Staff at the Red Balloon Learner Centre in Cambridge have found some children so badly bullied that they haven't been to school for a year, and whose subsequent feelings of complete unworthiness are firmly entrenched.
Even so, I was astounded to read an article by Robert Winnett, Deputy Political Editor of the Telegraph, stating that in 98.5% of cases, children suspended from school for bullying are returned to the same class to prey on their victims again. In many localities schools are forced to pay for private tuition for excluded pupils, therefore if cash is strapped, as it usually is, exclusions will be forced to a bare minimum. Only 80 children were excluded from state schools specifically for bullying last year, out of 2000 who were excluded for violence - from a total of over 62,000 who committed acts of violence, more than 8,000 of these being towards teachers.
The trouble, it seems to me, is that all over the West stormtroopers of the liberal-socialist axis have walked a covert revolution into swathes of our educational, scientific, entertainment, administrative and governmental institutions since the 1970's, and the vanguard are now where they had intended to end up - occupying key positions where they can harm (sorry, "deconstruct") society with their sociopathic convictions, in many cases ignoring good counsel from people they employ. So although it's very laudable aiming anti-bullying week at children, it should be noted that it is from the adult-led structures of liberal oppression that bullying trickles down to children, who become what they behold.
A manifestation of this is the view that people who bully others are themselves "victims" who are in need of nothing stronger than "therapy" which presupposes that treating them like besandalled liberals will turn them into the same, all warm and fuzzy with no rough edges. The leads to, at one end of the spectrum, a primary school in Cambridgeshire with a garden that lets children calm down with a bit of work out in the open, instead of having to stay in the classroom, that will produce results they can see and hold and eat. The trouble is, it's only available to children who exhibit challenging behaviour...see the flaw?
At the other end of the spectrum, we have a process that identified a woman living in an alternative family arrangement, therefore Haringey Social Services managers closed their ears to the concerns of workers on the ground about her son; you can follow the case of Baby P in the news. This illustrates starkly the chaos wrought when social services managers assume that members of certain groups are not only impeccable but untouchable, in the teeth of dire warnings from people on the ground. Another example is last year's independent inquiry into the managerial and supervisory setups at Wakefield Council following a couple having been arrested for abusing four children they had fostered between 2003-2005. The problem? Because Ian Wathey and Craig Faunch were gay, social workers found their careers threatened if they should voice concerns that they might be abusers to their managers. (I must say that in the many years I've met social workers through my work, I haven't met a PC crusader in a long time - they infest the upper echelons now.)
We are increasingly becoming nations of unhappy people, and I'm not surprised by a University of Maryland report stating that unhappy people watch more TV than happier ones, who tend to read, socialise and even vote more often.
Bullying is big business on TV. Last year, Channel Four's Celebrity Big Brother let Jade Goody's racist bullying of Bollywood star Shilpa Shetty carry on because it attracted viewers; but the ratings war yeilded a Pyrrhic victory as riots in India coincided with Gordon Brown's visit there, Carphone Warehouse dropped out as sponsors and 50,000 complaints were received. But, nevertheless, bullying is big business, so Channel 4 let it happen all over again with Big Brother 9.
Alternatively, during the campaigning for this year's US elections, shortly after John McCain picked Sarah Palin as running mate, Democrats soon discovered their reactionary sides when they criticised her, basically, for being a mother in a public place. Things got very nasty when it was alleged that her newborn daughter was in reality her own daughter's child; to (then) Senator Obama's credit (something I'm not that used to saying) he reacted swiftly to insist that family members were off-limits. It would send a stronger message about the President-Elect's sense of fair play if he were to announce an inquiry about who targeted two minors, one a newborn baby with special needs - and upon whose orders.
The climate-change industry owes far more to bullying than it ever did to science. In his book The Deniers, Lawrence Solomon tells the story of Roger Revelle, who in the 1960's alerted a young student of his called Al Gore to his studies on climate change, but later changed his mind, writing to Senator Tim Wirth in 1988 "It is not yet obvious that this summer's hot weather and drought are the result of a global climatic change or simply an example of the uncertainty of climate variability". Gore's reaction was that Revelle (who died in 1991) had become senile. This treatment was also meted out to David Bellamy, who subscribed to the climate change theory as late as 1988, but in 2004 described it as "a load of poppycock" in the Daily Mail; Plantlife International instructed him to step down as President, The Royal Society of Wildlife Trusts refused to renew his presidency, and, echoing the Revelle case, there were "charges of mental incompetency", for example the Carbon Trust's description of "the very sad and deluded David Bellamy". Significantly, the climate change movement is using local government resources and the media - predominanty TV - to encourage children to use "pester power" on their parents to prevent "eco-crimes".
Radagast, a senior teacher in a faith school, writes in his blog Witness to Love about the effects of TV upon children:
With a media so often dedicated to profit, consumerism, celebrity and a liberal-elite agenda, it should be no surprise that many children's views are similarly shaped. Television, says William Kilpatrick author of Why Johnny Can't tell Right from Wrong, "defines what is and is not important" (264) and shapes the reality of viewers by conferring significance upon events by paying attention to them, or denying them significance by ignoring them...For many children I talk to, television programming offers 'realism' and 'entertainment' and they would be reluctant to give it up. However, the kind of 'realism' and 'entertainment' about the world on offer in many media-driven productions is not realism at all. It is a distorted picture of reality, often dominated by secular values and without any connection to the transcendent. The image of man and especially of the family that emerges in many programmes is often grossly one-sided.In a sense, entertainment and other institutions have seen the truth in the Jesuits' maxim, "Give me the child and I'll show you the man[sic]" by turning it round for their own purposes, There are signs of hope, however - one of the most popular BBC programmes of all time (around the world) is Doctor Who, and it's spin-off for children The Sarah Jane Adventures. These science-fiction series usually take the form of morality tales, centred around the premise that acting others' good is to be desired, and wrong is objectively, well, wrong. It's ironic that they have come from the organisation which gave us the egregious Jonathan Ross/Russell Brand incident, where a 78-year-old man was bullied by the aforesaid with criminally obscene messages left on his answerphone about his granddaughter.
Ironic too that the most bullying government ever to be foisted upon Great Britain has, through its own thinktank, Foresight, rediscovered things we need to do to regain our happiness. These include activities like developing relationships with friends and families, having hobbies, and helping friends and strangers - all simple things, which many of us learnt not from thinktanks but at our mothers' knees, and which start with switching off the telly.