Monday, 8 June 2009

Baby P, Baby Politics

The press, and then the politicians, vilified social workers for their failure to defend Baby P. It seemed as if public anger at this tragic death was focused away from the criminal(s) who perpetrated this barbarous, bullying outrage and instead attacked the social workers without really getting to grips with the real dilemma: as a society, do we take children from their families on the basis of inconclusive evidence, possibly ripping innocent families apart and psychologically damaging them, or do we leave children in situations where we suspect, but cannot prove, they are at risk?
There are other questions here. When the public are angered, can there be a rational and balanced debate that may employ Interactive Democracy to improve things? Do vitriolic campaigns by the media skew our thinking even more when we feel outraged? Is it the role of politicians to pander to public opinion or to act to check and balance public passions? Are scapegoats inevitable?
In my opinion the Interactive Democracy system should benefit from politicians debating issues and from detailed studies. This may be a slow process... time is a great healer and the ID system should be slow enough to allow passions to give way to rationalisation.
Ultimately, after due consideration, if a referendum is required, it may be wise for parliament to present widely disparate alternative choices as a way of "playing devils advocate" and improving the quality of the public debate.

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