Wednesday, 10 January 2018

Be Reasonable are anything but 'reasonable'.

Yesterday Wales moved a step nearer towards following dozens of other countries around Europe and the world by introducing a ban on smacking children in Wales. Or to put it another way Wales is set to join a growing number of other countries in making hitting children against the law because let's be clear hitting children is what we are talking about here. It's frankly unacceptable in the UK in the 21st century that children are not afforded the same protection from physical assault as the rest of society and it's very positive to see the government's of Wales and Scotland using the powers afforded to them under devolution to making hitting children against the law in their two respective countries (and as we've seen with the smoking ban, carrier bag charges and organ donation England will surely follow suit in the next few years).

Scotland is actually a bit further down the road towards a ban than Wales and the authors of the excellent Bella Caledonia blog have unearthed some very interesting information on the group 'Be Reasonable' which has been spearheading the campaign against a ban in both Scotland and Wales. It turns out that Be Reasonable's propaganda campaign - a campaign of disinformation, bogus poll findings and lies incidentally - is being conducted by a tory supporting PR firm which has in the past lobbied on behalf of the tobacco industry. While among Be Reasonable's listed supporters are The Family Education Trust and the Christian Institute - right wing christian evangelical groups with a long history of supporting homophobic campaigns and attempts to restrict women's rights.

A luminary in Be Reasonable's propaganda offensive in Wales is a certain Ashley Frawley - Frawley was all over the welsh airwaves yesterday peddling the campaign's usual disinformation and scare stories about the consequences of a ban (the ban has remained in place and been effective wherever it's been introduced). In their report Bella revealed that Frawley's mentor - indeed he was her Phd supervisor at the university of Kent - was none other than the infamous apologist for ethnic cleansers in the former Yugoslavia Frank Furedi. Furedi has adopted numerous pseudonym's down the years and is part of the group which emerged out of the collapse of the so called Living Marxism magazine and which has mutated into the collective of deranged right wing 'libertarians' based around the website Spiked online.

Contributors to Spiked online have distinguished themselves in recent years by denying hate crimes exist and denying there's been a rise in domestic violence - recorded statistics in fact show a big increase in both. The website also opposed the smoking ban and efforts to protect the environment such as recycling waste (in fact spiked online denies the reality of climate change itself). Let's hope then the next time Frawley pops up on Welsh radio or tv to peddle Be Reasonable's ill informed claptrap the presenters will challenge her over her longstanding association with the reactionaries at spiked.

It's clear that in Scotland and Wales there's a coordinated misinformation campaign being waged by a dubious alliance of wealthy PR lobbyists, fundamentalist christians, conservative politicians and deranged libertarians and their proxies like Ashley Frawley with the express aim of denying children the same legal protection from physical assault as the rest of us. Thankfully however to judge by the well informed recent debates in the Scottish Parliament and the Welsh Senedd on the matter we've every reason to be confident this deliberately deceptive campaign will come to nought and the days when children in Scotland and Wales could be given a 'good hiding' by an adult - or 'lovingly disciplined' as Be Reasonable would no doubt put it - will be a thing of the past.

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