Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Daily Mail At Its Worst?

There's nothing more than the Daily Mail likes to cover a story about gay adoption. And if the child has been ripped away from Grandparents and given to gay parents, so much the better. So it was hardly a surprise to find the story on the front page of the Daily Mail this morning.

I have no idea how accurate it is, or whether there's more to this than meets the eye. There probably is. The Grandparents have been told that at the age of 46 and 59 they are too old to bring up children. On that basis why do we allow women over 50 to have IVF? It's a ridiculous argument.

Surely, if a child's natural parents are not in a position to bring up the child, the next best thing is for the Grandparents to do so, assuming their circumstances are appropriate. As I say, we only have what the Daily Mail says to go on in this particular case, so I'm not going to rush to judgement. It would be good to hear Edinburgh City Council's side of the story.

UPDATE: The Telegraph has a few more details.


Stuart said...

"I'm not going to rush judgement" but it's "The Daily Mail at its worst". Make you mind out, and remember to keep your sexuality out of it please.

Stuart said...

Oops - "make your mind up"...

strapworld said...

I agree. What the heck they have to attempt to create a noise by bringing in two homosexuals is quite ridiculous.

Is the Daily Mail telling us that males cannot bring up children correctly?

The question has to be what is best for the children. Nothing less.

I stopped taking the Daily Mail over a year ago and I have not missed it. I miss Quentin Letts and Littlejohn but the paper has lost so much credibility.

Iain Dale said...

Stuart, you clearly didn't spot the question mark

Curbishly said...

The story is also in the Telegraph with a smidge more detail.

JuliaM said...

"It would be good to hear Edinburgh City Council's side of the story."

They'll just hide behind the usual 'We cannot comment for the sake of the child's privacy...'

"What the heck they have to attempt to create a noise by bringing in two homosexuals is quite ridiculous."

Because it's the grandparent's wish that the child be brought up in a family that provides what the mother cannot, and they have been prevented from providing.

And there are heterosexual couples available to adopt (not that the grandparents shouldn't be allowed to take the children, the 'age' part is clearly nonsense).

Curbishly said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
TheBoilingFrog said...

Strapworld: The question has to be what is best for the children. Nothing less.

Isn't that essentially the same question the Daily Mail is asking as well? Is it best for children to be brought up by gay males?

Whether you agree if it's right or wrong, the Daily Mail is doing nothing other than your suggestion of asking what's best for the children

Man in a Shed said...

What makes this case look interesting is that the Grandparents acceded to the social services demand for adoption due to the legal bills that trying to hold onto their grandchildren would have incurred.

There is also a more general issue here. If we now believe that people should ideally be adopted by people of similar racial and cultural backgrounds what's so different about sexuality ?

Surely relatives, who are blameless, should have some say in the adoption procedure that has been forced upon them ?

Nick Thornsby said...

As I understand it, the grandparents had agreed to give the children up for adoption.

JuliaM said...

"What makes this case look interesting is that the Grandparents acceded to the social services demand for adoption due to the legal bills that trying to hold onto their grandchildren would have incurred."

Yes. That, and the bullying by social workers that the grandfather alleges over their 'acceptance' of the adoption, and the veiled threat that unless they support it, they won't see their grandchildren again...

JuliaM said...

"As I understand it, the grandparents had agreed to give the children up for adoption."

They've fought it for two years in courts. They say they are forced to give up because of the legal bills.

Doug said...

doesn't the age discrimination laws apply to this? The grandparents aren't that old at all. It makes sense to keep them with the nearest available family. But if true it is also criminal to threaten to remove the grandparents from their grandchildren entirely. Surely losing contact with parents AND grandparents is very distressing.

I doesn't matter who the adopted parents are so long as they've been through the vetting process.

Jess The Dog said...

There are two issues - the removal of the children from the grandparents, and the issue of gay adoption.

Both are separate and this case is not served well by mixing them up with a dose of anti-gay seasoning. The council has acted in the typical local authority manner, which would not be out of place in 1930s Germany. Edinburgh Council, of course, is well-known for its sterling efforts on behalf of children really at risk rather than simply falling foul of PC form-filling. That's sarcasm, that last bit!

This is the bottom line - if a council gets involved with your kids, then sell all you have, withdraw all you've got and get out of the country with the kids, before they're snatched. That applies in this case, where there is a clear bond (unsurprisingly) between the grandparents and their grandchildren.

Anonymous said...

The account says the grandparents were told they had been turned down as adoptive parents because he has angina and she had diabetes.

Forget the knee jerk reaction about whether gays should adopt. That is a bit of a Daily Mail shock horror red herring.

The real issue here is that the authorities can remove bereaved children from their natural grandparents without giving any open justification, citing confidentiality and the grandparents have to resort to the courts to get them back.

This is what the Times has been campaigning about. It is probably even worse in Scotland where this case is supposed to be situated, where there is a long tradition that social workers (and teachers too for that matter) know best.

Anonymous said...

Do what we say, you're not rich enough to argue about it anyway, accept your lot!


Newmania said...

