Think Local! Faith, Family, and Community Roles in Disaster Risk-Reduction.
The best way for us to prepare for difficult times is to develop and strengthen our family and community bonds, and to strengthen our faith.
A joyous reunion was held on the other side of the veil when our mother and grandmother, Nina, peacefully crossed over on September 6, 2021 surrounded by loved ones. Although the last years of her life Nina struggled with Alzheimer’s and then cancer, during this difficult season of her final journey home, she did not let it diminish her spirit, her faith, or her fun laugh and positive outlook on life! She kept her sense of humor to the end!
Nina was always expressing her excitement about passing on to the next stage of her life…as she affectionately referred to it as “the ultimate trip”. For years Nina was always heard saying things such as “Oh, I have had such a wonderful life!” and “Every righteous desire of my heart has been granted me.” and “I can’t possibly think of anything else that I could have ever wanted!”.
Born in Orem, Utah during the Great Depression, Nina was the youngest of seven children born to Arthur V. Watkins and Andrea Rich Watkins. (Her older sister only lived a few short hours, but Nina always remembered her and counted her in with her siblings.) At the age of 15, Nina moved from Orem to Arlington, Virginia when her father was elected as U.S. Senator for Utah. Nina was very involved in high school and had many exciting adventures with her best friend, Shirley Crowther (Hardman). Nina was selected as Washington Lee High School Salutatorian from her large graduating class of 400 students. Nina then enrolled at George Washington University and later transferred to BYU where she graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Art and a minor in French.
During her college time at GWU, Nina met her true love (William) Martin Palmer who was a medical student, while on a blind date. When Nina transferred to BYU she and Martin had a long distance dating relationship for two years, and upon Nina’s graduation they were sealed for time and eternity in the Salt Lake Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Nina worked full time while Martin finished up his fourth year of medical school at the University of Maryland Medical School, they then applied to do his pediatric cardiology residency in the Bay Area and off they moved across the country from the East Coast to sunny Northern California for a new adventure!
Nina, Martin and their four children loved living in the Bay Area and thoroughly enjoyed many happy years in beautiful Northern California with life long friendships with the Billeter’s, Christensen’s, Wickel’s and Stephen’s. Nina loved going to the ocean (especially in the winter to enjoy the crashing waves) and enjoyed many trips with Martin to her favorite vacation spot, Carmel. Every year family vacation times were spent going down to San Diego to spend time with Martin’s sister and family “The Squire Gang” or driving to Utah to spend time with Nina’s siblings and their children, attending the famous “Corry Reunion” camping at Navajo Lake in Southern Utah or visiting other relatives. Nina instilled in her children the importance of extended family and having meaningful relationships with cousins. (For which we are so very grateful!).
In 1973 Nina and Martin decided to start another adventure when Martin left his private medical pediatric practice and accepted the position as the Medical Director at Primary Children’s Medical Center – so they left sunny California and moved their family to Salt Lake City, Utah to be near cousins and grandparents and learn to ski and enjoy the snow.
Nina was very involved over the years with many different organizations. Nina worked to get community groups organized and was involved as an original member of the Utah Federation for Drug Free Youth, was a member of the Governor’s Task Force on Youth Alcohol and Drug Use, and the Governor’s Council on Volunteerism. Nina started the Utah Association of Women in the late 1970’s in an informal caucus in her living room. Nina worked hard to get her women’s organization granted consultative status by the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations, and for many years she was heavily involved with traveling the world to participate in UN meetings and conferences. In 2000, she was also elected to the Board of Directors of the World Movement of Mothers and for years had the opportunity to go to Paris to attend their annual Board Meetings.
Nina was extremely proud of her pioneer ancestors and loved sharing the stories and journal entries of her ancestors. She raised her children and grandchildren on their stories and instilled her love for these ancestors to many other family members. Nina loved planning and organizing huge family reunions and as part of family vacations, insisted on visiting many cemeteries to see the grave markers of ancestors. Nina also loved history and served as a docent in the Oakland Museum while living in California. Because of the knowledge she gained while at the Museum, the family enjoyed many wonderful vacations planned by Nina as they went to gold rush sites, panned for gold and learned to love the stories of the old timers!
