14 September 2009

Backlash over Stalinist adult vetting proposal

The Sunday Telegraph reports how the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) has come out against the Orwellian powers of the Independent Safeguarding Authority, saying:

"The warning signs are now out there that this scheme will stop people doing things that are perfectly safe and normal, things that they shouldn't be prevented from doing"


"Prof. Alan Craft, former president of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, said the state had already gone too far in creating a culture which restricted freedom for young families. He said: "We have created a climate where adults feel they can't put an arm around a child who is upset, and there is a real danger that this move takes us yet further down that road.""

"David Lyscom, chief executive of the Independent Schools Council, said: "It is a knee-jerk reaction to the issue of child protection which will be full of unintended consequences. This is another example of the Government using a sledgehammer to crack a nut."

Anthony Seldon, the master of Wellington College, in Berkshire, said: "The scheme is as crazy a Government response as I have ever come across. It will not catch evil people who do these unspeakable things and it will divert resources away from other areas of child protection."

Indeed, no doubt Labour will find a way to spin this away, but the Tories have already shown themselves as soft cock and limpwristed as can be by saying they would "curb the ISA's powers", rather than abolish it and let schools and groups take their own steps - such as seeking criminal checks on those they have concerns about.

The truth is, at some point, a child will be murdered or raped in a high profile, brutal case. It will happen because there will always be someone who takes the chance to do such a thing, it will always frighten parents for whom their kids always come first, and will always provoke questions of "why". The answer which is too hard for many to swallow is this:

"You can never fully know the dangers and risks of the behaviour of others in a free society, the only way you can maximise protection against such risks is to sacrifice a free society".

Oh course, I'd never expect the British Labour Party or the average bureaucrat to really understand that.

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