Can Anne Widdicombe Read?
It may sound like a rather odd title for a post but it is a question that I think need asking given that Ms Widdicombe is not only an elected MP but also a newspaper columnist (although given that it's in the Express I guess newspaper should be used in its loosest possible terms). In particular it needs to be asked following her latest missive in Dirty Des's rapidly sinking ship.
So what is so wrong about this latest rambling? Which concerns the scout association's new guidance issued to leaders concerning sex education
Lets pick out the factually incorrect stuff shall we?
First the caption on the (out of date) picture
"Gone are the innocent day of conkers and bonfires"
Sorry Anne, we still have an annual conker tournament at our place, we still love a good camp fire. Sorry if that disappoints you.
"Now, Heaven help us, they (scout leaders) are going to teach sex."
No they are not Anne. Have you read the guidance? Have you? You see it doesn't tell us to teach sex at all. What it does is give guidance on how to deal with specific situations. It does not at any point tell us to teach young people the facts of life.
"Let us be clear what they mean by that. According to a spokesman, it will not be reactive; that is to say, advice or information given by a Scout leader to an enquiring older child. No. It will be proactive, supplied without request and even to Beavers, those innocent little youngsters of six."
No Anne, that's not what it says. In some situations it will be quite correct to be pro active. A role play activity with 15 or 16 year explorer scouts that teaches how to say "No" may be appropriate. Sorry Anne would agree with that? And will it be to beavers? Shall we see what it actually says about beavers,and indeed cubs (so this covers 6-10 year olds)?
"it is unlikely that leaders will need to take positive action to deal with sexual health issues".
It is quite clear that no form of sex education is envisaged being given to beavers or cubs.
Lets move on to her questions and opinions shall we?
"Why therefore do we need the Scouts adding to this vast corpus of knowledge instead of singing harmlessly around campfires?"
Because Anne I, with more experience of dealing with teenagers than you, know that many teenagers are sexually active or under pressure to be so. I know that sometimes they want to talk to someone older who is not a parent and not is a teacher. That means that sometimes they will ask us questions and we need to deal with those questions. What do you expect us to do? Turn our back and walk away?
"It places parents in an impossible dilemma, particularly with Beavers and Cubs. Some will delay their child’s entry as a result and that will be a loss to Scouts, children and parents."
Only if they read moronic rubbish like this Anne.
"Presumably Guides, Brownies and Rainbows will follow suit and the last strands of childhood innocence will evaporate."
The Guides had a similar policy some years ago, so you're just showing your ignorance now Anne.
Overall this column is so badly though out, poorly researched and factually wrong that I am shocked that even the Express would publish it. In fact it makes me wonder if Anne can even read, so wrong this column actually is. I would like to see the scout association seek to publicly challenge ignorant rubbish like this, the trouble is I doubt anyone will bother to listen.