Nina was very politically active her entire life and as a daughter of a US Senator, she attended many events at the Senate Chambers, The White House and had many experiences not many young teenagers have the opportunity to enjoy.
Nina was a very detailed record keeper and put together over 100 large three ring binders on her life, her ancestors lives, her husband’s life and his ancestors. Nina was always trying to share the gospel of Jesus Christ, both at home and abroad and was never shy of sharing her testimony of and her belief in, her Savior, Jesus Christ. Nina was a devoted member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints throughout her life and enjoyed serving in many church callings.
As a widow, Nina sold the family home in Holladay, left the hustle and bustle of the Wasatch Front and followed her daughter and family out to Erda, to enjoy the beauty of Tooele County. Nina loved the openness of the country, the beautiful sunsets, the mountain views, the dark starry nights that Erda offered, and the friendly neighbors. Nina spent many hours sitting on her front porch enjoying the serenity of country life!
Nina loved spending time with all her “special nieces” and going out to lunch down in Orem at the Sizzler. She looked forward to these fun lunches with her niece, Carol and her wonderful daughters Diane, Janet and Andrea. She also loved going out to lunch with the “Bountiful Cousins”, Andrea, Mary Lee, Laurel and sometimes cousin Kent! Many happy memories and deep friendships were forged over the years with intergenerational get-togethers! Nina loved everything the color blue, dolls, reading, and all things historical!
Nina was preceded in death by her husband, Martin and their son, Art; as well as her parents, siblings and most of her dear friends. She is survived by her children: Marty (Dave) Wallace, Bill Palmer, Ginny (Mike) Vielstich as well as her grandchildren and great grandchildren. She will also be missed by many nieces, nephews, and neighbors.
Funeral services will be held at the Wasatch Lawn Memorial Park & Mortuary Chapel – 3401 South Highland Drive, SLC on Saturday, Sept. 18, 2021 at 11:00 am. Viewing to be held one hour prior. In an abundance of caution, the family respectfully requests that masks be worn. The funeral services can be viewed online at the Wasatch Lawn Memorial Park website by going to the “recent obituaries” and clicking on Nina’s name.
Deep gratitude is expressed for all those that shared their time over the years to make Nina’s life pleasant by stopping by to chat, making time for a phone call or sending a card, bringing over flowers or dropping off yummy cookies. Your kindness was always noticed, appreciated and for sure was recorded by the angels above! A special thank you to her granddaughter Hailey who spent countless hours with Grandma, listening to her stories and rendering compassionate care the last 1-½ years.
Endings here in mortality are not endings at all. They are merely interruptions—temporary pauses that one day will seem small compared to the eternities.
The obituary above was originally published on the Dignity Memorial website. (https://www.dignitymemorial.com/obituaries/salt-lake-city-ut/nina-palmer-10345572)
When Utah Legislator, Rep. Travis Seegmiller, found out that his 5 year old’s school-supplied-tablet was pre-programmed with educational databases that easily linked his child to XXX pornography and live links to pedophilia hook-up websites he was shocked! Seegmiller decided that his “top priority” as a public official was to keep Utah’s children safe from these international vendors who were “exploiting children.”
HB 38 School Technology Amendments, a bill by Seegmiller, met with overwhelming bi-partisan support from Utah legislators. During the bill process republicans and democrats alike spoke out in favor of holding the resource vendors accountable for hurting children. The bill was pre-approved during fall interim. In the main session, HB 38 unanimously passed the House and passed the Senate with only four “nay” votes. (democrat senators Riebe, Mayne, Kitchen, and Davis)
During an interim committee meeting in November, former Rep. Eric Hutchings said that he’d like to see even “stronger action” taken against companies who expose children to pornography in such a sly way. He said that “if we found out that someone was putting poison in the school lunch we would hunt them down…and it would make international news.” He went on to say, “We have to stop saying shoots-a-dang when we find out children are viewing porn through school resources. It shouldn’t be tolerated for a second!”
The bill requires the well-known, international, conglomerate, school digital resource providers like EBSCO, GALE, Cengage, Explora, Pro-Quest, Inspire, and others to be free from obscenities if provided to Utah school children. It also allows the state to back out of contracts with the database vendors if the vendors are found to not be in compliance with state obscenity laws. Additionally the bill requires the Utah Education and Telehealth Network [UETN] to provide proof of digital vendor compliance to the legislature each year.
