We Are All Sex Offenders Now 46


In another example of the mad obsession with seeking a delusory security no matter what the impact on liberty, the government is bringing in a screening scheme which means that, at the government’s own estimate, 11.4 million people who come into contact with children will need to obtain a certificate to show that they have no relevant criminal record. This will cost them £64 each.

Statistically the chance of any given child being harmed by someone other than a family member is extremely small – and almost certainly no larger than it ever was. This is an extraordinary, even ludicrous, apotheosis of the idea that the state should attempt to pre-empt all evil.

If we can pull back from the manipulation of fear and the exaggeration of risk, the madness of the scheme is evident. Not only Scoutleaders, choirmasters and football coaches will need to be certified, but so will parents who give a lift to other people’s children to school, and authors who enter schools to chat about their books (including me). If you give a lift to school to a neighbour’s children a few times without beiing certified, you will get a criminal record and a £5,000 fine.

Relatives, of course, are exempt – which as they are statistically by a huge degree the most likely people to harm the kids, only further points up the nonsense.

I hesitated to write that, lest the government has the wheeze of bringing in a certificate you need to be an uncle.

The scheme represents a monstrous new bureaucracy and yet a further radical extension of government databases on ordinary people. It will not stop child abuse at all. To take as one example the recent high profile case of Vanessa George, Plymouth nursery teacher accused of child sex abuse. Ms George could have easily obtained a certificate as she had no prior convictions.

Of the 0.00001% of those coming into voluntary and helpful contact with children, who have a secret motive to harm them, most will be volunteering because that is their only opportunity of access. The man who wants to be a scout assistant because he wants access to molest children is not likely to have other access and therefore not likely to have a record which the check will show up – if he’s daft enough to apply in his own name.

There are already other mechanisms which help stop convicted sex offenders committing crime again. They are not perfect, but you will never stop all evil. The determined criminal will get hold of certificates through aliases or forgery if they really wish, or just snatch kids from playgrounds.

This scheme makes as much sense as would a requirement to produce a certificate saying that you are not a bank robber, before you are permitted to enter a bank. A society that can support this scheme has been firghtened out of its senses. The government seeks to treat everyone as a sex offender unless they can prove otherwise. It is crazy. The effect will be to stigmatise normal relationships with children, to point suspicion at anybody who chooses to interact with other people’s children, and to reduce participation in scouts, guides, sports and many other voluntary activities.

Sooner or later an “Agency” run by some of the government’s business friends will be coining money from running the scheme. It’s an ill wind…


46 thoughts on “We Are All Sex Offenders Now

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  • Leo Davidson

    So we’ve gotten rid of that pesky “innocent until proven guilty” thing by making it illegal to not prove you are innocent in advance.

    Am I going to have to pay the government £64 for a NonceCheck Certificate just so I can legally stand next to a random child in a queue at a shop?

    It seems ridiculous if authors talking at schools require certification. There are going to be teachers present at such talks (unless staff cutbacks have gotten really bad since I was at school). Such situations are completely supervised by vetted childcare professionals and should be safe already.

    Cripes, what if there’s a child reading this webpage? You, I or any of the other commenters might be considered “in contact” with said child without even knowing the child exists.

    We’d all better pay for these certificates and get our details into the government’s latest piss-poor excuse to create a database on the population before they arrest us all!

    It’s funny how the reasons/excuses/justifications for these databases keep shifting and changing but the desire to create them remains steadfast.

  • MJ

    Yup, as with the various terror stunts and health scares it’s using fear to usher in a police state as quickly as possible. NWO here we come.

  • Gandhi

    What’s the problem? All children should be nationalised and access restricted to a small number of State-approved paedophiles 😉

  • JimmyGiro

    Gandhi, I’d laugh with you on that, if it weren’t for the thought that it’s possibly true.

    Children have less family contact than previous post-war decades; the nursery archipelagos ensure even single parent mums are kept at a safe distance from their offspring.

    Schools will take them until they are 18, thus ensuring that the majority of children are state trained, until they are fully fledged citizoids.

    If you think public fear inspired state control is bad, when inflicted upon us who have known freedom, imagine what it is like to have been raised by fear alone, without the comfort of a full family, or functioning community to fall back on.

