Friday, 14 November 2008


I can't add anything useful or coherent to the general rush of comment about this baby. Nor do I want to; thinking too closely about the poor child upsets me to the point of being unproductive.

However, a different angle sprang to mind while reading this article posted on Ambush Predator. The Telegraph commented that:
There was nothing inevitable about Baby P's death. It was largely the result of a series of poor and negligent decisions taken by numerous individuals, each of whom assumed that final responsibility could be passed on to someone else within the vast, bureaucratic system. It was about allowing a child to be killed.

Now, the charge levied against the "mother and two other men" involved - a description that surely begs more questions that it answers - was "causing or allowing the death of a child". This was one of New Labour's laws. As it happens, I agree with the aim of the law - to prevent two parents (for example) pointing the finger at each other and therefore both escaping justice as neither can be proved beyond reasonable doubt to have been responsible for the death. However, New Labour have a habit of drafting laws somewhat too loosely so that they have a reach which is unintended. We all recall draft laws on religious freedom that touch on reasonable comedy, anti-terror laws that let councils snoop on alleged bin cheats and the like, and the subject of the Human Rights Act could keep many bloggers busy for years (and does...).

So, I can't help but wonder ... if Haringey's staff visited P 50 to 60 times, saw that injuries were being sustained, saw that the injuries stopped when P was taken away from the family home, and did nothing, are the authorities not also guilty of "allowing the death of a child" ?

We should run that one past Ed Balls in his capacity as the responsible Minister; maybe then they'll start thinking a bit more carefully about the quality of the laws then pass.

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