As part of the Utah bill presentation school personnel and parents shared numerous stories about children seeing pornography for the first time in the school database and teachers not knowing how to stop the content from reaching the children. Because this issue hit so close to home, Utah lawmakers were inundated with complaints and pleas for them to take action and keep Utah’s children safe. The Utah PTA was also strongly supportive of the bill.
In the fall of 2018 Nicholeen Peck, president of WOW and a mother and of 4, found out from a friend that sex toys were being advertised to children in the school database called EBSCO. She couldn’t believe that would happen in Utah and started doing some searching herself. After typing very innocuous terms into the state EBSCO database collections and finding multiple images, videos, and articles promoting risky and illegal sexual behavior Peck contacted Senator Todd Weiler, known for his Utah resolution declaring pornography “a public health crisis.” Weiler verified Peck’s findings and said that action needed to be taken.
KUTV News did a story on the problem, and the EBSCO database was immediately disabled across the state. The UETN told EBSCO that they needed to clean up the database or they would get out of their contract. For a few weeks the EBSCO database was disabled for school children via school portals. Utah’s State Librarian, Colleen Eggett, spoke openly against disabling the EBSCO database and said that it was up to the parents to keep their children safe from the harmful content.
Parents in multiple states have noticed that the library associations repeatedly defend EBSCO and GALE, big businesses, and don’t protect the children from explicit content. Why? Some reasons might be that the American Library Association [ALA] has its own code of ethics about viewing content. The ALA Library Bill of Rights says that people of any age should be able to see anything they want, and the ALA also sued the US government in 2001 because they didn’t want to comply with the Child Internet Protection Act [CIPA]. The ALA lost that law suit.
After a few weeks of EBSCO scrubbing and enabling their own filters, the Utah EBSCO databases were enabled again and pronounced “clean.” But Peck was not satisfied. She said, “I can see they have done some clean up, but still within 15 minutes I was able to find live links to Penthouse magazine, multiple graphic nude images, and an article about a 6th grader having sex with his drama teacher. They are not giving us what we are paying for.”
The database vendors market themselves as “the safe way to search.” No one questions these claims because anything that is put into a database has to be put there on purpose. Peck says, “It’s a kind of locked box on the web that a person has to have a login to access. This is why internet filters are not able to filter databases.”
After the EBSCO shut-down didn’t really solve the problem, and some of the previously removed explicit content started appearing in the GALE database as well, Peck, other concerned parents, and a group of legislators started taking other action to see if the problem could be solved without a bill. The state auditor and the state Attorney General’s office were shown the problem, and a legislative audit was requested. They were all shocked by the blatant exploitation of children, but none of them solved the problem.
At this point, Peck and the group of concerned legislators, including Seegmiller, knew that they had to run a bill just like Idaho did. Idaho’s 2020 bill caused EBSCO to create special databases for Idaho that are in compliance with their obscenity laws.
EBSCO and GALE are major suppliers of K-12 online research tools across the country/world. EBSCO alone sells its school products to over 55,000 schools nationwide, supplying millions of children with products that may contain pornography. Multiple other states are now following Idaho’s example and working on protective bills too.
In Colorado, where the dirty database problem was first uncovered, Robin Paterson, head of Pornography Is Not Education partnered with the Thomas More Law Society to bring a lawsuit against EBSCO and the Colorado Library Consortium. There have been good results of these Colorado efforts. Paterson reports, “EBSCO and certain GALE products were previously discontinued by several, large school districts in Colorado because of pornographic content.”
After years of research, Peck, Paterson, and countless other parents around the nation now know that EBSCO’s business model exploits children. EBSCO gets paid by magazines and other media sources and sites to have their content be part of the databases for children. Then states and school districts pay millions of dollars annually for their subscriptions to the databases. The EBSCO promotional materials promise content providers that their listings in the databases will “reach your target audience,” “increase web traffic,” and “grow your subscriptions.” These claims sound like the content providers are advertising to children, not giving them school materials.
