In this issue:
All change for Waterloo!
Family Life Award: Citation
Annual General Meeting
FET in Scotland
For better and for worse
Freedom to discipline
The European Court of Human Rights
Sexually Transmitted Infections
European Employment Directive
All change for Waterloo!
The year 2000 sees major changes in the organisation and key people in the Family Education Trust. After nearly thirty years Valerie Riches steps down and is succeeded as Director by Robert Whelan. She will continue as Founder President and Trustee. Dr John Guly, who became Acting Chairman following the death of Dr Ellison in 1997, hands over the chairmanship to Arthur Cornell. Eric Hester becomes Vice Chairman, succeeding Denis Riches. Both Dr Guly and Denis Riches will continue as Trustees. At the end of August the offices will move to Waterloo in London where the Trust will share offices with the Institute for the Study of Civil Society. These changes will enable the Trust to expand and strengthen its activities as we move forward into the new century.
We are deeply indebted to Dr John Guly who agreed to become Acting Chairman of FET in October 1997 following the death of Dr Stanley Ellison, our founder and Chairman since 1971. We extend a warm welcome to our new Chairman, Arthur Cornell. Recently retired after 21 years as Headteacher of a mixed comprehensive school in Eastbourne, he has been an active member of FET for many years. We also welcome as Vice Chair-man Eric Hester who recently retired after 36 years in teaching, the last eight of which were as Headteacher of a boys grammar school in Altrincham, Cheshire. He too has been a member of FET for many years. Robert Whelan is well known to members for his valuable work for FET over the years and as Trustee and a member of the Executive Committee. In addition to his responsibilities as Director of Family Education Trust, he will continue as Deputy Director of the Institute for the Study of Civil Society.
Family Life Award: Citation
Since the founding of the Family Life Award in 1987, men and women whose courageous actions have furthered the interests of the family based on marriage have been honoured.
Today the Award is being presented to the person who, more than any other, is responsible for the success of our society’s activities throughout nearly thirty years. Valerie Riches heard about the Responsible Society, as it was then called, soon after its formation in 1971 and was elected Honorary Secretary. She has held the position of its chief executive, albeit on an unpaid basis, ever since, and her title changed to Director in the mid-1980s.
With the unswerving support of her husband Denis, Valerie has always devoted herself to the interests of the Society with the sort of zeal and energy which are the characteristics of the truly dedicated campaigner. It would almost literally be true to say that she has worked both day and night on our behalf, because for most of its existence the Society’s office has been in her home, so she was never ‘off-duty’. Although the Trust has had its own separate office for the last six years, Valerie’s home telephone number is still known to enough people to make sure that she can never escape!
Valerie’s dedication to the cause of the family has been responsible for the way in which our work, which never commanded any big battalions, and which has always had to manage on the most modest of budgets, has achieved an influence out of all proportion to its resources. She has been a careful steward, always going for what the Americans describe as the ‘biggest bang for the buck’. Her leadership has inspired others to give of their time and skills, in a way which has given the Society a professionalism which is the envy of many organisations which command larger budgets.
Valerie is known to be completely reliable: if she promises to supply a journalist or politician with information, they can be sure it will be in the post or on the fax at the appointed time. She is known for being completely straightforward in her dealings: she says what she means and she means what she says. Because she is motivated by the highest and most unchanging principles, the members have always known that they can rely on her to uphold their views in any circumstances. Valerie has never been prepared to compromise her principles for any apparent short-term advantage. She has lived her life on the basis that, if you tell the truth, you will prevail in the end.
In the course of the last thirty years there has been a profound change in the way in which issues affecting the family are approached. Throughout the 1970s the hedonistic attitudes which had characterised the ‘swinging sixties’ went almost unchallenged. Anyone who tried to warn against the consequences of the new so-called freedoms was ridiculed as a prude and a killjoy. By the 1980s, when the fallout from the permissive era was becoming inescapable, there was still a fierce denial from social policy academics and those in the public policy arena that many of the problems were attributable to family breakdown as such. Poverty was usually regarded as the most likely culprit, and we heard much about ‘moral panic’ and ‘right-wing authoritarianism’.
