Unity at Liberal Conspiracy (yes, evil lefties, hang them all) has done some actual research, rather than just demented ranting, into the Baby P case. The most important fact his detailed evidence based on the trial and on other published sources brings out, and which has been almost completely ignored by the latest media circus, is that until violent, abusive paedophile Jason Owen moved secretly into the family home two weeks before Baby P's death [*], the child was neglected but not subjected to serious physical abuse. The outcome of the social workers' many visits before Owen moved in was to find:
... few, if any, of the classic signs that serious abuse may have been taking place within the family home. The mother appears to have willingly cooperated with both the social workers and health workers throughout and although the SCR notes two incidents where the child was presented for medical treatment with injuries that raised suspicions about the possibility of abuse and/or neglect, both of which were investigated by the police but gave rise to an inconclusive outcome, there seems to have been little or nothing until the final two weeks of Baby P’s life which would indicate that what social workers were dealing with was anything other than a run of the mill case of a newly single parent struggling to cope on her own with the youngest of her four children.
His conclusions are:
- Baby P was subjected to low level abuse and neglect by his mother and stepfather of a kind that was sufficent to raise suspicions amongst police and social workers but not to provide the evidence and legal grounds necessary for the council to obtain a care order, as its legal advisors indicated on 25th July 2007, and…
- There was a sudden, unexpected and ultimately fatal escalation in the degree of abuse visited on the child by one of more of the adults living in his household, the presence of two of whom (the mother’s boyfriend and his brother, the supposed lodger) was not known to the authorities until after the child’s death.
- Without social workers being aware of the presence of these two individuals in the household, there was no way that the death of Baby P could have been prevented, given that two police investigations into what appeared to be physicial abuse of the child failed to turn up sufficient evidence either for a prosecution or for care proceedings.
In other words, if you think that the social workers in this case did anything seriously wrong [**], then you're pretty much committed to:
- dealing with point A, and sticking all kids who're neglected or appear ever to have been physically abused into care homes—even when no charges are brought. If you support this, then you're a cunt, and you thoroughly deserve your kid taken away when he falls down the stairs twice in a month.
- dealing with point B, and carrying out detailed surveillance on all families with kids who're neglected or appear ever to have been physically abused to see if someone even worse moves in. If you support this, then you're a cunt, and you're insane, and you thoroughly deserve a council camera crew outside your house watching your every step forever after your kid falls down the stairs twice in a month.
Or perhaps we could accept that there are some very, very evil bastards out there, and some people who act relatively normally (for 'crap but not evil' values of normally, in this case) most of the time but can become very, very evil bastards when encouraged to do so by people in the first group. And based on that, we might want to add that basing government systems on the assumption that everyone is either an evil bastard or about to fall under the influence of evil bastards would be not just a bad idea, but the shittiest idea ever, and one which would make despicable authoritarian bastards Very Very Happy.
We might instead say that if we impose systems under which children are only forcibly separated from their parents under the very worst of circumstances, and under which parents are not always and unequivocally treated as evil abusers if they fail to live up to ideal standards of parenting, then sometimes this will mean that children will suffer horribly and die—but that it will avoid a far larger number of children suffering horribly by being taken into council care without good cause.
And fuck, if we're libertarians rather than just blathering cunts, we might say that this is the right thing to fucking do.
[*] Note that the only evidence incriminating Baby P's stepfather as a controlling psychopath, rather than "simple, shy and easily dominated" as the trial found, is the News of the World's interview with Owen's now-16-year-old girlfriend. Did someone say 'reliable and unbiased sources'?
[**] Perhaps the paediatrician is a different story; I'm not an expert on how long a baby with a broken back takes to die or on how likely it is to be fatal when treated versus when not treated, nor on how easy it is to identify.
UPDATE BY DK: I would just like to reiterate that Unity's article is very much worth reading, as it does shed very significant light upon the case. I still maintain that the main torturer (you will notice that I have generally been quite reticent as to which one of these people that is) will end up in Broadmoor rather than Belmarsh though...