Schools and states unknowingly paying databases to dish up pornography to children. Media vendors pay to advertise to children through the databases. Children are being sold as the “target audience.” And, everyone seems convinced that this whole process is education. This is a good old fashioned scandal.
George Soros’ Open Society is a major EBSCO funder.
EBSCO has been named to the “Dirty Dozen List” by the National center on Sexual Exploitation.
The WOW database team as well as parents and clinicians all over the state of Utah worked really hard for this victory for Utah’s children. WOW calls upon other states and countries to protect their children from sexual exploitation through databases too by enacting bills that put the children first; not big tech companies like EBSCO and GALE.
The political climate is pretty hot right now! Threats, scandals, verbal attacks, social unrest, corruption, and control tactics are all part of the current political scene. People are preparing for the worst no matter what the United States election turns out like. What preparations are the most effective? Preparing your own heart to be calm and focused on truth is the best way to prepare. Having self-government during times of political drama is what principled people do to stay calm. However, to have self-government a person must plan ahead.
Following the election four years ago, angry rioters took to the streets destroying property and making cities unsafe. Some US cities became hotbeds of hate; much like people are fearing might happen this election.
When I was at the United Nations in March of 2017, people even protested me, blocked hallways, and threatened to burn my pamphlets without even knowing who I was or what I would talk about. I was going to talk about stopping child abuse. This group that attacked me and my colleagues spoke right before I did about rioting and protesting. They were planning, at the United Nations, to attack an office building in New York.
I suppose I was just a person in the wrong place at the wrong time. But, I learned something. This group of very intelligent people were so easily incited to anger. The speaker got them emotional, angry, and ready to do something irrational very quickly. And, because I was the next speaker, I got to taste of their freshly planted wrath.
As a side note, the security at the United Nations didn’t stop these angry mobs from attacking us either. They seemed to either be afraid or they wanted to allow the aggressive demonstration. Here I was, a woman trying to bring awareness to the hidden abuse of children and offering some solutions, and I was unexpectedly a “threat” to their cause. The lesson I learned was that angry people attack everyone, not just the people they think they are angry at. Spreading anger is always destructive.
No matter who wins the election, can we all decide that spreading hate only hurts people, because it doesn’t help? Self-governed people find solutions, they don’t spread rage and get people worked up to hate each other. Self-government means being calm and collected. It means thinking about your actions and the principles behind those actions before taking any action at all. And, the United States was created as a self-governing nation from its inception. We need to stay true to that.
Self-government is a principle that goes back to the beginning of time. If only Cain would have focused on having self-government, then maybe he would have spared the life of Abel. Humans can control themselves if they choose to. And, when they choose to, they are powerful and inspiring to others.
Every successful freedom-based society that has existed, including the ancient Israelites, Rome, England, and the United States, have had the principle of self-government at their core. The idea is that the person who is self-governing can solve most of their own problems calmly and without the help of the government. When free societies are healthy, they promote self-government by not micro-managing their citizens. This doesn’t mean there aren’t laws. It just means that they put their trust in the hearts of the people to follow the laws and live by principle because their hearts are in the right place.
The more people’s hearts fail them and they get caught up in the rush of drama, anger, and entitlement, the more their desire to self-govern is weakened. A self-governed person has a heart turned toward truth and goodness, and they analyze their behaviors and outcomes to continually make plans for how to become a better, more virtuous, version of themselves.
Self-government is being able to determine the cause and effect of any given situation and possessing a knowledge of your own behaviors so that you can control them.
When I teach parents how to teach their children self-government, I tell them to teach their children the Four Basic Skills for self-government. The skills are: Following Instructions, Accepting “No” Answers & Criticism, Accepting Consequences, and Disagreeing Appropriately. Each one of these skills has a skill set. For this article I’ll discuss the two skill sets that will be of the greatest help to us all as we prepare for elections results.
Accepting “No Answers & Criticism:
If your candidate doesn’t win the election, look at the situation as if someone just told you “no, you don’t get what you wanted.” Then, keep a calm face, voice, and body, say “okay” or disagree appropriately, and finally drop the subject.
Were the rioters after the last election accepting “no” answers or disagreeing appropriately? No, but they should have. Calmness is part of disagreeing appropriately. They were not accepting a “no” answer. The historical peaceful transfer of power in free countries is based on “the given” that people can have self-government and accept change calmly.
