New teenage drivers should have their driving freedom limited

Other countries of the world, including the USA, Canada, Australia, South Africa and Hong Kong, limit the driving freedom of new teenage drivers.  My favourites are:

  • For the first 12 / 18 months the only passengers that can be carried are parents or siblings
  • Driving is prohibited during certain night time hours
  • Speed restrictions apply
  • Size of engines are restricted

Research is best undertaken in the UK not only with insurance companies but also the drivers of breakdown lorries who pick up the mess off the roads.  They will tell you the incidence of young people in over-powerful cars, which I gather is anything over 1200cc.

Why is this idea important?

Other countries of the world, including the USA, Canada, Australia, South Africa and Hong Kong, limit the driving freedom of new teenage drivers.  My favourites are:

  • For the first 12 / 18 months the only passengers that can be carried are parents or siblings
  • Driving is prohibited during certain night time hours
  • Speed restrictions apply
  • Size of engines are restricted

Research is best undertaken in the UK not only with insurance companies but also the drivers of breakdown lorries who pick up the mess off the roads.  They will tell you the incidence of young people in over-powerful cars, which I gather is anything over 1200cc.

Teenage Scrapheap Challenge Centres.

This is an idea which could take disruptive teenagers off the streets, based on the TV program Scrapheap Challenge. 

This would be a club supervised by persons with engineering or mechanical backgrounds, who would teach and help teenagers make things like Go Karts, Boats or such like out of Junk left at Council tips.

Why is this idea important?

This is an idea which could take disruptive teenagers off the streets, based on the TV program Scrapheap Challenge. 

This would be a club supervised by persons with engineering or mechanical backgrounds, who would teach and help teenagers make things like Go Karts, Boats or such like out of Junk left at Council tips.

Recreational Areas for Youths up to 21

My Idea is to create areas for the group of society who are not catered for because they are considered too old for playgrounds, and yet too young to go to places considered "Adult only" such as snooker halls, pubs etc…

 

There should be a series of discussions on this matter, with input from both the Senior Parliament, and the Youth Parliament, who contrary to popular belief do still exist. This needs to be sorted to stop this cycle of neglect.

Why is this idea important?

My Idea is to create areas for the group of society who are not catered for because they are considered too old for playgrounds, and yet too young to go to places considered "Adult only" such as snooker halls, pubs etc…

 

There should be a series of discussions on this matter, with input from both the Senior Parliament, and the Youth Parliament, who contrary to popular belief do still exist. This needs to be sorted to stop this cycle of neglect.

Legalise kissing between under-16s

Incredibly, sections 9(1)(b), 13(1) and 78 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 collectively make any sort of "sexual touching" between consenting under-16s illegal.  This includes entirely normal and innocuous activities such as kissing.

What sort of society would do this?  It is quite an extraordinary and shockingly repressive piece of legislation.

"Children of the future age,
Reading this indignant page,
Know that in a former time
Love, sweet love, was thought a crime."

Why is this idea important?

Incredibly, sections 9(1)(b), 13(1) and 78 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 collectively make any sort of "sexual touching" between consenting under-16s illegal.  This includes entirely normal and innocuous activities such as kissing.

What sort of society would do this?  It is quite an extraordinary and shockingly repressive piece of legislation.

"Children of the future age,
Reading this indignant page,
Know that in a former time
Love, sweet love, was thought a crime."

Stop ‘child labour’ legislation from restricting teenagers’ right to work

Child labour laws were initially brought in to protect children from the kinds of working environments that no longer legally exist in this country.  They are now overbearing and prevent people who want to work from working, when it would be hugely beneficial to them to do so.

All restrictions of the employment of 16/17 year olds should be fully lifted, as should the restrictions on the number of hours 14/15 year olds can work during school holidays and at weekends.

In addition, 13 year olds should be able to work for up to 20 hours a week during school holidays and 5 hours a week during term time, and 12 year olds up to 10 hours a week during the school holidays.

Why is this idea important?

Child labour laws were initially brought in to protect children from the kinds of working environments that no longer legally exist in this country.  They are now overbearing and prevent people who want to work from working, when it would be hugely beneficial to them to do so.

