Britain Becomes a Nanny State…Literally

Britain is taking bold steps to ensure that parents are good parents. These steps include things like classes in how to sing nursery rhymes to children, a parenting workforce to find parents who fail to sing to their children, a national curriculum on how to teach babies to speak, and how parents teach their children to brush their teeth. I know sounds like a joke, but it isn’t.

Parents could be forced to go to special classes to learn to sing their children nursery rhymes, a minister said.

Those who fail to read stories or sing to their youngsters threaten their children’s future and the state must put them right, Children’s Minister Beverley Hughes said.

Their children’s well-being is at risk ‘unless we act’, she declared.

And Mrs Hughes said the state would train a new ‘parenting workforce’ to ensure parents who fail to do their duty with nursery rhymes are found and ‘supported’.

The call for state intervention in the minute details of family life followed a series of Labour efforts to reduce anti-social behaviour and improve educational standards by imposing rigorous controls on the lives of the youngest children.

Mrs Hughes has established a national curriculum to set down how babies are taught to speak in childcare from the age of three months.

Her efforts have gone alongside a push by other ministers to determine exactly how parents treat their children down to how they should brush their teeth.

Here is the chilling part,

For the first time, parenting orders are likely to be directed against parents whose children have committed no criminal offence.

So, even if your child has committed no criminal offense you might find yourself forced to attend a class on singing nursery rhymes or how to teach your child how to brush his teeth. Nevermind going to the dentist and asking him, now there will be class with a government sanctioned bureaucrat to make sure you do it, probably in triplicate as well. Next, thing you know the British will be installing CCTV units in bathrooms to ensure parents are implementing what they learned in their classes.

Mrs Hughes condemned the way governments before 1997 thought they had no role in the upbringing of children, which it ‘regarded as the entirely private arrangements families make.’

Yeah, it doesn’t even take a village anymore, but an anonymous bureaucracy that will have a one size fits all approach to parenting. You have a horrible singing voice? Who cares, you’ll have to sing anyways otherwise you are a bad parent.

Mrs Hughes did not refer to independent reports on the success of Sure Start commissioned by Whitehall which say that despite £20 billion of planned spending it has been a failure in helping the most deprived children who are its target.

And in typical fashion, Mrs. Hughes ignores what the data tells here in preference of her own ideologocial view point. Funny, I wonder what has happened in the past ten years in England in terms of anti-social behavior and crime. If it has been going up despite all these new programs and massive spending then perhaps the problem are the new programs and the spending? After all, if you subsidize something (single parenthood) you tend to get more of it, not less. And if single parenthood is part of, and maybe the main, factor in the rise of crime and anti-social behavior then subsidizing it is precisely the wrong policy.

Last week the Blairite think tank, the Institute for Public Policy Research, also acknowledged that children brought up by single parents are more likely to end up without jobs and on state benefits.

Awww, it is just a bunch of useless data anyways. Who cares what it says. I say go with the forcing parents to sing nursery rhymes. Yep, that sure will do the trick.

Update: Well apparently this whole idea was inspired by a television show,

Writing in The Sun newspaper, the Prime Minister said that £4 million had been set aside to appoint “parenting experts” in 77 neighbourhoods across England to offer one-on-one support and group sessions for parents who are unable to control their children.

“This should be no surprise given the huge popularity of television programmes in which experts help parents with their problem kids,” he wrote, a reference to the programme Supernanny on Channel 4, in which Jo Frost, a talented, uncompromising nanny is given three weeks to reform a dysfunctional family.

You know, the other day I was watching a re-run of the bionic man. I think President Bush should set up a government agency to come up with super-strong bionic body parts for wounded vets from Afghanistan and Iraq. That way getting wounded wouldn’t be bad in that we’d eventually end up with super-soldiers. Or wait…I saw this Jean Claude Van Damme movie about super-soldiers that were killed and brought back to life….

FILED UNDER: Europe, Political Theory, World Politics, , , , , , ,
Steve Verdon
About Steve Verdon
Steve has a B.A. in Economics from the University of California, Los Angeles and attended graduate school at The George Washington University, leaving school shortly before staring work on his dissertation when his first child was born. He works in the energy industry and prior to that worked at the Bureau of Labor Statistics in the Division of Price Index and Number Research. He joined the staff at OTB in November 2004.


  1. madmatt says:

    So if the child has left the womb, there is no need for the govt to be involved anymore? Funny how the rightwing always finds a loophole to screw with womens lives…you are for punitive pregnancy but not parental accountability!

  2. Be fair. Given the state of British teeth doing something about brushing may not be such a bad idea.

  3. floyd says:

    the “Hippie” generation reaps their “whirlwind”!!

  4. Cernig says:

    Yep, Blair is at it again. The man who wants to control every aspect of British lives. I recall how he and his co-conspirators hi-jacked the Labour Party back in the 80’s and established a lifetime of crony-jobs for each other. They managed to convince everyone they were leftwing while actually being big-government neoconservatives. He’s aptly nicknamed as “Tory Blur”.

    Amusingly ironic, now that I think about it, that his pal Bush managed the same kind of con-job on the American small-government conservative right.

    Still, I take comfort in the fact that neither Bush nor Blair’s totalitarian notions are likely to survive their own terms in office.

    Regards, Cernig