At the Barnet Eye we like eye catching headlines. Are you parent? Just suppose I knocked on your door and said "I would really like to murder your child, how much cash can I give you to murder your child?" What would your answer be? If you are anything like me, you would assume that you were dealing with a lunatic and call the Police. As a parent, there is no price. None at all.
But what if the question was subtly different. What if I knocked on your door and said "I'd really like to murder the child of this couple who live up in Edgware. You don't know them, but if you say it's alright and we can agree a figure, I'll go straight around there and bump them off". I suspect that rather like me, you'd react in exactly the same manner as the first question.
So lets try again. Just suppose I say "I'd really like to murder the child of this couple who live up in
Edgware. You don't know them, but if you say it's alright and we can
agree a figure, I'll go straight around there and bump them off". If I then added "The child is disabled so adds no value to society" to the deal, how would you react? I
suspect that rather like me, you'd react in exactly the same manner as
the first question and the second question and feel rather sick that someone could even contemplate it.
Three questions. Three answers all the same. You don't want the death of anyones child on your conscience, do you? Ok lets rephrase the question again. Lets say we put on a nice big rosette and a shiny suit and knock on your door and say "Hi, I am standing for election to Barnet Council next year and I want to give you £100 of your own money back, how does that sound?" Would you take it? Or would you say "How will you do that?". If you asked the second question and the answer was "I want to make cuts to the provision of social services" would you still be so keen to take the wonga? Well if you are, have you considered what cuts to social care actually entail. Any cut that reduces the number of properly trained staff at the sharp end of social services, puts lives at risk. Sadly some parents neglect their children, some mistreat them, some subject them to intimidation, some subject them to violence. Some subject them to sexual abuse and some murder them. Baby P, Victoria Columbia are just a couple of examples of the extreme end of bad parenting. In each case, overworked social care teams failed to spot signs.
I was speaking to someone tonight who works in the field of providing specialist education to children with issues. They told me that all around the country, young people are falling through the net. Often Councils are unaware of problems, even though the Health Services are. The children have fallen off the edge of the system. Does this happen because social services are well funded and well resourced? Clearly not.
The problem is that whilst most of us would never choose to harm anyone willingly and we wouldn't sanction another person to do it, we will happily and greedily bank the tax cuts that allow violence, incestuous rape, murder and neglect to thrive. So when that nice man in a shiny suit knocks on your door and offers you some of your own cash in return for your vote, ask him if Barnet Council Social Services have enough resources to do their job professionally at all times and to ensure that no child is ever knowingly ignored or put at risk. If he says yes, then ask him if he's heard of Jesse Moores and ask if that scenario could ever happen again.
If he is honest, do I need to tell you what the answer will be? And if you still take the bung, I am sorry to say that you cannot honestly say you answered the three questions at the top of this blog in a manner that qualifies you to be a fit and proper member of the human race.