The philosopher Edmund Burke said that for evil to triumph, all that is needed is for good men to do nothing. In the case of Baby P, it’s wise to remember that the actual perpretrators who inexplicably have only been sentenced to fourteen years in prison, are the ones who carried out the appalling treatment of the child. But perhaps here, evil has flourished aided by incompetence and secrecy. There is a very good article by Camilla Cavendish who recently won the Private Eye Paul Foot Award for Journalism. You know proper journalism where you look under rocks, question the official version and keep going, past all the lies and obfuscations, till you find out what’s really going on. Where all you gather are enemies in high places, not baubles and free lunches.
She believes that “social workers jumped to the conclusion early on that Baby P’s mother was inadequate but not a physical abuser. They then stuck to that in spite of the staggering and mounting evidence to the contrary.”
I’ve tried to imagine myself in a roomful of experts and everyone is telling me that I’m overreacting; that the mother is co-operating, that all the evidence shows that chldren taken into care do very very badly. Would I have the moral courage or just the stubborness to press forward and keep arguing that no, mother is not just inadequate, she is an abuser. I wouldn’t have had the confidence to do this in my twenties. And groupthink is very powerful and so hard to fly in the face of. When the whole group is telling you that you are wrong, even if instinct and mounting evidence tells you otherwise, what do you do?
Charles Percy Snow said that “There have been many crimes committed in the name of duty and obedience, many more than in the name of dissent.” When it comes to the failings of the social services this couldn’t be more true.