Report from Ruby Harrold-Claesson's New Zealand Tour, July - August 2006

Report from Ruby Harrold-Claesson's New Zealand Tour July 19 - August 1, 2006
Family Integrity Newsletter 109 & 110

By Craig Smith, MA

 

 

 

 

 

Craig Smith, BA, MA is the National Director of Family Integrity.

 

 

 

 

Family Integrity Newsletter #109 -- Ruby's Tour 1

 

Greetings all,

 

Swedish lawyer Ruby Harrold-Claesson arrived in NZ on July 19 just after 5am after 36 hours of travel. TV 1 & TV 3 were scrapping over who would have her first, one spitting the dummy and saying they wouldn’t have her at all. They both had appointments with her on the 20th, but ended up filming her on the 19th, same day she arrived, after she also did three other media interviews.

Some elements of the media decided to use July 19 to fabricate a story about a pamphlet I wrote two years ago, saying it promoted smacking children for 10 to 15 minutes. What the pamphlet actually said was parents should take 10 to 15 minutes to determine if a smack is even necessary. (It’s on our website at www.familyintegrity.org.nz ….click “Christian Corporal Correction”). The fabrication has travelled to many countries, and I received phone calls from Australia and the USA wanting to know more.

Ruby had more media interviews on Thursday and Friday, 20-21 July, then flew to Wellington on Saturday. That night in Upper Hutt was the first of five public meetings, the second one being in Porirua Monday. Also on Monday Anna Chalmers of the Dominion Post cancelled the interview she’d arranged. She rang back Wednesday afternoon wanting an interview. She knew we would be leaving for the airport at that time and asked a series of dumb questions, so Ruby just cut her off. Anna and the DomPost were abominable throughout, leading the others in twisting the facts and digging up truly unqualified people in Sweden who were happy to say that Ruby was unqualified. The fact is, Ruby’s mastery of four languages, her knowledge of law in France, Sweden and European law put her way out in front of most other Swedish lawyers. Incidentally, Swedish universities have recently ruled that a person must be employed by the University, on its payroll, in order to gain their PhD at that university…..so much for academic freedom!

Tuesday 25 July Ruby met with the Family Commissioner, Rajen Prasad and with Children’s Commissioner Cindy Kiro. Both are totally fixated on repealing section 59 and would not entertain any notion that drugs, alcohol, TV violence, the abortion industry or school bullying were more urgent issues to pursue in order to really deal with domestic violence. She met with 14 MPs that evening.

Wednesday we did a lot of filming for a DVD featuring a lengthy interview with Ruby that will be available shortly. Flew to Hamilton and Ruby appeared before the Select Committee there on Thursday 27 July. Again, the DomPost fabricated a story about a large police and security guard presence due to a tip-off of potential violence plus demonstrators clapping and stomping feet at Sue Bradford. Well, we were there, Anna Chalmers wasn’t. There were no police present and the only clapping (no foot stomping) was spontaneous applause on two or three occasions when the individual submitter’s presentation against Bradford’s Bill was exceptionally impressive. There was also a group of seven 12 & 13 year-old school girls who each wanted to keep Section 59, saying they knew their parents loved them when they smacked them, only they suggested amendments to rule out smacking in certain places.

There was a public meeting in Hamilton, one in South Auckland and another on the North Shore. Ruby also met with Pacific Island leaders and the Auckland District Law Society. Before she flew out of NZ on Tuesday 1 August, Ruby also took in some NZ Culture at Rotorua’s Tamaki Village and also got to see live Kiwi, Tuatara, Wood Pigeons, Tui, Kea and other critters, plants and geothermal activity.

Ruby totally loved her time here and constantly talked of coming back with her husband Håkan (pronounced hoe-can). We found Ruby so gracious, polite and unassuming that her many talents and specialist knowledge came out gradually over her time here and not all at once at the beginning. She is thoroughly delightful and New Zealand can be glad that someone with her total and fearless commitment to justice and truth came here to lift the cover on the official whitewash about the Swedish situation that has fooled us all for so long.

 

Family Integrity Newsletter #110 -- Ruby's Tour 2

Greetings all,

 

Barbara and I just finished touring parts of NZ with Jamaican-born Swedish lawyer Ruby Harrold-Claesson. It has been a real education. We have gained quite an insight into the Swedish psyche and the way that particular society expects its members to behave.

