While the mainstream news has largely ignored the Jamboree and Scouting’s centenary, the same hasn’t been true of the various “have your say” pages.
What is apparent is that outside Scouting there are some very scary and misinformed people, both supporting and deriding Scouting. The less scary are the anti-Scouting nutters, banging on as if it’s some militaristic pseudo-fascist, Christian-only club. The scarier group are those who are all for Scouting, because they imagine it’s a Christian only militaristic, pseudo-fascist bastion of old fashioned bigoted values. Any evidence to the contrary has the second group frothing at the mouth about us giving in to “political correctness gone mad”. This sort that believe we shouldn’t allow darkies in with their funny beliefs, and if we did they should be made to eat pork sausages like the rest of them.
Can you tell by the way I summed them up, that I vehemently disagree with both groups? My view on political correctness is that it’s just a new name for being nice to one another, and that fits with Scouting.
Robert Baden-Powell was a maverick during his time in the army. The siege of Mafeking made him a war hero, and when he returned home he found that young people and teachers were copying his techniques from his Scouting manuals. (Indeed it’s been argued that SSAGO has its roots in a Scout club formed at an Ambleside teacher training college during this period). B-P came to realise there could be something in his rather unorthodox army techniques that could offer something to the young men of the time and set about organising an experimental camp. That was 1907.
And that’s where the political correctness begins to creep in. It has long been fashionable to believe that Scouting was a white, middle-class Christian movement. However not only is this not true today, it never was. The boys B-P selected for the experimental camp were deliberately chosen from a multitude of backgrounds. From day one Scouting has sought to be there for young people of all races, religions and backgrounds, it was there at Brownsea, it’s there in Scouting for boys.
B-P declared about Scouting
It is a movement, because it moves forward. As soon as it stops moving, it becomes an Organisation, and is no longer Scouting
Scouting has always been about being a good, respectful citizen of the world. Just has scientific and medical knowledge has increased hugely in the last 100 years, so have ideas of citizenship and respect, and while we should never lower our standards, to stay in a state of ignorance would not be in line with B-Ps vision of being a movement.
While Scouts helped in both world wars, Scouting was never another cadet corps, training young people for war. If B-P was happy with young people dabbling with militarism he would have left them to his army manuals, rather than writing Scouting for boys.
The globalist aspect of Scouting came fairly early too. In B-P’s time the movement had spread across the world, and it was acknowledged even then that the capacity of Scouting to unite young people from the far corners of the globe should be used to increase the understanding of different peoples and cultures, so as to make world peace more achievable.
Yes some aspects of Scouting are of their time too. It did not occur to B-P that girls would be interested, and when they tried to infiltrate a Scout Rally in 1909, someone had to quietly have a word with B-P about what was then acceptable in society to stop him simply letting them in right there and then. But even then he didn’t just shut the girls out, he asked his sister to start another part of the movement for girls.
All of B-P’s ideas of inclusivity make the press coverage of PC creeping in to Scouting more and more galling. Scouting has always been as PC as it gets! If it’s reactionary, backward and un-PC it just isn’t Scouting.
Saw this and wondered what you thought about it:
Bloggers of the World Unite
Hmm, an interesting but ultimately silly story.
Mildly right wing bloggers in the states (the ones the rabid, foaming-at-the-mouth, extreme right nutters label “leftist” or “liberals”) have been in talks about forming a union.
I can only think the press and the rabid screamers have got the wrong end of the stick. By union they must mean some sort of talking shop, where like-minded people swap ideas. Not what is commonly referred to as a union, an actual trade union.
Bloggers are, as they stand, largely independent people. Few make any actual money out of it, indeed many popular blogs have their hosting fees subsidised by their writers’ day jobs. So if a union was formed, who would it represent, and to whom? If you are being paid to blog, surely you are either a journalist or working in another environment where you already have a trade union.
As the article points out the real barriers for blogging is that the opinions of bloggers are far more diverse than would be encountered in any sector of actual employment. These differences would be a real barrier to a bloggers’ trade union achieving anything.
