Sunday, May 20, 2007

Just make them invisible

This is a good, concise article written on the Madeleine McCann disappearance and the link at the foot of that page which gives the Portuguese point of view also has a ring of truth to it.

Fact is that in the UK we do not like our children to be visible, or audible.

We never have, when I was a child we would be told not to play in the street by neighbours within two minutes of doing so, we were fortunate back in the 60's in that our parents were not filled with the paranoia that haunts the population today that if a child leaves its parents sight then it will be kidnapped - we could escape to the woods and spend every day climbing trees, falling out of trees and hitting each other with big sticks, pleasures that todays children will not discover for if a parent sees them hitting a friend with a big stick they will surely stop them from doing so.

Its not just parents though, there are very few places in the UK where you can take a child for an evening out unless you want to eat some mass produced burger or pizza in a prefabricated box that is specifically aimed at the child audience - there are very few bars and restaurants catering for adults that will allow children to sit quietly at a table with their parents and enjoy a meal together unless it involves one of those awful "fun pubs" where the children are packed off to a playground section (which the parent has to pay for) while the parents eat pre-fabricated portion controlled shite that masquerades as food.

And I'm not sure that we deserve such treatment as civilised eateries either, for parents do not seem to exert any control over their offspring now, visit any one of said "fun pubs" and your trip will be ruined by a hundred under eights running in between and under the tables,not just their parents table but yours and everyone elses too.

You'll sit and watch as they climb all over the furniture and take things from the walls, or raid the cutlery stand and spread knives and forks all over the floor, and while you're sat watching this so will their parents who will then turn away and light up another cigarette, presumably accepting the behaviour as normal and not at all disruptive to other people.

So the news that British parents could leave their children in an apartment while they dined 50 yards away in sight of said apartment, instead of taking them to the table and inflicting tears and tantrums and cutlery-on-the-floor throwing on the other diners is not suprising to me - its suprises other societies, other nationalities who wouldn't dream of doing such a thing, but in the UK we are conditioned to ignoring our children when night falls.

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