Is this really the kind of country that we want to create? One where everyone has to be checked before they can do almost anything? One where we no longer trust parents and families to do the right thing? Where the State has to do everything. Where we make it so hard to run a local team that the organisers don’t bother any more – and all we do is leave the kids to hang around getting bored and maybe getting into trouble.
There's that word again - Trust. He concludes...
So let’s scale back this system. Let’s apply a system that revives common sense. That checks those in key positions. But has faith in our parents.
That’s what the next Conservative Government should do, and will do.
Actually it isn't. The next Conservative Government should abolish this crackpot scheme lock stock and barrell. Anthony Seldon*, also in The Independent exposes the ridiculousness of the scheme...
It isn't the one quarter of adults who have been checked that worry me: it is the three-quarters who are not being checked. When driving their cars they are going to be passing children in cars, regardless of whether or not they have children in their own car. Carefree adults are walking the streets of our country, and could bump into a child, or even be overheard talking by one. It is potentially extremely dangerous. Surely the Government has not gone nearly far enough.
I would propose ensuring that every single adult is positively vetted in a process lasting perhaps two years to ensure that no one falls through the net. All parents have to be included, and until they are, their children must be taken away and placed somewhere safe. Prisons have lots of spare capacity, so they would make a safe place to put children, pending their parents' successful screening.
We have heard pathetic utterances from Philip Pullman and other famous writers and illustrators like Anthony Horowitz, Michael Morpurgo and Quentin Blake, who are so irate at being forced to register with the Government's database before they enter schools that they are now saying they will never visit them. Pathetic. Pullman called the scheme "corrosive and poisonous to every kind of healthy social interaction". He protested: "I've been going into schools as an author for 20 years and on no occasion have I ever been alone with a child. The idea that I have become more of a threat and I need to be vetted is both ludicrous and insulting... it teaches children that they should regard every adult as a potential murder or rapist."
Quite right and good riddance. But why stop with these dangerous mavericks? Let's ban their books and illustrations from school libraries too. They contain positively obscene ideas about make-believe animals and horses involved in strange practices.I jest of course...
But it's not funny at all, is it? 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. Thousands of people who voluntarily give their time will no longer do so. Activity groups will slowly die out due to lack of people to supervise. And kids will end up on the street. Does anyone think that will lead to a safer environment for children? Only in the deluded mind of the Children's Minister Ed Balls, probably.
So I say to Chris Grayling again. Why don't you abolish this scheme? No one's going to accuse you of not caring about children. Most sensible people will thank you for it.
* Anthony Seldon's book TRUST: HOW WE LOST IT AND HOW TO GET IT BACK will be published on 1 October.