Monday, September 14, 2009

We're All Paedos Until Proven Certified Innocent

I haven't commented too much on the new government scheme to make everyone who wants to have any sort of a contact with a child pay a charge of £64 for a certificate to prove they are not a paedophile. Yet on reading the astounding arrogance of Sir Roger Singleton, the man whose agency will be leading this latest affront on civil liberties and direct challenge to the idea that people are innocent until proven guilty rather than the other way round, I just couldn't help but comment. And get a little pissed off, too.

Sir Roger, whose agency will run the vetting scheme, said: "We need to calm down and consider carefully and rationally what this scheme is and is not about.

"It is not about interfering with the sensible arrangements which parents make with each other to take their children to schools and clubs.

"It is not about subjecting a quarter of the population to intensive scrutiny of their personal lives and it is not about creating mistrust between adults and children or discouraging volunteering."
Someone needs to point out to Singleton that just because he doesn't intend certain things to happen as a result of his actions doesn't actually mean they won't happen. After all, I've heard that the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Unfortunately, in the government's desperate attempt to answer the hysterical plea of "won't some think of the children?" they are limiting and damaging the experiences of many children growing up, as well as casting a ghastly veil of muted accusation over anyone who wants to have any sort of contact with a kid. They are effectively saying "you want to work with/interact with children? You must be some sort of paedo."

And Singleton's talk of people calming down and being rational/careful is deeply ironic, given this measure is a completely hysterical and over the top response to the crimes of Ian Huntley. If the government truly had calmed down after that particular crime, then we wouldn't be looking at yet another government database that will do next to nothing to protect the people of this country. Yet will do a great deal to inconvenience the people, increase suspicion and paranoia within society at the same time as making childhood that little bit less enjoyable for children.

Thinking about this calmly would reveal that fact that most child abuse happens within the confines of the family home. And this database, with its intrusive and expensive checks, is going to do fuck all to change that.

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