Wednesday, 28 March 2007

Brave New Labour

Following on from the ridiculous new targets for the under fives, it turns out that our government is soon to start testing children for signs of a 'criminal tendency'. Here is the official No 10 document that attempts to provide a justification for this control freakery. What would Orwell say today?

As one reads the document it is actually very funny until one remembers that it is no joke, this is real. The shiny 100 plus page pdf talks of increasing cohesion and reducing bureaucracy, I fail to see how more needless reform can possibly result in either. I can't imagine people being happy that their children are going to be tested for 'criminal tendencies', whatever that means, and what the hell will they do when the child admits that want to be 'the chief fundraiser for the Labour party' or 'a dictator who goes to war illegally'- fast track them into the government? The cohesion of communities is hardly going to be strengthened by children being forcibly wheeled away for baseless psychological tests against the will of their parents, and it seems ironic that yet another reform program back up by huge amounts of bureaucracy is claiming it will 'reduce bureaucracy'; Patricia Hewitt will know what she's talking about soon and a small squadron of pigs will be seen crossing the channel by air.

Just to draw a slight tangent from there, this piece of BMA material is an example of how controlling and almost totalitarian our institutions are becoming. This must be seen in context of a government that is compromising patient confidentiality by forcing a national computer database of patient records upon us, while there are many other examples of this increasingly controlling nature in policies such as ID cards/regulatory reform/anti-terrorism law that ignores civil liberties. This is one of the more worrying quotes:

"Arguably, training may be more important than selection.18 Perhaps all that selection requires is identifying minimum requirements and then it is the training process which defines and ensures a competent doctor."

This is a very scary statement indeed, it is trying argue that 'competency based training' is so good that it can effectively mould anyone into the shape of a good doctor, in a way largely irrelevant to the person's abilities. This is a very dated take indeed, and shows that those behind training reform are believer's in the massively discredited Standard Social Science Model (SSSM). These psychobabbling educationalists who have taken a long holiday from reality are also trying to introduce personality testing into the selection process. Fortunately there is no evidence to back this approach up, but thus didn't stop them with the competency based questions in MTAS:

"In asking important questions such as ‘is there an optimal doctor personality?’, ‘how do we test
for potential?’ and ‘are tests reliable and valid?’, it is clear that there is no simple answer. What is clear is that more research is needed in all areas of selection design from competency modelling to predictive validity of tests specifically for UK doctor samples. While it is encouraging that work has started in some specialties and at an undergraduate level, there appears to be a long way to go before some questions can be answered. Trainability and performance in job training programmes as outcomes has been studied in other industries and medical education can learn from this research."

To be fair to the document it does stop short of recommending anything new, as it does freely admit there is no evidence behind 'competency based questions' and personality testing. The point I am trying to make is that there is a deliberate drive here towards a mode of thinking that has been largely proven to be baseless by the scientific community.

New Labour and its institutions see the human being as fully malleable entity that can be trained and conditioned into anything they want it to be, they are therefore monitoring us in an increasingly 'big brother' manner so that they can mould us into the perfect compliant citizens. It is no coincidence that some of the nastiest and most totalitarian regimes of the past have had faith in very bad science indeed, for example Lysenkoism. The government wants to poke its nose into our daily lives in an ever intrusive manner, it wants us to trust her because she claims she wants to help; however there is precious little evidence that this government will help, they are far more likely to lock someone up for a crime that they have yet to even consider committing. In trying to control us and mould us into drones, they are revealing their true colours. They want more power and they do not care who gets treated unfairly in the process.

Does anyone really want to live in a country where an individual can be treated as a criminal before they have committed any offence, where the state rides roughshod over civil liberties to 'protect us' and where the authoritarians in power treat humans with such overt contempt? This government is now showing its true colours and these reveal a vicious avaricious psychopathic monster lurking with a rather worrying intent.

No comments: