Dear young men: The old stereotypes of what it is to be a ‘man’ are a load of rubbish – Features – Health & Families – The Independent

Quirky is the new cool

” Successfully achieving coolness in high school is like being knighted by Ronald McDonald.”


This, dear reader, yes all 8 of you, may be worth a listen, especially as both  Adrian Voce and Bob Hughes are on  it:

 “Feral Kids and Feckless Parents”

the first in a series on Broken Childhood featuring an expert-led discussion on the contemporary issues, such as knife-crime and gun-crime and crime-crime and other feckless issues facing parents in our contemporary society

RADIO 4 today, Wednesday, at 8pm.

Do have a listen then we can discuss it online. Such fun!

I speak like this because the increasingly London-centric posh media types at the Beeb, seem to think everyone lives like this, cue vicious parody:

just after you have had a simple family supper of jugged hare in an aubergine and Marsala jus, and just before the ‘man of the house’ has to ‘pop’ upstairs to read Jemima and Jasper their organically-grown, fairly-traded recycled children’s story by Kate Winslet, entitled “ The day that Satsuma forgot about global warming”, you can huddle round the Pure DAB set and listen to (or record for later – such fun) this lovely programme:


From the actual BBC:

“Programme 1: Feral Kids and Feckless Parents

”The August riots in parts of England showed youngsters out of control on the streets, and put huge focus onto parenting skills.

“MPs and council leaders warned parents that they should know where their children were at night and keep them indoors and out of trouble.

”But parents themselves were saying they were unable to discipline their kids, either because they feared repercussions by the authorities, or because their children were simply physically too strong.

“In the first of the new series of “Bringing Up Britain”, Mariella Frostrup is joined by a panel of experts to discuss parental discipline right across British society.”

{uncontrollable interjection: RIGHT across? As in all classes? Somehow I doubt it}

”How easy is it for us to control our children, especially after they stop being biddable toddlers and begin to assert their own personalities?

“Have we given children too many rights and ignored those of parents?

”Can you really stop a large teenage child going out, and what restraining measures can you legally use?

“And, if your child is going off the rails, how do you break the cycle and get them back into good habits?”


Back to the totally made-up vicious parody:

Joining a woman in early middle-age who has a sexy voice because she is foreign, are 4 people who are already known to BBC researchers (who these days are all unpaid interns called Rebecca or Piers), because their names are already in the producer’s filofax (remember them). Joining poshtotty to explore these issues will be:

• Adrian Voce, OBE, freelance policy consultant and ex-Director of PlayEngland,

• Bob Hughes of PlayEducation, the UK’s leading thinker on children’s play and playwork

• some bloke who used to be a teacher who went to school with George Osborne

• the wife of George Osborne (is he married? I thought he was gay, must check) who has set up a charity for badgers distressed by quad bikes

•an ethnic minority person who was booked by mistake but the BBC has an equalities policy so they aren’t being told because it might upset them and they might call us racist

• Professor Martina Rousseau-Clarkson, the  founding director of the Luton University Centre  for the Study of the Causes of Research into the Parenting Strategies deployed in early adolescence by Developmentally Challenged Agricultural Workers in South America and Children

• Peter Rabid, the foreign policy editor of the Economist and best-selling author of ‘Shoot The Bloody Lotl!’

Only joking all of those people are made-up. The two that are real people are the ones least likely to be actually, and disappointingly, on the programme. Follow the link to find out who the real panel is. Gosh, with luminaries like that, we’re assured of a jolly debate. I’m going to be glued to my set: if you miss it, and if I hear anything sensible or interesting or hopeful, and if I write it down, you might see it on here, later.

If you tolerate this, your playwork will be next (let’s celebrate Auntie Bullying Week)

Are No-Bullying Zones Constitutional?


”…/ It started on college and university campuses, where repressive speech codes have been teaching generations of students that they have no right to offend anyone who can claim membership in a growing list of presumptively disadvantaged groups. Now, this mindlessly censorious movement to force people to be nice to each other is encroaching on off-campus life: The Council of the District of Columbia is considering banning the “harassment, intimidation, or bullying” of students in public libraries and parks, as well as schools.“

Original article here, after annoying ad:
Dont bother, she says, ” trying to figure out what this vague and verbose definition of bullying includes. Focus instead what it might exclude — not much. Virtually no speech or behavior that a student might consider insulting and that a petty bureaucrat might find offensive and disruptive is beyond the reach of this ban.“

”In addition to policing the everyday speech of anyone who frequents a public park or library, the bill creates a system of informants within specific agencies. Students, volunteers, or agency employees are required to report alleged bullying incidents to the “appropriate official” named in that agency’s mandatory anti-bullying policy. And the policy must allow for anonymous reporting. Forgive me for stating what should be obvious: this is not a prescription for fostering mutual tolerance and trust in an open and free society. “