One of the silly arguments advanced by the repeal lobby is that children should be given the same rights as adults. They obviously don’t mean what they say, for they are not suggesting children be allowed to vote, sign contracts, smoke or drink. Well, Swedish society has gone down this track of extending more and more “rights” to children and has been forced to become extremely tolerant of childish behaviour to the point of what most of us would call irresponsible indulgence: rudeness, disrespect, disobedience and more are allowed to go unchecked except for some verbal admonition.

We have also learned how intolerant Swedish officialdom is toward those who would criticise the system. Sweden has for many years now prided itself on being the world leader in progressive social experiments: free sexual expression of the 1960s, increasing socialised benefits over several decades (resulting in Sweden being the most highly taxed nation on earth), the world’s first legal ban on smacking, etc. So when people such as Ruby, being an outsider of sorts, makes it her habit to dispassionately and more objectively observe and report on what goes on there in a negative light, officials at almost every level close ranks to defend their international reputation.

Same thing happens here in Kiwiland, we’ve found. When someone like Ruby comes over here and not only shatters a favoured myth about conditions in Sweden held by the ruling liberal elite (from Helen Clark downwards) but also shows how loosely and “creatively” this elite handles the truth, they take shots at the messenger from Sweden rather than listen to the message from someone who obviously knows better than they simply because they don’t like the message…..it doesn’t support their agenda.

The political machinations the opposition has shown us as a result of Ruby’s visit here are very instructive: the one-eyed commitment of the present political elite in New Zealand to the repeal of Section 59 is so strong, we must conclude they have a larger agenda in mind. They have said time and again that repeal of Section 59 is only a small step and only a first step in a larger strategy to supposedly eliminate child abuse. While we all applaud moves to eliminate child abuse, it is false logic to say repealing Section 59 (which embodies parental authorisation to use “reasonable force by way of correction”) is a step in this direction: “reasonable force” is clearly not abuse. Children who go uncorrected will bring harm and angst to themselves and others. Such children will become targets for both frustrated parents and officialdom who will be called upon to sort them out, using force, since the parents cannot legally do so. And we all know that if CYFs gets involved in a family, life as that family knew it comes to an end. The resultant abuse to the family’s integrity - the child removed to a foster home and the parents charged with criminal assault - such legal, institutionalised abuse is far, far worse than any use of “reasonable force by way of correction”.

Helen Clark, Sue Bradford and others have held Sweden up as an example of social structure for us to copy. They have not exposed the full story: Sweden is a Socialist dictatorship. The Social Democrats have been in power for 50 years. The populace do as they’re told. Opposition is suppressed and even various expressions of difference are marginalized. State experts are assumed to be right, and because children are assumed to belong to the state, natural parents are not trusted as much as foster parents, the latter being well-paid agents of the state.

The Swedish state wants a certain outcome in its society. Just like in a chemistry laboratory, to get the desired results, you must control all the variables. So Swedish authorities are working to control all the social variables in order to get a peaceful and harmonious society. New Zealand’s political leaders have been doing the same thing over recent years. They see repeal of Section 59 as absolutely key since this one little clause in the law is what gives parents legal recognition that they, and not the state, have primary authority over their children.

The sodomite lobby has also said that they see repeal of Section 59 as key, for if parents will not fight to retain their authority over their own children, neither will they fight homosexual marriage and adoptions, hate speech legislation, de-criminalising other sexual perversions.

Specific Fibs
Let me clear up some of the criticisms the pro-repeal lobbyists have refused to clarify, no matter how many times we told them. Ruby is not a member of the Swedish Bar Association. Hundreds of Swedish lawyers do not belong to the Bar…it is not a requirement to practise law in Sweden. Ruby has never applied to join the Bar. In addition, one must also have a certain high level of income to join. Ruby does a lot of work for free. She is owed a lot of money by the provincial court of western Sweden for legal aid work she has done. But when she took a holiday to Jamaica in 1996 and criticised the Swedish system on Jamaican television, she returned home to Sweden to a local work ban: her home provincial court system refused to appoint her as legal aid lawyer, saying she was an “inappropriate” (not an incompetent) lawyer. They also refused to pay for the legal aid work she had been doing for some time up til then. She is free to represent clients in western Sweden otherwise and there is no work ban in the rest of Sweden.

