Neighbours from Hell

rant...

I managed to piss off our neighbours last night by building a wall at 10:30pm. I was tapping down breeze blocks on our new internal wall (house blog will be updated eventually) and I thought that the sound would not carry but it did. Our next door neighbour came round and complained. When she came round and said that the noise was driving her mad and could we stop I said "I'm sorry, I didn't realise the sound was carrying". She then said "normal people would have stopped at about 8 o'clock"!! She's right of course, and I took this as a compliment and without being able to resist I replied, in my best Jack Nicholson style, "Well, we ain't normal!", and then added that "yes, we will stop the noise"!

The thing is we hate our neighbours as they are so prim and proper and "normal" and thick as pigshit! We rubbed them up the wrong way when we moved in and chopped down a load of bushes along our garden fence (rooted on our side of the boundary) and replaced them with a fence. They were mortified! Well, tough shit, we're not around to win popularity contests and as long as we act within the law and don't cause a nuisance then I don't care is they take offence. Our neighbours have appalling taste, their "oh so clean and tidy house" is decorated like a "changing rooms" reject! They also have a picture on their bedroom wall that plumbs the depths of bad taste. It is a picture of a naked couple kneeling down and embracing each other, painted in a fantasy art 70's style by someone like Roger Dean. If it was anybody else I'd think they were being kitch and retro but I genuinely think they must like it (yuck!). Their banal conversations when they are out in the garden just confirms our low opinion of them (we are such intellectual snobs). I'm proud not to fit into their definition of normality!

Therefore, when our neighbours complain about the noise then I am happy to accept that the noise is an unreasonable disturbance and I will stop. However, I hate them so much that the little devil on my shoulder keeps teling me to take a pneumatic drill to our party wall!!!!
We don't like our neigbours and they don't like us. The little side-affects of non-conformance. Just though I'd share.

Sigh... The solution seems so obvious doesn't it.. BBC NEWS | Education | Parents protest over Sats tests

Email to Brian Micklethwaite

I emailed Brian Micklethwaite (linked to in my 'Food For Thought' list) to tell him about the concerns that myself and many others have about the Childrens Bill.  Brian is a veteren Civil Liberties campaigner and I thought talking to him might help to raise awareness of this issue.

Here it is. 

----- Original Message -----

From: Simon Bone
To: brian@brianmicklethwait.com
Sent: Wednesday, May 05, 2004 4:03 PM
Subject: Childrens Bill

Hello again Brian,

 

I emailed you a while back after I discovered your blog and I have very much enjoyed reading your posts over the last few months.

 

I noticed that you highlighted the potential impact of the Children's Bill on Home Educators in your education blog and I wondered if you would be interested in some further observations I and others have made, regarding the children's bill, which have huge Civil Liberties implications.

 

As I'm sure you are aware, the children’s bill

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld200304/ldbills/035/2004035.htm

will allow for the creation of a database that will contain details of every child under sixteen in the country and the information can be shared with any organisation the secretary of state regards as fit.

 

This Database will contain EVERY CHILDS NAME AND DETAILS, not just those of "at risk" children.  The database will be distributed by its very nature and data security is a huge area of concern.  Even if data security issues are addressed, the mere fact that the database(s) will be available to such a large range of organisations/professionals (local authority, district council, police, probation service, health authority, primary care trust, LEA, teachers & other school staff, Learning & Skills Council, Social Services etc) means that data security is not the only hole in this system, anyone of these people could use this information for their own purposes... or provide it to others.

 

This brings me on to another point, what exactly will be recorded on this database?  Well, essentially, any "cause for concern" can be noted by any of the people with access.  Unfortunately the government have not provided a list of what would cause information to be "flagged" onto this database.  This means that ANYTHING could be a flag for the database: missed medical appointments, not being registered with a health professional, learning difficulties, poor behaviour or attendance at school, domestic conflict, family/peers involved in crime, "criminal area of residence", easily bored, victim of bullying etc. Why not "Home Educated" or even "Home Birth". Imagine the situation of a doctor advising a mother to give birth in hospital because the doctor perceives a home birth to be of increased risk, but the mother decides to give birth at home. Will this be a "flag" to the database?  I have an anecdote from one of my friends (I haven't been able to back this up with a source I'm afraid, sorry Brian) who says that a Labour MP has stated that a child could be flagged for "excessive breastfeeding" - defined as over one year.  If this is true then it is preposterous (despite the WHO recommendation that breastfeeding should continue for two years or more). True or not, who is to say what criteria (reasonable or not - who is to judge) will be flagged.  The Children's Minister has even mentioned low birth weight as a flag (anecdotal again, I can't find a source for this)

 

There is another scheme running at the moment which involves similar flags and has a criteria list for their application:

http://www.ryogens.org.uk/useful_resources/solution_process.html

In this scheme, legal hoops have to be jumped through to obtain permission to record this information but if the Children's Bill goes through, they won't need those bits of the law any more, because consent won't be necessary in the first place.

 

I am also very concerned about the conflict of the Children's Bill with the Data Protection Act and it would need to be clarified if this database is subject to this legislation.

 

On a personal note - I am fundamentally opposed to this Bill on the basis that it will increase the risk that our children are exposed to, subject families to potential malicious "flagging" and I object ON PRINCIPLE to this Orwellian scheme!  Under the current proposed legislation we will all be scrutinised by the state from birth before being "branded" for our ID cards (for our right to exist) at 16.

 

I would be very grateful if you could possibly raise these concerns on samizdata or any other forum you have connections with and I would also be very grateful if you could recommend any other organisations I could contact to further raise awareness of this issue.

 

 

Many thanks

 

Simon Bone

 

Other sources:

http://www.arch-ed.org/chldrnbill.htm

http://www.arch-ed.org/cbleaflet.htm

http://www.zero2nineteen.co.uk/articles/article.asp?liarticleid=44249&liSectionI