Reading Beyond The Headlines

Great Britain


Recently a newspaper article which appeared in several national dailies caught my attention. The headline was;

Tory MPs block bill to give first aid training to children by talking non-stop until debate ends

There’s a knee-jerk reaction to the subject. After all, we don’t have a filibuster history in this country. But because the proposed law was not supported by the Government it only had a limited amount of time to be debated in Parliament, or had to be shelved. So the reaction is; That’s outrageous!

But I read a little more about it and decided that although the minister in question, Tory MP Philip Davies, chose the wrong action of blocking the vote in this manner, his reason for doing so was potentially sound. He does not agree with the principle of compulsory first aid classes in schools because schools are there to educate, not to be substitute parents. He was actually coming out against the idea of the ‘nanny state’.

Unfortunately Davies has become associated with a number of vote-blocking actions on worthier causes, like providing carers with free parking and requiring landlords to make sure their homes were fit for human habitation. However in this case it seems as if the journalists were simply watching him to see if they could grab follow-up stories. The good news is that there are moves to reform the filibuster process in UK.

12 comments on “Reading Beyond The Headlines”

  1. Cid says:

    Schools are there to educate, yes. So why would educating them on first aid be the ‘nanny state’ and not count as standard education? Seems to me something that all kids should know about, something schools should handle given there’ll clearly be some parents who can’t be arsed teaching their kids about it.

    Then again I don’t have kids and tend to attempt logic in things like this. Should probably try to be a little more emotional about it. I wonder if Mr Davies has kids. I suspect he might.

  2. admin says:

    I do tend to think of schools as being there for intellectual eduction, although I understand that French schools require children to have a basic understanding of practical skills.

  3. Roger says:

    French schools also teach philosophy as a formal subject, so it looks as if they have a much more eclectic curriculum in every way.

  4. Helen Martin says:

    It won’t let me comment, will it?

  5. Helen Martin says:

    Lord love a cotton-pickin’ duck, I’m back in! Weeeeell, we usually have first aid given as part of the curriculum where money management, resistance to advertising, sex ed and such like are given. It varies at the grade level. Teachers here have complained that we are being required to teach everything, morals, manners, public responsibilities, nutrition, hygiene, you name it, but the feeling has been that a child should not suffer rejection because s/he hasn’t been taught to wash. Meal planning and preparation was taught to girls back in the twenties as was basic carpentry to the boys. I have days when I think that intellectual training is enough for the schools to tackle and if a student is not able to handle school life then take him away somewhere else, a borstal home if necessary. Then I think again and remember the tremendous difference a teacher can make, including the clothes cupboard I read about in one set of staff minutes where they had a cache of shoes and coats for students who obviously didn’t have them.

  6. Bangbang!! says:

    I really don’t see the problem with this at all. You could give a basic first aid course with one class a term if needs be. Not a lot of time and it may help save a life or at least enable them to give some simple medical help. Besides, how many parents are qualified enough to give their kids the training?

    It seems to me that it is just this government yet again showing it really doesn’t want to offer any help to the oiks.

  7. Vivienne says:

    The French seem to have the right idea. I always thought, teach philosophy from about three and the rest would take care of itself.

  8. Wayne Mook says:

    At school I was taught the Green Cross Code, we had the fire service in to educate on fires and we were also taught about bicycle safety. We had a school nurse, vaccinations and checks for nits, that steel comb.

    Basic health education on top of biology was there. So he thinks school can teach how the body works but not a few basics on how to save one. What a man.

    St. John’s visit schools. I know the tax office have people who can visit schools. Maybe he thinks the scouts & guides should stop having this as a badge, let their parents do it. We can’t teach things to people that would help them and others. They may become ethical and where would the banking system be if that happened?

    And as to his methods, why does he think opinion is more important than the rest of the MPs? Have your say, move to the vote, get more business done, democracy is voting. The Tory party should remove the whip from him, but they won’t because they want to be the nasty party again.

    I bet he’d be in favour of national service and how much is that the nanny state in action? How to polish your boots and make your bed, as well as killing people.

    When did wanting to teach people how to help other people become such a crime, we did when I was a kid, we had public information films, even advertising, ‘Go to work on an Egg. Using the phrase Nanny State is just a way of saying don’t help let them do what they want and then lets see everyone raise their arms in horror as people only think of themselves. It’s up there with the road to hell is paved with good intentions. It’s usually said by the selfish and bitter people.

    Fell better after that rant.

    Cheers Admin.


  9. Wayne Mook says:

    Sorry the spelling went out at the end, try again

    Using the phrase ‘The Nanny state’ is just a way of saying don’t help them, let them do what they want, and then lets see everyone raise their arms in horror as people only think of themselves. It’s up there with ‘The road to hell is paved with good intentions.’ It’s usually said by the selfish and bitter people.

    Basically they want a Gradgrind Dickensian school system of facts only, next you know they will want to stop the arty stuff like drama being taught in schools, it’s the 3 R’s (R, W & A, are not 3 R’s am I the only one this bugs. I get some idiot saying standards have dropped and then go on about 3R’s, irony.) Let’s be like Japan whose economy has tanked again, or the US the unequal states of actuality.


  10. chris hughes says:

    Can I second and third Wayne’s rant, please? I’m old enough also to remember orange juice and malt being doled out in school (no, not together – that would be very silly!). We bought savings stamps to allow us to get to know how to handle money and had visits from the dentist as well as doctors and nit nurses…..and got vaccinated against TB and polio and smallpox. I’ve never been a conspiracy theorist but it all seems part and parcel of shrinking the basic structure of the society we’ve built up since 1945 – and fostering the notion that it matters not a tinker’s curse to worry or care about other people.

  11. Lauren says:

    Really don’t understand why teaching first aid is considered inappropriate for schools. I doubt most parents are equipped to teach it. My public U.S. high school taught first aid and certified all students in CPR as part of gym classes. One of the best things I ever learned.

  12. John Griffin says:

    Wayne and Chris – rant thirded by me. At my school we no longer teach all the kids these things – we used to get them Basic First Aid certified as well as Basic Food Hygiene. These were useful when competing in the near-zero-or-a-pittance jobs market that exists in most of the UK now.

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