Tuesday 18 November 2008

Thank goodness for the Guardian

There's been some very intelligent writing in the Guardian (as always) about the death of Baby P. I'm not going to write about the details at all, since like many parents I've found that having a child yourself makes it physically painful to think about cases like this. The point the Guardian made was that villifying the social workers involved saves the media the real horror, which is thinking about parents and guardians who kill.

It's actually not that difficult to imagine how horribly difficult a social worker's task might be in terms of visiting these families, working out what's really happening, and knowing when to make a call on it. What is almost impossible to imagine is the mind of someone who is able to damage a child so tiny, or to watch while someone else does. And when it's their own child? My brain simply crashes into the barriers: I don't know how to contemplate the idea. At the deepest level, this is simply, bleakly, literally, inhuman. And this is why we look for the easier targets and the simpler explanations: what lies beneath is too obscene to contemplate.

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