Forgive us for our excessive zeal, but we feel the need to appoint an extra Wanker of the Week ...
There's been some controversy recently about Chris Keates, the general secretary of the National Association of Schoolmasters/Union of Women Teachers, who wants to to decriminalise sex with students who are over the legal age of consent.
As things stand, a teacher who has sexual relations with any pupil, however old they are, is committing a criminal offence, whereas if he or she had the same relations with a young person from a different school there would be no offence provided the young person was over the age of consent.
There are, of course, good and sufficient (and pretty obvious) reasons why teachers should not have affairs with pupils, and we don't propose to enter into that argument at all – if it is indeed an argument, as we imagine most people would agree about it. Frankly, it's not all that interesting. To be fair, the NAS/UWT isn't arguing either, but is simply making the point that using criminal law to control this behaviour is anomolous and unsafe because a 24-year-old plumber, for instance, with a 17-year-old girlfriend would be considered entirely normal, while a 24-year-old teacher with a 17-year-old girlfriend could be arrested for statutory rape and find himself on the sex offenders register and never able to work again. It wouldn't be unreasonable to suggest that the normal disciplinary measures for teachers would be sufficient – they are administered by the General Teaching Council and can be pretty stringent.
But our interest is in one Gregory Carlin, a “child protection activist” and head of the Irish Anti-Trafficking Coalition. His very public response to the NAS/UWT statement was not just extreme, but extraordinarily stupid. "If the NASUWT philosophy has its day," he said, "exploiting a 16 year old in a brothel would carry no extra penalty."
An odd comment, surely? The correspondence between the average school and a brothel is not immediately obvious. What exactly have brothels to do with this?
But Carlin goes further: “Under the same logic”, he said, "jail guards would be able to take their pick from their charges and foster parents would be spared prosecution for having sex with foster children."
Wow! That's a new one! Foster parents have sex with their foster children, do they? How often does that happen, I wonder? We don't recall any publicity about such cases – but then, what do we know? Carlin works in the field, so perhaps he knows something we don't. No doubt all these kind foster parents are buggering little orphans right left and centre, and social services are covering up for them, is that it? How like them!
And Carlin finished off his Wankery by attacking Chris Keates personally, accusing her of trying to "legalise sex crimes." And he didn't stop there, adding "Thousands of teachers are referred to List 99 each year ...”(that's the secret government list of people not allowed to work with children) “... most of them from the NASUWT". The NAS/UWT's lawsuit against Carlin for libel and gross defamation will follow in due course – we hope. It is not true that thousands of NAS/UWT members are put on List 99 each year. There are only 8,036 names on the List, and a large proportion of those weren't teachers at all.
Gregory Carlin is perfectly entitled to believe, and say publicly, that the way the law is working is right and proper. We don't even think we'd completely disagree with him, although we see the NAS/UWT's point. But what he has no right to do is to indulge in this kind of purple rhetoric, this perversion of logic and common-sense.
He's talking like a typical left-wing nazi, and displays exactly the attitude which has damaged very deeply the lives of children and young people in recent years. Why is it that primary schools cannot attract young male teachers? Why is it that waiting lists for places in the cubs and scouts are growing by the thousand? Why are hobby clubs refusing to admit children unless they're accompanied at all times by a parent? Why do so many little boys go through their young lives without ever experiencing any kind of father-figure?
It's because too many men these days are scared to work with children because they know how they'll be portrayed, and how vulnerable they'll be. And why is that?
It's because of you, Gregory Carlin. It's because you, and people like you, believe that all adults are a danger to children. Your dirty little minds are so obsessed with tales of child abuse that you want to stifle normal child-adult relationships, institutionalise them, control and regulate them, to blacken the names and reputations of anyone foolish enough to enjoy working with children – except yourselves, of course.
And in the course of this blackguardly crusade, you're happy to bend the truth, twist the facts, and throw mud indiscriminately in the certain knowledge that some of it will stick. So in your warped world a respectable professional association that points out an anomoly in the law is trying to “legalise sex crimes”, most of its members are apparently on List 99, foster-parents are rapists and schools become brothels.
So congratulations, Gregory Carlin, you've got a whole special page to yourself.
The GOS says: I think I've mentioned it before in these pages, but there is something extremely sinister about List 99 – well, a couple of things, actually.
The first is that someone can be put on List 99 simply on the basis of an accusation, and without either trial or proof. Years ago I knew a teacher who had an affair with a 15-year-old girl pupil - and he did, there's no question about it – and lost both his job and his marriage in short order. No charges were ever brought, though of course they could have been. If he had in fact been innocent, he would have had no chance to defend himself.
But he ended up on List 99 anyway. He deserved it, I think, but suppose he'd been falsely accused ...?
The second thing is that List 99 is only circulated to state schools. Some months after said foolish teacher had been sacked (or, more accurately, allowed to quietly leave) I learned that he had been employed to do some work at a local private school. I contacted my bosses at the County Council Education Department and told them.
“Not interested,” they said. “We hold no brief for private schools. And you're not to tell them, either”.
As it happened, I knew the headmaster, so one short phone call and a number of attractive 15-year-old girls could rest easy in their beds. Well, rest alone in their beds, at any rate ...
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