I’m beyond Grumpy and have moved up a stage. The easy bit today was drawing up the final tender documents after Rob’s revisions, and sending them, with Roger’s drawings, to the builders. Let’s hope there’s a quote we can actually afford . . .
But I’ve sent a letter of a different kind, too, this time to William Hague our MP. (It made me think about re-naming my blog ‘Is it just me or is everybody else crackers?’ ) The subject of my letter is the case of the 13-year-old boy who has fathered a child and has reportedly been paid thousands of pounds by the Sun for his story. The letter ran to three pages, but the gist of it is ‘What possible public interest is served by publishing the names of these children? – the parents, and the tiny, vulnerable baby?’ I’m convinced they – the Sun – and other papers who have identified the family, are in serious breach of the Editors’ Code of Practice which forbids the identifying of children (vulnerable or otherwise) other than in exceptional circumstances. Baby P could not be named, apparently, because of the risk it posed to his brothers and sisters. So what about these children?
I’m amazed that in all that’s been said and written about this story – some of it, correction, most of it – utter drivel, not a word (as far as I can see) has been said about this aspect of it. They have been identified as a family that is in line for thousands, possibly hundreds of thousands, of pounds for allowing their own children to be photographed and identified. The parents of the teenage mum and dad would have had to sign consent forms to allow this to happen – even if money isn’t involved (and that’s a question I’ve raised) that would still have been the case. What sort of people subject their children to that kind of exposure? Why do the press, even the so-called responsible press, encourage it?
East Sussex Council’s children’s department, meanwhile, puts out a statement stating that they were involved with the family well before the birth to ensure the protection of these vulnerable children. Oh really? What sort of protection would that be then?
The conclusion of my letter was that the glamorizing of this story, and the cruel exploitation of chronically vulnerable children by their own parents as well as by a national newspaper intent on increasing sales, is as big a reflection on our sick society as the story itself.
Meanwhile the lorry driver who wiped out an entire family on the M6 gets three years in jail, which will be reduced to 18 months if he behaves himself. No wonder the relatives who sat through the entire trial – and what sort of agony must that be? -described it as a ‘circus.’
The world has truly taken leave of its senses.