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Do the Roma really need to improve their ‘resilience skills’?

Rod Liddle explores the crazy world of Jeanie, a county council officer in Devon who spends her week engaged in fatuous, money-wasting nonsense at our expense

4 November 2009

12:00 AM

4 November 2009

12:00 AM

Did you know that February in our schools has been designated Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans (sic) History Month? I’d get with it, if I were you, and send your 11-year-old child to school in a gimp mask, with some lube. Good parents make sure their kid is ahead of the curve. You can bet that there will be exercises on exploring multifaceted sexual preferences and maybe practical tests too. So tell your daughter to bin the Mary Seacole face mask she spent ages knocking up for Black History Month and get her dressed up as a boy, with a strap-on. They need those extra marks, the kids.

I only know about this because of Jeanie. You delve into Jeanie, thinking her a nice enough woman, and a world of misery opens up at your feet: a depthless cavern of stupidity, political correctness, a wilful waste of your own money, tendentious sociological bollocks, tortured grammar, words which have no real meaning, propaganda and social engineering. I first encountered Jeanie in a sort of diary she wrote for a newspaper, describing her week, a week in her professional life. Jeanie is where we are now, no matter which shade of government we might have. Her full name is Jeanie Lynch and she is ‘Lead Officer for Equality in Children and Young People’s Services for Devon County Council’. Devon, remember, is a Conservative-led council. Here’s a brief precis of Jeanie’s week — you can read it in full on my blog.

Monday — Jeanie spends the day on a ‘Value the Difference’ course for young people, meeting youth workers from across Europe to discuss how they should value the difference. No, I don’t know what the hell she’s on about either, but she’s very enthusiastic about it. We should all value the difference, shouldn’t we?


Tuesday — Jeanie spends the morning ‘piloting the Single Equality Scheme’ in schools. This is a ‘toolkit’ concerning ‘equality duties’ and stuff about sexual orientation, community cohesion and anti-bullying. I don’t know what this involves, exactly, but my guess is that you would rather she’d taken the morning off. What are ‘equality duties’? Busy day, though — because in the afternoon she runs a course in ‘building resilience for our Gypsy, Roma Traveller Achievement Services’. What does that mean? God knows, but she concludes, in her diary, that gypsies and Roma and travellers need to improve their ‘resilience skills’. You wonder for a moment if this cheerful middle-aged woman is teaching gypsies how to fight. ‘Grandmother’ and ‘sucking eggs’ is the first response which comes to mind. You wonder also if the people of Devon wished that their local council was instead teaching gypsies to be a bit less resilient, all things considered, or perhaps to have the requisite resilience to pack up their caravans and move to Cornwall or Somerset or Dorset. But Jeanie has only contempt for the people who pay her salary (let’s be honest — the gypsies don’t, do they?): she says the travellers face horrible discrimination from ordinary people in the wider world. Those awful people in the wider world.

On Wednesday Jeanie puts her feet up. By Thursday she’s giving a speech on children and sex to an undoubtedly appreciative audience in Warwick. On Friday she meets with a colleague to ‘pull together diversity data’, because Jeanie needs to sort out where ‘resources’ — i.e. our money — is most needed. And there you have it: Jeanie’s week. Almost everything she has done is either counterproductive, fatuous, pointless, money-wasting or annoying, and usually all of these things. My guess is that the majority of voters in Devon would prefer she hadn’t done any of the stuff she so cheerfully talks about in her diary and that, beyond this, her job should not exist — the money spent on facilities for a school, or new bus shelters, or maybe just a drip-feed of alcohol for the councillors — anything rather than teaching gypsies resilience skills and inculcating everybody she meets with a sense of victimhood and entitlement. They didn’t vote for that, did they? No manifesto demanded that gypsies should be taught resilience skills, least of all the Conservative manifesto. But, as I say, this is where we are and there is nothing to be done about it.

I had a look at one of those ‘toolkits’ Jeanie talks about: I looked at the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans (sic) History Month toolkit and you can see why there is no escape, regardless of what party might control the council. The ‘toolkit’ is supported by a bunch of organisations, including something called ‘Intercom’, the ‘Anti-bullying in Cornwall’ group, Devon County Council and the Heritage and Lottery Fund. One section of the briefing deals with arguments as to why there should be a LGBT History Month. Any problems, the toolkit announces, and you should refer people to the following — and then there is a list of no fewer than 18 local, national or supranational guidelines, by-laws or regulations which insist that it is a statutory duty of Devon County Council to employ someone like Jeanie Lynch and, what’s more, to do as she bloody well says. The United Nations Rights of the Child (1990). The European Human Rights Act (1998). The Learning and Skills Act (2000). The Children’s Act. The Sexual Orientation and Religion and Belief Discrimination Regulations (2003). The Race Relations Amendment Act (2000) — and 12 more. Stuff that would take a generation or more to unpick, probably require us to leave the European Union and cause endless expensive litigation. And so, if you’re the newly elected ruling group of Devon County Council you may well be tempted just to sigh and let Jeanie go about her work.

This stuff, this ludicrous nonsense, has become unavoidable. We cannot get rid of it. And my guess is there’s a Jeanie doing her business for every county and borough council up and down the land and a Gypsy, Roma, Traveller Achievement Service in every relevant council up and down the land and a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans (sic) History Month coming to a school near you very soon. They want kids, incidentally, to celebrate the life of a famous LGBT person from history and suggest computer science would be a good place to start. Poor Alan Turing, once known as a brilliant mathematician. Now known as an unhappy homosexual.


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