After a calm display of disappointment or warning, disagreeing appropriately was given to the proper people, then the person was disappointed by the election outcome would have to say “okay,” accept the decision of the people, and drop the subject. The drop the subject step is often the hardest for people because they must stop feeding their emotions and turn their actions over to their logical side.
The United States, who was founded on the principle of self-government, can change the emotional and social outcome of this coming election if they keep their hearts in the right place and focus on logically assessing and controlling themselves, instead of focusing on controlling political outcomes or each other. Please learn these skills and plan to accept “no” answers and criticism with a spirit of calmness this year. If action must be taken because of corruption, etc., I hope that it will be done with calmness and principle. That is how a person properly solves problems and disagrees appropriately when they are a self-governing person.
This FREE Calm Parenting Toolkit might help you on your journey to calmness and self-government.
The United States State Department hosted a great live stream event for women on August 11, 2020. The State Department seems to have created a very productive program that they are referring to as WGDP [Women’s Global Development and Prosperity]. The program is working closely with USAID, the US foreign aid arm, to truly empower women globally.
This well designed program focuses on how the barriers to women’s participation in the economy can be removed. The program expands entrepreneurial influence by giving skills building and training. They’re also giving leadership training so that women can better navigate their local business climates.
The initiative is a great platform to build and strengthen women where they are while still respecting their unique cultures and environments. This cultural respect has always been important to WOW.
Ivanka Trump, advisor to the president, talked about how they have worked diligently to form partnerships with private and business sectors to fund this initiative. They have raised millions of dollars and have helped over 12 million women better succeed economically in the first year alone. Some of the contributors to WGDP are Wal-Mart, Discover Card, WeConnect, and Microsoft Corp, as well as over 400 other contributors.
This initiative shows that the solution to women’s empowerment and economic success and equality doesn’t need to be an issue that wars are waged on or sexual or abortion services are applied to. This initiative shows so eloquently and simply that solutions for the economic empowerment of women have nothing to do with reproductive rights or abortion, and that global battles don’t need to be fought over the issue. Instead, people around the globe with good intentions can just come together and do something about it.
During the question section of the broadcast the head of WGDP was asked why the initiative doesn’t include “reproductive rights” and “maternal rights.” These terms both mean abortion services in legal documents. The WGDP replied perfectly stating that the initiative is designed to do the most good for the most women with the least amount of money expended, and is also designed to be a program that all people can unite behind.
Another questioner asked why the initiative wasn’t being more publicly talked about. It was clear from the answer to the question that the WGDP isn’t an initiative about getting attention or participating in activism wars, but it is an initiative that is meant to get things done and help people.
This approach is so wise of the State Department. How refreshing it was for me to watch this broadcast that wasn’t selling a perspective on the needs of women, but was instead saying that they have noticed the following problems, women not having the same ability to own land or start business or have internet services in certain parts of the world, and that they are doing something about it.
WOW Africa and WOW have worked tirelessly over the years at the United Nations and in meetings with national and local officials to bring attention to the problem of inheritance rights issues in many countries, and it seems someone has heard us at last and is really doing something valuable to take steps toward actually doing something about the problem.
This seemingly productive initiative runs counter to what WOW has seen in years past from NGOs and UN officials who claim to be for empowering women around the world but only push one agenda. Many NGOs say they want women’s empowerment, but only push abortion services and test medical gadgets and drugs on our African sisters. Many NGOs say they are going to help women in African and Asian nations earn more money and get better education, and only try to recruit women to wave their abortion or sexual rights flags for them on their home soils.
Women have been badly used by NGOs and UN agencies with agendas to push sexual and political ideologies for far too long. It seems that the US State Department under the Trump administration has cut through the politics and agendas at last to finally just do something good for women.
WOW has not reviewed the entire program yet, but was very impressed at the intent expressed during the latest WGDP broadcast. WOW will watch the WGDP initiative with interest in the coming months and years, and hopes it stays the course it was started upon.
South Carolina senator, Lindsey Graham, seems to be one of those brave men we love here at WOW who isn’t afraid to take a stand for protecting children. S-3398 “Eliminating Abusive and Rampant Neglect of Interactive Technologies Act of 2020” or the “EARN IT Act of 2020” is being championed by her in the senate at US Capitol this summer.
