From Disappointment to Anger

The comments attributed to Andrea Leadsom last week regarding her thoughts on the risk associated with having a male nanny, during her interview with the Times, may or may not have been reported verbatim. They may or may not have been taken out of context but the fact is that the views reported do represent a widely held public opinion.

I know this because I have experienced almost identical phraseology in a recent local authority presentation where a picture of the child murderer Ian Huntley was displayed as part of a “dispassionate” discourse on safe recruitment in which we (a room of 40 female childcare workers and myself – the only male in the room) were told, ‘We have done all this work to recruit more men into childcare and this (pointing to the picture on the screen) is what we have achieved – well not on my watch!”

I know this because of the stories I have heard from male practitioners of the false allegations made against them. I received a phone call from a man last week who was almost too upset to talk but felt the need to share his harrowing account of being hounded from a job he loved. He is now too afraid to work with children any longer.

I know this because of the stories I have been told of complaints from parents and members of the public that a man should even be inside a nursery. A setting recently received a complaint from a passer-by because they had a male worker in their garden, interacting with and photographing the children on a tablet – part of his duties. He was referred to as a pervert by the complainant who had observed him. Another nursery was reported to Ofsted for having a man working there.

I know this because I attended a training session last week for those interested in short-term fostering. Various scenarios relating to children being foster cared in a home setting were discussed and we were asked to assess each one for risk and possible misinterpretation. One of these was ‘a man baths a child’ and another was ‘ a child sits on a man’s knee.’ Opinions were expressed that there was indeed an element of risk associated with both cases and that both were open to misinterpretation.

…and I know this because our media also believes and promotes it. –

In a depressingly irresponsible piece of journalism, even by its own standards, the Telegraph today approved the publication of an opinion piece by Ben Kelly in which he tells his readership that Andrea Leadsom does not trust male nannies and neither do we “ordinary people”.

A mark of poor argument is trashing any opposing view through belittlement. Thus Ben accuses critics of “faux outrage”, “rank hypocrisy”, being “virtue signallers” and of “self-righteous outrage”. With admirable front he claims the moral high ground as someone who is “emotionally devastated and had his soul poisoned” as a child by a female abuser. Whilst I do not wish to make light of this appalling experience, I do not believe this makes him an objective commentator on this issue particularly as he confesses that “My instincts have rendered me something of a hypocrite myself.” Justification for his position is based on his “unpleasant involuntary twinge” in the presence of a male childcarer and various “facts”, unsubstantiated statistics, instinct and feelings –

“most ordinary people will know exactly what she (Andrea Leadsom) means”

“there is clearly, demonstrably, more of a risk involved than in hiring a woman.”

“I will instinctively trust a woman more than a man. I feel very confident that most parents feel exactly the same”

“It’s an instinctive protectiveness that is naturally heightened around men.”

Well there’s a proven set of facts, right there. Case won, we’re all with you, Ben. Thank goodness we have you as a custodian of our children’s welfare!

Having made his “case”, Ben then rather comes unstuck by admitting, completely without irony  –

“I know that obviously very, very few men are actually paedophiles and I deplore the hysteria that is whipped up about this.”

Apparently, he feels very conflicted about the whole thing and he “feels strongly, for example, that we desperately need more male teachers, especially in schools.”

Well, what are we to make of this nonsense? I was rather sceptical of the reportage of Andrea Leadsom’s comments and willing to consider that this was possibly not what was said or intended but Ben’s piece comes right out and says it – All men are potential paedophiles and should not be working with children.

I was disappointed but not surprised to read the comments attributed to Andrea Leadsom but I am now very angry indeed at this piece by Ben Kelly and the editor who allowed this to be published.

This is a principle of human rights. Boys and girls have a right to be cared for by men and women and men have the right to work with young children. It is not for jumped up hacks to dictate to our society how we should think and act. Nor is it the place of the tabloid press to print such inflammatory and prejudiced propaganda.

Is it not possible to sue someone under equal opportunities legislation? I cannot just let this one go. It is immoral.

See, there you go again, David with all the faux and self-righteous outrage, the rank hypocrisy and virtue signalling. Just fall in behind Ben, be honest with yourself and admit that men are not to be trusted.

Having worked in childcare full time for over 12 years and colluded in the employment of many other men in the early years sector perhaps I should just hand myself in now and give it all up…..

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