We are now in a different arena, and find that the things we have been saying, in season and out of season, are increasingly regarded as common sense, backed up by academic research. Much of the credit for this must go to Valerie, who has never allowed herself to be swayed by fashionable nostrums, and who has never permitted the Trust to become deflected from its task of defending the family based on marriage. She has always insisted on a calm, professional and scholarly approach to the issues we deal with, in spite of the passions which are aroused on both sides of the debate. She has scrupulously avoided factionalism, and by steering us clear of the Scylla of partisanship and the Charybdis of sectarianism, Valerie has ensured that the Trust’s views are received with respect, even by those who do not agree with us.
The harmoniousness of the working of the Trust; the prudent administration of its assets; the prompt discharge of its duties; all of these things can be traced to the remarkable personal qualities of Valerie Riches. She has been the voice of those who care for the family for a generation, and she has left us all hopelessly in her debt.
Annual General Meeting & Conference
17 June 2000
The AGM this year attracted well over a hundred and fifty members. Though there was some sadness and a great deal of concern about worrying trends, the general atmosphere was cheerful as all those good people demonstrated a determination to continue the fight to help families and young people. Speakers were loudly applauded and appreciation was shown.
Members were aware that this was Valerie Riches’ last conference as Director. Many warm and genuine tributes were paid to her not just in the formal speeches, but by everyone who spoke. Valerie, who has often arranged to present the Family Life Award to others, was herself the recipient, and no one more worthy. Dr John Guly read the citation which paid tribute to Valerie’s immense unpaid work over the years for the organisation. He singled out, in particular, as did others, her great courage, never being put off by all that was thrown at her. Valerie, too, had been patient, even when facing downright hostility. She had based her whole life round the Trust’s concerns since the 1970s, and had been an inspiration to everyone else. He particularly stressed her concern for the truth.
Valerie’s courage and composure were demonstrated in her brief reply. It was a very emotional moment but she gave a beautifully calm speech leaving the tears to others. She paid tribute to the support of members of the Executive Committee and, as did all the other speakers, to her husband Denis for his loyal support, patience and care. The magnificent work of Denis and Valerie was the theme of the day coupled with a determination to keep the faith with them by carrying on their work. Valerie will continue as Founder President.
Valerie herself, in her report at the opening of the day, spoke of the prophetic nature of the work and the many publications produced by FET and outlined the way ahead for the Trust.
As well as the official business of approving the minutes and the Treasurer’s report, the meeting re-elected as trustees, Dr John Guly, Mr Simon Ling and Mr Denis Riches. Two additional trustees were elected: Mr Arthur Cornell, who was to become Chairman of the Trust, and Mr Eric Hester, who was to become Vice Chairman. Both are newly retired headteachers who, having been associated with FET over the years, are now able to make a larger contribution. Mrs Anna Lines, Mrs Cornelia Oddie and Mrs Gillian White were re-elected to the Executive Committee.
Mr Hugh McKinney gave a stimulating but disturbing report of what had been happening in Parliament during the last year. Members were asked to note that while the government talked about support for the family, its actions were to the contrary. It was especially disturbing that, more and more, the government is placing members sympathetic to its policies to sit on various quangos which receive large amounts of public money and are very influential. Another very disturbing trend was for the law to be changed not by publicised and well-debated changes in primary legislation but by legal test cases followed merely by government announcements. He described FET as the politically best-informed audience that he addresses. He warned members that they would be called bigots as had been those who resisted the promotion of homosexuality and the repeal of Section 28. Finally, he warned of the coming Human Rights Act which would allow many opportunities for attacks on the family.
