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We should see but not hear children

PUBLISHED: 10:07 31 December 2009 | UPDATED: 15:44 06 July 2010

PERHAPS it's a reaction to the worst of modern living, but a fascination with all things Victorian is in vogue, if TV schedules are anything to go by.

Most of the Victorian ways can stay where they belong - deep in the past - although there are a few I'd willingly drag into 2010 for the good of humankind.

PERHAPS it's a reaction to the worst of modern living, but a fascination with all things Victorian is in vogue, if TV schedules are anything to go by.

Most of the Victorian ways can stay where they belong - deep in the past - although there are a few I'd willingly drag into 2010 for the good of humankind.

One is the belief that small children should be seen and not heard.

Now I'm all for young people having the right to air their opinions and for children to be included in conversations.

But as for toddlers and tiny children being allowed to run riot to disturb the peace, enjoyment and entertainment for others, I'd happily be the one to lock the door.

When did it happen that parents started to believe that everyone found other people's children adorable, far more interesting to listen to and look at than whatever you've turned up to watch and should be allowed to ruin everyone else's enjoyment?

I keep my dog on a lead around people so why shouldn't toddlers' behaviour be curbed?

Once your children have grown into teen and tweenagers, you forget how tiresome and intrusive small children can be in the wrong environment.

Or how poorly controlled and disciplined. Like badly behaved dogs, it's the owners - parents - who should be blamed.

For the last 10 years, we've always gone to Norwich Cathedral's midday crib service on Christmas Eve.

This year, the aisles resembled an out of control playgroup. The poor children who had rehearsed the Christmas story tried to deliver their lines as toddlers rampaged noisily, squealed and ran riot around the pews unchecked.

Hopeless parents looked on proudly as teeny anarchy took over, despite the sighs, disapproving looks and scowls of the rest of the congregation - grandparents clearly embarrassed and those of us with older children who would never have tolerated them to cause such chaos.

But these parents, older and middle class in their Barbours and Boden frocks, positively encouraged this 'self-expression' that drowned out Angel Gabriel's pronouncement.

No wonder primary school teachers are at the end of their tether faced with a generation of tiny tearaways.

In eight primary school years, I've endured other people's toddlers' interruptions in assemblies, plays and concerts, straining to hear my children read poems, recite their lines and sing competing with the uncontrolled wailing and squawking of other people's children.

And the useless parents have intention of removing the child from the audience. Instead, they sit it out, handing them a bunch of keys to rattle as a distraction - for everyone else too - while the squealing goes on.

It's selfish and thoughtlessness at its worst.

So I had some sympathy with Ivana Trump this week and her loud objections to small children running up and down the first class aisle of a plane.

Uncontrolled tots and a crying baby sent Trump over the edge and she threw her own tantrum - unfortunately foul-mouthed.

The children carried on rampaging but Trump was escorted off the plane. Even airlines favour the uncontrolled child over an objecting adult.

Children ever learn appropriate behaviour if they're never taught.

My husband and I spent hours outside churches, restaurants, ceremonies and halls whisking our children out after so much as a peep.

It's not cruel, stifling or unreasonable to ask parents to instill restraint and the correct behaviour in small children and to be aware of the interests of others around them.

It's a lesson in life for the children and a basic parenting responsibility.

A screeching child in church is never cute or charming to anyone else - just irritating and infuriating.

Control your children. Make it a resolution. Everyone will thank you for it - and so will your child, and his or her teacher, one day.

So what will you call your coming year? Twenty ten or two thousand and ten?

It's not what you call it but what you do with it and what it does to you that matters.

Last year is the year best forgotten - I can't bring myself even to write a review of the year so miserable, grotty and lacklustre it was.

So let's all look forward to a new year and new decade when we all have the chance to sort out the mess that's called Britain, reorder our values, and pray it will bring a shrivelling and disappearance of all the nonentities we call 'celebrities”.

A Happy New Year to you all.

This time next year we could well have a new Government. Be careful what you wish for.

The public gets what the public wants - then turns on their choice. We're funny like that.

As we hurtle towards a General Election it feels more like Hobson's Choice than democracy as, like little children at a family gathering, grown up politicians all start to show off with their 'look at me' antics.

Bring on Simon Cowell to take over the election - if only to fire the electorate into voting. The British public is so daft it's more likely to pay to vote by phone than turn out to a polling station.

An X-Factor style election is what we deserve, so swayed are we by gloss, hype and hot air.

All those who fought so hard for democracy might well turn in their graves about what their fight was for but celebrity, sparkle and a TV contest is the only way to get the great British public vaguely interested in anything.

It was outrageous that Norfolk police confiscated loyal royal watchers' cameras at Sandringham on Sunday.

These people turn out week after week to support a Monarchy desperately in need of support.

If the police action came as a result of the Queen's pre-Christmas warning that she would sue paparrazi who intruded on her family Norfolk Christmas, she has shot herself in the foot.

The monarchy needs the public more than ever as the question mark hanging over many of them - what is the point of Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie? - gets bigger and bigger.

But interesting are the whispers that Prince William will be taking on more duties for the Queen as she approaches her Diamond Jubilee.

His night out on the streets with the homeless showed he has far more of his mother about him than the Windsors. He has that connection with real people that Prince Charles could never muster.

Making a king of William and squeezing out his father would be Diana's ultimate and delicious revenge from the grave - her genes leading the monarchy into the future with a bitter Charles left at home to moan to Camilla the Mistress in their retirement armchairs.

I do hope so.

Would my marriage be happier if my husband put on a pinnie and grabbed a feather duster?

Somehow I doubt it.

Would we be locked in wedded bliss forever more if he scrubbed the bathroom while I dusted the skirting boards, or he washed and I dried in perfect harmony?

I can think of nothing worse.

Researchers have come to the earth-shattering conclusion after many thousands of pounds' of research that a couple that shares the chores enjoys a long and happy marriage.

Well, they've never met my husband and his total inability to achieve anything domestic without a catastrophe or me having to do it all again.

Or is that his ploy to get out of it. Either way, I'm perfectly happy - as are millions of other women - to keep him out of it.

Silly Suffolk is paraded in front of the country as the ultimate in politically correct daftness.

A bingo caller in Sudbury has been banned from shouting “Two Fat Ladies 88” and “Legs 11” by council officials who consider the phrases offensive to women.

Let's hope they never have the chance to have a Beryl Cook art exhibition - they'll insist on having the paintings airbrushed.

How can any self-respecting woman publicly say she needs a £500 million divorce settlement when so many have so little?

How can a judge accept she must fund a luxury lifestyle and order a husband to pay £27,500 a month maintenance? Such figures are obscene and a total insult to all those struggling to make ends meet.

Obviously Michelle Young is oblivious to the plight of mothers who share British soil so obsessed she is with being set up for life without doing a day's work herself.

What lesson is this woman giving to her two daughters? Marry a rich man then take him for every penny without feeling the need to contribute anything other than be an ornament.

A boy of 13 who drowned on Christmas Eve had knocked back four cans of super-strength lager in an earlier boozing session with friends.

Jordan Trowsdale is thought to have lost his footing and slipped into a freezing river after drinking 8.4pc K at a nearby skate park.

Excited about getting a new iPod for Christmas, he met up with friends to drink.

How must his mother feel, knowing he was hanging around drinking super strength booze, lost his footing and drowned?

There by the grace of God go so many other teenagers who think drinking is the way to be adult but have no idea the dangers they put themselves into.

Such a waste and so, so sad.


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