Friday focus - Respect - and how not to achieve it
Here we go again. Another quick fix idea from our Government which makes a slick news soundbite or newspaper headline, but will serve no real purpose. This week Education Secretary Ruth Kelly announced plans for a new national academy to teach parenting s
Here we go again. Another quick fix idea from our Government which makes a slick news soundbite or newspaper headline, but will serve no real purpose.This week Education Secretary Ruth Kelly announced plans for a new national academy to teach parenting skills, focusing primarily on identifying problems in children before they get too serious - nipping them in the bud, so to speak.This is all part of the Government's 'respect' agenda, and these classes will be attended by psychologists, social workers, youth workers, community safety officers and many more.And it's all aimed at demonstrating the Government's serious intentions towards tackling the respect issue.One of the few early statistics available is that this new set-up will quadruple the current number of community support officers to 24,000.So it's clearly going to be expensive.To what end? Very little, of course.Most decent parents won't have anything to do with it, because they won't need to. Most less able parents won't have anything to do with it because they won't know, acknowledge, or even care that they are less able, or that their children might be vulnerable.Which takes us to the compulsion route. And somehow I can't see the parent police trying to round up all suspect mums and dads for compulsory lectures on how to bring up their disrespectful offspring. What makes it all a bit of a waste of time - and our money.While on the subject of respect I must confess how amazed I am than any politician, wishing to be taken seriously, should demean himself by taking part in the tacky TV show Celebrity Big Brother.But George Galloway, the prominent MP from the Respect Party, is no ordinary politician.He's the kind of chap who people have strong views about, both for and against. The Big Brother show is the same. Many, myself included, are baffled by it and wonder why so many people are attracted to such banality from these pseudo-celebs.But one thing is certain. Galloway has proved he is a chancer. And it is now clear that if he plans to stay in his contrived political grouping he ought to change its name.His TV antics mean that as a politician he has given up any rights to be associated with the word 'respect'.