human kindness at all, so what message does that send out?!

    My husband and brothers feel the same as you, my brother in law was a teacher and always made sure he wasn't alone with the female pupils in his girls school. I think the minority of perverted people have buggered up the majorities lives.

  • Comment number 53.


    Section 550A of the 1997 Education Act did give authroised staff powers of restraint and there's even a BTEC Level 2 Intermediate Award in Physical Restraint Practice (Care and Control) for Care Staff and Education Staff, where The Children Act 1989, The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, The Education Act 1997, The Violent Crime Reduction Act 2006, The Education and Inspections Act 2006 are covered, but as you say, staff fear that they may be legally challenged. Examples of many school policies on C and R are available on the web.

    Behaviour management in our schools is becoming remarkably similar to behaviour management in our prisons, which is hardly surprising given for many it's their next port of call.

    'Teaching' isn't quite what it used to be.

  • Comment number 54.


    Regarding your final sentence Lizzy (which I would not dare to post) I don't think there is any doubt on that score.
    My assertion is that Nature likes stereotypes: you can be man, woman or quiet. Post-modern claptrap, however, abhors stereotyping.
    The Ape Confused by Language has travelled so far from nature (the highest rewards go to geeks who manipulate money, not those who are animal-dominant) that we now place the aberrant above the majority.
    This has intensified over a number of generations until, it seems, we have no 'reverse gear' available to us.
    When the inevitable catastrophe arrives - biological, atmospheric or cosmic - Nature will re-assert the primacy of Man Woman and Child, and culture will reinstate their roles and interactions. Watch the skies.

    I'll get me wattle and daub.

  • Comment number 55.

    #52 Ecolizzy

    Thanks for the reply.

    Not being in any formalised system, I have no feedback on how other people feel about it.

    So when you do sometimes get into a situation, I wonder if it is just me or do other men start having some 'conflict of interest' imposed on them that wasn't there before.

    Thanks also for giving me the feelings of your husband, brothers and brother in law. You answered a question I never asked but was probably working towards.

    Your most obedient servant

    Celtic Lion

    PS Please tell Charlie I have been on the top of the hills around here and I can see snow on the horizon on Lochnagar and the other mountains round your back garden.

    He won't need much coloured paint if he wants to do some water colours, over Christmas.

  • Comment number 56.

    51. At 4:36pm on 28 Nov 2008, Stop_it_Aggers wrote:

    "OT but on the poetry thread - people might want to check out the lyrics of Dire Straits' song Industrial Disease. Dates back to 1982, but it's surely the only pop song to include the phrase "monetary squeeze"..."

    Good call! I was thinking about doing a cut and paste of a poem called Money. I guessed I might have got rumbled.

    You rekindled some memories, my choice from Love Over Gold is Telegraph Road. As you say Industrial Disease is 82, but TR I think also leads into the present, though about America.

    # 54 Barrie

    Well spotted, just how did she get 'that sentence' past the gatekeepers.

    You have indeed affirmed my suspicions of the last few weeks. Lizzy, hints she lives in the South East and the casual reference to 'my husband and I'.

    I couldn't have got 'that sentence' posted if I had used a row of these *. Some of us are a bit more equal than others, eh Ma'am.

    Also a lack of posts on 'Road' Tax during the budget. Or is that Highway?

    Celtic Lion

  • Comment number 57.


    Hey Celtic me old Aslan - think you might have a touch of Cerebral Mange. You are confusing your Lizzies. Perhaps Eco-Charlie has impinged on your reasoning. Not a lot Eco, about One! A lot of ghillies had to die to yield all that tweed. And headscarves no longer grow wild in the Gloamin'.

  • Comment number 58.

    "I'll get me coat" ; )

    I did wonder about that phrase after I'd hit the send button! oops.

    Oh and me and the kids love Dire Straits.

    [i]Charles thought the eco bit great![/i]

  • Comment number 59.

    #57 Barrie

    Got her rumbled on the 21st

    And #40 above

    can't be too careful. Balmoral isn't too far over the mountains (30ish miles). From here there is only 1 A road to cross in the town, then over the hills. Even the local chemist is by Royal appoinment having branch in Braemar.

    Pretty much "The Lion in Winter" here, those northern peaks look beautiful with the snow, mid afternoon with the low sun they glow pink.

    The temperature is dropping, so I'm going to go for a walk and look at the stars.

    Enjoy this one Barrie if you have 4 minutes. And anyone else who wants a quick break from all the news madness. Even a Blogdog.

    Celtic Lion

  • Comment number 60.


    Have you got the word yet? I think it's emerging as 'harrowing'.


    Hope you didn't mind me having a laugh at your expense. I do really respect what you write, even though it makes me smile.

    Seriously I do think we have a problem Houston. We are all crew members on a spaceship travelling through infinity and eternity. There is no one else to help us.

    I believe we need to stop falling out and fighting each other and find the common cause.


    Celtic Lion

  • Comment number 61.

    ecolizzy (#52) "I think the minority of perverted people have buggered up the majorities lives." Actually (to paraphrase Adler), most people are pretty disgusting once you get to really know them.

  • Comment number 62.

    KingCelticLion (#60) "I believe we need to stop falling out and fighting each other and find the common cause."

    Ever thought of entering a Beauty Contest?

  • Comment number 63.

    CL BS Ha,ha, no I don't mind at all, you've all lightened my mood somewhat, I was rather depressed. And JJ makes me think Thank you : )

  • Comment number 64.

    barrie (#67) "think you might have a touch of Cerebral Mange"

    I was beginning to think it was just me!

  • Comment number 65.


    Be of good cheer Lizzie. Life has no point, the apocalypse is at the door and the lunatics are running the asylum.

    It works for me! (:o)


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