Thursday, 12 February 2009

Nanny state

Or should that be Big Brother? Just got call from the youngpersonsunit or something. Some New Labour bollocks.
It's about my daughter's arrest last year for smoking dope.
Apparently the police lied to me. Her arrest will be on her record for 100 years.
It will affect her ability to get a visa for the United States.
So trying a bit of spliff, from a friend's joint, not even her own, at the age of 14 means she will have a record for a century?
The youngpersonsunit said it was government policy to follow this up. To warn young people of the dangers of drugs. To give her 'drugs counselling'. To get her into after-school activities. 
I fumed.
I was more angry about this police lie than my daughter's dope-smoking experiment. She isn't a stoner after all. 
She doesn't have time for after-school activities. She's too tired and has homework. 
From MMR vaccines to thrusting endless leaflets about how to feed my child (5 a day) to general interfering, this New Labour government is starting to turn me towards freedom (liberté rather than egalité) on a scale worthy of the Unabomber.
Please butt out. 
We are not all idiots. 
Some parents are idiots, cruel, ignorant etc. But little is done about them (Baby P anyone? I heard Sharon Shoesmith's interview on Woman's hour and it was a show. She is the typical Blair babe spouting gobbledygook rather than common sense). No, those parents, clearly inadequate, are given endless second chances.
Why is everybody lying about drugs anyway? At least Obama admitted to inhaling.


  1. Strange reading your blog today, just had a bit of a rant about drug policy over on my blog yesterday.

    How many politicians haven't partaken of a toke? Keeping this on her record is a crock of shite. The whole policy is nonsense. How many kids die from drinking spirits a year. How many die from smoking too much dope?

    It seems to me that having a toke is Ok to the establishment so long as :-

    a) You did it with your middle class friends at Uni

    b) You didn't get nicked

    c) You tell a few porkies and say you didn't inhale/enjoy

    d) You lie and you say you "tried it once"

    Me personally, I'd rather have someone who has the odd toke & is honest than a lying bastard. We all know how harmful it is (not really very harmful at all).

    Ain't it time we all grew up & fessed up?

  2. This is disgusting. You should absolutely enter a complaint about them. Due to her age she should be eligible for legal aid, so a solicitor will do all of the work and she may be able to get compensation at the end of it. It is an empowering and educational process which I would recommend to anybody. Don't expect the police to be sporting about the process, but do expect a good solicitor to fight your corner tooth and nail (I can heartily recommend mine - Bhatt Murphy, offices in Shoreditch).


  3. Marm- start a petition online now. A century of being blacklisted just for growing up is beyond taking the jam out of the doughnut.

  4. Oh, I am ambivalent about the gange. I gave it up at 22 but was using really heavily. My girlfriend (later wife, now-ex) gave me an ultimatum and so I did. Can't say I missed it as I switched abuse to booze which was far worse, not least because it cost me £10K in rehab only to come out an celebrate my release with a bottle of Lanson - didn't quite get it really :-) Thats why I love Amy Winehouse and empathise with her revolving doors on rehab. I hope she does make it but given the industry she's in I do worry as it will be a great voice lost to a currently dismal music scene (IMHO). But Rog T is right I suspect a lot of middle England were pot tooting frumpie (formerly radical upwardly mobile people) bit like they were all radical socialists until they got their first taste of capitalism. Actually THC does exhibit age-related neurlogical damage (schizophrenic/psychotic episodes are more prevalent IF you abuse around and just beyond puberty whilst the CNS is still 'wiring up'. Not guaranteed just more likely. I started in my teens so there you go :-) I think the things I remember most about the gange at Uni was staring at geological maps of the UK and going "Wow man", listening to lots of Bob Marley whilst dancing like this and sliding down a lot of walls. Was it fun? Probably, but I still refer to it as my "years of the lost weekend". TP

  5. Thanks for your thoughts TP. Yes I hope Amy makes it too.
    I'm quite worried about this...I don't want my kid to smoke while she's young of course. Her brain isn't fully formed.
    But to brand her as some kind of criminal drug fiend for a century is plain over the top.
    Especially as the policeman arresting her admitted that he was a complete stoner at her age.
    A slap wrist would have been enough.
    The daft MsML

  6. Whatever your personal parenting views towards your daughter, she's been in contact with BB over this. Damn Big Bro NWO exrement! I've got a DVD just arrived on Hemp and its supression. Also check out this month's Nexus for a great article on the subject.

  7. I think MsMarmitelovers concerns for her daughter are reasonable, responsible and rational and absolutely correct on the effect on her daughters neuroanatomical development. It's always better to start the game with a full deck so to speak. I also agree that this instance of law enforcement is disproportionately harsh leaving her daughter with a damning criminal record. Do you have any recourse in law? I doubt it as I have had the amusing experience of taking the Department of Social Security to tribunal. Only the judge, court usher and I turned up! Still pursuing it tho... The idea you might get compensation IS daft, but MsML most certainly isn't (sorry I wholeheartedly retract that comment I made in another place :-) You may get some justice though on the criminal record I think, as this action is clearly unjustified given the circumstances. I am not altogether too sure that BB has anything to do with it. I still think we live in a participatory democracy (thank god) and part of that is choosing not to play in the system (direct action, revolution, anarchy or nihilism) You pays your money and you takes your choice...