All restrictions of the employment of 16/17 year olds should be fully lifted, as should the restrictions on the number of hours 14/15 year olds can work during school holidays and at weekends.

In addition, 13 year olds should be able to work for up to 20 hours a week during school holidays and 5 hours a week during term time, and 12 year olds up to 10 hours a week during the school holidays.

Stop protecting the anonymity of teenagers convicted of violent crime

Amend the law which grants the right of anonymity to young offenders so that it does not apply to those aged 13 or over convicted of the most serious crimes, such as murder, attempted murder and grievous bodily harm.

The law should be protecting the victims of these crimes, not the perpetrators.  What is more, the public should have the right to know the identity of someone who has been convicted of committing a very serious crime in their community.

By the age of 13 someone should be well aware that such crimes destroy the lives of the victims and the victims’ families and should thus suffer the full consequences of their actions.  The perpetrators of these crimes are violent thugs, not sweet, innocent ‘children’ who need mollycoddling and protecting, and the law should reflect this.

Why is this idea important?

Amend the law which grants the right of anonymity to young offenders so that it does not apply to those aged 13 or over convicted of the most serious crimes, such as murder, attempted murder and grievous bodily harm.

The law should be protecting the victims of these crimes, not the perpetrators.  What is more, the public should have the right to know the identity of someone who has been convicted of committing a very serious crime in their community.

By the age of 13 someone should be well aware that such crimes destroy the lives of the victims and the victims’ families and should thus suffer the full consequences of their actions.  The perpetrators of these crimes are violent thugs, not sweet, innocent ‘children’ who need mollycoddling and protecting, and the law should reflect this.

Scrap sex laws that discriminate against teachers.

Relatively recent law changes now mean that a teacher can be prosecuted for having a sexual relationship with a 16 or 17 year-old. Yet the age of consent is 16! Why should there be special rules for the teaching profession? Doctors and nurses aren't barred from having relationships with people who have been patients in their hospital. Police officers aren't banned from having sex with people who live on their beat. Tax inspectors aren't banned from french-kissing taxpayers!

Now, if a teacher abused their position, that would be a different matter. If they said to a sixth-former, "I'll fail you unless you give me a blow job," then that would be a clear abuse of their position – but prosecutors should have to show that some abuse of authority has actually taken place. The state should not presume that a relationship is abusive just because one partner is a student and the other is a teacher!

A person could marry a 16 year-old and then become a teacher at their school. They could already have a child together. Surely we can't prosecute them or ban them from being at the same school! And if we don't prosecute married couples, why should we discriminate against other couples who choose not to marry?

Why is this idea important?

Relatively recent law changes now mean that a teacher can be prosecuted for having a sexual relationship with a 16 or 17 year-old. Yet the age of consent is 16! Why should there be special rules for the teaching profession? Doctors and nurses aren't barred from having relationships with people who have been patients in their hospital. Police officers aren't banned from having sex with people who live on their beat. Tax inspectors aren't banned from french-kissing taxpayers!

Now, if a teacher abused their position, that would be a different matter. If they said to a sixth-former, "I'll fail you unless you give me a blow job," then that would be a clear abuse of their position – but prosecutors should have to show that some abuse of authority has actually taken place. The state should not presume that a relationship is abusive just because one partner is a student and the other is a teacher!

A person could marry a 16 year-old and then become a teacher at their school. They could already have a child together. Surely we can't prosecute them or ban them from being at the same school! And if we don't prosecute married couples, why should we discriminate against other couples who choose not to marry?

Repeal the age of consent for sex

I propose we repeal the sexual age of consent, replacing it with existing rape laws and a new system of 'relationship assessment', whereby all sex involving persons aged 13-18 will be illegal if deemed coercive or harmful by a court.

Why is this idea important?

I propose we repeal the sexual age of consent, replacing it with existing rape laws and a new system of 'relationship assessment', whereby all sex involving persons aged 13-18 will be illegal if deemed coercive or harmful by a court.

