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J.K. Rowling Must Register as a Potential Pedophile

In a stunningly misguided program implemented by the British government, all children's book authors who visit schools must register with a national database intended to protect children from pedophiles, and they must pay a fee to do so. Beginning October 12, 2009, the Vetting and Barring Scheme (VBS) will require that all adults who work with children, including authors such as J.K. Rowling and Philip Pullman if they make special visits to schools, will be required to register with the database for a fee of £64 ($105).

The Independent reports that as a result, several well-known authors will boycott schools in protest of the requirement. Philip Pullman, Anne Fine, Anthony Horowitz, Michael Morpurgo, and Quentin Blake have all publicly stated that they object to having their names listed in the database. Pullman, author of the popular fantasy trilogy His Dark Materials, called the policy "corrosive and poisonous to every kind of healthy social interaction." He eloquently adds, "This reinforces the culture of suspicion, fear and mistrust that underlies a great deal of present-day society. It teaches children that they should regard every adult as a potential murderer or rapist." Anne Fine, the former Children's Laureate for the U.K. and author of over 50 children's books, labelled the requirement "government idiocy." "When it [the VBS] becomes essential, I shall continue to work only in foreign schools, where sanity prevails," she said. "The whole idea of vetting an adult who visits many schools, but each only for a day, and then always in the presence of other adults, is deeply offensive. Our children will become further impoverished by this tiresome and ill-considered scheme, and yet another gulf will be created between young people and the rest of society."

The VBS was set up in 2002 following the tragic murders of Jessica Chapman and Holly Wells by a school janitor, Ian Huntley. A government spokesperson defended the new rigorous regulation, saying, "The new scheme means every individual working in a field that requires more than a tiny amount of contact with children and/or vulnerable adults will have to be vetted. If they are passed, they will be placed on a register that says they are allowed to work in a regulated field. If they are barred, they will go on a separate register and it will be a criminal offence for them to try and obtain work in a regulated field, carrying a penalty of up to five years in prison. It will also be illegal for anyone to employ them."

Indeed, while such reasoning seems to make sense, the ramifications are far from sensible and grossly unfair to children and adults alike. This policy borders on hysteria and panders to the public's basest fears by assuming the worst of everybody. While none of these authors wants to see any child harmed, they point to the damage such a policy has on society as a whole. In an editorial in the Independent, Anthony Horowitz, author of the The Alex Rider Collection (Alex Rider Adventure) and the Power of Five book series, perhaps put it best: "This is a law made by people with a bleak and twisted view of society. And such people, quite simply, should not be making laws."

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Foolish minds and unintended consequences

This is another example of what happens when people refuse to examine an idea for unintended consequences and when mind-less drones in the bureaucracy blindly apply those ideas in the mind-less pursuit of "fairness" which is really an exercise in avoiding responsibility.

Ralph Waldo Emerson said it best: "Foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds"

Unintended?

Further impoverishing the mental lives of students and keeping them away from authors with challenging ideas about the nature of power and authority is an "unintended consequence"? I very much doubt it.

Paedophile crazy

You only fully grasp just how mind-blowingly absurd Britain has become by making the comparison with another country. Here in Japan I daily hit the gym followed by an onsen. "Have you ever seen another man naked?" Sure all the time. Little kids, too." Absolutely normal here, because “dad” takes his sons and daughters in with him. But give that answer in UK and slammer time beckons.
Britain's gone paedophile crazy, no question. Hate it and leave it. Guess I got the jump on you there, guys.

Crazy

Because of their isolationism and Xenophobic mentalities and dualistic sexual mores, the Brits and the Yanks are all still hopelessly ruled by old ideas and are are still unable to deal with their own sexuality....Until those old fogeys die off and are replaced by freethinking fresh minds we are doomed to bide by their narrowmindedness.

Odd, I majored in Asian

Odd, I majored in Asian Studies/Japanese with a minor in Japan Studies and up until "...the Brits and the Yanks" I thought you were referencing the land of the Rising Sun.

Everyone's got a different viewpoint, I suppose ;)

VBS

This really takes the cake! Who ARE these people who dream up these misguided, offensive and unnecessary programmes?
Another example of overzealous 'Do Gooders' trying to impose their twisted ideology on others. Not to mention the utter waste of tax payers money.

Presumably this would also

Presumably this would also include the Queen, and many other members of the Royal Family, since I hear they are quite active in children's charities. Princess Diana (if she were still alive) would be front and center.

I can't wait for the nice lads and ladies at the VBS to get their note from HRH - if it doesn't show up, they should send someone down to Buckingham Palace to collect it, in person.

All I know that her

All I know that her (plagiarized) books suck.

You may want to read Joseph

You may want to read Joseph Campbell's "The Hero with a Thousand Faces" and Christopher Vogler's "The Writer's Journey", you may have to cry yourself to sleep after you realize everything must fit under your definition of "plagiarism".

prove it

I've h eard that criticism...I"d like to see some solid PROOF..

no one called her on any of this BEFORE all the movies and books were done?

what a joke!
put up OR shut up.