…/ ”Art Spitzer, legal director of the ACLU’s D.C. affiliate, voiced concerns about the definition of bullying: “What does it mean by harming a student … Does that mean hurting a student’s feelings? If a student comes in and says I feel very harmed by the fact that so and so said I was a crappy athlete … that’s not bullying.“

She asks: ”Why not simply promulgate and enforce rules against harassment? Why devise new legal concepts and definitions of bullying? Because the Court’s definition of harassment was reasonably narrow and does not allow for expansive speech policing, which is a goal of anti-bullying advocates.” /…/ “The new civil rights/anti-bullying advocates have apparently forgotten, if ever they remembered, that freedom of speech, including the freedom to offend, has been essential to their own liberation movements. Women once deeply offended social mores merely by speaking in public. African-Americans surely offended segregationists by demanding equality. And if gay rights activists lacked the right to offend the “family values” crowd, gay pride parades would have been enjoined long ago. “

What’s going on is this, I reckon – if you can police speech you can prevent discussion of anything. Like this: we have a discussion. Any discussion worthy of the name will involve disagreement. You claim I dissed you, I didn’t, I say, I merely disagreed with your view, Voltaire-stylee. you claim bullying, and the discussion is shut down. All discussions can be shut down, and tents are deadly offensive weapons outside St Pauls.

And note this – we don’t even have the protection of a constitution and bill of rights, like what the Yanks* have.

But we do have Sean the Sheep, for real:

*Yanks? That’s offensive, coming from a limey. Substituting ‘being offended’ for ‘campaigning for equal rights’ – how’s that working in terms of the Equality agenda, going forward, at this point in time?

FIGHT RACISM! Dress witches in pink, avoid white paper!

Dress witches in pink and avoid white paper to prevent racism in nuseries, expert says – Telegraph.

“Dress witches in pink and avoid white paper to prevent racism in nuseries, expert says

Teachers should censor the toy box to replace witches’ black hats with a pink ones and dress fairies in darker shades, according to a consultant who has issued advice to local authorities.”

Ooh, this one got them going!

Good advice to avoid white paper though: just wish local authorities and Michael Gove avoid white paper also.

Let’s just contextualise this: Nursery World magazine HAVE issued a guide on equality and diversity, free (as in falls out of when you open it) with the magazine. It IS written by this Anne O’Connor. The writer may well have advised local authorities. I’m sure the ‘guide’ does contain all sorts of advice like that pilloried by the Torygrapher. This advice is a magazine pull-out, not advice to local authorities, and not official government or local government advice, just a freebie in a magazine.

And, and, what happens to ‘pull-outs’ or ‘fall’outs’? Straight in the recycling, maybe via the gerbil cage floor.

Great ‘rantortunity’ though. Keep ’em coming.

BTW, the nursery world coterie is a perfect example of a SRSS (self-referential social system). for more details – ask me or read my book: ‘Navigating Complexity: the essential guide to complexity theory in business and management’. you can pay a lot second hand or wait for the soon-come reprint.


Eerie As I type this stuff right here…


As I type this stuff right here and now, on the topic of ‘boys and girls’, I hear John Humphries on Radio 4, in a jokey(ish) piece on women in business, saying men and women bring different things to the workplace, followed by a female colleague asking ‘isn’t that sexist?’

Like I say, eerie…

Is the playwork field* ready for a mature…

Is the playwork field* ready for a mature discussion of the differing needs and therefore different requirements of boys and girls?

I can think of reasons why it might be.
I can think of reasons why it might not be.

I can think of reasons why things might have changed since ‘the 70s’.
I can think of reasons why things might not have changed since ‘the 70s’.

I am aware of some of the scientific knowledge we have gained since ‘the 70s’.

I am aware of some of the societal changes since ‘the 70s’.

I am aware that saying ‘the 70s’, gives away my approximate age.


I repeat:

Is the playwork field*
ready for a mature discussion
of the differing needs
and therefore different requirements
of boys and girls?

So please contact me with thoughts, ta.

As Dirty Harry*** says:

“Do you feel lucky?”

I’m hoping to get enough responses from my extensive readership to be able to put together a presentation on this topic later in the year.

Over to you.

(problem – this blog doesn’t accept comments yet, I I haven’t set that up yet, so you can’t comment. so if you are reading this, you will be aware that Arthur Battram is on Facebook, so you could message me there, or you could email me, if you don’t already have my email** at: PleXity AT onetel DOT com.)

*They want to call it a profession,
I want to call it a craft,
technically it is a (noble) occupation,
yet the resources it has are similar to leaky tent in a field.
so I chose to call playwork a field.

    • my use of AT and DOT is a precaution to foil spambots, evil shape-changing robots from the planet Spa’m.
      • google him.