The final session of the morning was a heartening one where speakers reported from different regions. Mrs Mary Russell, with her lovely Northern Irish accent, reported on the continuing fight there against sex-education, abortion and pornography. There were attempts being made to ‘rationalise’ Northern Ireland’s abortion laws, i.e. to make abortion legal. Sister Helena O’Keeffe reported how in Leicester-shire, FET materials and speakers had been used as a link with other good organisations. Miss Hilary Schlesinger spoke about her group’s work in London to make good reading available for teenagers with the magazine Tamezin. Mrs Kristin Lloyd Scott, of Northampton, gave a moving account of how her own daughter had been kept from her by the social services. There is to be a book about this and possibly a film. From Bristol, Mrs Angela Appleby spoke of how good people and organisations should co-operate and of the work of Parents Network. Dr Haque, a Muslim GP, spoke strongly about the attacks on family values and how vital the work of FET is.
Written reports came from the newly formed Scottish group; and, from John O’Reilly of the Irish branch, a concise but comprehensive report of developments in his country. His quarterly magazine RESPONSE is a mine of reliable facts and figures. There were good questions for the speakers and appreciation of their work.
In the afternoon, The Rt Hon the Baroness Young, DL was greeted with very warm applause and thanked for her work in making more difficult the repeal of Section 28 and the lowering of the age of consent for homosexuals. In her speech, after paying her own warm tribute to Valerie Riches, she warned of many dangers ahead for families. The EU was increasingly making laws which were incorporated into British law. For instance, a Directive on employment could stop Church schools from appointing practising Christians or refusing to appoint those who flouted Christian standards. She had great praise for Cardinal Winning and for his courageous stand against the promotion of homosexuality. She mentioned how the government was trying to play down the referendum in Scotland on Section 28 and to say it was ‘unrepresentative’, yet far more people voted to keep Section 28 than voted for the Labour party in the Scottish Assembly elections. The government’s questionnaire on the Health Service had also fewer responses than the referendum and yet about a quarter of the responses were from employees of the health service. She warned that several national charities, Barnardo’s, Save the Children, NSPCC, the National Children’s Bureau and others were in favour of the repeal of Section 28 and of allowing homosexuals to adopt children.
There were two further talks. Dr David Reid talked about The Forgotten Children – these are the children who have a parent in prison. Dr Reid demonstrated that the authorities were not interested in these children and made little provision for them. Finally, Dr Trevor Stammers gave a well-illustrated talk on the subject of “Sexual spin – fact and fantasy in sex education”. Dr Stammers talked about how we should actually talk to teenagers and gave some good examples using slides and videos. He particularly recommended the book, Teenagers: Why do they do that? by Nick Pollard. (Available from HQ – £7.00 incl. p&p)
Dr Stammers’ talk provoked good questions and discussion, as did the other talks. The day ended with everyone in good heart ready and willing to face the challenges that lie ahead for FET in its work for young people and families.
On April 20, Penny Prime and I attended a forum on ‘Smacking’ at the Family Policy Studies Centre (FPSC). Of the three official speakers none represented the view that the government has no right to legislate, and thereby to interfere, in matters of family discipline. (Laws already exist to protect children from abusive, pathological behaviour). Very odd in light of the fact that according to its director, the FPSC has no collective policy position and ‘maintaining our independence is crucial if the Forum is to be recognised as the place for genuine debate’, she later wrote. But is there genuine debate? If individuals do not speak out, pressure groups take over and if they suppress evidence for the sake of a political agenda, which seems to be the case here, issues are not open to debate – and the innocent are threatened.
First, let us look at the research around which the children’s rights campaign centres. In a 1997 issue of Archives of Paediatrics and Adolescent Medicine (published by the American Medical Association) there appeared two articles: one, a much touted study by Murray Strauss which claimed that frequent spanking of children aged six to nine (three or more times a week) led to an increase in anti-social behaviour; and the other, by Marjorie Gunroe, which claimed the opposite.
The Strauss study, covering two years, was of 807 children born to mothers aged between 14 and 24, the majority of which were single-parent teenagers (hardly a representative sample). No mention was made of the serious behavioural problems which are symptomatic of children from such backgrounds. Equally, no cognisance was apparently taken of the well-known and verifiable effects of violent computer games, where the players have to identify with aggressive characters. According to Strauss, it is smacking which is the culprit. The AMA’s press release headline was “Spanking Makes Children Violent, Anti-Social”.
