Monday, 31 March 2014

Cinderella's vengeance...

When the bridal couple walked into the church, the older sister walked on their right side and the younger on their left side, and the pigeons pecked out one eye from each of them. Afterwards, as they came out of the church, the older one was on the left side, and the younger one on the right side, and then the pigeons pecked out the other eye from each of them. And thus, for their wickedness and falsehood, they were punished with blindness as long as they lived.

The fussbuckets of the children's services world appear to have won their campaign to allow the government to lock up parents who are emotionally cruel to their children:

Parents who fail to show love and affection towards their children could be sent to prison for up to 10 years under a “Cinderella Law” to be announced in the Queen’s Speech in June, according to a report.
The move will make “emotional cruelty” a criminal offence for the first time.

The decision was hailed as a “monumental step” forwards by a children’s charity, which said children could grow up with “ lifelong mental health problems” or end up taking their own lives.

There is only one question to ask here - who is deciding when being strict and brusque tips over into 'emotional cruelty'? The MP promoting the bill chooses the stigmatise step-parents (most of which do an OK job helping to bring up someone else's children) and uses the most pathetic appeal to emotion available - the fairy tale:

“Not too many years after the Brothers Grimm popularised the story of Cinderella, the offence of child neglect was introduced,” he said, but added: “Our criminal law has never reflected the full range of emotional suffering experienced by children who are abused by their parents or carers.

“The sad truth is that, until now, the Wicked Stepmother would have got away scot-free."

Now, as I remember it, the Wicked Stepmother's sin was to treat Cinders as a skivvy and not let her go to the ball. There's nothing in the tale to suggest that Cinderella was emotionally scarred by this treatment however egregious it was and however much the Wicked Stepmother favoured her own (famously ugly) daughters. I fail to see in this how locking up the Wicked Stepmother would have achieved anything? Would it have made Cinders' life better somehow? Or, more likely, would it have provided a little cruel schadenfreude for her as she jollied off into the sunset with the Prince!

Just as we have done with 'offence' where the police are close to being able to arrest people randomly for just saying stuff, with this new idea we hand the power to public agencies to seize children and lock up their parents for almost anything. There is no boundary to emotional or social cruelty, it is simply a judgement made by one flawed individual about another flawed individual.

And it hands real power to people who say things like this:

Sir Tony Hawkhead, chief executive of Action for Children, said he had met children who had been “scapegoated in their families, constantly humiliated and made to feel unloved”.

Think of the teenage girl screaming at Mum (or worse step-mum); "you don't love me, you don't care". Or the grunting young lad refusing to make eye contact with Dad (god forbid, Step-dad) for days on end because he turned off the football and insisted he did his homework.

Child protection authorities already have the powers they need to respond to children who are being damaged by their home environment. What we have here are people who don't just want to protect the children, they want to punish the parents.

This proposal isn't about child protection, it's about vengeance.And we don't need it.



Anonymous said...

You seem to have forgotten to identify which party the MP promoting this nonsense represents - a mere oversight, surely?

zippgun said...

More proof that David (get big government out of our lives)Cameron is about as "conservative" as Trotsky. This is just the sort of law we could expect from New Labour; such laws were one of the main reasons many were glad to be shot of Straw, Blunkett and co. Well, more proof that voting for any of the "Troika" is just an illusion of choice. Three heads of the same hydra. Next up - "emotional control" made a criminal offense in adult relationships, and criminalizing "buying sex" - both of these representing the political class pandering to the unrepresentative feminist totalitarian gender extremists.It's only lobbying agitators like these that the political class listen to.

Some on press boards have said that "emotional cruelty" figures in divorce law, so why not the proposed child law - neglecting to mention that such subjective stuff is not being used as a basis for convicting someone of a criminal offense punishable by up to 10 years in jail.

Never, ever, consider voting for a party which implements legislation like this. Rather Miliband wins
than helping these hypocritical frauds back into power in 2015. A period of Labour catastrophe should be enough to bring about such discontent that there will finally be radical change, ousting the Troika, getting the Common Purpose conspirators out of the quangos, charities, civil service etc.

House of Lords - do your duty once again, sabotage this totalitarian proposed law.

Adam said...

Actually, I'm not sure this is about vengeance.

I saw a lawyer specialising in family case being interviewed on the news last night. I had expected someone who actually understood the issues to be strongly against this proposal, but in fact she was strongly for it.

In hindsight, I shouldn't have been surprised. This offence is going to be ridiculously complex to prove.

And what do ridiculously complex laws mean? More gainful employment for lawyers.

I suspect that what this law is really about is what so many laws seem to be about these days: making sure lawyers can continue to make a decent living.

Anonymous said...


And guess what profession the proposing Tory MP will return to if he loses his seat - yup, you're right, he's a lawyer.
Not even enlightened self-interest, just plain, simple, good old self-interest.
I only hope UKIP win his seat in 2015 (and Cameron's too) - they'll have no truck with such nonsense.