06.11.1998

Mad bureaucracy in a dangerous world - Charterhouse Chronicle

Mad bureaucracy in a dangerous world
 
Charterhouse Chronicle
Lynette Burrows
 
What a preposter­ous idea of the BBC's to stifle any mention of Peter Mandelson alleged homosexuality. Preposterous and doomed. How John Major must have longed to have allies like that in the media when he was trying to contain the various scandals that plagued his administration — even the Queen was not able to secure any privacy for the woes of her family. Only "Mandy" is deemed suitable for protection. One has to wonder why this sudden passion for privacy has mani­fested itself at this time and, indeed, why the BBC in particular has always been so apparently partial to homo­sexuals on countless programmes in the last few years. Of course, the attempt will fail and is certain to provoke more discussion about the fact that this censor­ship is being attempted at all.
 
It will also cause many people to ask the question: "Is a cabinet minister's sexuality of importance to anyone but himself?" They are bound to say that it is, and particularly so with this government. The reason is that they have threat­ened to take unprecedented steps to normalise and even to promote homosexual behaviour, particularly among school children and adoles­cent boys.
 
And yet, cold facts tell us that we are currently experi­encing a devastating localised epidemic of a fatal disease. At least, it is localised to our capi­tal city and the epidemic is of Aids. According to The Sexual Health of London project, which was published in September 1997, Aids is currently the biggest killer of men between the ages of 16 and 57, including accident and suicide, and that is very largely transmitted by homosexuals.
 
That is startling enough in itself and should be the cause of grave concern to everyone, particularly, of course, to government. But what do we find? Within months of the report our government voted overwhelmingly to lower the age of consent for homosexual activity. One does not need to be "homophobic" to think that this is so irresponsible as to be almost literally unbeliev­able.
 
Can anyone imagine that if there was a similar outbreak of terminal cancer among the young, caused by smoking, any sane government would lower the age at which it was legal to buy cigarettes — on the spurious grounds that only by making it legal would young men find out what steps they could take to avoid it harming them; not inhaling, perhaps?
 
Nor does it matter that the reason for this very high concentration of Aids cases in London is because so many homosexuals move there both for treatment of their disease and because of the more active "gay scene". Whatever the reason, the fact remains that the environment of our largest city is dangerous for young men who might be contem­plating homosexual activity, and to give them the green light at their most vulnerable age is nothing short of madness.
 
Fortunately for us, the House of Lords blocked the legislation by a majority of two to one and the public over­whelmingly supported them. However, Jack Straw promised the homosexual group, Stonewall, that he would introduce the promised legislation as soon as he was able.
 
So one has to ask what our elected representatives think they are doing. Now that we know that the cabinet contains a somewhat disconcerting number of homosexuals, including the eminence grise Mr Mandelson, one has to ask whether humble MPs who want to get on are simply currying favour with those in high places, or at least, are not willing to risk offending them. It is a great pity that they are not nearly so worried about offending us.
 
Now for a more joy­ful topic — well, theoretically. You will all have been agog with indifference to learn that the government is plan­ning to help the family with a series of "initiatives". It seems that we married folk with chil­dren are 50 per cent worse off than a single person on the same gross income. Not only that, but we are last in the queue when it comes to getting council housing and young couples are routinely told not to get married if they want to have a chance of ever getting a house.
 
So it is quite obvious that the new Green Paper on the family ought to start by putting that right and then look around to make cuts elsewhere to pay for it. Simple, eh? But not on your nelly! There are no proposals to do anything with these obvious, government-caused things. Instead, the roles of just about every state functionary you can think of — as well as those you never dreamed existed — are to be expanded. There is a proposal for "civil naming ceremonies"; no doubt with a new class of bureaucrat called a "Civil Namer" earning a five-figure sum. Then there is a proposal to create "mentors" for teenagers, so they have some­one other than their own fat-headed parents to go to for help and advice.
 
Continuing this theme, they want health visitors to come round to monitor the progress of our children until they are in long pants rather than when they are just born. All in all, it is pretty obvious that parents have proved themselves a sad disappointment to our govern­ment. Grandparents too: they are to be encouraged to take an active part in their grandchil­dren's upbringing. Funny they never thought of that for them­selves, isn't it?
 
Though I haven't yet seen it, there must be a special sub­section that contains detailed instructions on how they can get a 24-year-old social worker to set about the delicate task of teaching grandmothers to suck eggs.
 
I went to visit a lovely little Catholic school this weekend: Oakwood School, in Purley. Nothing unusual about it except that today its ethos is quite rare. They believe in teaching the children their religion as well as their lessons. Not unusual? My children's Catholic educa­tion was like a football team. Centre Forward in everything, Right Back in religion.