Wednesday, August 29, 2007


Here we go again.

We all meander our way through our lives buying the food, cleaning the car, walking the dog and generally minding our own business. But, in a parallel universe, our friends in Westminster push away sinisterly and insidiously collecting more and more information about our children.

There is now a database, commissioned after the death of Victoria ClimbiĆ©, which is being set up after someone seemingly concluded that the poor girl’s murder could have been avoided if the professionals tasked with looking after her interests had been able to communicate better. My own recollection of the appalling affair was somewhat different, in that the information had been there all the time, but the professionals hadn’t bothered to make use of it.

So, we now have the Government in full Orwellian cry, spending Taxpayer’s money (that’s ours, by the way) creating a monster (in both senses of the word) database, which clandestinely went through Parliament very recently. It will contain a record for every child in this country under the age of 18. Apart, that is, from the children of certain politicians and certain celebrities – the argument for their exclusion being that anonymity is retained for “children whose circumstances may mean that they, or others, are at increased risk of harm”.

Now call me simple if you wish, but isn’t that a simple, tacit acceptance that, from then outset, this database will not be, in any way, secure. The information on this database, coyly and anodynely called “ContactPoint” will list, among other things, each child’s name, address, gender, GP, school, parents or carers. It also, the report says, will include any contact with Hospital Consultants, and other professionals (Social Services, Midwives, Health Visitors, Police etc?), and could (I suspect you should replace that with “will”) show whether the infant has been the subject of any formal assessments or whether he or she “needs extra help”.
And who exactly in God’s name determines whether this “extra help” is necessary? The Parents, the Guardians, the people responsible for the children?
I don’t think so.

Wheel on the hairy sweatered, hairy armpitted, intruding, unsmiling Do-Gooders called Social Services.

Now, in my work, I sit in an office next door to a highly skilled IT Manager, who is a bit (actually a big bit) of a genius in the area of Computer system security. Having discussed this area of concern generally with him, I believe his considered view is that the weakest link in any system is not the system, but the person with his/her hand on the keyboard.

It will therefore be particularly comforting to us all to know that throughout this country, the people with access to our children’s records will be found among “vetted users” who number, apparently, around 330,000 souls.

Can someone explain how anyone could even begin to consider that a User Base which is equivalent to a city the size of Coventry, could have the remotest chance of retaining any degree of security?

And who then, for instance, actually vets the 330,001st member of the User base to ensure that, in a declared attempt to tighten up security among children, they are not in fact achieving the exact opposite by giving potential abusers or criminals access to far more information, far more effectively than they current have available?

Anyone remember Soham?

We are being conned here.

The simple fact that politicians and celebrities can (again, read “will”) be excluded from this iniquitous system, says it all. They are safe, and we are not. It’s the Blair MMR scandal formalised and writ large throughout the country. It’s Us and Them, and we are allowing it to go on under our noses.

Sometimes you can rightly argue that the newspapers can be much too intrusive in people’s private lives, but thank goodness there is some part of the country’s infrastructure where information about such frightening developments can be made public, because the Government seems hell bent on keeping it under wraps.

Don’t the Public care or don’t they know? If they do, where is the banner under which we all gather to say “Enough is Enough – Get off my Back and Mind your own Business.”?



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