1 April 2007

Extending compulsion - where to begin?

The present government of the United Kingdom are an appalling bunch. The current continuous stream of stupid ideas, many of them invasive and authoritarian, is a seminal achievement for a party that, prior to coming to power, appeared to champion individual rights against the government: the Human Rights Act and Freedom of Information Act being two examples in point.

The motivation for this blog was what is perhaps the most ridiculous idea yet — extending the compulsory school leaving age to 18. As Fabian has suggested, this is simply "conscription by another name" (hat tip to Perry de Havilland of Samizdata for the analogy).

The "Sexual Offences Act 2003" has already redefined "child" within the meaning of English, Welsh and Northern Irish law to be "under 18", admittedly within limited circumstances. (This leads to some amazing daftness. E.g. you can have a consensual one-night stand with a 16 or 17 year old — but you can be prosecuted for having a nude picture of your partner, because it isn't an "enduring family relationship". How crazy is that?) However, back to the point.

Alan Johnson, and the lackeys that advise him, have decided that the only way to address the manifest failures of the comprehensive education system to enthuse large portions of England's youth (and to provide many of those who are keen with the basics of the education they need to function in the modern workplace), is to force them to stay at the school they despise for even longer. Backed by criminal sanctions against both young adult and parents.

As a parent, I would like you to consider this:

Your son or daughter leaves home at 16, moves into a flat and marries (or enters into a civil partnership) with their significant other. Their full-time employer provides them with an hour of guided learning each working day (less than the proposed 280 hour per year minimum.) And you would still be criminally liable for ensuring they do the extra 20 minutes per day?
We need to fight this particular stupidity, as well as all the others we come across. Please help us.

Surreptitious Evil

1 comment:

Roger Thornhill said...

I feel This is all part of a general infantilsation of the population plus a diversion to cover up the unemployability of the product of the State system - i.e. young people.

p.s.good stuff here and at SE's main site.