Alas, the government has chosen once again to place some of our most important decisions about children in the hands of a woman who is clearly unable to understand even the basics of parenting. Claire Perry, the Conservative MP for Devizes, has been chosen to advise the government on matters relating to childhood.
Mrs Perry, whose name, unfortunately, resonates with a combination of Republican angst and parochial purple, and who, for the purposes of this blog will be forever synonymous with the more than amusing Kevin and Perry series (and David Cameron has the dubious honour of being crowned our out-and-out Kevin), is, apparently, David Cameron’s new advisor on childhood (another job that seems to have manifested from thin air despite the myriad ministers we already have who are supposed to be working on child-related matters), and has been charged with focusing on “preventing the sexualisation and commercialisation of childhood”. And if her views on how to handle children and their possessions are anything to go by, we’re all in for a bumpy ride.
It is not clear whether Mrs Perry has any real experience with social media, technology or even any professional experience in the fields she’s been chosen to oversee, but we can all be very worried, not least of all because this very important position was announced first and made its way into the national news via the Daily Mail. As Mrs Perry regales in telling us on her website, “The Prime Minister announced the appointment in an article for the Daily Mail which you can read here.” Truly elegant stuff.
Nevertheless, the real problems with Mrs Perry’s appointment become all too clear once she starts to expound her views on how to deal with young people. The Daily Mail tells us, “Most crucially, she calls for an end to the ‘rights’ culture which has made parents afraid to check the contents of their children’s mobile phones and laptops for harmful or bullying content.”
Anyone who’s been a parent for five minutes and has been paying attention, or who has any sense at all, will know that violating your children’s privacy is one of the great no-no’s of parenting, and has nothing whatsoever to do with a child’s sense of entitlement, or rights, as Mrs Perry puts it, but about building the founding blocks of communication and understanding, so our children grow into healthy adults, not neanderthals. There are plenty of ways to find out what you need to know as a parent without destroying the delicate bond between parent and young teen.
It is for this reason that we have decided to call this double act Cameron and Perry – for their incomplete outlook on such important issues and their heavy-handed and awkward approach to childhood, which has more in common with a hormone-fuelled fourteen year old than with mature and responsible adults. And we don’t doubt that plenty of children would be able to do a far better job as our Prime Minister’s adviser on childhood than Mrs Perry.
How much longer must we endure such stupidity?