Thursday, 19 February 2009

Oh, I Think That Ship Has Well And Truly Sailed…

Social workers claim that a media frenzy is damaging the welfare of “father at 13” Alfie Patten, his one-time girlfriend Chantelle Steadman, 15, and her newborn daughter.

Is that even possible, given how dysfunctional both sets of ‘parents’ appear to be?

Ross at Unenlightened Commentary agrees…

But in an effort to shift the growing public anger at this case away from themselves, the CP team are chasing scapegoats:
Child protection officers at East Sussex County Council have written to the Press Complaints Commission (PCC) to complain about harassment of the teenagers. The PCC is already investigating whether or not The Sun and The People broke rules by making payments to the Patten family. News organisations may only do so if there is a “demonstrable public interest” in a story. Both papers will argue that such a public interest is evidenced by wider fears about a “broken society”.
And they’d be right, frankly…
Last Friday, Alfie was shown on the front page of The Sun with Maisie Roxanne, whom he claims to have fathered. Up to six other local youths claim to have slept with Chantelle in the past nine months, but two in particular – Richard Goodsell, 16, and Tyler Barker, 14 – have been forceful in their claims on the child. Alfie is to have a DNA paternity test, his agent Max Clifford confirmed. Contrary to some reports, social services in East Sussex will not pay the £300 cost.
Is there a sadder indictment of the whole affair than reading those words, ‘his agent, Max Clifford’? Because if there is, I can’t tell what it is..
The PCC was forced to defend itself yesterday from accusations that it had failed to act swiftly enough to protect the privacy of the three children. A spokesman said an inquiry would have been launched even if Mr Hendry’s letter had not made its way to the office of the PCC chairman Sir Christopher Meyer. PCC insiders, the spokesman said, had been “sniffing the air” over the weekend and were resolved to conduct an inquiry even before public pressure made it inevitable.
In other words, they were acting, but not publicly enough for the comfort of the harried PR flacks in Child Protection…
Anne Longfield, chief executive of the charity 4Children, said: “I think it’s accurate to call this a feeding frenzy. We’ve got to remember that children are extremely vulnerable under the media spotlight.”
Not half as vulnerable as they are when they grow up amongst the kind of people who make the cast of ‘Shameless’ look like a snapshot of Amish society….


an ex-apprentice said...

This whole circus gets more obscene by the moment. Nor should it be seen in isolation, this is being repeated all round the country every day.
Six "hard working families" go out to work every morning and pay their taxes so that this feckless bunch don't have to.
As you might say, golden eyes - GGRRRRR!

Anonymous said...

And yes 4children is another "fake charity" (TM Mark Wadsworth). According to its latest accounts (delivered late to the Charity Commission) of income in 2006/7 of £4.2 million income at least £2.8 million came from public - tax-funded - bodies. I suspect, however, that the tax payer contributed more than the £2.8 million since I reckon the attendees at "conferences" (income - more than £0.4 million) were most probably public sector employees.

JuliaM said...

"This whole circus gets more obscene by the moment."

Thankfully, the injunction has quelled the media overkill, for now...

But I think you're right, that this is merely the tip of the iceberg.

"And yes 4children is another "fake charity"..."

Yeah, I had a brief look at their accounts this morning. Most of their clients are indeed public sector organisations.

And the talk in the preamble to their accounts about the '4Children brand' is nauseating..