Jesus wept. I know I’ve said this about eleventy squillion times already, but it really is like Labour never left office.
Children who appear on television talent shows or reality TV programmes will have to be licensed under Government plans to prevent them being exploited for ratings.
Anyone under 16 who appears in front of Simon Cowell and the other judges on Britain’s Got Talent will have to be cleared in advance by their local council under an overhaul of rules on child performers.
The local council. Well, that’s a relief. I was worried that the job might get handed to a bunch of witless, rubber stamping, chair polishers who’d just cash the cheque and send back an approval or a rejection depending on whether the requisite number of boxes are ticked. But if it’s going to be the councils, the same mobs who’d reject a planning application on the grounds of a Tree Preservation Order on a tree that isn’t actually going to be cut down, then I’ve clearly been worrying for nothing. Yeah, I can’t think of anyone better to take up the new and hitherto unneeded role in deciding whether an under 16 can appear on Simon Cowell’s freak show than a bunch of local government officials who don’t know the kid from Adam.
Tim Loughton, the Children’s Minister, said on Thursday that the current rules, drawn up more than 40 years are no longer “fit for purpose” in the era of reality television.
Ironically “not fit for purpose” has become such an overused phrase in politics, and has whored itself to promote new legislation that some government shitwit deemed desirable so fucking often that it itself is no longer fit for purpose. When you hear “not fit for purpose” the subtext is usually “we’re going to make a pointless change that will expand the size and role of the state and its ability to interfere with your life, and we want you to think that it’s necessary because one politician once said ‘not fit for purpose’ about something that really wasn’t”.
Tim Loughton, incidentally, is allegedly a Conservative. To be fair to him he probably believes he is, and since the Tories have a long and less than illustrious history of being paternalist bastards this might even appeal to him as a Conservative. But the people who run the government department that he’s the nominal head of probably aren’t and since they were there for the last lot and will mostly be there for the next lot, whoever the next lot turn out to be, you have to wonder whether this is a Conservative/Cobbleition policy or a policy of the real party of government, the Civil Service. And you also have to wonder if they have to do much more than dream up some shit, plonk the draft policy in front of the minister, and give a nice, long pull on the talk cord in the back of his head.
“New policy needed… no longer fit for purpose… I love you, mummy… let’s play…”