Some people are critical of the EARN It Act of 2020 because they say it takes away important internet freedoms. WOW understands that perspective and has never been in favor of censoring or controlling people or taking rights away. In fact, we have vocally be in full support of all legal rights owed to citizens of the United States.
However, WOW fully acknowledges that while adults should have full internet freedoms, children should not. We know so much about the brain these days. Developmentally, children aren’t prepared to self-govern their choices fully until they are at the very least 18. Many brain experts are saying the pre-frontal cortex of the brain, that does all the logical problem solving for the person, isn’t fully developed until the person is between the ages of 18 and 26 years old now.
An undeveloped child brain is not capable of full discernment and can be too easily groomed (or led by others) to crave certain behaviors or have certain ideas. Also, chemically child brains are even more prone to addiction than adult brains. Dr. Jen Brown explains in this video.
The EARN IT Act of 2020 establishes a national commission on online child sexual exploitation prevention. This commission will, “develop recommended best practices that providers of interactive computer services may choose to implement to prevent, reduce, and respond to the online sexual exploitation of children, including the enticement, grooming, sex trafficking, and sexual abuse of children and the proliferation of online child sexual abuse material.”
This commission is a very positive move for the United States to make. So many children are sexually exploited in the Untied States through sources that are marketed as safe or are deceiving children every day like school and library databases. This act will take steps to protect some of the most vulnerable among us, the children!
The only reason WOW sees for this act not to be adopted is if adults in leadership in our country think children should be exploited, trafficked, and sexually violated by digital purveyors and businesses. We call upon all responsible citizens to reach out to their senators and representatives at the United States capitol to ask them to support the EARN IT Act of 2020. We must save the children!
The following act recently passed in UK legalizes the following:
In December of 1989, the UN General Assembly Declared the International Year of the Family. The declaration came as the UN’s awareness and interest in the family developed during the 1980’s, and by 1989 the inclusion of families in the developmental process had officially been initiated. In 1993, the General Assembly set aside May 15, to be observed annually as International Day of Families.
2015 was historic for the family, Worldwide Organization for Women and other organizations who advocate for families. The UN Human Rights Council adopted an unprecedented “Protection of the Family” resolution. 2020 marks the 5 year anniversary of this document. Two important statements reaffirm:
…the family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and state.
...the family has the primary responsibility for the nurturing and protection
Strengthening families is at the heart of WOW’s mission and work.
The Worldwide Organization for Women [WOW] has been going to the United Nations CSW [Conference on the Status of Women] conference for many years. But this year we are meeting with the unexpected. The CSW conference, that is as predictable as the New York City St. Patrick’s Day parade, has decide to cancel.
The CSW official statement released March 2, 2020 said, “Following the UN Secretary-General’s recommendation to Member States to amend the format of the 64th session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women in light of the current concerns regarding coronavirus disease (COVID-19), an informal meeting took place today. The Commission decided that the 64th session of the Commission will convene on 9 March, at 10.00 a.m. (EST), for a procedural meeting. The meeting will include opening statements, followed by the adoption of the draft Political Declaration and action on any other draft resolutions. The session will then suspend until further notification. No general debate will take place and all side events planned by Member States and the UN system in conjunction with CSW 64 will be cancelled.”
So, not only has this new coronavirus been able to reroute cruise ships and stop flights to certain parts of Asia, it has now stopped scheduled global conferences.
WOW thinks it’s wise for the UN to cancel CSW this year, even though we are aware that this cancellation is a hardship for many people who were traveling from around the world to New York City to attend.
This year was a big year for CSW because it was the 25th anniversary for the UN Beijing conference which provided a critical step forward for the protection of rights and the acknowledgement of the value of the family unit in societies.
WOW had a great parallel event planned to remember Beijing and to point out where societies can still improve, or have missed the mark, but we will have to wait to see if this event will now happen at a future time.
Wherever you happen to be in the world, take precautions to keep your family safe during the end of this sickness season.
This piece about how British liberties are being systematically taken from families was contributed by British WOW members.
