May 28, 2003

Once again there is more

Once again there is more news worthy of comment than I can hope to cover. So here are the highlights…

More Missing Money

I know I have been harping on about schools having to cut teachers and everything else because there is a £500 million shortfall, even though the Government has increased education spending by 11%.

Monday we found £800 million wasted. Yesterday, I found another £650 million. The Government spent this on a programme to reduce truancy. What did they get for our money? A 15% increase in truancy since Labour came to power, that’s what. They’ve even started putting parents in jail because of their children’s unexcused absences and it has had no effect.

More Jailed Parents

Legislation is being introduced by the Labour Scottish Executive (that’s what we call the devolved Scottish government) to jail the parents of re-offending teenagers. That’s right, sort of a two-strikes-and-someone-else-is-out law.

The way it works is that if a teenager gets an antisocial behaviour order made against them and they defy the order, the parent can be ordered to “act in the best interests of their children”. Any failure to act in the child’s interests would be regarded as an offence, punishable by anything from fines to prison time.

Setting aside for a minute legal quagmire which would result, I just have note that this is the same Executive that wants to ban spanking in Scotland (but they’ve had to withdraw their proposals because of lack of support). So, the way this government wants it, you can’t spank your kids when they are little, but you will go to jail if they don’t behave when they are older.

The Italian Way

Keeping on the same theme, the Italians have a different approach: jail the parents for what they kids do when they are little. I kid you not.

The Italian police have arrested a seven year old English boy little pieces of stone from the bell tower of the Duomo, the cathedral in Florence. It’s not that the stones hit anyone. In fact, no one actually saw him throw or drop anything. The little boy had a piece of decorated terracotta in his possession that he had picked up a souvenir and it was similar to terracotta that appeared to have been thrown from the cathedral.

Quoted in The Times, the boy’s father said, “It was just unbelievable, like something out of a film. We were walking down from the tower and suddenly we were surrounded by police, frogmarched to a car and driven away. Simon was absolutely traumatised. It was humiliating and frightening.”

They were released after three hours in custody, but after returning to England they were told by the Italian authorities they could have the charge dismissed by paying a fine plus the prosecutor’s fees, totally £350. Otherwise the father has to return to Italy to be tried in his son’s place, because the child is under the age of criminal responsibility. In other words, he is too young to have known what he was doing (even though no one saw him do anything), but somebody’s gonna pay.

Now Back to Our Own Injustice System

They can seem to keep poor ol’ Tony Martin out of the news. I mentioned some while back that he was denied early release because he was deemed dangerous for believing he was right in using a shotgun to defend his house against burglars. In case you missed it, yes, that’s right, because he believes the wrong things.

Now the chairman of the parole board has taken it a step further. David Hatch believes Tony is a dangerous man because he could influence others into believing he was right. It is not enough that the country already believes Tony Martin was right. It’s not enough that the newspapers have come out saying Tony Martin was right. It would seem that Mr Hatch believes there is yet one unconverted soul who would have been swayed into the heterodoxy of self-defence if Tony had allowed to return home six months early.

More Heterodoxy

I just found out yesterday that the Church of England officially stopped believing in hell in 1996. The things you find out reading the newspaper. Quoting as usual from The Times:

In its 1996 report The Mystery of Salvation, by the Doctrine Commission, the Church of England said: “Hell is not eternal torment, but it is the final and irrevocable choosing of that which is opposed to God so completely and so absolutely that the only end is total non-being.”

This came up because although the 38 Anglican primates meeting in Brazil declined to endorse services blessing services for gay couples because it is “still a cause of potentially divisive controversy,” because “there is no theological consensus about same-sex unions”. Nonetheless, the Canadians are charging ahead with these rites which originate from that same place the Church of England doesn’t believe in.

The Archbishop of Canterbury is convinced that the Church will eventually change its mind and that such outdated attitudes will eventually go the way of other discarded doctrines. I don’t doubt that this is true of the Anglican Communion in the northern hemisphere. They’ve discarded just about everything else on the path to that place they don’t believe in anymore.

Posted by david at May 28, 2003 10:08 PM