Revert to the Protection of Children Act 1978

Over recent years we have seen the definition of 'child pornography' stretched beyond all credibility. The 1978 Protection of Children Act made the simple possession of indecent images illegal, where to be indecent the image had to:

1. Depict an actual person younger than the age of consent (then, and still, 16 years of age)

2. Depict them in a sexual context (that is, the material was produced for the purposes of arousal and is thus 'pornographic')

This was a simple and clear definition. You could easily know what was legal and what was not. Any person old enough to consent to sex could be photographed without danger of being caught by the Act. Simple child nudity of the sort that might appear in holiday photos or family photos of very young children was excluded.

The Act did precisely what it set out to do – protected children. By allowing police to arrest individuals for possession of actual child abuse images, it made it possible for them to target those who produced and supported the production of such material.

Since the 1978 Act, we have had a slew of amendments and new legislation that:

1. Created the notion of the pseudo-image. This is an image which is doctored in some way to make it appear to be an indecent image of a child when in fact it wasn't.

2. Criminialised material where the person depicted looks like (or could be interpreted to look like) a child. An image of a 20-something porn star dressed in a schoolgirl outfit and acting young could be considered child pornography depending on the context.

3. Changed the definition of 'child' to include persons over the age of consent but under 18, thus creating a legal anomaly where a person may legally consent to sex but cannot be photographed doing so, and retrospectively criminalising previously legal material including back-copies of newspapers and top-shelf magazines that featured 16 and 17-year old models.

4. Changed the interpretation of 'indecent' to include simple nudity or even 'provocative poses' by fully-clothed subjects, thus making innocent family pictures potential 'child pornography'.

5. Allowed material depicting imaginary characters – computer-generated or cartoon – who were (or might be construed to be) underage to be prosecuted as 'child pornography'.

6. Most recently, attempting to make written material simply describing any of the above equivalent to 'child pornography'.

Even the most cursory consideration of these changes will reveal that the clear intent of these changes to the law is to outlaw any material which pedophiles – or 'potential' pedophiles – might possibly find arousing. If you follow this route to its logical conclusion you ought to make any photograph or description of a child illegal, and lock all children away from public view lest someone become aroused at the sight of them.

This single-minded witch-hunting of the unseen but ever-threatening pedo-under-the-bed does not make children safer. Indeed, most of the changes have been made to permit the prosecution of individuals who have not harmed children at all. Its purpose is clear – it is thoughtcrime legislation, designed to satisy the baying calls of the gutter press and to keep CEOP and similar agencies in business.

It is now effectively impossible to know if a particular image is illegal or not. There is no safe standard. A picture of a fully-clothed adult may be child porn if they happen to be dressed and posed in a particular way. Offences being now largely based on 'context' mean that until it goes before a jury, you cannot be sure you're safe. People are being sent to jail as pedophiles for 'offences' which, only a few years ago, would have been laughable and which most certainly have not involved any actual children coming to harm.

My proposal is simple. Repeal and amend the various acts as necessary to return the definition of child pornography to that of the 1978 Protection of Children Act, and let the police get on with the business of actually protecting children and catching child abusers.

Why is this idea important?

Over recent years we have seen the definition of 'child pornography' stretched beyond all credibility. The 1978 Protection of Children Act made the simple possession of indecent images illegal, where to be indecent the image had to:

1. Depict an actual person younger than the age of consent (then, and still, 16 years of age)

2. Depict them in a sexual context (that is, the material was produced for the purposes of arousal and is thus 'pornographic')

This was a simple and clear definition. You could easily know what was legal and what was not. Any person old enough to consent to sex could be photographed without danger of being caught by the Act. Simple child nudity of the sort that might appear in holiday photos or family photos of very young children was excluded.

The Act did precisely what it set out to do – protected children. By allowing police to arrest individuals for possession of actual child abuse images, it made it possible for them to target those who produced and supported the production of such material.

Since the 1978 Act, we have had a slew of amendments and new legislation that:

1. Created the notion of the pseudo-image. This is an image which is doctored in some way to make it appear to be an indecent image of a child when in fact it wasn't.

2. Criminialised material where the person depicted looks like (or could be interpreted to look like) a child. An image of a 20-something porn star dressed in a schoolgirl outfit and acting young could be considered child pornography depending on the context.

