Wednesday, 4 February 2009

Wednesday 04/02/09

Why does White Van Man insist on driving 5 yards from my rear bumper on icy roads?

It was pointed out to me yesterday that Jimmy Knapp couldn’t head the Conservative Task Force looking into ICT in schools, as he died in 2001. However, being dead is not necessarily a bar to positions of political responsibility – as evidenced by the House of Lords.

Following on from yesterday’s post about the so-called proselytising nurse; I had a quick shuftie at the National Secular Society’s website, as they lodged a complaint about her offering to say a prayer for a patient. They’re promoting de-baptisation, which, if you ask me, is the sure mark of a nutter. If you don’t believe baptism confers anything meaningful on you in the first place, then de-baptism is going to achieve even less and is just an exercise in having a good rant about nothing (something with which I’m intimately familiar).

I’m all for campaigns to eliminate the negative influence of religion in developing the policies of government, public service, etc., but a person’s private belief is their own affair and if you want to say prayers to the Magic Teapot on my behalf, then all power to you if it makes you feel good. As long as you’re not preventing me doing what I want to do because of your belief system, then what you do in the privacy of your own home, temple or stone circle is no concern of mine. Tell me I can’t go to the loo more than 3 times a day because your god has a problem with it, or that your god says I must stone someone for having committed adultery, then you’re guaranteed to get my back up.

Currently I do not believe in a god, but present me with concrete evidence to the contrary and I guarantee I will change my mind. Some religious people are on record as saying that even if shown proof-positive of no God, it will still not shake their faith. That’s because their view of their god is so integral to their view of themselves that they can’t step aside and view themselves (or their god) objectively. To do so would be a denial of the last thing they can hold on to - themselves.

The Scottish SPCA is upset that the RSPCA has been collecting money north of the border and spending it on animals in England. I can hear the cry now: “Scottish money for Scottish cruelty.” Why on earth is there a separate Scottish SPCA? Surely if it merged with the RSPCA there would be some considerable admin savings that could be devoted to a greater number of animals? Oh, hang on – that would mean some directors being made redundant, so it’s not a viable option, is it?

A major independent report on childhood says that the aggressive pursuit of personal success by adults is now the greatest threat to British children. It states that children with separate, single or step parents are 50% more likely to fail at school, have low esteem, be unpopular with other children and have behavioural difficulties, anxiety or depression. I have personal experience of this.

There is no need what-so-ever for a child from a broken home to feel anxious, providing both parents communicate, put the children’s interests before their own and work together at sharing the responsibilities. All too often, the resident parent (which usually happens to be the mother) makes that impossible by running away, not facing up to their responsibilities and alienating the children from the non-resident parent.

In a number of jurisdictions it’s a recognised condition – Parental Alienation Syndrome or PAS – and is punishable by law. The condition is recognised in the US and Canada, but not the UK, where family courts have an atrocious reputation for failing non-resident parents, hence the need for organisations such as Fathers-4-Justice. In a recent case in Canada a mother was jailed for alienating her children from their father.

Detractors of PAS say that, though presented as a reliable concept, the syndrome lacks scientific validity and thus reliability. The lack of scientific validity may well be true, but that’s only because no-one has yet bothered to study it in any depth. There’s no denying though that parental alienation exists and extreme, obsessive, and ongoing parental alienation can cause terrible psychological damage to children extending well into adulthood.

Lady Justice Hale stated: It is my unhappy experience, borne out by other anecdotal evidence and confirmed by the Official Solicitor's department that there seems to be an increasing number of cases coming before the family courts where contact between a young child and the absent parent has become bedevilled by stubborn opposition to contact being shown by the child which may, or may not, be evidence of some implacable hostility on the part of the other parent.

Lady Elizabeth Butler-Sloss, retired President of the Family division, (the top UK family court judge) stated: There is, of course, no doubt that some parents, particularly mothers, are responsible for alienating their children from their fathers without good reason and thereby creating this sometimes insoluble problem. That unhappy state of affairs, well known in family courts, is a long way from being a recognized syndrome requiring mental health professionals to play an expert role.

It’s little wonder that in 40% of divorce cases the absent father loses contact with his children after as little as 2 years and desperate fathers resort to donning Superhero costumes and abseiling down Gordon Brown.

The saddest aspect of parental alienation is that the resident parent is so utterly convinced of their moral rectitude that they are blind to anxiety this sets up in the children and its adverse long-term psychological damage. If not blind to it, they defend themselves by ascribing the cause to the non-resident parent.

A major diplomatic incident has occurred. It’s on par with the infamous Laura Ashley bog paper incident of 1984. The government has been criticised for displaying the Union flag upside down at the signing of a trade agreement with China.

Who but a total nerd would notice? How can you even tell unless you’re 6 inches from the damned thing? Believe it or not, the upside-down Union flag is a maritime distress signal, but given that it’s almost impossible to determine whether it is in fact upside-down at any distance, I pity any sailor that actually had the poor foresight to use it. If the natives have a problem ascertaining which way up it should be, then what chance does a foreigner have? For the life of me I can’t understand why the flag can’t be given major axis symmetry by removing the double fault line in the cross of St Patrick. Come to think of it, what is the cross of St Patrick doing on the flag in the first place? I thought Eire was an independent country with its own flag.

Today is the 4th anniversary of FaceBook. I’ve been struggling with it for just over a week now and find it slow, intensely frustrating and as much use as an upside-down Union flag. The irony of these networking systems is that the more they proliferate, the less use they become.


  1. Always thought-provoking, Sire, and I have responded to your Meme challenge today on my blog - It took me bleeding ages!

    This may bring some additional traffic to your site, or sight, and may encourage some of your lurkers to de-lurk!

    Is your eye better yet?

  2. Woman,

    Yes thanks, the eye is now back to normal bloodshot.


    PS - what on earth is a hemetho? It's the security word I have to enter in order to post.