I do see professionalism and codes of conduct for bloggers as a bit of a threat, to be perfectly honest. A union could be only of interest of the cream of the crop, the best of the best, shutting the rest of us out of the vague community that is “the blogosphere”. A bloggers’ union would create artificial boundaries between the semi-professional commentators, the likes of me who exist in a netherworld between the commontaters and the diarists, and those who blog about purely personal matters. When at the moment there is just a wide tapestry of blogging with only the vaguest of boundary between one type and the next.
A union would, in the end, create more “us and them” situations, and therefore divide rather than bring together.
What was Baden Powell’s claim to fame? Clue: he died before the Scouts were founded.
Baden Powell was a clergyman and the father of Robert Baden-Powell, the maverik millitary leader and war hero who started the Scout and Guide movement. Robert Baden-Powell was born Robert Stephenson Smyth Powell, but his mother and his full siblings changed their surname after Baden’s death to honour their dead father.
Incidentally in his youth he was not known as Robert, but as Stephe from his middle name Stephenson.
Am I wrong in thinking that it is perfectly fair and just that the responsible are subsidised by the irresponsible. Am I being harsh in thinking mistakes should have consequences? According to a recent survey, I’m not.
Currently the big banks are making noises that if penalty charges are banned, other charges will have to go up or be introduced. A survey by moneysupermarket has found that most of us would prefer to stick with the penalty charges.
It’s true, there are some very vulnerable people who are hit by bank charges because of the incompetence of others. People who have cash flow problems because money does not get to them in time, and I have no problems about moves to protect these people. But these are in the minority of those hit by penalty charges. Many people reclaiming charges are living comfortable lifestyles with many luxuries like new cars and foreign holidays, and are living irresponsibly close to the limit of what they can afford.
One forum correspondent observed that it was difficult to know what charge would end up on your credit card statement when spending abroad. This is a false premise for many reasons: credit limits are limits, not targets. It’s obviously difficult a to work out a foreign currency transaction to the penny, but it’s actually fairly easy to come up with a rough figure based on the prevailing tourist rate. Allowing a few percent margin of error for the commission, plus leaving a safety margin at the top of your credit card and you should be fine. Or even, unreasonable of me to suggest it I know, ring your credit card company up and ask them what the charges are for foreign transactions, so you only need worry about the exchange rate. Another holidaymaker observed he went overdrawn while abroad because it was impossible to check his balance. Er- no it isn’t. Check your balance before you go and keep a tally. And if you are on a foreign trip 10 to 1 you earn enough to apply for an authorised overdraft just in case.
Banks allow limits higher than a few months salary, so if you’re treating your credit limit as a target rather than a buffer, it’s your own fault. And set up your overdraft before you need it if you want to avoid an “unauthorised overdraft charge”.
While I would be pleased that a number of vulnerable people will benefit from the anti-charges revolution, I can’t help feeling the biggest noises in this controversy are not from that section of society, but people who could avoid charges if they gave their finances a moments thought. People who suffer charges not through circumstances, but through irresponsibility and for whom charges are their just desserts. So largely speaking, the responsible will suffer, and the irresponsible will be in the majority of those that gain.
Dizzy thinks (as spotted by Mark Pack) has noticed that back home, Stockport council have declared war on jargon, trying to reduce instances of management buzzwords in their website. This is an excellent initiative, but I’m worried there is some confusion over what is being achieved.
It’s a good move, but not for the reasons most seem to think. Jargon is language specific to an area of life which can easily be substituted by more everyday English. Technical language that can’t easily be understood by a moderately intelligent person and can’t easily be replaced by as many or fewer words in plain English is not jargon- it’s just technical language. To be jargon, a term must be both unnecessary and difficult to understand.
All but one of the phrases that are being eliminated are not jargon, but management speak. These are buzz-words repeated parrot fashion that are almost, but not quite, totally meaningless. Buzz words do not make you difficult to understand, but they do add little to what you say and make you look unimaginative, and unable to express yourself properly. People often think buzzwords make them look intelligent and capable, when the opposite is the case. The barriers created by buzz-words are not a problem of understanding, but in that they put the user into a separate social group to the reader.