For the last few days, we in the UK have had a reprieve from the Great Brexit Betrayal, as our Parliament of Traitors has gone into recess, in order for our MPs to enjoy their party conference season: a time when politicians and their party members retire to the seaside, congratulate themselves on a job well done and scheme for the reopening of Parliament in a few weeks’ time. And, oh, hasn’t it given us some laughs? A cursory glance at Twitter will show just about anyone how hilarious it has been – how the country’s conservatives (with the notably small “c”) have chuckled at the Labour Party, in particular, and their folly. “What larks, Pip”, they giggle. “What larks!”
We have seen, for example, Emily Thornberry, the Shadow Foreign Minister, standing on a podium before her party delegates, addressing them all as “comrades” and regaling them all with tales of her youthful dalliances. With a wink and a nod reminiscent of Hattie Jacques in the old Carry On films, the venerable Ms. Thornberry told the packed room that, as she was lying with her head in a gutter following an accident, her life flashing before her eyes, she thought: “Blimey, that was fun … and it wasn’t running through fields of wheat, comrades!” The compliant BBC dutifully let the camera pan the room, showing how the audience laughed …Oooh, Matron! Saucy! All the while, conservative Twitter shook their heads and collectively smirked at her silliness. What larks!
Then there was the risible Diane Abbott, Shadow Home Secretary, butt of a thousand memes and alumnus, no doubt, of the same School of Mythical Economics as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, cheerfully informing a BBC reporter that, despite having sent her own child to a fee-paying school, she nevertheless supported the Labour Party’s proposals to “abolish” private schools and “integrate” their wealth into the State Education system…
… and it is here, I am afraid, that the laughs began to die down. Just a few short months ago, this suggestion was being floated by a handful of backbench MPs, whilst the country’s middle classes smiled and thought that such a thing could never, really, happen. Surely nobody could seriously believe that the long arm of the State would reach into the privately-owned property of independent schools and appropriate their wealth, to redistribute it as they see fit? No, certainly not. To remove parental choice from hardworking mothers and fathers who go without, in order to give their children the very best start they can afford? Never.
Yet, here we are. In Britain now, our Opposition Party openly states that it intends not only to prevent parents from choosing the best school for their child but, moreover, to repossess the finances of those schools (which are only slightly less constrained by The National Curriculum – something similar to the American Common Core) and redistribute them into State Education. Naturally, there is one, very notable exception: as pointed out by redoubtable journalist and conservative talking head, Katie Hopkins, this plan does not, of course, apply to the many taxpayer-funded Islamic schools which have sprung up across the nation in recent years.
To each according to his needs, indeed. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-49798861
In this country, The National Curriculum “sets out the programmes of study and attainment targets for all subjects at all 4 key stages” and “all local-authority-maintained schools must teach these programmes of study.” https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/national-curriculum. There is no room for manoeuvre and all teachers must adhere to it. But what of its content?
In December last year, we learned that, “in a victory for transgender rights campaigners”, a school in Brighton had begun teaching primary school children (ages four to eleven) that “boys can have periods too”. https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/12/16/boys-can-have-periods-schoolchildren-taught-latest-victory-transgender/.
In March, fiery stand-offs took place outside of a primary school in Birmingham, as Moslem parents removed their children from classes in protest at the “No Outsiders” sex education programme, which “they claimed promoted gay and transgender lifestyles” and told Moslem children that “Gay is OK.” https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/jul/09/protests-against-lgbt-lessons-in-birmingham-primary-school-resume.
Recently, a friend and home-schooling parent drew my attention to a Key Stage 2 reading comprehension assignment which she had discovered in the National Curriculum English handbook. Focusing on the children’s story Bill’s New Frock by Anne Fine, the tasks are designed to “make children aware of gender inequality” and ask them to “imagine waking to discover that they are a different gender.” All very worthy, I am sure you will agree.