3. Changed the definition of 'child' to include persons over the age of consent but under 18, thus creating a legal anomaly where a person may legally consent to sex but cannot be photographed doing so, and retrospectively criminalising previously legal material including back-copies of newspapers and top-shelf magazines that featured 16 and 17-year old models.

4. Changed the interpretation of 'indecent' to include simple nudity or even 'provocative poses' by fully-clothed subjects, thus making innocent family pictures potential 'child pornography'.

5. Allowed material depicting imaginary characters – computer-generated or cartoon – who were (or might be construed to be) underage to be prosecuted as 'child pornography'.

6. Most recently, attempting to make written material simply describing any of the above equivalent to 'child pornography'.

Even the most cursory consideration of these changes will reveal that the clear intent of these changes to the law is to outlaw any material which pedophiles – or 'potential' pedophiles – might possibly find arousing. If you follow this route to its logical conclusion you ought to make any photograph or description of a child illegal, and lock all children away from public view lest someone become aroused at the sight of them.

This single-minded witch-hunting of the unseen but ever-threatening pedo-under-the-bed does not make children safer. Indeed, most of the changes have been made to permit the prosecution of individuals who have not harmed children at all. Its purpose is clear – it is thoughtcrime legislation, designed to satisy the baying calls of the gutter press and to keep CEOP and similar agencies in business.

It is now effectively impossible to know if a particular image is illegal or not. There is no safe standard. A picture of a fully-clothed adult may be child porn if they happen to be dressed and posed in a particular way. Offences being now largely based on 'context' mean that until it goes before a jury, you cannot be sure you're safe. People are being sent to jail as pedophiles for 'offences' which, only a few years ago, would have been laughable and which most certainly have not involved any actual children coming to harm.

My proposal is simple. Repeal and amend the various acts as necessary to return the definition of child pornography to that of the 1978 Protection of Children Act, and let the police get on with the business of actually protecting children and catching child abusers.

16 and 17 year olds & the Sexual Offences Act 2003

Repeal of Part 1, Section 45, Clauses 1 and 2, and related

This section extends the definition of "child" from the Protection of Children Act (1978) to cover persons of 16 and 17 years. This age group is thereby covered by child pornography laws in the aforementioned 1978 act and elsewhere. It is thusly illegal to make "indecent" images of 16 and 17 year olds (or indeed in most cases for 16 and 17 year olds to make such images of themselves.) [The term "indecent" is undefined in law.]

The main problem with this legislation is that it is logically and morally incompatible with the age of sexual consent being 16 years. A recording or depiction of a lawful act should not be unlawful; neither should persons who are legally recognised as sexual beings – and therefore adults in that regard – be prohibited from recording or depicting themselves, or consenting to be recorded or depicted, as sexual beings. While the motivation behind the extension of protection to 16 and 17 year olds was well-meaning, it does not make rational or moral sense that an image or recording of a person with whom one can legally have sexual intercourse should be legally defined as "child pornography". The protection of children and young people from exploitation is paramount to a just and decent society; however, the laws by which we live our lives should also make a modicum of sense. This inconsistency in the legislation could alternatively be rectified equally well by raising the age of sexual consent to 18.

Why is this idea important?

Repeal of Part 1, Section 45, Clauses 1 and 2, and related

This section extends the definition of "child" from the Protection of Children Act (1978) to cover persons of 16 and 17 years. This age group is thereby covered by child pornography laws in the aforementioned 1978 act and elsewhere. It is thusly illegal to make "indecent" images of 16 and 17 year olds (or indeed in most cases for 16 and 17 year olds to make such images of themselves.) [The term "indecent" is undefined in law.]

The main problem with this legislation is that it is logically and morally incompatible with the age of sexual consent being 16 years. A recording or depiction of a lawful act should not be unlawful; neither should persons who are legally recognised as sexual beings – and therefore adults in that regard – be prohibited from recording or depicting themselves, or consenting to be recorded or depicted, as sexual beings. While the motivation behind the extension of protection to 16 and 17 year olds was well-meaning, it does not make rational or moral sense that an image or recording of a person with whom one can legally have sexual intercourse should be legally defined as "child pornography". The protection of children and young people from exploitation is paramount to a just and decent society; however, the laws by which we live our lives should also make a modicum of sense. This inconsistency in the legislation could alternatively be rectified equally well by raising the age of sexual consent to 18.

