Tuesday, July 04, 2006
1984 was not just the pigment (yes I know!...just me amusing myself with a play on words) of George Orwell's imagination, it seems to be becoming reality.
Nanny has decided to formalise the surveillance of all children, including information on whether they eat five portions of fruit and vegetables a day.
The new Big Brother monitoring system comes in the form of a £224M database, which will track all 12 million children in England and Wales from birth.
Nanny expects that the system will go live within two years; given how crappy Nanny is at implementing IT systems, we can safely assume that this deadline will slip somewhat!
The system will require doctors, schools and the police to alert Nanny about a wide range of "concerns". Two warning flags on a child's record could start an investigation.
There will also be a system of targets and performance indicators for children's development. Children's services have been told to work together to make sure that targets are met.
God only knows what they are!
Dr Eileen Munro, of the LSE, is not happy and notes that if a child failed to make progress towards state targets, detailed information would be gathered. That would include subjective judgements such as "Is the parent providing a positive role model?", as well as sensitive information such as a parent's mental health.
Dr Munro said:
"They include consuming five portions of fruit and veg a day,
which I am baffled how they will measure.
The country is moving from
'parents are free to bring children up as they think best
as long as they are not abusive or neglectful'
to a more coercive
'parents must bring children up to conform
to the state's views of what is best'."
Dr Munro makes a very good, and indeed obvious point, how the hell do you measure if children are eating 5 portions of fruit and veg?
Bowel exams maybe?
The Children Act 2004 gave the Government the powers to create the database.
Arch, the children's rights organisation, put it succinctly:
"Government databases have a dreadful record."
Nanny's lackeys in the Department for Education and Skills said:
"Parents and young people will be able to ask to see their data
and make amendments
and will retain full rights under the Data Protection Act."
By then it will be too late, their child will have been carted off by Nanny's child catchers.