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School CP - January 1998
Daily Telegraph, London, 30 January 1998
How childcare was hijacked
Activists for 'children's rights' have unwittingly aided the paedophile agenda, argues Lynette Burrows
THE PROGRESS of "children's rights" affords a classic example of the spellbinding effect that can be created by pressure groups. The lobby that has masterminded the movement numbers no more than a couple of dozen people, and yet its effect has been phenomenal. This can be explained only by the fact that its area of interest, the family, was relatively unexploited until a number of administrative decisions were made.
Childcare pressure groups have been influential, if not decisive, in many of the policy decisions concerning children and the family. Most people assume that campaigning groups enjoy public support. In the case of many of the children's rights groups, however, this is not the case. It is worrying that many children's rights organisations are, in fact, started by the same handful of people and that they rely almost entirely on institutional and charitable support.
Peter Newell and Rachel Hodgkin have been involved in the setting-up of no fewer than eight of the most important organisations involved in children's rights, including the Children's Rights Office and the Children's Rights Development Unit. All have enjoyed the support of the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust and the Gulbenkian Foundation. They and their colleagues are influential both here and in Europe, where they are helping to draft parliament regulations for the European Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Together with a dozen or so colleagues, they have produced reports, sat on committees and recommended one another's views on a host of issues, almost invariably within the agenda of the libertarian Left.
It was a Newell group, STOPP, that got a ban on corporal punishment in schools, despite opposition from teachers, parents and even children. Few doubt that the problems associated with poor behaviour in schools have been a result of this decision.
Another of Newell's organisations successfully lobbied Parliament in support of moves for doctors to by-pass parental consent for under-age girls to be prescribed contraceptives. The thousands of under-16-year-olds who have babies every year should in many cases be regarded as the victims of paedophilia - except that the topic has been portrayed in such a way as to make it impossible to see it in that light.
Yet another Newell group is the anti-smacking organisation Epoch and its associated charity, Approach. This group recruited Penelope Leach, the psychologist and childcare writer, to its board and publicised the support of numerous social services and childcare organisations.
However, Hans Eysenck, of the Institute of Psychiatry, described Miss Leach's defence of its stance on smacking as "unscientific" and "too one-sided to form the basis of responsible recommendations to law-giving bodies". Furthermore, inquiries also reveal that, of the 60-odd organisations listed by Epoch as being in agreement with its aims, only nine supported legislation banning the smacking of children.
Nevertheless, Leach, Hodgkin and other Newell associates were also members of government advisory bodies which helped to draft the immensely important Children Act 1989.
We should be alert to the fact that many ideas implicit in administrative decisions are, in fact, derived from a philosophy first expounded by paedophile groups in the 1970s. This is not to say that those whose philosophies tend to overlap share the sexual predilections of paedophiles, but they have been, perhaps unwittingly, influenced by their political ideas.
There are three, unconnected, groups which have an interest in colonising the territory previously governed by parents: childcare professionals, commercial interests and paedophiles. Of the three, the paedophiles were the first to state their case and set their agenda.
Before they were made illegal in 1982, paedophile groups spelt out their philosophy and aims in some detail. Broadly, these were to destroy first the concept of the vulnerable child and, second, the guiding and protective role of parents. To this end, their agenda included abolishing all forms of corporal punishment of children, removing the right of adults to direct children's behaviour, allowing them to choose whom they lived with, abolishing the age of consent for both boys and girls and making contraception and abortion available to children.
This was their programme and they influenced many others who did not see their agenda in the same sexual terms, including politicians and children's rights activists. However, by championing so many causes from this agenda, children's rights activists have unwittingly assisted paedophiles in achieving several aims on their agenda.
1998 © Telegraph Group Limited
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