Thursday, July 16, 2009

Tomorrow's news today, today's news eight weeks ago

See the Independent's front page splash and leader today? As followed up by the BBC, the Times, Telegraph, Mail, Uncle Tom Cobley and all?

Someone's just caught up with my story for Books and Bookmen in Private Eye 1236, published on 15 May, then...

Great strides forward with Labour’s manifesto commitment to boost child literacy, as the government prepares to introduce new legislation that could drive children’s authors out of libraries, classrooms and even book festivals for good. As of November 2010 it will be a legal requirement for authors to apply to the Independent Safeguarding Authority (set up as one of the recommendations of the Bichard Report into the Soham murders) for clearance if they are “invited to speak at any public event where you may come in to contact with children or vulnerable adults more than once a year”. The checks cost a minimum of £64, and anyone who “allows a person who is not yet registered with the ISA to work for any length of time in any regulated activity” will be committing a criminal offence.

The Society of Authors has pledged it will be “making representations to the ISA about the disproportionately wide-reaching implications of the current proposals”. Meanwhile a former Children’s Laureate told the Eye: “This could put an end to pretty well all festivals, launches, school and library visits, bookshop signings, lectures – I certainly am not going to apply for a check of this sort in order to stand on a dais in front of 250 children with ten or so members of staff in attendance, to ensure I do not rape any of them.”

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