Thursday, 9 January 2014

‘Why we asked those ‘sensitive’ questions'

library picture

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.


Joe Public said...

From the Scottish Review article "One of our activities involves trying to help public bodies decide how best to spend money on children and families."

Could it be too cynical to contemplate that the Dartington Social Research Unit recommend that public bodies fund the Dartington SRU as a means of quantifyably 'being seen to be doing something'?

'Create a need' is classic jobs-worth preservation.

Antisthenes said...

In your previous article about Scottish independence one person commented that all was well with democracy because of all the elections that took place. That may have been true once but not any longer as this article in a round about way demonstrates. When the role of government was many times less than it is now and the state considerably smaller representative democracy which we practice in the UK worked well but it has now transmogrified into representative dictatorship. We do elect our councillors and MPs (but we only elect them on the basis of who will give us the most of something for nothing) but then once we have they become totally unaccountable and do what ever they wish without any real need to justify their actions. As the UK has now become a dependency and entitlement society that relies on massive redistribution of wealth us the people now have a vested interest in maintaining those in office who will by any means required keep this gravy train on the rails. For redistribution to work it is necessary to ensure the creators and givers of wealth by force if necessary, which is all of the time as giving through taxes is enshrined in law and enforced with the threat of punishment, continue to give. This leads to a state that has to be authoritarian in nature and powerful and not be overly challenged by it's citizens. This transfer of power to the state will continue to grow as givers become more reluctant to give and the receivers more voracious in their appetite to receive. This system has no mechanism that supports creation only consumption so becomes tyrannical in structure and so finally a fully fledged one party socialist state is born only to eventually fail when all the wealth is gone. If we are to have true democracy power has to be wrestled away from the politicians as they wrestled them away from the monarchs. To do that representative has to be replace by direct so that accountability is restored and government and their officials cannot ride roughshod over anyone they choose. The downside of having a true democracy of course is the givers are given an equal say as receivers and that may mean a return to more personal responsibility and self-reliance and judging by many of the comments I have read on your site will not go down too well with the majority.

JRB said...

This is but another example of the mindset that is rapidly becoming the norm within all levels of bureaucracy and authority, regardless of the implications on either the individual or society as a whole ---
.... "We do it because we can"

Sheila said...

Thanks for the mention :)

The E2S fiasco has done a great job raising awareness - there are now a whole lot more well-informed parents out there :)

Alice Moore said...

Naomi- whats-her-name had conversations with the Children`s Minister about how wonderful was the idea of early interventions.

Naomi whats-her-name happens to be a trustee of the organisation you are talking about.

No conflict of interest here. And we must TRUST THEM of course in the care of our children.

I think not.

I can provide the evidence but can`t remember the names at this moment.

Alice Moore said...

Up half the night, but I`ve got her name. Naomi Eisenstadt, Sure Start. She met with Aileen Campbell on 31 May 2013 and sang her priases. She happens to be one of the trustees of the Social Research Unit

Well no conflicts of interest there.

TRUST US they say.

No way.

Demetrius said...

Ah, Dartington, once run by the Elmhirst's. They were also once the Squires of Worsbrough by Barnsley and a certain Arthur Scargill was a protégée. Small world. As a child if asked questions I did not like by bossy intrusive adults I always gave silly answers.

subrosa said...

That’s the way I see it too Joe.

subrosa said...

Antisthenes, thank you for your contribution.

What I don’t understand is your last sentence because the majority of my readers do take personal responsibility and self reliance seriously.

subrosa said...

Therein lies the tragedy JRB and nobody seems capable of calling a halt to this behaviour.

subrosa said...

I just wish it reached them all Sheila, but we do our best.

subrosa said...

Alice, thanks for taking the trouble to find out that name. I’ll pass it on and look further into it.

subrosa said...

Me too I’m sure Demetrius, but my answers were never officially recorded and kept on file for the rest of my life.

Antisthenes said...

Subarosa. Thank you for your thank you. My contribution was to try to explain why the kind of thing that you are talking about so easily takes place and why there is very little that we ordinary people can do much about it because we are complicit in encouraging such behaviour. I was trying to demonstrate that because we have unhealthy self-interests we are abrogating our personal responsibilities and self-reliance to government. This in turn allows government to take advantage and pull power from the people to itself. It is a difficult concept and it is understandable that you believe that people do take personal responsibility and self-reliance seriously and believe that they exercise them assiduously all of the time. However the reality is that most demand that government do this or that and supply them with many of their needs that hitherto they did not expect government to do or give but found ways to do and find for themselves. I am not against being reliant on government for some things because those some things are best done collectively. However we now have a situation that government does too many things and that is destroying our democracy and our ability to hold them to account. So I suggest that although people say they are for personal responsibility and self-reliance they are only stating what they sincerely believe but are not actually exercising in fact. I concede I do not always articulate myself well and my grammar leaves a lot to be desired so accept that maybe I am not explaining myself in a way that is all that understandable for which I apologise. I am much troubled about the political path that most are following these days and am trying to point out the dangers and the consequences of treading it. To me too much socialism and being progressive is in the end going to be damaging economically and socially and our wealth, well being and civil liberties are at great risk of being forfeited.

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