Press release

This press release accompanies the new edition of

'The Fight for the Family'

. - By Lynette Burrows.


This is the book the children's rights lobby don't want you to read. When it was published last year, the Press Council was asked to warn the media that it was full of inaccuracies and highly defamatory. The confident tone of these complaints persuaded several newspapers and TV companies to cancel discussion of its contents. However, it was discussed on independent radio and TV stations and on regional, though not national, BBC programmes. Finally, the Daily Telegraph decided to publish an article by its author, Lynette Burrows, in which she set out the main arguments of her book - and no action was taken by the complaining children's rights groups.

We are entitled to infer from this that, though her findings and surmises are extremely unwelcome to those who have laboured for so long to undermine the autonomy and stability of the family, they are fair comment on a matter of extreme public importance. Despite the early opposition, sales of the book were brisk and the complete edition sold out in months. Several thousand copies have been ordered by America, Australia and other English-speaking countries where the problems of de-stabilised families are similar and it was primarily to satisfy this demand that a new edition was planned.

However, 'The Fight for the Family, 2nd Edition, contains a lot of new material sent in by readers of the book. Ordinary people have not, so far, mobilised themselves to fight against what is being done to their families by professionals; and many of those working in the field of child care are also horrified by the excesses of their colleagues; their contributions have been included in the new edition.

The first thing to note is that the very expression 'children's rights' is a misleading title. It disguises the fact that what is being sought is not more rights for children to decide the policies which affect them. There is no question of allowing them to decide if their school uses corporal punishment on bullies or not; whether they can smoke at school or indeed, whether they need to go to school at all if they have a job to go to.

Children's rights are the means by which different groups of adults - notably lawyers and social workers, can select certain children's grievances - on a largely ideological basis - and then pursue these, with public funds, even through the European court. What is striking about so many of the issues that have been taken up by children's rights activists, is that, by and large, they involve solely the right of children to behave badly when they want to and to get into premature sexual activity. The strikingly homogenous nature of these 'rights' as they are at present perceived, is explained by an ideological agenda that is shared by the activists, and by very few others.

Children have been encouraged to claim the right to under-age sex; to 'divorce' their parents when they are in conflict with them; to put themselves into local authority 'care' even when that care is universally acknowledged to be inadequate; to obtain contraceptives without their parents knowledge, and not to be subject to parental discipline and protection. Everywhere, the results of these innovations have been disastrous, with a generation of children cast adrift, with only their own inexperienced desires to guide them. Very many have come to grief as a result of the entirely predictable consequences.

Thousands every year become pregnant before they are out of school, thousands more suffer from debilitating sexually transmitted diseases. Those lost to crime and drug dependence in children's homes, even before they are old enough to smoke, are a monument to activists whose crusade for 'children's rights' has absorbed many millions of pounds of public money and has still failed to protect them from the principal areas of harm.

In the book, you will learn just how small the children's rights lobby is. With all 7 of the existing children's rights organisations founded, or co-founded by one man, Peter Newell, who has been funded from the beginning by an overseas charitable trust. His partner, Rachel Hodgkin, and many colleagues from these organisations are now in prominent positions in major charities and on government bodies.

Whether one is sympathetic to the philosophy they pursue or not, it is important to realise both what they are up to, and what they really want. This is no less than the total subjugation of the family to the dictates of the state - as happens in Sweden today. The means by which they hope to accomplish this is by the same means used by the Swedish state. That is to criminalize the majority of parents, who smack their children for disciplinary purposes, so that they are everywhere at the mercy of the authorities.

This simple device enables social workers to decide to take children away from their parents for whatever reason they choose. If one considers our own cases of over-reaction by social workers as in Cleveland, the Orkneys, Nottingham and a host of other places, one can see that with an anti-smacking law in place, most of those parents who were able to get their children back - plus apologies and compensation from the authorities - would have no defence. If even a smack on the hand or leg has been administered at some time, the parents would be put in the wrong and the social workers could keep their children - and the compensation.

Before 'The fight for the Family' came out last year, we did not know how the law in Sweden worked. Only that Peter Newell's organisations claimed that no parents had been penalised in Sweden because of their anti-smacking law. However, this is not true as we discovered when we were put in touch with the Nordic Committee for Human Rights and their doughty chairman, Ruby Harrold-Claesson - the only black, female lawyer in Sweden. The Committee is composed of lawyers, academics and public servants who have for years been struggling with the evil effects of this law and who have taken many cases to the European court.

We learnt that there have been thousands of families threatened, punished and deprived of their children under this law which official statistics disguise in one way or another. Just as they were able to hide their policy - which only ended in 1976 - of forced sterilisation of girls and boys deemed unfit to have children, which policy was only uncovered in 1997, so they keep the figures of children 'seized' from their families, safely out of the way of the media.

However, now the facts are laid out in this new edition of the book and those who were inclined to believe that the anti-smacking crusade is a mild and harmless measure designed to protect a handful of children from their parents, are in for a shock. With so many social services departments already overloaded with power-hungry ideologues, radical feminists, Marxists and other anti-family forces, the conditions are perfect for delivering British families into their hands, just as they have been in Sweden.

We at the Family Education Trust hope that, above all, the media will acquaint themselves with the true picture of what is being presented to us as 'children's rights', by the most organised and determined onslaught on 'adult rights' ever to be mounted in this country. It is the autonomy of the family that is at stake and the right of individuals to have and to rear their families without direction or interference from the state.


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