11 September 2009

Authoritarian Britain to make kids safe?

New Zealand had a close call with the resignation of Dr Cindy Kiro and Labour losing the last election, to avoid a neo-Stalinist level of state intervention in families. Big mother was going to be watching you.

She wanted children monitored from birth, by the state, this was warmly embraced by former Maoist Sue Bradford, Metiria Turei had a high regard for her, as did some Labour MPs. She blamed everyone for child abuse, tarred everyone with the brush that they tolerated violence and made all children the issue. She preferred a nuclear bomb rather than a sniper.

So how could things have been in NZ?

Well let's look at the UK. The Daily Telegraph reports that parents who formally arrange to transport other people's children to and from sports events or the like will need to be criminally vetted:

"Any formal agreement to ferry youngsters to and from the likes of Scouts, dance classes or local football matches, even if only once a month, will fall under the Government’s new Vetting and Barring Scheme.

It means anyone who fails to register and have their backgrounds checked faces a fine of up to £5,000 and a criminal record.

Parents who help children read in class or those who host foreign pupils as part of school exchange trips will also have to be vetted by the new Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) and undergo criminal record checks.

School governors, dentists, pharmacists, prison officers and even dinner ladies are among the huge list of people who will now fall under the scheme, which starts to be rolled out next month and will eventually cover 11.3 million people."

So everyone is guilty till the state proves they are innocent, anyone who refuses to do so, is guilty of the crime of - not letting the state prove you are innocent.

Old Holborn says "This batty Quango seeking a role for itself at the public cost, is seeking to 'restrict access' to children. The little buggers are around us all the time, they are part of our lives not some protected species that is in danger of extinction."

So is this just about those convicted of abusing children? No. After all, not everyone caught abusing kids was caught before, so what will happen? The Times reports:

"Controversially, complaints or concerns from colleagues or members of the public that fall short of prosecutions may be held on an individual’s file, which will be available for viewing by any employer or voluntary group with which the person might work".

So got a grudge against someone, or a bit fearful of the eccentric chap down the street? Make a complaint, and you'll keep them from interacting with children. It IS akin to East Germany, where people were encouraged to report on their neighbours and files were kept about suspicious activities.

The Tories should promise to abolish the Independent Safeguarding Authority. All that should be able to happen is for people to choose to check if someone has a criminal conviction. Anything less is accusing the innocent of being guilty, ignores the truth that much child abuse happens within families (so will never be caught by this).

Most importantly, there needs to be a recognition that the state cannot hope to protect all children from the risk of an adult abusing them.

Remember, you can always justify an increase in state interference in the lives of innocent people on the grounds of protecting children. Take it to its logical end and everyone will need a licence to have children, there will be cameras in every home, children will walk around in burqas (so perverts don't look at them and fantasise), and everyone they interact with, and everything they see or do is officially approved.

By the way, with the exception of the cameras (but there are people watching in every housing block) and burqas (though state approved clothing is fairly plain) North Korea has a lot of this already. That's a place that knows how to treat children, especially children of people who object to any of this.

However, will British people stand up? No, they'll be inert like they have been for years over this sort of authoritarianism. I don't expect the Tories to have the slightest testicular fortitude to do anything about it either.

UPDATE: 10 Drowning Street says the logical extension is to vet all parents, and for the state to remove the children if they are deemed unsuitable.

The Independent Safeguarding Authority website is here. "The Independent Safeguarding Authority’s (ISA) role is to help prevent unsuitable people from working with children and vulnerable adults." Sadly they don't define themselves as being unsuitable people for working at all. What sort of control freak would "work" for this body?


Anonymous said...


Came across ur blog from a google search. Just one point of clarification, Dr Cindy Kiro did not resign. The term of office for a Children's Commissioner is set to five-years, though Dr Kiro had an extra nine months or so to allow the incoming National Government to appoint her replacement.

See the Children's Commissioner Act 2003.


Libertyscott said...

Thank you, that's a helpful clarification. The media coverage was that she had "stepped down" as I believe.