Saturday, 20 June 2009

Crass Stupidity

What an arrogantly patronising, nanny state, pointless waste of taxpayers' money.

My anger is only just subsiding.

No, in fact it's not. I am absolutely incandescently fucked off.

Yesterday, La Famillie Cragsbury had a visit from our health visitor. One of those milestone check ups for very young children. Now she is a nice lady; a sprightly 50-60, sparky, lively, originally Canadian. Full of good advice and reassurance. All good so far.

But what has gripped my shit is what she gave us: a purple 'conference giveaway' style plastic briefcase, containing:

2 children's books - Owl Babies, Elmer's Friends
3 handout leaflets
2 posters
1 sheet of stickers

This apparently is part of a Government funded project called 'Bookstart'. I have now looked into it. The facts (such as they are):

Bookstart is a project which you and I, the taxpayer, has thrown cash at for some years now, funding 25% of the project. The basic idea is as follows: "Bookstart aims to provide a free pack of books to every baby in the UK, to inspire, stimulate and create a love of reading that will give children a flying start in life. But most of all we want to show that books are fun."

PC, lefty, 'right on' laudable stuff you might think. But hold on, is that really what taxpayers should be throwing their hard earned cash at? Isn't learning to read at the 0-3 age group a parental responsibility? Why should the taxpayer fund this at all? Nice to do if the money is free, but it's not. It is hard earned cash, ripped out of the pay packets of normal, everyday average men and women whom earn around £25k pa on average. Not Fred the Shed. He's in the top o.1%. No, normal hard working ordinary people, desperately trying to afford books for their own kids. WTF should they be forced to fund other people's lack of application as parents?

As ever an initiative like this has some solid junk science behind it. Here it is, straight from the Bookstart website:

"Wade & Moore undertook an observational study, where parents shared a book with their children, of two to three years, and compared Bookstart families with a non-Bookstart sample.

83% of Bookstart parents read the whole text compared with 34% of non-Bookstart parents. 64% talked about the story, compared with only 24%. 43% encouraged the child to join in, compared with 17%. 68% encouraged the child to make predictions, compared with 38%
68% of Bookstart children looked at books as one of their favourite activities 21% for children who had not received Bookstart. 75% of Bookstart parents said they usually bought books as presents for their children compared with 10% for parents who had not received Bookstart. 43% of Bookstart parents took their children to the library at least once a month compared with 17% for parents who had not received Bookstart. "

Brilliant so, actually we are training the parents, rather than the children. Isn't that what we should be doing at school? Instead of stalactites and stalagmites, instead of oxbow lakes and Venn diagrams, how about teaching the 16 year old girls who will shortly be getting up the duff several times by various itinerant job seekers, how to parent properly as they are likely to have had appalling parenting example up till this point no doubt.

How screwed up is our society? Instead of addressing the disease, we throw charitable and taxpayer resources at the symptoms.

As I said at the beginning, this initiative is arrogantly patronising, nanny state bollocks at its worst and a pointless waste of taxpayers' money. God save us.

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