These finding were blazoned from the rooftops; reported by three major TV networks and by over 107 magazines.
The article by Marjorie Gunroe, however, traced more than 1,100 children over a period of five years (in contrast to Strauss’s 807 over a period of two years). She relied on the reports of both children and adults, and concluded: “For most children, claims that spanking teaches aggression seem unfounded: Children aged four to seven who had been spanked got in fewer, not more, fights in school. The exceptions were for white boys, aged eight to eleven, in single-mother families”.
This research had no AMA press release and no reports on networks. Articles appeared in only fifteen magazines.
This same deliberate blindness is evident in the UK. Barnardo’s, Save the Children Fund, NSPCC and the government-funded quango, the National Family and Parenting Institute, are all toeing the same line: that smacking is harmful and we must teach parents alternative ways to discipline. No real consideration is given either to the contexts, the frequency or the nature of such action.
The only rational speaker at the forum was Chris Corrigan from the Department of Health. Addressing the government’s consultation document, she admitted to a huge post-bag in which, for each letter approving of legislation to ban the use of implements in punishing children in the home, two were opposed; and ten, who do not use physical punishment on their own children, did not believe it was the government’s business to legislate in this area. She herself was the victim of abuse from an alcoholic father, but implied, and later admitted to me personally, that it was the verbal abuse which most harmed her, and was with her still.
Bill Bell from Save the Children Fund, humourless, dogged, unbending, decreed that all parents who smack their children are thereby abusive; and even if research were to prove otherwise, smacking is wrong and must be banned. The government isn’t going far enough, he said. He produced a booklet, outlining the brilliant results in Sweden as a result of their no-smacking law. Those who heard Swedish lawyers Ruby Harrold-Claesson speak in London and Siv Westerberg, at our Annual Conference last year, know a different story. The Nordic Committee for Human Rights exists because of the appalling consequences of this law in Sweden.
Nevertheless, Penelope Leach, the final speaker, took up the Swedish situation with remarkable flourish. In her gallop through all the research in the area of the effects of smacking on children, she vigorously championed the Strauss study. She was adamant that there exists NO research which shows that smacking is beneficial, “except” she said, “as a short-time measure”.
In the ensuing, and very brief, discussion Ferris Lindsay from Friends of the Family, Penny Prime and myself were pitted against 17 people who all seemed totally convinced that smacking must go. No question!
It has been said that where there is no Absolute to judge the State, the State will be absolute. Is this where we are heading? How does all this fit in with the endless summons to an ‘inclusive and open’ society?
Well done Safeway!
We have received a letter dated 28 June from Safeway plc stating:
“Our original decision to join the [Children are Unbeatable] Alliance was primarily influenced by our wish to make it clear, in the context of a somewhat emotive national debate, that we would not countenance any physical punishment of children while they were in the care of our staff in 100 creches we have in our larger stores. This was a limited objective, which membership of the Alliance achieved
“Since then, however, the debate has become even more contentious and is now embracing issues which were not envisaged when we decided to join. We have, therefore, reconsidered our position and a few weeks ago we informed the Alliance that we no longer consider ourselves to be in their membership. We have asked them to remove our name from their list of supporters.”
Readers will remember that the Children are Unbeatable Alliance campaigns for parents to be charged with criminal assault if they give a disciplinary smack to their children.
Safeway should be congratulated for making this move. It is a recognition of the subversive agenda of the children’s rights lobby. It is one which other organisations ought to follow, especially those who understand that the responsibilities and duties of parents should not be usurped by state intervention into the intimate affairs of normal family life.
A new Rutgers study, Sex Without Strings, Relationships Without Rings, carried out by David Popenhoe and Barbara Dafoe Whitehead, co-directors of the National Marriage Project, found that the dating culture of young people in their twenties focussed more on seeking ‘low-commitment’ relationships than on finding marriage partners. It also found that marriages might be being weakened by the loss of child-centredness. The study, looks at the attitudes of young adults towards dating, mate selection, cohabitation and future marriage. Although the study participants expect their future marriages to last a lifetime and to fulfil their deepest emotional and spiritual needs, they are involved in a mating culture that may make it more difficult to achieve this goal.
