Sunday, June 28, 2009

a friend in politics

I just spoke with a friend who has many years' experience in government circles (and wishes to remain completely anonymous, of course).

This friend says that lobbying is definitely the way forward as far as the EHE consultation is concerned. And that we need to focus mostly on PROPORTIONALITY. We need to keep asking: How many EHEers have been shown to be child abusers? Are the government's plans a sledgehammer to crack a nut? (to which the answer is yes...). we have to put the onus on the politicians and DCSF to demonstrate that the intrusion into private family life is proportionate to the problem.

If we focus only on the point of principle - that we shouldn't be interfered with - the friend thinks we will LOSE. The friend thinks that we may have to suggest something to say "yes, school children are seen by lots of people outside their families and that is a place where obvious obvious abuse might be spotted. Despite our children not being at school, we are prepared to demonstrate that they have points of contact outside the family". Don't shoot the messenger, and don't take it as gospel, this was just the advice of one person - that maybe a letter from Akela, or maybe a note saying that we are regulars at church X and child is in the sunday school class, or that we have season tickets at this attraction and go once a month and here are some pictures showing us there with the staff or SOMETHING which shows that we aren't hiding our children in cupboards.

And I said "don't we lose the presumption of innocence here?" and the friend said that 'safeguarding' is such a hot topic that although we have to keep saying, and keep saying loudly, that our children are no more at risk than anyone else's, and that we are entitled to the presumption of innocence, the State considers itself responsible for safeguarding all children, and has already given itself the powers and the responsibility for that, and so it wants to be assured that ours are getting their slice of the safeguarding pie.

So. PROPORTIONALITY as the tactical focus, with the principle unswervingly behind it. And keep badgering our MPs.


Tech said...

excellent, we need a real big push to get another 5k of pledges then - maybe bloggers can push it?

Tech - facebook group

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for this, and for sharing your communications with Michael Gove - it's all really helpful! :)

Anonymous said...

I've just blogged about it, Tech, thanks for the push. ;)