Lower minimum age for buying alcohol in pubs/clubs to 16

Before 'challenge 21' etc.  since the '50s teenagers went into pubs when they could 'get away with it' around 15 or 16. Because they wanted to be seen as 'adult' they behaved & drank in a sensible manner overall.

When things changed they started hanging around parks drinking copious amounts of cheap booze, causing trouble & getting ill.

Let them back into pubs (they're going to drink anyway) & at least they can follow a sensible (on the whole) template of behaviour around booze.

It'll give them something to do socially & at least they could go dancing etc., something taken for granted by teens in the 'dance hall days' 

For 12-15 year olds there should be far more adequate provision in terms of youth activity centres with music, sport, parkour, etc.

Why is this idea important?

Before 'challenge 21' etc.  since the '50s teenagers went into pubs when they could 'get away with it' around 15 or 16. Because they wanted to be seen as 'adult' they behaved & drank in a sensible manner overall.

When things changed they started hanging around parks drinking copious amounts of cheap booze, causing trouble & getting ill.

Let them back into pubs (they're going to drink anyway) & at least they can follow a sensible (on the whole) template of behaviour around booze.

It'll give them something to do socially & at least they could go dancing etc., something taken for granted by teens in the 'dance hall days' 

For 12-15 year olds there should be far more adequate provision in terms of youth activity centres with music, sport, parkour, etc.

Simplify age restrictions.

What sense does it make that you can have sex at 16, but you can't see an 18-certificate film at the cinema because it might contain adult sexual material? You can do it, but you can't watch it – yet you can't get a sexually transmitted disease from a film! And how can you be mature enough to get married at 16, but not mature enough to vote until you are 18?

There should be a single age at which you legally become an adult, deemed capable of making important decisions for yourself. This is the age at which you should be allowed to vote, have sex, buy alcohol, gamble and get married.

Why is this idea important?

What sense does it make that you can have sex at 16, but you can't see an 18-certificate film at the cinema because it might contain adult sexual material? You can do it, but you can't watch it – yet you can't get a sexually transmitted disease from a film! And how can you be mature enough to get married at 16, but not mature enough to vote until you are 18?

There should be a single age at which you legally become an adult, deemed capable of making important decisions for yourself. This is the age at which you should be allowed to vote, have sex, buy alcohol, gamble and get married.

Teenage Discrimination

As part of Teenagers Against Discrimination, i feel it only right to point a few obvious breaches of civil liberties towards Teenagers that is often overlooked.

 

Firstly, the infamous debate over the Mosquito Alarms. For anyone under a certain age to be submitted to an annoying, high pitch sound is a removal of our civil liberties, and it has also been argued (quite rightly in my opinion) that is even a breach of our human rights – why shouldnt we be able to walk down a public street hastle free? who decided that i or any other teenager was a potential criminal that deserved physical punishment?

 

The second point i would like to raise is the police power of stop and search. it is without doubt this power is used reguarly on teenagers ; as it is presumed we will be carrying a weapon or drugs. once again, this is a breach of our civil liberties – why should the police have the right to stop us and search us purely based on the opinion they have made by looking at us. what is that old phrase, can't judge a book by it's cover?

I know it can be argued that if you have nothing to hide, you shuldnt object to being searched… but think about it! we are on about the police stopping you wherever they like and asking you to empty your pockets. it is highly degrading and embarassing. at the very least, every passe rby during this immeadiately presumes you are a criminal. the next time they see you… what will they think? what will they remember? that's right – that you're the person that the police like to stop.

Why is this idea important?

As part of Teenagers Against Discrimination, i feel it only right to point a few obvious breaches of civil liberties towards Teenagers that is often overlooked.