Timetables for marriage begin to diverge between men and women in their later twenties. Men report reluctance to give up single life and independence. Women become more serious about the search for a marriage partner, but become increasingly disenchanted with the pool of mates and the likelihood of finding a husband. “This attitude may be fuelling the growing willingness of women to form families without husbands” said Whitehead. Study respondents also see marriage as a couples relationship designed for intimacy and love rather than an institution designed for parenthood and childrearing. “For example, they almost unanimously agree that parents who don’t get along should divorce rather than stay married for the sake of the children,” said Popenhoe. “this belief echoes the finding of a significant loss of child centredness in marriage in our society . . .” The National Marriage Project is a non-partisan, non-sectarian and interdisciplinary initiative dedicated to informing the public on social trends affecting marriage. Rutgers News, 7.6.00
FET in Scotland
In April 2000 a Scottish group was set up, largely in response to the establishment of a Scottish Parliament. The main purpose of the group is that a Scottish body is responding to a Scottish situation and can be listened to free from any anti-English prejudice which a new burst of Scottish nationalism has aroused in some circles.
The Scottish Executive recently carried out a consultation regarding the repeal of Section 28 of the Local Government (Scotland) Act. Only a few pertinent bodies were consulted and responses were sought from homosexual groups and some unlikely bodies, such as the Potato Marketing Board. Section 28 has had constant news coverage with interviews, petitions and demonstrations. Brian Souter has come under heavy fire for his £1m poster campaign and his privately funded referendum. The Scottish School Boards and Cardinal Winning have consistently opposed the repeal and the Church of Scotland’s two most influential boards are split on the issue.
The Scottish group has been working hard in order to co-ordinate responses and keep up pressure. It has responded to the consultation document Discipline of Children after agreeing it with the HQ. It has also distributed a quantity of FET books and leaflets to churches and other interested bodies and individuals who are beginning to see the real agenda of the children’s rights movement. Excellent material produced by Families First, the Christian Institute and the True Freedom Trust has also been distributed. FET/FYC is seen as central to identifying trends in flawed health and education policies.
Mrs Jill Kirby of Full Time Mothers has suggested that mothers should take advantage of proposed government incentives for women to register as childminders and cash in on the £4.5m which will be added to the existing subsidies of up to £105 per week for non maternal care. Mothers who look after their own children receive no such benefits as they are deemed not to be working. She suggests that all mothers should register as childminders, receive the new ‘start up’ grants for toys and playpens and swap children. This would please the government because all these women would suddenly be ‘working’ while previously they had just been at home looking after their own children. The quality of daycare workers would be improved and the mothers would all be much better off. (Daily Telegraph, 17.6.00) As one member of the All Party Family and Child Protection Group was inspired to suggest, “Why don’t we just pay mothers to look after their own children instead of all this nonsense?”
For better and for worse
A correspondent from Essex asked Money-go-Round how much worse off a married couple would be now that the Married Couple’s Allowance (MCA) and mortgage relief had been abolished. The answer was that if they were under 65 on 5 April 2000 the additional tax payable on the loss of the MCA would be £197 per year. Also, assuming a mortgage of £30,000 or more and an average interest rate of 7.5%, the increase in their mortgage repayment would be in the region of £225 a year. The couple would therefore be approximately £422 a year worse off. Daily Telegraph, 3.6.00
US child development expert Matthew Melmed found that working parents who have short, intensive moments with their children in the evening are in danger of producing offspring who find it difficult to concentrate or make friends. He told a London conference on April 12, organised by the National Family and Parenting Institute, that young children learned better from the magic of everyday moments, such as hearing a new sound or seeing new things in the supermarket or at the launderette, rather than through structured two-hour sessions.