At university we were told in management classes to avoid both jargon and buzzwords. Unfortunately 15 years later and there are people who haven’t cottoned on to the fact that parroting impressive phrases does not make you any brighter.
Management is not the only place we have buzz-words, you may notice from time to time the media and political circles of this country will latch on to a key phrase of the moment and repeat it add nausium. Past examples have been spin and sleaze.
Please, repeating the phrase of the moment does not help the message get across, it just makes you look foolish. Let’s all follow Stockport’s lead and try and eliminate buzzwords, so we can make the world a more friendly and imaginative place.
I got back late last night. Visiting Hylands was wonderful, but a combination of dehydration, despair at the lack of appreciation of the event outside Scouting circles, and running in to a particularly unpleasant member of my team from Eurojam, left me feeling down.
A coffee at Liverpool Street picked me up and I walked across the City of London to Kings Cross. It struck me how the tube means people in London don’t walk far overground, or at least only do so if they know where they were going. Street signs pointing to areas more than 100 yards away were few and far between. But it was a pleasant walk.
The train carriage had a bunch of drunken yobs, not abusive just unpleasantly loud. They stayed until Wakefield. But I made my connection (thank goodness) and got home.
This morning I got into work and couldn’t focus. It was probably the after effects of not drinking enough water all week, and I had to come home sick and lie down. I’ll be in tomorrow.
In the meantime, if you have the URL of our joint website, check out the Honeymoon photo albums I integrated in yesterday.
It’s been sad to see this month that despite being 100 years old, and an event involving 50000, bringing together the youth from almost every country on the planet (pause while you imagine the enormity of that situation) Scouting hasn’t warranted the slightest bit of attention from our media.
Sure BBC Essex and News 24 have been fantastic, the reporter on Look East seemed like he’d paid attention and knew what he was talking about, rather than parrot the dodgy received wisdom that for most counts for knowledge of a cornerstone of our culture.
I mean there are 28,000,000 scouts worldwide, surely that makes our centenary significant?
Today I started off on a footsteps activity at Colchester castle. The Jamboree bussed out two coachloads of Scouts to us and we ran two half day activities. In the morning it was Footsteps, taking them up to the castle museum and letting them explore. I think we could have done with encouraging them to try the interactive part of the exhibits more, as we were out and eating lunch fairly early.
In the afternoon I stayed with my coachload of Americans, Spaniards, Japanese and Devonites, and went on to the Starburst activity. The Japanese troop sanded down one of the park buildings, while the Americans and Spanish set to work with wire brushes on some rusty iron gates. The Brits were handed some gardening tools and set about attacking an overgrown corner of the park with great enthusiasm.
Patrick (aka Granville for those that know him) observed “If ever you need a fence painting, you need to get some Azerbaijani Scouts”. Said scouts had apparently got through their allotted task in the morning with great speed. But today I can’t fault any of the Scouts who all did as they were asked without slacking or complaining.
On return to the site, many of SAGGA were back at Hylands catering for a Starburst reception. I collapsed and fell asleep, being slightly dehydrated, and dozed until half six, nearly missing my dinner, but arriving in time for a large portion.
And now, having showered, it’s time to relax. It’s nice to catch up with friends.
I’m at SAGGA camp which means daily newspapers! Last year having been in Sweden I’d nearly forgotten this phenomenon.
I was drawn to the Johann Hari column in todays independent. It made for really gut wrenching reading.
It is irritating enough that there is no shame in ignorance these days, without aspects of our culture having people aspire to it.
Not a great start. Missed my first train, got confused over connections at Shipley. Meaning my sunrise was at Leeds city station, where the County Commissioner and ACC 2007 were manning a publicity stall. Northern Rail had been kind enough to put up posters all over the station about the event, but failed to say which concourse it was on.
Anyway I caught the number 1 bendy bus, and I caught up with North Leeds’ activities in Far Headingley soon enough which were still happening when I arrived.
It does feels a good day to be in uniform. Lots of people asking questions and even- shock- smiling, when other days I would be scowled at dressed like this and carrying this much luggage.
Currently I’m in Leeds prior to my train to Chelmsford.
So happy birthday to scouting. The world’s most successful peace movement.