  8. Tony, the compensation would be a possible eventual outcome if a complaint was upheld about the way the police handled it - i.e. MsML said that they had LIED about what would happen, and this is not appropriate.

    Unless you are a qualified lawyer experienced in the area of police complaints and have looked at the custody record and paperwork, I would encourage MsML to seek an expert opinion.

    I do speak from experience. It might not change her record, but believe me it is certainly a boost for any young person going into the world to have a lump sum of money behind them.

    To reassure you, the offence will be spent and not show up on CRB checks after a certain number of years, and the 100 years probably refers the police's own retention of the records. Do check this out if you're still worried.


  9. Oh Canal I bow to your experience in such matters and I was in no way offering expert or qualified advice. All my CRB's are so squeaky clean (higher education and NHS) I could join the Salvation Army! In fact CRB's if they return no positive evidence aren't worth the paper that they are printed on it's baseline due diligence - no more. I think Harold Shipman would have had no bother getting one.
    I can't think of happier or easier ways to get a cash injection to start adult life but you takes your money (whatever the lawyers leave you) and takes your choice. I don't know what the retention period for these records are as I am only familiar with the 7 years plus current for Inland Revenue purposes.

    Ooh, proving the police LIED is going to be quite tricky I think but if you are game for a fight and the evidence supports it (hard to get and substantiate as the police document, record and police themselves remember) But MsMarmitelover, given her palate may be up for it :)

  10. Hi Tony,

    My CRB check turns up clean too; good thing that, as I work with vulnerable people. This is why it is so important in my view not to let the police get away with bad behaviour; they can have such an impact on one's future.

    I am in no way an expert, which is why I am recommending that MsML gets advice from somebody who is, i.e. a lawyer. They will be able to advise on whether there is a case worth pursuing based on the evidence available. They can get copies of the custody record, any recordings of interviews, statements, correspondence, etc., and assess whether or not there is evidence that the police misled MsML and/or her daughter.

    As for money that "the lawyers leave you", if you get legal aid (which a 14 year old should be able to) then that covers the lawyers' costs if you lose. If you have a 'no win no fee' arrangement, the lawyers cover their own costs if you lose. If you win, the losing party pays the lawyers costs in either case. Whatever happens, any compensation you are awarded remains yours. If the police have behaved badly and there is a case against them you would be claiming both for damages for the impact on you and possibly also 'exemplary charges' which are to 'make an example of' their bad behaviour - i.e. to punish them and act as a deterrant for future bad behaviour. These would go to you too.

    Your decision anyway, MsML! Good luck!


  11. Marm's

    Maybe you should show your daughter my latest blog -

    May make her think twice before her next toke. I so love taking the piss out of Boris Johnson.

    Seriously, I think that the attitude of the old Bill here sucks. I could tell you a story or two about an ex drummer of my band who had a rather influential Dad and what he got away with, where the other three guys present also copped it big time, but I'd probably get sued.

  12. I liked you until I disagreed with you, about Sharon Shoesmith, she isn't a flaming Blair babe of any order and talked sense.

  13. Hi Helen,
    Well I can honestly say I loathed the hounding of the social workers in the press and have said as much on various facebook 'support baby p' groups.It doesn't help to demonise social workers because even less of them will then be willing to work with children. I have friends who are social workers who refuse to work with children for this reason.
    I thought that the press did victimise Sharon Shoesmith. So I approached the woman's hour interview with her, with an open mind.
    I was dismayed by her...she sounded like a politician not head of social services. She couldn't answer a question straight. She tried to evade questions by non-stop talking.
    Sorry you don't like me anymore. It's just a difference of opinion.

  14. Progress Report on the Protection of Children

    For reasons best known to the net a copy of a letter to Lord Laming of Tewin from the Rt Honourable Ed Balls MP dated 12th March crossed my flat panel screen today. It starts as as a perfunctory thankyou for "The Protection of Children in England : A Progress Report" he had authored. It then goes on for 14 pages of general-ass-coveringingness and how the government will do all in its power to prevent Haringey happening again (again). Did we learn ANYTHING from the Victoria Climbié child abuse case? I
    was at KCC at the time and pretty much anything we did had to have
    cognisance in terms of due diligence (particularly in information) to that poor girls case. So how did the Baby P case happen after all that apparent concern and attention? What's more how could it have possibly happened in the SAME borough of Haringey Social Services?
    The only logical and sane conculsion is that there WAS 'systematic and operational failures'. Thats not a specific criticism of the social workers as the tabloids would have it, but the system itself. My worry is that the response that "making social work a Masters profession" is somehow going to put it all straight is naive in the extreme (bit like streamlining PGCE's to 6 months is going to instantly give us highly qualified and by implication 'experienced teachers'. The letter is in the wild I guess, I just got hold of it because I work in the NHS, but if you want to see a copy and fume just ping me... TP

  15. Thanks Tony.
    The problems seem to stem from political correctness and lack of money. If social workers have too many cases then abused children will slip through the net.

  16. True MsMarmiteLover,

    Doesn't make it any more palatable though...



  18. Oh I have a story about that kind of thing - but I think I'll blog it somewhere else as it's a fascinating sociological experiment that is worth one I think...


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