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February 14, 2007



"The UK actually - surprisingly? - scores above-average on the educational achievement of 15-year-olds"

Surprisingly? I'm absolutely astonished, tell you the truth.


So can we please clobber for once and for all that the answer to this problem is MORE state intrusion in parenting.

The problem arises precisely because the state has stepped in and allowed parents to shirk their responsibilities.

The state needs to step back and declare in no uncertain terms: "YOUR CHILDREN ARE YOUR RESPONSIBILITY. STEP UP TO THE PLATE."

Seriously the author of the report was arguing for MORE state involvement and more taxpayer cash on R4 this morning.

It goes without saying that this idea was received with nods and encouragement by Naughtie. Toss pot.


"Is it too much to hope that the Unicef report will cause them to reconsider, and focus more upon the real duties of parents than upon the imagined duties of tax-payers and the government?"

Dunno. I'll ask some of the youngsters on the top deck of the number 40 to Avonmouth tonight and let you know what they say.


I agree that there is a limit to what the state can do to improve the position of children without involvement and co-operation from their parents. However, surely the problem is, if this is not forthcoming from some parents - how can we ensure they 'step up to the plate'?


"The problem arises precisely because the state has stepped in and allowed parents to shirk their responsibilities"

Couple of problems with that argument. One is that in general terms the countries that topped the child welfare league have larger states than Britain. The other is the shortage of evidence that child welfare was better served by laissez faire.


Btw, Chris - bit of a fan of JS Mill too, although not as much as you. And especially not when he came out this this guff, which shows him at his most unpleasant and, contrary to what he, and you, say - illiberal. Laws 'restricting marriage' pre-contraception, to no sex. Not very realistic then, and while state enforced celibacy obviously isn't necessary now, not very realistic for today. What would happen, for example, if a couple had the means, had children, then lost their 'sufficient means'? Or what to do if people simply ignore this law, whatever shape it would take? Those arguing for family allowances at the turn of the century made the point that while individuals may be irresponsible, it doesn't follow that the children, who are blameless, should suffer overly as a result. This argument is still sound today. Anyway, problem with these rich folk: don't breed enough, do they?


"Laws 'restricting marriage' pre-contraception, to no sex"

Sorry, should say, "equated to".

james higham

...The problem arises precisely because the state has stepped in and allowed parents to shirk their responsibilities...

Cleanthes is correct here.

Not Saussure

The problem arises precisely because ... There speaks a man with a simple solution, and to my mind such a man is usually dangerous to listen to when it comes to social problems.

Seriously, why should we assume that something as complex as these survey results can be diagnosed as having any one cause? I'd have thought that the government's mania for testing probably has something to do with children apparently feeling unhappy with school, but that's not necessarily what's causing them to go out and get drunk -- presumably alcohol prices relative to the cash children have to spend have something to do with that, though clearly they're not the only factor, as I imagine do marketing campaigns (again, not the only factor).


Laws that prohibit marriage do not exceed legitimate state power and are not violations of liberty? Good grief, what century was the man living in? Oh, hang on a sec...

Chris Williams

(the ones who aren't drunk, high or lard-buckets are shagging like rabbits)

And this is a bad thing? They are teenagers.

NB - ask me again once it's my kids doing this.

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