Friday, July 17, 2009

The School Vetting Affair.

It's the story everyone is talking about-or were talking about yesterday- the decision by Phillip Pullman and other children's authors to refuse to submit to the governments vetting procedure for people who visit schools. I asked some of the leading figures in the debate to explain their positions:

Phillip Pullman, Children’s Author:

I’m sorry whilst I do appreciate that this scheme must apply to the little people, but do you know who I am? As Britain’s leading children’s author I shouldn’t be made to feel that I am being treated like a sex offender, or even worse an ordinary member of the public. It is preposterous and degrading.

We children’s authors should be exempt from the Vetting and Barring scheme, and we should also get a free pass for avoiding airport security and using the bus lane during the rush hour.

Ed Balls, Schools Secretary:

I understand the frustration felt by writers like Mr Pullman, but child safety is the number one priority for this Labour government. In my role as a cabinet minister I visit many schools and have been frankly dismayed at some of the people who hang out near them. At one recent visit to { name of school deleted in order to deter sex offenders} I often see sinister looking men lurking in the corridors with bulging eyes staring who terrify the children. I have since asked for all mirrors to be removed in future.

Beatrix Campbell OBE, Child Protection Expert:

If it is worth letting someone check your body and examine the contents of your bag at an airport, then it is worth letting the computer check whether you've committed crimes against children before you are allowed to attract their attention in their schools.

However as I have previously demonstrated most police officers in Britain are part of a giant conspiracy to abuse children and are likely to allow their fellow satanists off scot free. Therefore we need a more reliable method to ascertain whether unconvicted sex offenders like Mr Pullman are guilty. As we need an objective method that can't be compromised. If Pullman really wants to skulk around in schools then he should register with social services then we can set up a system where he will be tied to a chair and dunked in a lake- it is well known that Satanists float in these circumstances.

Maud Flanders, Cartoon Character:

The Children!!!! Won't someone please think of the children?

Gary Glitter, Musician:

Whilst Philip Pullman rightly raises the inconvenience cause to innocent people like him, the impact of the Vetting Scheme is felt even more strongly by us actual sex offenders. Instead of being able to wonder into schools to talk to/ molest the children we now have do so outside of school premises.

Julie Bindel, Lunatic:

The voices protecting someone like Pullman who I am not accusing of any crime are louder than those that speak up for his victims. Philip Pullman may not have been caught and convicted molesting any children yet but lets not be complacent. Unfortunately the legal system is set up to protect and perpetuate male violence so we can't simply ban all men from going within 100 metres of children.

Surprisingly I live at home with my cat, who has to wear a bell on her collar so that she can't sneak up on any birds or rodents, is it really too much to demand that men be required to wear these bells too. Are children less important than sparrows?


JuliaM said...


But I think you are being a little hard on Pullman - the 'I'm not to be subject to the same laws as anyone else' is the rgument Anthony Browne accused him of makng in 'The Times'.

But that's not his attitude at all. He argues that authors giving talks should be treated differently because their access is different, and not because they themselves are different.

Pavlov's Cat said...

Well put about that horrible Campbell woman, how does she still get paid.

As a huge pedant and nitpicker (NVQ lvl 2) can I point out that it's Helen Lovejoy whose catchphrase is "What about the children?! Won't somebody please think of the children!?"

James Higham said...

The people who thought up this rule are total a-s-h-l-s

Ross said...

But that's not his attitude at all. "

But doesn't the stupid implementation of the rule cover all people whose contact is as infrequent as theirs?

"As a huge pedant and nitpicker (NVQ lvl 2) can I point out that it's Helen Lovejoy whose catchphrase is "

Yes you're right. I've been getting that wrong for years.

JuliaM said...

"But doesn't the stupid implementation of the rule cover all people whose contact is as infrequent as theirs?"

There was some debate over that at the CiF columns on it (and Henry Porter has written a new one today).

Some said it doesn't, some said it did if they did 'repeat business', as it were.

I just think it's the wrong tack to take - this legislation is poorly thought out and immoral, regardless of who it covers..

Ross said...

"I just think it's the wrong tack to take"

I see your point and I realise that making fun of all sides implies that there is no substantial difference between each side. On the other hand why ignore an open goal?

banned said...

I've not yet seen it mentioned but people like Mr Pullman would be required to pay ( and wait ) for a CRB check for each and every Local Authority whose schools he visited. CRB certificates are not transferable in fact it is illegal to show them to anyone except the subject and his/her employer or sponsor.

Ross said...

"CRB certificates are not transferable "

I didn't know that, in that case it is even more ridiculous.

Anonymous said...

The problem with CRB disclosures is that they can now be used for any job, whether are not there is exposure to children or vulnerable adults.

Under the new proposals marketing assistants at weight management companies helping those with BMIs of over 25 will have to be CRB checked because the otherwise healthy patients where refered by the NHS for obesity. I don't know many fat people call themselves vulnerable.

Can the CRB get back to protecting children and real vulnerable adults.