Up to a quarter of all adults are to be vetted to ensure they are not kiddie-abusing maniacs, as part of an effort to protect youngsters under the age of 16 in cases such as voluntary organisations and so on.
And people wonder why there is sometimes a shortage of volunteers for things like youth clubs and the like. The destruction of civil society, of the bonds of trust that are vital to such an organic, grass-roots cluster of non-state institutions, is remorseless and deliberate. This government, in its totalitarian way – I use that word quite deliberately – wants to make all human interactions subject to its tests. The consequences for the long term health of civil society, and of the ability of people to grow up normally, are ignored.
None of this is to say that the issue of child abuse is not serious, nor deserving of legal action to protect children from child abusers, who deserve the strongest punishment. I really do wonder, however, whose interests are served by the sort of vetting processes that the state is embarking upon. One hears examples of how adults are sometimes reluctant to help a kid because they are frightened they will get some sort of complaint later on. That cannot be good.
It is sometimes lazily assumed that this present Labour government is not “radical” like its predecessors. But that is only a superficial issue. In substance, this is arguably the most dangerously radical government in modern times in terms of its view of how individuals interact not just with the state, but with each other.