I was just struck by the comment from the big dailies. From the ‘Telegraph’:
Sharon Shoesmith, chairman of Haringey's Local Safeguarding Children Board, said: "The very sad fact is that we can't stop people who are determined to kill children. I am satisfied that the action that should have been taken was taken."From the ‘Times’ (by the great Theodore Dalrymple):
The complacency of this comment is breathtaking. 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.
Will anyone benefit in the end from this terrible case, that causes one to tremble when one reads of it? Will Baby P have died in vain, as (apparently) did Victoria Climbié? Yes, there will be beneficiaries. I have little doubt that information technology consultants, asked whether they can come up with a system that will co-ordinate all the information about all the children at risk in the country, so that nothing like this ever happens again, will come up with a plan that will cost billions to install and that will not work. But they, the consultants, will have benefited enormously.From the ‘Guardian’…? Just this self-pitying list of excuses from the likes of Sharon Shoesmith, chair of Haringey local safeguarding children board, and Ian Johnston, chief executive, British Association of Social Workers. Only Tim Loughton, the shadow children's minister, is a dissenting voice.
What seems to have been the stunning incompetence of the Haringey social services is actually by no means unusual in contemporary Britain; it is the dramatic and immediate human consequence of that incompetence that is unusual. We see the same incompetence in other spheres of endeavour every day.
Still, they have to think about their audience, I suppose….