What Lies Beneath
"...At last, perhaps, the tide has started to turn - but it may yet need more than a little help from government to make sure it stays turned..."
...So don't hold your breath, then. It wasn't Ministers who lit the fire beneath the great moral panic of our time; it was self-serving child protection advocates, lent support by equally self-serving policemen who, together, lobbied clueless Parliamentarians into creating so much of the bad law around these issues. Of course, more than a few careerist, opportune MPs were all-too-happy to jump aboard the Paedogeddon Express and ride it roughshod right through our quaint notions of 'common sense' and 'justice', while cynically flying the 'think of the children!' banner all the way to the statute books. Many still do. Remember that.
In these straightened economic times things are going to get ever-tougher for the child protection industry (and an industry it absolutely is). Little alarm bells should be going off just about now. Competition for funding is going to be more fraught and desperate than ever - gone are the indulgent, carefree days of NuLabour largess with our taxes.
Grandstanding - getting your latest sensational report onto the news agenda at all costs (and bugger the facts) - might seem to be order of the day for these newly-cash-strapped alarmists. Time for another media feeding frenzy, then? There goes another little warning light.
The problem is that the paedogeddon refuses to go away. We have a decade's worth of carefully managed vested interests to contend with - people very unlikely to talk themselves out of their lucrative livelihoods any time soon. Who can blame them? We've all got bills to pay. Whether the Coalition really has the moral courage to stand up to these fearmongers and call time on their mischief-making is still looking very uncertain.
CRB checks might indeed see some return to a semblance of common sense proportions, but the wider, deeper malaise - this corrosive, sensational moral crisis surrounding issues of child protection - remains untreated, almost inviolate. The media, for the most part, are incapable of rational discourse on the subject, while the greater population, sensing legitimate scapegoats, seem both terrified and in thrall to the entire thing. Who wouldn't want to kick the sh*t out of a paedophile, right? These days, who's going to object if you do?
I know I've wandered slightly off-topic, and I apologise for that, but - really - all this fiddling around the edges with the CRB laws is just that: peripheral. Until we can understand that, we will remain locked in the grip of this wretched moral panic. It's going to take more than a spot of cheap political point-scoring to roll back more than twenty years of bad law - anyone here seriously think the likes of Cameron and Clegg have the appetite for any of that..?