The same Labour Party that wishes to remove parents’ choices when it comes to independent schools has also put forward proposals to “make climate change a core part of the curriculum” addressing “the ecological and social impact of climate change.” Irrespective of the controversy that there is no conclusive scientific evidence that manmade climate change actually exists, children are, under these proposals, to be taught its effects as undisputed fact, in order to prepare them for the “human impacts” (read “immigration”, “increased governmental control” and “higher taxation”) which will inevitably ensue, turning our youth into anxious, Children of the Corn clones of the terrifyingly totalitarian and pitifully exploited Greta Thunberg. https://www.tes.com/news/make-climate-change-core-part-curriculum-labour-says
Even more worryingly, those who question the received wisdom of manmade climate change could soon be facing legal sanctions, as was debated on 17th September on BBC Radio 2’s daily phone-in programme, The Jeremy Vine Show. At present, of course, this is only a discussion but as my earlier examples illustrate, discussion has its way of intruding into policy … and policy has a way of becoming Law.
The purpose of this article, however, is not solely to discuss the tenets of The National Curriculum in depth, although I may write another on this topic at a later date. Rather, as the title suggests, its intention is to explore the ways in which the long arm of the State increasingly invades the private family lives of citizens. Which leads me to a few more suggestions which have recently come to light.
Some years ago, I visited the Museum of East Germany in Berlin and saw an exhibition of the Communist Party’s pledge concerning State governance “from the cradle to the grave.” Under the guise of promoting equality for mothers, babies were taken into State-run childcare at a few months old, in order that both parents could quickly return to work. They then stayed in government facilities until the end of their formal education, ensuring, of course, that their indoctrination could be absolute and that they would not encounter dissenting opinions which opposed those of the Communist Party. It should come as a surprise to absolutely no-one, then, that similar ideas are now being discussed in Britain, where debates are taking place regarding longer school days, increased childcare, shorter school holidays and the free provision of breakfast, lunch and dinner – all at the taxpayer’s expense and all designed to ensure that parents’ working days are uninterrupted and that their children’s daily care is provided by professionals, rather than their own loving family. Why run the risk of allowing parents to promote dissenting opinions, when the State can raise a child so much better? Similarly, the Media’s insidious drip-feeding of anti-home-schooling programmes and articles which imply that only dangerous cranks and oddballs would remove their children from the school system, just as the practice is becoming more popular, can be seen as part of the same process: “trust us”, says the State, “we know what is best for your family”. https://www.independent.co.uk/news/education/education-news/home-schooling-department-education-damian-hinds-radicailation-illegal-schools-offrolling-a8849841.html
“Surely this is enough?” I hear you cry. “Surely there can be no more? Surely it will suffice, at least for now, to propose the removal of parents’ school choices, to indoctrinate their children with uncorroborated pseudoscience, to propose the care of their children from morning to night and to demonise those who opt-out of the educational system?” Well, not quite – because the socialist Scottish National Party went one step further still and put forth a proposal to allocate a “named person” for every child in Scotland, to monitor family life, provide a point of contact outside of the home and to ensure that no child is being exposed to ideas or practices which dissent from the ideological aims of the Scottish Government. Mercifully, the plan has been revoked – at least for the time being – as parents argued that it amounted to nothing more than a “Snoopers’ Charter”, terrifyingly reminiscent of George Orwell’s Nineteen Eight-Four – but the proposal was made and, as we have already seen, proposals do have a tendency to wend their ways into legislation … eventually. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-politics-35752756
So why am I telling you all of this? Well, firstly, I am giving you a warning.
To my American friends: we in the UK have become so accustomed to Government interference that many people now passively accept this growing encroachment upon our private lives; that which seemed impossible just a few short years ago is now being openly discussed at party political conferences and proposed as legislation. Whilst all of this may sound outlandish to you now, please bear in mind that it did once to us, too – but the gradual drip-feeding of these notions has already begun in the USA, where States like California have shoehorned the LGBT agenda into the school curriculum and proposed making ethnic studies mandatory.
Secondly, to my fellow Britons: this has to stop. There is no end to the incursions which the State will make upon our family lives – no proposal will be too extreme, no interference too great. The long march through the institutions began many years ago – it will not cease; it knows no bounds. If we do not wrest back control of our family lives now – right now – it will be too late. As the silent majority of the country sit back and shake their heads, tittering at the folly of the likes of Abbott and Thornbury, they miss the vital point: the conservatives are losing, the Right is losing … unless we fight for our children now, we will very soon have lost. The hand is hovering over the cradle: don’t let it rule the world.