Bradford tries to say repeal of Section 59 will stop violence against children the way repeal of similar legislation in Sweden back in 1957 reduced child deaths at the hands of their parents to “one every four years”. Ruby claimed that such deaths happen at the average rate of seven a year and have done since at least 1966. When we visited Children’s Commissioner Dr Cindy Kiro with Ruby, Dr Kiro confirmed that Ruby’s figures were correct and Bradford’s were not. “In Sweden, many people believe that children have not been subjected to violence since the ban on corporal punishment was introduced, but this is not true,” said Sweden’s Children’s Ombudsman, Lena Nyberg, in an article in Sweden’s The Local dated 5 May 2006 titled “New Child Abuse Commission after Bobby Death”. In the same article Morgan Johansson, Sweden’s public health minister, said, “Every year, eight to ten, sometimes as many as twelve children die in Sweden due to violence. This has been true for several years.” So it is actually worse than Ruby was saying.

Some Swedish expert, a psychologist, was interviewed on NZ radio recently and said that since 1957, when Sweden’s equivalent of our Section 59 was repealed, only one parent had been charged with the crime of smacking. It has also been pointed out, by Ruby whenever she speaks, that the 1979 ban on smacking was in Sweden’s civil code and did not carry any penalties or legal sanctions. And so it is not even possible to bring such charges to courts. But what the media fail to point out or fail to understand is that with such laws in place, parents are then exposed to being charged with assault and battery under various criminal codes. This is precisely what happens. Ruby tabled 41 cases, copies of official rulings against parents in Swedish courts, at her hearing before the select committee. The psychologist is not a lawyer….which perhaps explains why he knows little about what actually goes on in Swedish courtrooms. In addition, Ruby has practised Swedish lawyer for 20 years.

Here is a quick outline of the legal history. The equivalent of Section 59, giving parents a defense from a charge of criminal assault against their children of having used reasonable force by way of correction, was repealed in Sweden in 1957. In 1966 they changed a law which said parents must curb their children to read parents must correct their children. In 1979 a law was added to the civil (not the penal) code banning smacking and any belittling treatment of children. In 1998 a law was introduced making gross disturbance of the peace a crime. Under this law parents have been charged and children removed for a non-specific accusation that the parents had hassled the children or imposed their will on the child at some unspecified date and time in the past in a way unwanted by the child.

The cumulative effect of these laws is that many parents are afraid to correct their children in any way. Children are coached in preschool onwards that they do not have to put up with any discipline from their parents but only need to report them to a teacher, social worker or police to make the parents stop. (What the children are not coached in are the implications to their family’s integrity and relationships of making such a report…more on this later.) To give a child “time out” is a crime for the child may suffer mental and emotional stress, and it is a form of physical punishment since the child is separated from the physical presence of his family. Of course when the authorities separate a child physically from his family for weeks and months at a time and place the child with total strangers, that is not seen as abuse but as protection. You must apologise to a child for disturbing his peace, lest you be charged with this crime, when you drag the child from in front of a truck on the road or when prying a huge kitchen knife from his hands.

There has developed a thinking within the Swedish social services that most parents are near-incompetents and can hardly be trusted. This is evidenced by the number of children taken into care: over 20,000 in a country of 9 million, a rate 4 times higher than New Zealand. To mind all these children, an army of over 300,000 social workers has arisen plus thousands of foster homes. These can be either obvious institutions or private homes, but all are well-paid. Qualifications are very low, just like New Zealand’s cases of foster children being placed in gang headquarters and brothels. According to Ruby, these foster agents are rarely investigated for abuse they commit against their charges. This is due to the Swedish sense of self-righteousness: the state system is best, it is at the apex of human social development….it can do no wrong. New Zealand’s social welfare system also suffers from this blindness: when they get it wrong, they are loathe to admit it or correct it for such admissions of error damage their professional credibility.

This kind of administrative and institutionalised child abuse is the worst part of this whole anti-smacking scenario: it gives power into the hands of strangers to the children who not only have no personal care for the children, but stand to gain materially from interfering in their lives. Since parents would not be authorised to use reasonable force to correct, train or discipline their children if Section 59 is repealed, its repeal dramatically lowers the threshold at which social workers can justify intervening into private family affairs. Ruby says fostering is big business: it keeps the social workers in green as well as foster agencies, lawyers and psychiatrists. Each of these groups has a financial interest in seeing the problem expand, not decrease. And once a child has been in care for three years, the state may rule that it be forcibly adopted out.



Report from Ruby Harrold-Claesson's New Zealand smacking debate tour July 19 - August 1, 2006
By Craig Smith


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