Tag Archives: children’s moral development

Is ‘annoyance and nuisance’ enough to get a criminal record?

In June 2010 Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said that he wanted to see “spaces where children can play, where they can feel completely free, where they can safely push at the boundaries, learning and experimenting. Places where different generations can meet, binding the community together.” In 2008 – in a report on childhood launched by David Cameron himself – the Tories declared, “We must allow our children to be seen and heard.”

The proposed legislation to criminalise children for “causing nuisance and annoyance” is a betrayal of these words and actions, and a shameful move by the Coalition government. It is a slap in the face to children – who let’s remember, are not so much couch potatoes as couch prisoners, and already have to overcome safety fears, traffic danger, and official hostility in order to enjoy that most basic of childhood pleasures, playing outside. It pulls the rug out from under parents who are trying to give their children a little more freedom. And it is (irony of ironies) profoundly anti-social, since it is likely to deprive children of the very kind of everyday experiences that help them learn how to become responsible citizens. Please do what you can to support Play England – and what I suspect will be a growing list of other concerned people – in fighting it.

Love Outdoor Play

So when you were 10, 12, 15, could you be ‘annoying’? Could you be a ‘nuisance’?

I interviewed my grandmother recently about what she did as a young girl.

She is now nearly 90 and has led, I think it’s fair to say, an almost blameless life. Yet as a young girl her and her group of friends would run up to houses, knock on the doors and run away…

Well if the new Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Bill 2013-14 gets passed, behaviour that my grandmother got up to could conceivably land her with a criminal record.

I’m no expert on this sort of issue – I’m an ex-teacher, done some community development, and spent the last five years promoting and leading programmes and campaigning to get kids more freedom to play. But my colleagues at the Standing Commitee on Youth Justice are. As are the Association of Chief…

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The death of James Bulger: a singular tragedy and a damaging landmark

One of the challenges of writing about the Bulger killing is confronting the enormity of what happened to James, and its catastrophic impact on his family. To hear the interview with James’s father Ralph Bulger on Radio Four yesterday morning is to hear a man driven to the very edge of self-destruction by the tragedy that befell him.

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How do we help children understand right and wrong from the inside?

There is no more difficult job than getting children to understand the moral consequences of their actions.  And there is a growing feeling that this job is getting harder.  Not surprisingly, an army of parenting gurus, products and academics is on hand to offer help to parents and educators. Continue reading

The Socialist 10 Commandments

Wooden plaque showing Socialist 10 CommandmentsA couple of months ago I went to a talk on the theme of Radical Walthamstow, given by local historian Roger Huddle. Walthamstow is the Victorian suburb of London that has been my home for nearly 20 years. Between around 1870 and 1940 it was a hive of working class agitation, organising and self-help. Just yards from where I lived until very recently, workers had clubbed together to build a community centre named in honour of William Morris, the Arts and Crafts Movement leader and socialist dynamo who was born in the town.

One of the services that used to be run in the centre was a socialist Sunday school. On the wall was a wooden plaque, and on it were set out the “Socialist 10 Commandments”.  Continue reading