I have long thought there was a problem with the special rights given to gay couples in respect to adoption.
There is no problem with the idea but then , from my point of view , there is no special problem with Christians , smokers , people whose skin is a different colour and the endless reasons the ultra politicised adoption agencies give for denying a child an infinitely better start than care. To me the naturally conservative ( small c ) course is the assumption that the way children have traditionally bee brought up ,with a man and a woman was , preferable all things being equal .We do not have any information on the results of gay adoption.
I would not , myself ,make much of an issue about it, but in the context of the discrimination faced by other innocent groups and the disgrace which is the level of children going through care it is yet another case of he who has the victim status gets the prize.
I think it is wrong of gay men to use their dubious residual claims as victims to work the system . I would like them to have the same troubles as every other slightly different group which are endless . They should be joining with everyone else in demanding that some common sense is returned the business of adoption for everyone

If queue jumping leads to resentment that is no surprise , thats what always happens when you play the victim card. My own view is that Conservative gay men have been guilty of double standards . Quick to spot victimitis for BME`s and so on , utterly blind to it when its them

Unknown said...

My mum developed angina in her fifties and lived an active life until her death, from other causes, at the age of 80. The idea that having diabetes should prevent someone looking after children beggars belief.

I suspect that there is a closet homophobe in Edinburgh social services who set this up deliberately. As the man said:

"Eliminate the impossible and whatever you are left with, however unlikely, must be the truth."

Anonymous said...

Is there not a move to open Family Courts to the Press if not the public? Sounds as if there is more than meets the eye - but certainly Social Services should have to explain fully why the grandparents were not suitable.
To use their age is ridiculous.

God knows how the children will settle down with two strangers and no mother figure after being brought up by a mother and then a grandmother.

BJ said...

Typical Daily Mail. Take some (admittedly excellent) reporting ona heart-wrenching human interest story.

Stir in some implied homophobic hatred, bash the public sector for good measure, and stick it on the front page.

Simon Gardner said...

“The Daily Mail At Its Worst?”
Exactly so. While it is distressing that the children aren’t being allowed to stay with their health-challenged grandparents, I had to read the Mails’s story online last night and it reeked of rabid homophobia. The indignation of the grandfather - as quoted - was an “I’m not prejudiced, but...” comment.

The Mail was positively foaming at the mouth throughout the online version. Most distasteful.

On the other hand, it’s bizarre that the children aren’t being allowed to stay with their grandparents - which must be better for them.

(I note they claim 90% of the population oppose gay adoption.)

OBC News said...

I've only read the Telegraph version but this does seem a shocking case - the very idea that a local Council can just waltz in and take children away from their grandparents like that and restrict access to them for 2 years is just repulsive.

Gareth said...

It smells of statist point scoring to me. Just as some councils are known to merrily remove youngsters on a whim that can then be adopted and bump up the successful adoption figures.

Readily adoptable children taken from their guardians. Statist points + 1.

Adoptive parents are gay. Statist points + 1.

I see no reason why gay parents shouldn't adopt but this reeks of quota filling without a care to the best interests of those children.

Wrinkled Weasel said...

Since we will never get to truth about this, you have to go on what's been published, and the overwhelming issue, which is clear from the available information, is the remit of the social services in relation to adoption, and whether they are following guidelines. It's easy to blame social workers, but like good little gauleiters they only follow orders.

I sense a bit of a red herring in the "Gay" part of this story. The point is that the next of kin were sidelined, and there needs to be a justification for that and it needs to be scrutinised, if not in public, then by a neutral party.

I am mostly shocked that social workers allegedly threatened the witholding of contact if the grandparents pressed their case. That strikes me as being Stalinist in the extreme.

My God, what have we come to?

Wallenstein said...

My nan was told by her doctor that she had acute angina. She replied that she was there to be examined for a heart problem, not chatted up.

Benedict White said...

Iain, as you rightly note this is less of a question of gay adaoption and more a question of what the hell social services are doing taking children away from blood relatives.

My take is here:

The other worrying aspect is that we do of course have the best justice system that money can buy. If you don't have the cash, forget it. That is hideous.

Tony_E said...

Is it so difficult to understand why so many people in this country have reservations about 'Gay Adoptive Parents'.

As an adopted person, I have severe reservations, because it creates a situation which could never have occurred without intervention. I would not have liked to be brought up in an environment where I could not choose whether to let people know that rather private information (that i was an adoptee) myself, because it would have been evident for all to see.

As for this case, and as the parent of 3 young children who have a close relationship with their grandparents, my wife & I have stipulated in our will that if we are so unfortunate as to die in an accident, it is our wish that the children should reside with their grandparents. I am the parent and I object to the power of the state to intervene in that decision.

Lady Finchley said...

My problem is that the grandparents were obviously blackmailed by the Council. Surely close relations should be given first consideration and their age and the fact that they have angina and diabetes should have no bearing on it.

On the other hand, my husband is 58and has angina and diabetes - can we give our 19 year old son up for adoption please?

Newmania said...