He had been disturbed that 87% of US parents thought the more stimulation a baby received, the better off he or she would be. “Stimulation isn’t always good for babies” he told the conference. “It is much more important for parents and other care workers to carefully match the type of stimulation to the baby’s level of development, temperament and mood at the time”. Inappropriate or over-stimulation can cause negative behaviour and poor cognitive development. The key to achieving a middle way between over and under stimulating a baby was through taking cues from the child’s non-verbal behaviour, such as crying, looking away or arching the back – a classic sign of over-stimulation: “Infants and toddlers need unhurried time with those who are important to them – and lots of it”. A second reason time was essential, he added, was that it signalled to children that they had value and were not simply being ‘fitted in’. In Britain, the proportion of married couples where both parents work has risen from 50% to more than 60% in a decade. The Times, 13.4.00. Who was it who said that love is spelled TIME?
Freedom to discipline
US lawyer Dr Susan Friedel reports that a Boston pastor has just won a significant case against government welfare agencies in the ongoing battle for religious liberty in the US. Having reprimanded the pastor for using loving corporal discipline in the care of his son, the State of Massachusetts decided to proceed no further. However, the father counter-sued for the infringement of his religious liberty, and the highest court in that State held that his actions were proper and that his religious freedom had been denied.
The case gave the pastor the opportunity to give clear testimony on national TV news to both his faith and the biblical basis for parents’ rights. This outcome must be of special interest to British Christians who are supporting the current challenge in the European Court to legislation outlawing spanking in non-government schools in Britain. A Liverpool headmaster has claimed that the legislation, which was rushed through Westminster at 5 a.m. one morning in September 1998, is an infringement of Christian liberty. He has received widespread support and advice, including that from Dr Friedel. Light, February 2000
The European Court of Human Rights
The European Court of Human Rights has made an important verdict in the case of K&T v Finland on April 27 2000. Previously the ECHR has criticised Sweden for preventing visits between children in public care and their parents. In this case the ECHR has questioned the fact that the children were taken into care in the first place. That means that the ‘margin of appreciation’ the social dictatorship could rely upon has been broken. Email from the Nordic Committee on Human Rights 16.5.00.
The Medical Research Council’s Social and Public Health Sciences Unit in Glasgow has carried out research supporting previous studies which found that sexual intercourse before the age of 16 is often regretted. This recent report into regret of first intercourse was conducted among a total sample of 7395 young people aged under 15. It took place in 1996 and 1997 among pupils in 24 non-denominational state secondary schools in East Scotland as part of a sex education trial. The questionnaire was administered with both the young people’s and their parents’ consent by researchers under ‘examination conditions’ without teachers present. A fifth of girls reported that they had been under some kind of pressure to have sex at both first and most recent intercourse. For both sexes pressure surrounding the event was associated with regret. The report concluded: “Therefore, making young people aware of the potential emotional and relationship consequences of early sexual inter-course may delay first intercourse”.
This well-informed and ethically motivated organisation has produced an informative newsletter in which the profound and complicated arguments against the cloning of humans are examined. Sobering evidence of errors in DNA reprogramming show that a baby might have ‘geriatric’ DNA (telomere shortening). It appears that the immediate danger of government approval for cloning has passed, at least for the present. But as the technology is ‘portable’ it could be carried out ‘on secondment’ by the Geron Corporation in California, already involved in £12.4 million grant to the Scottish researchers for further work on their cloning technology. For more information: http://www.match.org.uk
Sexually Transmitted Infections
Between 1996 and 1997 the total numbers of acute sexually transmitted infections diagnosed rose by 9%. Diagnosis of chlamydia, gonorrhoea, and genital warts increased by 20%, 5% and 8% respectively. Increases were most pronounced among teen-agers and homosexual men. These followed substantial rises in acute STIs between 1995 and 1996. The highest age-specific incidence of genital chlamydial infection in 1997 in males was in the 20-24 year age group and in females among teenagers. Between 1996 and 1997 the greatest increases in uncomplicated chlamydia infection occurred in teenage females (30%). The increase in gonorrhoea for the third year in succession is, however, much less likely to be an artefact of increased ascertainment. The rise is of particular concern because gonorrhoea is thought to be a sensitive indicator of changes in sexual behaviour within the population. Annual Review of Communicable Diseases E & W 1997
Supporters of abstinence programmes across the US say that these are adding to the overall decline of the national teen birth rate which has dropped 16% (29% in Michigan) since 1991. Teenagers have been helped to believe in themselves and have the confidence to understand what is a healthy decision, and how such decisions help them achieve their goals in life.