You know what this is going

You know what this is going to do? Its going to ruin a whole generation! Just because, parents and relatives will actually start having second thoughts about expressing actions that demonstrate commonplace love towards their children. There is going to be a forced distance between children and their parents. And god knows what what that is going to do to the children!

Nice going England!! You've just ruined your future!

Amen! This is one of the most

Amen!

This is one of the most idiotic things I've heard of.

Authoritarianism

Another attempt to destroy normal family life and replace it with governance-class domination.

Wake up and rise up.

Authortarianism

England is a nanny fascist state. Surveillance cameras, gun ban and a possible ban on pointed blades. What do you expect ? More of the same bull shit.

Well...

While you're right to criticise the nanny state and proliferation of cameras, I don't think you'll find many people who want hand guns to be legal: we've seen what they do to the US. The US has more gun deaths per capita than any other western nation - there's no way we want to be as gun crazy as you nutbags.

Forced to register?

There isn't anything in the article backing up the headline's claim. Is she being forced to visit schools now?

hmm

I see it this way...sad but true is that pedophilia DOES exist.

If you are innocent, and while it may indeed be a sad state of affairs, you could easily suggest that its just part of 'trying' to protect children and get over yourself already.

I am not a pedophile, therefore I will tolerate the system, until someone proposes something better.

I have nothing to fear because I am a upstanding citizen and hide nothing, because I have perpetrated no crimes.

There be happy get over it.

Children won't see the ugly side, they will only see the hopeful good side which is the teachers , teaching and guiding them.

I wish there was a better way of handling this too, but until someone finds a way to avoid any children from ANY harm, maybe you should stop whining. Who do you care more about , children's safety or your own pitiful whining ?

What are we supposed to tell parents who lost a child to a pedophile, to just get over it and calm down because they are overreacting, or do our level best as children of god to protect where we can until we have a better system in place to handle all cases of abuse ( if ever ) ?

For the good of the many, the few or the one ?

Excuse me?

Anyone that states ..."I'm an upstanding citizen" is suspect in my book.......Has god told you that? Have your neighbours told you that?

I get that you are all for

I get that you are all for "protecting" the children, but this program doesn't protect anyone. All it does is put people on another "list" that they are forced to pay for out of their own pocket. How does this program prevent pedophilia in any way? All it does is give you more headway into a "whodunnit" after the fact. Children will still see the "ugly" side, because, as sad as it is to say, there is no way to "prevent" pedophilia. You can make as many lists as you want, put up as many cameras as you want, it's still going to happen.

Think of it as a car crash. You can build crumple zones, air bags, monitoring systems, OnStar, etc etc etc... but people are still going to get into car crashes and die, as long as people drive cars. As long as people are going to have kids, there are going to be unfortunate things that happen to them.

But if you continue to think of it like a car crash...

A more educated driver is going to be less likely to crash. As is a more educated child less likely to allow himself into a harmful situation. Instead of sheltering kids, they should be taught to understand the dangers that exist in the world, instead of trying to remove them altogether. People will always be at risk in whatever they do, be it driving, or watching TV. The more people UNDERSTAND the risks, the less likely they are to be harmed.

You aren't going to scar a child by educating him, he is more likely to be scarred from not knowing in the first place.

this is being poorly reported

this is being poorly reported in the UK news media. It will apply to anyone with even the most minimal amount of contact with children and goes beyond the standard criminal records bureau check - which most are broadly in support of. It's news tag is vis-a-vis the authors, but will apply to many many people.

A new government quango has been set up to keep the database. That quango will be duty bound to consider any information it receives from any source (disgruntled former employer, ex partner perhaps??) as well as info received from the police, local authorities etc. This bypasses all normal judicial processes and could include unsubstantiated allegations, allegations made in bad faith or by mistake and malicious allegations. What about hearsay? What about corroboration? The level of stranger crime against children is by all accounts at pretty much the same level it has been for the last 100 years....so why now the paranoia? The information from any source wihtout corroboration is the problem with the proposals here...nothing more.

The government's own guidance here says:-

Q54. Can anyone make referrals?
• Yes – the ISA is duty bound to consider all information it receives, regardless of
the source. However, we would encourage members of the public, if they have
concerns, to first contact the appropriate statutory agency, e.g. the police or Local
Authority.

http://www.isa-gov.org/Default.aspx?page=4

In the meantime, well meaning volunteers may refuse to register and children's lives may be impoverished as a result. Perhaps less after school activities, less music, dramatic arts, less sports...the list is virtually endless. The government proposes that some 11 million people will have to be registered to be branded as "non abusers"

Cuango....? Is this newspeak?