 

Firstly, the infamous debate over the Mosquito Alarms. For anyone under a certain age to be submitted to an annoying, high pitch sound is a removal of our civil liberties, and it has also been argued (quite rightly in my opinion) that is even a breach of our human rights – why shouldnt we be able to walk down a public street hastle free? who decided that i or any other teenager was a potential criminal that deserved physical punishment?

 

The second point i would like to raise is the police power of stop and search. it is without doubt this power is used reguarly on teenagers ; as it is presumed we will be carrying a weapon or drugs. once again, this is a breach of our civil liberties – why should the police have the right to stop us and search us purely based on the opinion they have made by looking at us. what is that old phrase, can't judge a book by it's cover?

I know it can be argued that if you have nothing to hide, you shuldnt object to being searched… but think about it! we are on about the police stopping you wherever they like and asking you to empty your pockets. it is highly degrading and embarassing. at the very least, every passe rby during this immeadiately presumes you are a criminal. the next time they see you… what will they think? what will they remember? that's right – that you're the person that the police like to stop.

Abolish the law that prevents 16 year olds drinking beer

In the 70s when I started drinking it was easier to get served in a pub than in an offlicence. But the pub wouldn't serve strong drinks to young drinkers.

Now kids steal or buy alcopops, vodka and other portable hooch from offlicences but can't get served in pubs.

Allowing 16 and 17 year olds to drink "normal strength" beers of less than 4% strength would be good for our pubs, our teenagers and our parks.

Why is this idea important?

In the 70s when I started drinking it was easier to get served in a pub than in an offlicence. But the pub wouldn't serve strong drinks to young drinkers.

Now kids steal or buy alcopops, vodka and other portable hooch from offlicences but can't get served in pubs.

Allowing 16 and 17 year olds to drink "normal strength" beers of less than 4% strength would be good for our pubs, our teenagers and our parks.

Create a fairer society for teenagers

EMA should either be universal or scrapped so that my children who are learning a good work ethic, modelled by their parents don't end up paying for the next generation of welfare scroungers who are learning (from the state) that if you don't bother putting in the effort to work for your own income the state (tax payers) will bank-roll you. 

I know too many families where the father is earning a high salary yet, because the parents are separated, the children get EMA (paid for by me  a tax payer – not the separated mums who are having their welfare payments topped up by their rich ex-husbands and thus have no reason to go out to work) whereas because we have stayed together, although we are on middle incomes, our children get no incentive to stay on in education and have to go to work for their £30. 

Basing grants for university on the income of parents, especially those who have stayed together, creates a similar discriminatory/unfair system against families who work hard to stay together.

It is simply unfair.

Why is this idea important?

EMA should either be universal or scrapped so that my children who are learning a good work ethic, modelled by their parents don't end up paying for the next generation of welfare scroungers who are learning (from the state) that if you don't bother putting in the effort to work for your own income the state (tax payers) will bank-roll you. 

I know too many families where the father is earning a high salary yet, because the parents are separated, the children get EMA (paid for by me  a tax payer – not the separated mums who are having their welfare payments topped up by their rich ex-husbands and thus have no reason to go out to work) whereas because we have stayed together, although we are on middle incomes, our children get no incentive to stay on in education and have to go to work for their £30. 

Basing grants for university on the income of parents, especially those who have stayed together, creates a similar discriminatory/unfair system against families who work hard to stay together.

It is simply unfair.

Stop Connexions hassling young people!

Just scrap Connexions full stop and replace it with a proper careers service to get this country up-skilled and working!

Connexions is a target driven 'careers' organisation obsessed with 'NEET' (not in education, employment or training) statistics. It's existence is to monitor young peoples activities and maintain big brother databases of their wereabouts and movements. It is more important to tick boxes about young peoples activities than provide good independent careers advice.

Go for it!

Why is this idea important?

Just scrap Connexions full stop and replace it with a proper careers service to get this country up-skilled and working!

Connexions is a target driven 'careers' organisation obsessed with 'NEET' (not in education, employment or training) statistics. It's existence is to monitor young peoples activities and maintain big brother databases of their wereabouts and movements. It is more important to tick boxes about young peoples activities than provide good independent careers advice.

Go for it!