The ‘Demoiselle 2 Femme’, a seven-month programme for girls 14 to 18, is one of 30 federally funded abstinence programmes. In one of the most deprived districts of Phoenix, where jobs are scarce and drugs and gang culture smother bright futures, Demoiselle has tapped into a local high school district. Girls attend 36 two-hour workshops in which beauty, hygiene, sex education, parental relationships and college placement all feature. Participants take field trips to museums and top restaurants and volunteer for community service. “The one thing you learn in this programme is that before you can respect and love someone else you have to love and respect yourself”, said 16 year old Amber Mason.
Abstinence is taught, not by preaching, but by exposing students to a broader, culturally rich world beyond their front yards. TVF News, 20.6.00 Report from Damian J Anderson.
The Abolition of Britain, by Peter Hitchens. Quartet Books, London ISBN 0 7043 8117 6. Available from HQ, price £9.00 post free.
Here we see a full-length indictment of modern Britain and the profound changes which the author fears threaten the continued existence of this country. Peter Hitchens, columnist, broadcaster and former Trotskyist, believes that the revolutionaries, rather than seizing railway tracks, telephone exchanges and barracks, have instead taken quiet control of the educational system, the churches and the broadcasting media. Their long march through the institutions is now complete and millions of British people now feel like strangers in their own land. He asks: “Who stole our country, and how can we get it back?” A very interesting if somewhat alarming read. VR
Death by Heroin, Recovery by Hope, by Mary Kenny. New Ireland Books, Dublin.
ISBN 1 902602 11 0. Available from HQ, price £10 post free.
This is a passionate and constructive book about heroin addiction prompted by a double family tragedy. Surely of interest to many concerned parents, this book describes a broad range of experience, and the results of extensive research in Ireland and England. It gives first hand accounts of heroin addicts and their families featured alongside the detailed insights of professionals working within the various fields of drug rehabilitation and education.
Mary Kenny draws frankly on her own past as a recovering alcoholic, while trying to find answers to some of the many questions surrounding drug addiction, such as its roots, why some people are more susceptible than others, and most importantly what families can do to help prevent such tragedies. VR
The Family Way: the case for abstinence education, by Fred Naylor. Campaign for Real Education. ISBN 1 872953 28 X. Available from HQ, price £4.00, post free.
Fred Naylor, educational consultant, traces the sad history of amoral, sex education in the USA and Britain, and explains how and why it has failed. He presents the case for abstinence education, now emerging in the USA in support of family values, as one of the most important social movements of our times. The government’s Social Exclusion Unit comes under severe criticism for promoting new policies which are at variance with the cross-party political consensus that has emerged with success in America. In this well-researched publication Fred Naylor has provided parents and teachers with the evidence they need to counter the spurious arguments of the sex education lobby which have been taken up wholeheartedly by the Social Exclusion Unit. VR
European Employment Directive
The government is about to sign up to a European employment directive which would make it illegal for organisations to refuse to employ an individual because of that individual’s religious views or sexual orientation. This means that religious groups could be forced to employ atheists or practising homosexuals in key positions in their organisations. There is considerable urgency about this matter. The directive was discussed ahead of schedule at the Social Affairs Council of the EU on 13 March and it is expected to be adopted this Autumn by the EU’s Council of Ministers. The UK government has already indicated its support for it.
There is an excellent booklet, European Threat to Religious Freedom, which argues that the UK government must protect religious freedom by vetoing the directive to enable the stripping out of all references to religion, belief and sexual orientation from the employment directive.
The booklet is available from: The Christian Institute, 26 Jesmond Road, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, NE2 4PQ. Tel: 0191 281 5664, price £2.50.