“It is a tremendous mistake for the Church of England to start taking an interest in religion.”
Says it all really. As he goes on to say, the mad ‘Christian’ cultists, with their massive (and growing) congregations steeped in bollocks about evil spirits and demons, should be left well enough alone.
Three prominent writers (at least two of them Tories) have lined up against the Independent Safeguarding Authority:
“Independent” Safeguarding Authority indeed! Independent of whom? Paedophile networks? One would hope so. Rather like the Independent Electoral Commission in Afghanistan (its boss appointed by President Karzai), “independent” seems to have become the adjective of choice for politicians anxious to slap a patina of objectivity on to their latest acronym.
I’ve racked my brains for sinister vested interests from which the ISA might be independent: certainly not the Home Office, which appoints its chairman. What’s the betting that when the authority stumbles, as all authorities do, and ministers seek shelter from the media storm by appointing an inquiry, it will be called the Independent Inquiry into the Independent Safeguarding Authority?
The ISA scheme and its enabling legislation were a response to the Soham murders. Those murders would almost certainly never have happened were it not for the incompetence of the police, social services and education authorities. The result is that in consequence of the failure of three state authorities, a fourth state authority has been set up.
If we can pull back from the manipulation of fear and the exaggeration of risk, the madness of the scheme is evident. Not only Scoutleaders, choirmasters and football coaches will need to be certified, but so will parents who give a lift to other people’s children to school, and authors who enter schools to chat about their books (including me). If you give a lift to school to a neighbour’s children a few times without beiing certified, you will get a criminal record and a £5,000 fine.
Relatives, of course, are exempt – which as they are statistically by a huge degree the most likely people to harm the kids, only further points up the nonsense.
I hesitated to write that, lest the government has the wheeze of bringing in a certificate you need to be an uncle.
The scheme represents a monstrous new bureaucracy and yet a further radical extension of government databases on ordinary people. It will not stop child abuse at all. To take as one example the recent high profile case of Vanessa George, Plymouth nursery teacher accused of child sex abuse. Ms George could have easily obtained a certificate as she had no prior convictions.
What kind of sick society is it that puts its entire adult population under a cloud of suspicion? Does the word Trust not mean anything at all? An entire generation of kids will be brought up without that particular word in its vocabulary. We have lost all sense of perspective.
The fact of the matter is that nine out of ten instances of child abuse occur within the family or the family’s circle of friends. What would our government like to do about that? Introduce family visiting orders, whereby only “approved” members of one’s family is allowed to visit? Because that’s the logical next step.
Predatory paedophiles will always find ways to get to their prey. That”s not to say society shouldn’t do everything it can to make it more difficult for them. But this scheme not only won’t achieve its aim, it will actually make life worse for kids.
Ian Dale makes a valid appeal to Chris Grayling – the likely next Home Secretary, and I’ll repeat it here. The ISA is unfair, wrong-minded and counter-productive. You want some easy votes to get you into office, and then prove the leftie naysayers wrong when you win in May/June? Promise to stop the ISA. You’re into law and order? Promise to manage the police better, social services, the CRB; get local public services to talk to one another the way they should. Labour’s had 12 years to do this, but gave up early on and started forming bureaucracies to look as though they were doing something – that should be anathema to a Tory administration. Repeal the Safeguarding Groups Act 2006 and start getting society to accept once more that we can’t get rid of all risk, and that we should be teaching our children to risk assess for themselves rather than hope for the best from a bureaucracy that measures risk from a meaningless matrix, and won’t have the reach to stop real paedophiles accessing children.
The Independent Safeguarding Authority must be abolished.