Weasel is right , the gay bit of the story is by the by ( although slightly annoying given that gays are the politically correct choice )
Obviously they should go with their relatives . This is crazy bureaucracy at its worst.

Richard Holloway said...

If age was the only reason the grandparents weren't allowed to bring them up themselves (and that's what the Mail is making it out to be) then haven't they got a case in age discrimination terms?

The issue of gay adoption is a red herring.

Wrinkled Weasel said...

Thank you Newmania, and there is something to add to that..

The fact that a gay couple were chosen is not odd, since they were approved adopters. They may have been next on the list or hopefully, particularly suitable.

I am regularly labeled homophobic on this blog. I am not, but I don't give gay culture carte blanche to be as pervy as they like in public.

Let us suppose this gay couple have been "civvied" and they have been together for about 12 years.(a considerable achievement) Let us suppose they are solvent, possibly even comfortably off, and have a sense of morality and a strong sense of what is right and what is wrong and they don't go on gay marches in a jock strap. In this case, the mother, who is a drug addict, with all the problems that brings, cannot cope and the grandparents are struggling with other issues.

Do you know, all those who call me homophobic, I would serously consider the gay couple, because given the above scenario, they represent the best chance for the kids and can provide a loving and decent environment, far, far better than the one they were given by an accident of birth.

Anonymous said...

I hope the point about grandparents being unsuitable as long-term carers is not so much about whether they can physically care for them now as about whether they will be suitable carers for teenagers ten years down the line.

Lady Finchley said...

'I hope the point about grandparents being unsuitable as long-term carers is not so much about whether they can physically care for them now as about whether they will be suitable carers for teenagers ten years down the line'

The above point doesn't wash with me as I had a boss who had a second family at the age of 65 and nobody went and took his kids away.

Yak40 said...

It's a prime facet of socialism that the destruction of the family unit is necessary for it to succeed. Mix that with PC lunacy and this adoption is an inevitable result.

The Grim Reaper said...

The overwhelming bulk of evidence shows that children do best when they have a mother and father in their lives. It's a system which has worked well for thousands of years. That's why I'm very uneasy with the idea of gays being able to adopt.

It's a largely untested concept, and I think it's wrong to use children for "experiments" such as this. Although my nervousness about this might simply be because it's such a new thing. I might think very differently when I'm an old man. Mind you, I am the Grim Reaper...

Trumpeter Lanfried said...

Wrinkled Weasel @1.06PM, Lady Finchley @1.29 PM and others.

Yes, of course, it is the threat to withhold access to the children unless the grandparents withdrew their opposition which is the real scandal here.

Such a threat (if accurately reported) would certainly be unlawful and any consent given under such duress would be invalid.

If the threat is proved, the social worker(s) who uttered it should be dismissed.

Sam said...

It perplexes me that no-one is even asking why the statutory agencies throughout the UK pursue 'forced adoptions' in so many cases where children are taken into care that it has become standard practice (Never will forget the letter from an Adoption Worker asking me to arrange a 'severing contact visit' for a Granny in my area). Having previously worked within the system for many years I have grave doubts that it is really the great solution it's supposed to be for the child either. There are very good ways to ensure stability for children (taken into care) rather than pursuing adoption against the wishes of parents and extended family and excluding them in such a pervasive way. In most cases these parents/family present no harm to their children by retaining a meaningful role in their lives - harmful contact can be stopped - and I really genuinely believe that the policy is pursued so pervasively for reasons other than the welfare of the child! There are very few parents so dangerous as those highlighted in recent abuse cases - there is a very disturbing over representation of parents with learning disability amongst those who have lost their child not just once but twice through this policy. I suspect that if people knew the facts of individual cases they would agree with the practice far less. Admittedly my mind made up but feel the question deserves to be asked.....

Andrew said...

Sam: "Never will forget the letter from an Adoption Worker asking me to arrange a 'severing contact visit' for a Granny in my area"

Can you tell us anything more about this Sam?

This sort of thing is horrific - how can it be in the interests of anyone involved, child or adults, to sever all family contacts in cases like this? As you say, there must be very few cases where this is appropriate.

As for the Edinburgh case, in what way is it homophobic, as some seem to be saying, for there to be a preference, other things being equal, for adoptive families to have a mother and a father, where there is a choice of prospective parents? Children need mothers and fathers - each has a valuable role in nurturing children.

Two fathers might be better than being stuck in care for an extended period, but in the normal scheme of things surely the natural arrangement of families is to be preferred, for all sorts of reasons.

And if you say otherwise Iain, cast your own mind back to when you were five or six and consider how you would feel with two unknown men taking on the role of your mother and father.

carleyjaneann said...

Children need a mum and a dad. Children require normality. Gay people gave up the right of children when they chose there path.If you think i am not being politically correct then explain this, I believe in the bible and if you think i am wrong, then so are you for taking away my faith. The Catholics stopped adoption because they refused to give children to gay people. The world gone mad and i am sick of the lack of freedom of speech. Social workers lie and bully, i know because i worked beside them for years and witnessed this on a daily basis.