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Labour Funds more teaching of children to do graffiti

see Page 8-9 of the report
For all of Labour's woffle about anti-social behaviour they continue to fund training for graffiti artists to be better graffiti artists.
Extracts from the report:
Hugh Thornberry NCH Director said:
"I am really impressed. What a great piece of work."

Karen Stone NCH Assistant Director said:
"A fantastic representation of ideas of children and young people and their creative skills."

The Spray it ‘n’ Say it Report and DVD is available January 2005.
Spray it ‘n’ Say it Phase 2 is currently being planned by BCF in Partnership with The Haven, LIFT Project at Welsh House Farm.

There is clearly an issue to be tested here. The issue is whether or not the children who have been taught to do graffiti have managed to restrain themselves from doing it in places where it is not wanted and whether over time as a result their behaviour generally is better.

My personal view based upon my experience of people is that if they are taught to do something they are more likely to do it. Furthermore there are very few places where graffiti is wanted. Hence we will end up with more Graffiti.

On Page 9 it talks about extending the project. This in a sense sums up the incompetence of government. They talk about dealing with issues, but another arm of government is frequently working against them.

Underlying all of this we have the issue about the increase in indiscipline in schools from 5% of schools to 9% of schools being poor. This is happening at the same time as bodies like the Children's fund are encouraging children to be illdisciplined and rebel. There is a difference between people being critical in their thinking and encouraged rebellion. Human beings are creatures of habit if you get people to do something habitually they will tend to continue. I am a habitual Jazz Piano Player which means when I see a keyboard I am inclined to play jazz. Training Children to do graffiti gives them a habit of doing graffiti. This is not a habit society as a whole wants.

There is an important issue of how societies are structured here. Many of our statutory (and non-statutory) structures encourage behaviour that is generally unacceptable. This creates a confusing environment for people with mixed messages.

Note: If the Childrens Fund remove this newsletter from their site I have an electronic copy I can place on the web. Some people have expressed doubt as to the existance of this project. I can confirm it really is happening.


PoliticalHack said…
I thought 'tough liberalism' was the order of the day? Is this a renewed vendetta on another Labour government initiative funding children's services or are you just spending too much time around the Tories these days?

This was a four week scheme to invest some time and money into problem kids and supported by your own City Council. The Edgbaston district director was quoted
'At first sight it appears that children are being taught to vandalise places but it is the exact opposite. It is not just giving young people a spray can. It is trying to reach a younger age group before they begin freelancing with a spray can. They are supervised, they are wearing masks against the fumes and they are learning that there is a difference between graffiti as a form of art expression in legalised sites and the criminal damage that is associated with freelancing.'

It has been trialled in various places - Bruges won a European award for an integrated graffiti plan that cut the incidence by 60% and most of the young people that took part in a similar workshop in Cambridge said that it had changed their attitudes.

Let's ask the mother of one of the children, who has a history of being excluded from school:
'I was finding Stephen a bit difficult beforehand but it has quietened him down. And now it has finished, he is really missing it. He has always loved art. He spends a lot of time drawing and so this was perfect for him. He is going to a new school and he says he wants to try and get on there.'
I'd class that as a result, John.

This isn't about rewarding offending, but about trying to break behaviour patterns and investing in those who most need our help. Those with an ounce of vision would support imaginative schemes, rather than trying to sink innovation with cheap political shots and playing to their own political gallery.

(Quotes from the Evening Mail)
john said…
I say in my post:
There is clearly an issue to be tested here. The issue is whether or not the children who have been taught to do graffiti have managed to restrain themselves from doing it in places where it is not wanted and whether over time as a result their behaviour generally is better.This cannot actually be properly tested in an Evening Mail article. It is something that actually requires research. To me it is counterintuitive that this particular proposal would achieve anything positive in the long term.

The "evidence" from the final evaluation report into Birmingham's Children's Fund is that during the period of its operation generally attendance at school has got worse. This may not be the fault of BCF, but it is not evidence that this sort of intervention achieves anything postitive.

The ad hominem fallacy is called the "ad hominem fallacy" because it is a fallacy.
PoliticalHack said…
I'd agree that it requires research - and I presented some limited evidence that it DOES work in other locations. You seemed content to kick off with a provocative, Labour-bashing headline and offered no evidence beyond your own subjective intuition.

From what I've seen of your national leaders, this is the kind of programme that fits with their thinking, so I'm surprised that you resort to this sort of cheap, tabloid behaviour.
john said…
The evidence from a report researching Birmingham Children's Fund is merely that attendance at school has gone down since the BCF was created.

That is not a test of this specific project.

Intuitively this seems wrong. I would argue, therefore, that the burden of proof rests with those who argue the project should continue.

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