I remember when I was a child.....After I came home from school and changed clothes I went out to play with my friends and we looked after one another. Sadly that bond has been erased, either by video games, parents paranoia or whatever....Or maybe we are evolving into a different kind of humanity?.....It saddens me to think that todays children will not experience the joys of going for long, long, allday walks together, discovering neighbours' apple trees and hopping over the fence to eat those sour apples and suffering the consequences....Or going to Grandparents' houses in the country and walking for miles unattended or perhaps a dog to find streams full of tadpoles, newts and those little fish (I forget the name) and finding quarries with mysterious shells and fossils of ancient sea creatures..Things that made me inquisitve. Climbing trees and jumping into puddles of mud.....
Am I that crazy to wish for those days to be back for the kids of today to enjoy?

My goodness that is frank.

My goodness that is frank. The fact that anyone can make a "referral" and all such information MUST be taken on face value is truly mind boggling. From what i understand, what's been going on in the UK over the past couple of decades is a slow, bureaucratic march into another world. One that, because of technological advances, has never existed before. Calling it something akin to Fascism is simplifying the situation and distracting people with an overused word. In effect, it's a march that will result in a world that's much more frightening.

Maybe this doesn't mean as much to the British, but ...

COJ opined: "I am not a pedophile, therefore I will tolerate the system, until someone proposes something better."

In response to this, I am compelled to quote Benjamin Franklin:

"They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety."

Please do note, he was still a subject of the British Crown when he penned those words. Perhaps modern subjects of that same Crown would do well to consider those words, themselves?

Flashback

Does the movie "V" come to mind here?

V

I'm nothing more than a ne'er-do-well Yank, but this is un-freaking-believable! I thought my country was getting a tad ridiculous in all its restrictions and spying, but come on Britain, you're becoming the very stereotype every school kid has feared since being introduced to Huxley and Orwell in school. It's a bloody good thing V for Vendetta provided the answer.

Great Britain

I'm waiting for the island to sink into the Atlantic in a desperate effort to shake off all the idiots running the country.

Yeah, I don't get the problem

Yeah, I don't get the problem here.

If you want to work with children, I want to know if you've got a history of child abuse. Simple as that. Whether it's for a day or a year. These authors are visiting school to school, who is to say they aren't taking a kid aside in the bathroom. The children have no idea this is going on, so that crap about teaching them to be afraid is bs.

And this isn't singling out authors. This is anybody who visits schools on a regular basis. Sure, the author is a public figure, but this includes the guy who is putting on an animal show, the lady who sings with puppets. The authors need to get over themselves. If they want to visit schools, they have to get checked out. The only one putting a wedge between the authors and the children is the authors who boycott.

Yeah right, cause nobody will

Yeah right, cause nobody will notice if the author or some hired clown, puppeteer or whatever goes with them to the toilet. And even if they do it, how does their names being on a list prevent it? Or is the fee based on some kind of thought that states pedos won't pay over X amount to get into contact with their prey? This is purely misguided "we do something and anything" without any point. It wont help kids, it makes people & kids even more paranoid about strangers and abuse will still be mostly from close relatives.
All the new security laws in the western world seem to be total bullshit lately, I wonder how long it takes until that era ends and the situation normalises again. Not holding my breath. :/

Paranoid, much?

Besides, statistically most child abusers, including and especially sexual abusers, are people already KNOWN to the child.

Meaning, FAMILY members, and close FRIENDS of the family.

So, shouldn't every PARENT be required to register? After all, couldn't a PARENT be, how did you put it, "taking a kid aside in the bathroom" ...? And after all, don't PARENTS regularly visit schools? The SAME school, time after time, even?

WAIT, wait ... here's another one for you ... CHILDREN. Children visit schools, almost EVERY day of the week! Let's force THEM to go through the same background check. I mean, might THEY not ... oh, make friends, in order to bring them home to their pedophiliac mommy or daddy??

...

Where, exactly, does this sort of paranoid mentality stop?

Lists.

In the US and in Canada people with a "history of child abuse" (or any person classified as a "sex offender") already gets listed in a database and is registered. They are already banned from working or volunteering with children, living within X meters of a school, daycare, place of worship etc. They are on registered sex offenders lists that can be easily accessible to employers and lately even community groups.

Is this not already the case in the UK as well? So why this additional database, one that requires a fee? In the US and Canada, you already must have done something to get on this list and it wasn't for example, because your ex-coworker wanted to get back at you and called in an anonymous tip which got your name embroiled for months and a shadow of suspicion cast upon you for years. Do you truly not see the danger in such a lopsided, all encompassing system?

The point these boycotting authors are making is this: A list will not stop the shit that is pedophilia.

The two points many people try to make when more and more of these databases get complied are this:

'What are the true reasons for these databases?' and 'What in the world do they really prevent?'

The answer to the last question is "Nothing" They -prevent- nothing, they -sometimes- make it easier to clean up the mess afterward. These statistical anomalies are then used to justify the existence of the database.

The answer to the first wuestion is "You the citizen will never ever know."

Government can NOT regulate harmful human behavior. You can only educate yourself and your children about it, how to deal with it, how to engage it and how to protect yourself from it. That is the only -healthy- and viable solution.

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