Photo by Basak Gurbuz Derman
Artillery Row

Gatekeeping the safeguarders

We should put children before ideological conflict

Was David Icke right — are politicians unfeeling space lizards in human suits? Last week, when MPs on the Women and Equalities Select Committee (WESC) were told repeatedly that children are being groomed into dangerous sexual practices by unregulated Relationships and Sex Education providers (SRE), they didn’t so much as blink. During the hearing led by Labour’s Kate Osborne MP, members (with the honourable exception of Conservative Mark Jenkinson MP) barely contained their derision for the campaigners who were attempting to warn them.

Moral judgement must only be reserved for judgement itself

The first to address the WESC was Safe Schools Alliance spokeswoman, Tanya Carter. She carefully explained to Carolyn Harris MP, who is also Deputy Leader of Welsh Labour, that there is no central register for people who deliver SRE. This apparently was a surprise to Harris. Alongside Lottie Moore of Policy Exchange and Lucy Marsh of the Family Education Trust, Carter further enlightened Harris that parents often have to fight to view the materials being taught to their children by private providers who are chosen by schools and paid for from their budgets. 

Carter explained that both unscientific notions about gender identity and a pornography inspired “sex positive” approach were being pushed in classrooms across the UK. This stigma-banishing doctrine holds that so long as consent is given, sexual partners can be tortured and beaten, and moral judgement must only be reserved for judgement itself. On occasion egregious examples have burst through onto the pages of newspapers, such as when children were taught by a drag queen there were 73 genders and another when girls were informed that prostitution is a “rewarding job”. 

Safe Schools Alliance (SSA) asked that their analysis of international “sexuality education” be circulated ahead of the meeting. When Osborne was asked whether she’d found the time to read it, she snapped, “You’re here to answer questions, not ask them.”

The report, which Osborne declined to confirm that she had read, carefully traces current trends in British classrooms to WHO and UNESCO. Disturbingly, WHO guidance says that children aged four and under should be taught about “enjoyment and pleasure when touching one’s own body, early childhood masturbation”. SSA argues that UNESCO and WHO advocate for “children’s sexual rights” in line with the tenets of Queer Theory. The concept of age appropriateness has been replaced with “developmental” appropriateness, and the concerns of families are high-handedly dismissed as an impediment to children’s sexual liberation. What has been revealed by SSA is a global sex education agenda that would’ve been warmly welcomed by the Paedophile Information Exchange.

When she might’ve been considering the implications of the 63-page report, it seems Osborne instead planned which of her own questions from the meeting would go down well on social media. The member for Jarrow took the opportunity to reference her entry into social justice activism as a campaigner against Section 28 of Local Government Act (1988) — the infamous legislation which effectively banned teachers from telling kids same-sex attraction is natural and normal. A clip of this was then shared on Twitter. Tellingly, Carter’s response, where she explained at length about the pressures faced by her lesbian daughter thanks to the embedding of trans ideology in schools, was not shared. The presumption underpinning the question seemed to be that the three women warning about safeguarding failures must be bigoted homophobes.

The emerging RSE industry insists that there is nothing to see

Osborne and Harris looked at the campaigners who were there to warn them about failures in child safeguarding as if they were the immaculately conceived spawn of Mary Whitehouse and preacher Billy Graham. In that perception the politicians are perhaps supported by many in the emerging RSE industry, representatives of which spoke later in the meeting to insist that there was nothing to see. Indeed, one panel member, Dr Sophie King-Hill, senior fellow of health services management at the University of Birmingham, was at pains to point out “putting parameters on sex education is, for me, incredibly dangerous”. This, she reasoned, is so that if a child shows others extreme pornography, it will be easier for teachers to talk to them about it.

Yet this year alone reports by the New Social Covenant Unit, Policy Exchange and Civitas, have sought to raise the alarm about dangerous and inappropriate RSE being delivered in schools. Arguably, the window of opportunity where directing sexualised content to children is recognised as harmful is closing; a generation are now entering the workforce who have been brought-up in a pornography saturated world.

From Channel 4’s Naked Education programme, where adults flashed kids under the dubious fig leaf of “learning”, to twerking drag queens in children’s libraries, inappropriate materials are too often being actively presented to children.

When hearing a child is at risk, the reaction of a normal person would be to help. No sane adult with a working moral compass would decline because they thought they didn’t share the same beliefs as the person raising the alarm. In effect, this is exactly what members of the WESC did last week. Rather than judging those who apparently believe children need to know about BDSM, Osborne and her political allies sneered at the women who dared to blow the whistle.

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