I’ve posted several times on the tactics my local council (and others) are using to gain personal information from children. The last post was this one in which Kenneth Roy had taken up the cudgels of the extremely intrusive Evidence2Success surveys and offered the Social Research Unit at Dartington a right of reply.
Yesterday in the Scottish Review, Dr Tim Hobbs, a senior researcher at Dartington, responded with an article entitled ‘Why we asked those ‘sensitive’ questions’. Please do read it. I’ve read it three times now and find it extraordinary that he considers 'all the survey questions were ‘suitable’ and tried and tested nationally and internationally and were reviewed and approved by an ethics committee’ without stating his evidence links. In this day and age it’s so easy to verify such declarations without the need to travel to reference libraries and the like, yet Mr Hobbs feels no need to substantiate his claims.
Why not? Because it seems he’s super-confident on the partnerships he has with public bodies, not least the executive director of education at my own council, Perth and Kinross and also analytical services within the Scottish Government.
For what it’s worth, his defence smacks to Common Purpose, that shady organisation which trains ‘elite’ to brainwash the masses. However, I can find no proof that Mr Hobbs or any of those in the office of analytical services in the Scottish Government has attended any Common Purpose course. It’s just a gut feeling I have after trying hard to read between the lines of his article.
The most worrying sentence in the article, apart from the paragraph concerning their (mis)use of data protection and the fact that he doesn’t answer why they asked the ’sensitive’ questions, is the following:
For example, the British Educational Research Association (BERA) draws attention to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, which states that children who are capable of forming their own views (and we argue that children age nine and above typically are), should be granted the right to express their views freely in all matters affecting them, and that this spirit should extend to research contexts involving young people. (my bold)
'Children of nine are capable of forming their own views’. It’s nearly 50 years since I was nine and yes, I was quite possibly capable of forming my own views, but many of them changed with the weather. To have had them formally recorded by the state and held on file for the rest of my life would have been beyond the belief of any sane individual. Yet it’s happening in Scotland now and the government is aiding and abetting the action. Horrific.
Once again may I commend Dee Cooper and Sheila for ensuring this style of personal intrusion into children’s lives has been brought to the public’s attention.