The Easy Rider minister

Do you know, here was me lamenting Sammy Wilson’s low ministerial profile. And no sooner is that done, but Sammy comes streaking back into the headlines:

Environment Minister Sammy Wilson last night branded the law which saw him fined for riding his motorbike without tax or MoT as “absurd”.

The Minister, who has responsibility for road safety in Northern Ireland, was caught by a camera detection unit on the Newtownards Road in east Belfast — a short distance from the Stormont Parliament Buildings.

And so the multi-tasking Sammy – minister, Westminster MP, Stormont MLA, Belfast councillor – finds himself forty quid out of pocket.

Meanwhile, we find a superannuated politician, Patricia Lewsley of the SDLP, sticking her oar into the Movilla teachers’ strike.

The background to this is fairly straightforward. There is an allegation that a pupil at Movilla High School in Newtownards assaulted a teacher. Other teachers refused to teach the pupil concerned. On having their pay docked, they went on strike. Efforts have been ongoing to resolve the situation.

These efforts have not been helped by Patricia, who is no longer a Stormont MLA but does enjoy a comfortable position as Children’s Commissioner, and who has branded the strike an abuse of children’s rights.

I’m rather sceptical about the whole concept of children’s rights – we raised children fairly well for centuries without them – and have never quite seen the need for a Children’s Commissioner to advocate on their behalf. Nor has Patricia particularly made the case. What next, I ask myself? We have a Children’s Commissioner, we have four (4) Victims’ Commissioners – can it be long before a Hoods’ Commissioner is appointed?


  1. Garibaldy said,

    October 20, 2008 at 6:55 pm

    Spot on about Lewsley’s hamfisted, unnecessary, self-aggrandising and reactionary intervention in this dispute.

  2. ejh said,

    October 21, 2008 at 7:34 am

    I’m rather sceptical about the whole concept of children’s rights – we raised children fairly well for centuries without them

    Is my irony detector failing to work here?

    My understanding is that more or less the entirety of late-twentieth and twenty-first century Irish literature rests on the refutation of this premise.

  3. Belfast Metal said,

    October 21, 2008 at 9:40 am

    Some factual information here. Patricia Lewsley is a former member of the SDLP. She resigned when she became children’s commissioner. Also, with regards to her not making the case; well given that the union has been less than helpful – their proposal is to teach the child in complete isolation or kick him out of school – at least the commissioner is standing up to this bunch of left wing bully boys.

  4. skidmarx said,

    October 21, 2008 at 9:52 am

    I saw a collection of facts from the Uruguayan Eduardo Galeano in New Internationalist last year that included the shocking fact that up to the 1980s it was legal in the UK to beat children with a variety of instruments. The most elucidatary comment I ever heard on parents hitting their kids was that it generally only occurs until the kids are big enough to hit back, supporting the idea that it is the act of cowards against the defenceless.
    Motorbikes and the law I’m not so sure on. But generally getting caught with no tax or MOT and then complaining is a bit whiny.

  5. Omar Little said,

    October 21, 2008 at 10:56 am

    Students hitting teachers is not the same as a big bad parent beating their little child. Teachers have a right to safe working conditions and given that, unlike in my day, they (thankfully) arn’t allowed hit students, students shouldn’t be allowed hit them.

  6. October 22, 2008 at 11:36 am

    seems, that right-wingers all over Europe do have problems with their cars or motorbikes these days … 😉

  7. splinteredsunrise said,

    October 22, 2008 at 4:34 pm

    Poor old Jorg, he was going much too fast… and too far to the right…

  8. skidmarx said,

    October 23, 2008 at 9:35 am

    And had a long-term boyfriend. Is there a Nazi who isn’t gay and fancy free?

  9. Tazia said,

    October 26, 2008 at 3:51 am

    The NASUWT are sexual transgressives, for ten years their top priority is to eliminate abuse of trust provisions, the SOA 2003, they are therefore terribly interested in any ‘touching’ scenarios that are useful.

    The Movilla one is a same gender version of something they put to the DfES in 2005. What they really want is a working precedent for a male teacher to restrain a schoolgirl. The ‘doorway’ thing. They want that to be legal vis a vis male teacher and schoolgirl. That is on the shopping list.

    Similarly if you look at the NASUWT statements in relation to schoolgirl sex, the objective was fifty year old teachers having sex with schoolgirls at the school up the road. They may have been asking for decriminalization for schoolgirls at the same school, but they wanted *immediately* was a public flag for schoolgirls in the same LEA area.

    You see, if a teacher, becomes a lap-dancer, they can be fired, because of bringing the school into disrepute, public confidence etc. It doesn’t have to be illegal Similarly, they don’t want men fired for dropping their schoolgirl lover of the day off at a different school before starting work.

    In relation to abuse of trust, also no crime, no police, no search warrant, no child pornography arrest. What was the last strike in Ulster about?


  10. ejh said,

    October 26, 2008 at 7:42 pm

    Eh? Wot?

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