Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Thoughts from Galicia: 12.4.13

Spanish life is not always likeable but it is compellingly loveable.

- Christopher Howse: A Pilgrim in Spain.

Mainland Spanish is notoriously crude, and quite a shock to those coming from South America. One of the most common phrases is Cago en la madre que te parió. Or 'I shit on the mother who bore you'.">These are often shortened to La madre  or La madre que te parió Not very nice. A new abbreviation I overheard yesterday was La madre que la compró. Or 'The mother who bought her'. Doubtless Spanish readers could come up with many more.

There's corruption and corruption. This must be one of the worst recent Spanish examples.

And then there's the guy who was responsible for safety in the company - ADIF - which built the track on which 80 people were killed 2 years ago when a train came off the tracks on a very sharp curve, a few kilometres from the station of Santiago de Compostela. He's been refusing since then to speak at the inquiry into the accident. For example about internal memos which identified the risk. This is his right, it's reported.

Where would I be without The Local? Here's their list of weird Spanish Easter traditions. And the Spanish wonder why others think they're odd . . . 

During my Sunday trip to Portugal I found it difficult to find a good restaurant to eat in at 2pm and ended up in a place which did take-aways as well as sit-down meals. But there was the kid I wanted on the menu as well as beef, chicken and - of course - cod. The waitress offered the establishment's 'Specials'. This turned out to be what they had available. Which was cod.

I've read that the Pontevedra provincial government is considering forcing trucks to use the parallel autovia instead of the N road (UK A road) when they pass through our bailleywick. Not before time. The bane of the N road between here and Vigo is the trucks-and-trailers taking the local cash crop - eucalyptus trees - down to wood mills in Portugal. I speak as someone who was driving one of 20 cars in a line behind one of these last evening.

I've written of an obsession with pedophilia in the UK. Attached is an article on one of the sadder consequences of this.

Nutters' Corner:
  • Gordon Klingenschmitt: Katy Perry is now ruled by Satan. She doesn't just need more Jesus camps, more of the Bible, more of what her parents told her. She needs to get the devil out of her. All this after she'd said she'd given up her Christian beliefs. 
Today's Cartoon:-


Men won't volunteer to help the Scouts for one depressing reason: they'll be labelled paedophiles

Ever since it was officially recognised by Royal charter in 1912, the Scout Association has taught British kids the type of campfire practicality and social do-gooding that is arguably lacking in our tech-rich, late capitalist world.

All that is in danger, however, as the organisation is having to turn away young applicants due to a lack of adult volunteers willing to teach them life skills such as how to tie knots, launch watercraft and work together to achieve a goal.

According to Bear Grylls, Chief Scout, the waiting list is now upwards of 51,000 young people (it was 35,000 this time last year), with an extra 17,000 volunteers needed to cope with the demand. 
"Volunteering changes us all for the better," said the adventurer and broadcaster, who is personally responsible for at least some of the upturn in applicants for the Scouts. "Please join me."

Sadly, the truth is that volunteers aren’t stepping up for good reason.

The first barrier is red tape, in the form of an exhaustive, compulsory background check, overseen by the Disclosure and Barring Service. This was supposed to be less bureaucratic than the Criminal Records Bureau it replaced in 2012, as it only targets “sensitive” posts with intensive contact with young people.

Scouts volunteers are on that list, and with some justification. In 2015, lawyer Oliver Jeffcott claimed that his firm received calls relating to over 150 historical cases of child abuse, after BBC News covered the story of one of their clients.

At the time, the Scouts' figures suggested that 48 abuse claims had been made against the organisation since its formation in 1907,

The second barrier is a more general red flag: the very real fear among many men who want to work with children that they will be branded a potential paedophile.

And this leads into a third factor. Since 2007, it has been compulsory for girls to be admitted to the UK Scouts (no reciprocal agreements allow boys into the Brownies or Girl Guides). This drive to encourage “cross-gender participation” was a huge success: there are 83,363 female members aged between 6-25. But it's possible that this boom has exacerbated the shortage of adult male volunteers willing to come forward.

A similar negative dynamic is at play in our schools. Surveys show that there is a woeful shortage of male school teachers, especially at primary level, at a time when every education expert worth their salt admits that schools are crying out for positive male role models.

The General Teaching Council for England statistics show that only 26,208 men were working as primary school teachers, compared to 185,023 women. A quarter of primary schools have no male teachers at all.

Worse, in 2016 there were just 48 male teachers in state nurseries, and only three are under the age of 25. Why? In an echo of the Scouts' predicament, former Education Secretary Michael Gove previously admitted that rules around adult men and children made normal contact “a legal minefield”.

A male pal of mine, who would have made an amazing school teacher, summed it up: “It’s not worth the risk. One accusation from a kid, teen or a mother you p***ed off and your career is over”. 

Due to systematic failings that meant vile paedophile Jimmy Savile escaped justice, there is now a foreboding sense that every decent, ordinary man must be scrutinised as if they are capable of the actions of the very worst.

So it is we cannot recruit Scout helpers, nor teachers. Next up: Santa Claus. Young kids sitting on your knee as you give them gifts? Looks a bit pervy, doesn’t it?

To our shame, we have allowed male Scout leaders, teachers and any men working with children to become nudge-nudge, wink-wink figures of suspicion and ridicule.

Part of the blame must reside with the toxic, feminist, politically-driven whispering campaign that “all men are potential rapists”. Modern masculinity has been put in the dock, and there it appears to remain.

Today, we have 51,000 wannabe Boy Scouts who are sitting on their iPads because we cannot recruit enough men to help them gain priceless life skills. In schools, boys are now out-performed by girls at all levels of education, especially poor, white, working class boys, who seem doomed to a life of servile jobs nobody else wants.

It is a bitter irony indeed that, in the Boy Scouts, where youngsters are taught to start fires, an attitude of “no smoke without fire” around the male adult-child interface is preventing them from even learning the practical skill in the first place.

Most tragically, by treating much-needed male mentors like monsters-in-waiting, we are damaging the education and life skills of an entire generation of innocent young men and boys. 

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