Monday, 16 January 2012

Next, the government will be sending texts telling us when to defecate

In order to combat the dire reading, writing and speaking skills of British children, Jean Gross, the outgoing “communication champion” for children (!) has suggested that the Department for Education should send new mothers and fathers texts telling them to switch off the television and reminding them to speak to their children. “Every parent I’ve met wants the best for their child, but not every parent knows what to do,” said Mrs Gross – who, I was surprised to discover, is a living person rather than one of Michael Wharton’s creations . “Parents are not doing a bad job,” gee, thanks, Jean! – “but often they need the information to do better.”

And we all know who thinks they have that information and who’s gagging to ram it down our throats!

According to the Daily Telegraph, Mrs Gross, who, inevitably, has just been awarded a CBE (for being a very silly, cosmically bossy woman, one presumes) was simply bursting with brilliant ideas. “Imagine that parents could sign up when they are pregnant to a service called ‘You amazing baby’, and get regular tests (sic) sent to their smartphones. For example, one text might say, ‘Did you know that even in the first few months after birth, your baby can imitate you?”

Number of problems here. First, not every parent wants the best for their child - they all say they do, because saying it's easy: if you genuinely want the best for your child, you actually do something about it. Second, their baby might not be in the least bit amazing. Third, given the sort of people this service would be aimed at, is it such a good idea for babies to imitate mothers who are so lazy, stupid or mean that they can’t even be bothered to buy books about rearing their offspring or to look up parenting advice on the internet and who, according to Mrs Gross, have the TV on all day? After all do we really want the first word they utter to be “benefits” or “shaddap!” and for their standard facial expression to be one of sullen, resentful entitlement?

There’s an excellent post on Telegraph Blogs this morning from Alan Massie – “One by one, Lord Macaulay's predictions are coming true. The government will soon choose our wives” in which he quotes extensively from Macauly’s attacks on Gladstone’s fondness for state interference in the personal realm:
"Why should they not take away the child from the mother, select the nurse, regulate the school, overlook the playground, fix the hours of labour and of recreation, prescribe what ballads shall be sung, what tunes shall be played, what books shall be read, what physic shall be swallowed? Why should they not choose our wives, limit our expenses, and stint us to a certain number of dishes of meat, of glasses of wine, and cups of tea?"
As Massie points out, welcome to our world!

Of course, it’s practically impossible to write about fatuous liberal jerks without mentioning Nicholas William Peter Clegg, who has just announced plans to create a “John Lewis” economy by encouraging companies to offer shares to their employees. See how it works? A complete business virgin glances at the Anti-Business Pages of the Guardian, notices that John Lewis is ever so successful, feels all warm inside when he reads that pay and profits are distributed among employees, because that sounds so lovably communal and equable and progressive – and concludes that that’ll work for every business in the UK. Problem solved!

Listen, Clegg, you wanker – if you want business to succeed, stop pretending you have a clue how to run one, then lower taxes, scrap all that EU-imposed red tape (some of which you no doubt helped dream up) and get out the bloody way.

In case you think I was being unfair to Mrs Gross at the start of this post, she also suggested that the text service she proposes could also include advice on health, sleep, food and lavatory training. As I wasn’t fully awake, I rather wondered whether she meant for babies or adults. Still, I’m sure there’s some ridiculous taxpayer-funded, honours-laden “expert” drawing up plans right now to tell me when it’s time for my next visit to the lavatory, with a follow-up text reminding me to wipe my bottom.


  1. Honestly.

    Such cynicism.

    The state has only our best interests at heart. Just look at this article in the Telegraph:

    State to help elderly downsize as Government tackles housing crisis
    Elderly homeowners will be encouraged to downsize to smaller properties and allow councils to rent their homes to local families under Coalition plans to ease the nation’s housing crisis ...

  2. Are you feeling "elderly"?

    Then why not invite that nice Mr Grant Shapps round to "encourage" you?

    It's progressive, there's something in this for everyone. Not just the encouraged elderly but also the squeezed investment banker:

    ... the scheme could be funded using “social impact bonds”, the Coalition’s new method for attracting private-sector investment in public projects which provide a social benefit.

    You can almost hear Robert Peston's market report in five year's time:

    Sentiment was soft on the tired old equities markets today. The only sign of a pulse on any exchange was in social impact bonds, the dynamic market where prices have gone through the roof, literally, and yields are in the basement. If you didn't go in through the front door early, you missed out, because this one will run and run – there seems to be an almost limitless supply of old people to push out the back door, and as the years go by, there will only be more and more of them ...

  3. The Times have got a stonker of a lead story today – Revolt over Labour’s raid on its local party assets:

    Labour is forcing local parties to hand over their headquarters buildings, enabling it to shore up its precarious finances, The Times has learnt.

    The move allows the party, which has a deficit of millions of pounds, to raise loans against the properties. It has caused unrest in constituency offices, which have been told that they will be thrown out of Labour unless they agree to sign over their assets.

    If that's what Labour thinks of property rights, people have been warned – next time, vote Conservative, and ... let Grant Shapps expropriate your property instead.

    While Labour’s finances have improved since the huge deficit run up after the 2005 general election, it still has a £7.5 million deficit on its books.

    There's that word again, "deficit". What is it about Labour and deficits? They must love them.

    Who will lend against Labour's new property portfolio? The unions seem to be a bit cross with the party just at the moment, so we can rule them out. Lloyds TSB and RBS can be instructed by the government not to. It's beginning to look like Northern Rock. Or Virgin Money, as it now is – Richard Branson.

    In the course of transferring property from the constituency parties to the nominee company, does a liability to capital gains tax arise? Or SDLT? Or stamp duty? Have the Eds' bean counters thought this through?

    Maybe they've been encouraged by naughty old Grant ...

  4. God, I can't wait to invest every penny I've got in those social impact bonds - as you say, an obvious winner, if ever I heard one!

    As for downsizing, my wife and I have discussed moving into the garden shed to allow the council to "rent" (i.e. "give") our house to an Albanian or Somaii family, or similar. I think it's important that we all do our bit to ameliorate the effects of mass immigration, given that we all begged the government for so long to open the floodgates. I'm sure we could also see our way to lending the new occupants a few bob to tide them over. And, as I'm retired, maybe I could hoover the place every few days and take care of the laundry. I'd offer to cook for them as well, but I doubt they appreciate the local cuisine. And we'll do our best to learn their language(s), of course.

    Yes, I know it's a sacrifice, but I just can't for the life of me think of any other way of easing a housing shortage which has been exacerbated by recently allowing in hundreds of thousands of immigrants. Nope, it's got me stumped!