    I’m not surprised that kids today are seduced by gang culture; the fear factories that state schools have become, force them to seek mutual solace through violent self defence groups.

    It should never have been called the nanny state, but the femno-fascist state.

  • Gimpy

    “Statistically the chance of any given child being harmed by someone other than a family member is extremely small – and almost certainly no larger than it ever was.”

    May well be the case of violent or sex crimes but what about car crashes?

    I’ll admit the scheme has too many fingers poking out for data but I would have no objection to the “regular driver” part being used to check on the person. I may think the guy who drives the kids to hockey has a licence. Sadly I do know there are all to many out there without them, on bans or have multiple drink driving convictions.

    A criminal record check would throw up a lack of the correct driving documents.

    I am also a little worried why peoples minds always spring to paedophiles.

    Vehicular crime is far more widespread.

  • MJ

    JimmyGiro: almost there but not quite. The feminist movement in the 60s was funded by the Rockefellers in order to 1) get more women paying taxes and 2) to weaken the ties between mothers and their children so the state could take over. So it’s the bankster-fascist state really.

  • Craig

    Gimpy,

    If you think the whole massive and intrusive scheme is justified to check up on whether a neighbour is a safe enough driver to offer a kid a lift, you really are slightly weird.

  • mary

    ‘The effect will be to stigmatise normal relationships with children, to point suspicion at anybody who chooses to interact with other people’s children, and to reduce participation in scouts, guides, sports and many other voluntary activities.’

    This is the most important sentence in Craig’s article especially the latter point. As Thatcher said, ‘there is no such thing as society’. NuLabour are just following on in the neoLiberal footsteps.

  • Gimpy

    Craig,

    I thought I had made my distain for the scheme in its proposed form clear with the “too many fingers” remark to get such a patronising reply (Though your “if” has got you out of that a little, as I don’t).

    “Part” is not the “whole” of the scheme as you put it.

    If I did think the whole scheme justified then I would not be weird, I would be in government.

    I do see a shred of an idea which could be of some use in a different form using data already in the DVLA database – or not if said candidate has no details. That said it seems you can be a mental murderous taxi driver nowadays.

    And its gimpy, as in crawled out of wreckage gimpy, not leather mask gimpy.

    Regardless, anybody who offers to give kids a lift to school or anywhere regularly is at the least mentally ill.

    Glad to see you back writing.

  • anticant

    The paedophile paranoia is very sinister. The way this topic has been assiduously blown up during recent years by the “child protection” industry resembles the witch hunts which lasted from the Reformation into the 17th century.

    Jimmy Giro is quite right. If we continue along this road, we shall soon have a generation of kids and teenagers who are entirely out of control because adults are afraid to reprimand them, or even to approach them.

    I have been personally affected by this hysteria in a very personal way. In the 1960s and 1970s I was director of a counselling agency – the Albany Trust – which was pilloried by Mary Whitehouse and her Festival of Light allies for offering professional counselling to self-professed paedophiles who had approached us seeking advice. We were accused – quite falsely – of “promoting paedophilia” with our tiny grant of public money. This led to one of the most stressful public battles of my career. Since then, the situation has got much worse with all the hysteria generated around ‘satanic child abuse’ and other largely imaginary horrors. Of course children must be protected from actual abuse, both physical and emotional. But this blanket stigmatising of millions of well-intentioned and harmless adults as potential risks to children is not the way to do it.

  • Gimpy

    On a very smaller scale anticant, the other day whilst a mother was choosing which over sugared, salted, coloured and preserved pasta shapes to feed her kids, too busy to notice that the elder of her kids who was not sat in the shopping cart, was running backwards, about to clatter into my cart that I had to stretch my arm across the side of the cart to stop her head from hitting it whilst saying “Watch out”.

    My life, the look this woman gave me was awful – the how dare you touch my child look.

    I thought about arguing but just said she was about to hit her head, this clearly fell on deaf ears as by now all she could see was the burning red paedo sign on my head. I suppose it was either an icy stare or a letter from claims direct. Then I just went on shopping.

    I’d still do it again as the poor kid, dumb as a post already it seems was going at quite some pelt and would have been hurt, but it does sadden you.

    I would also be willing to bet that she speeds and thinks nothing of the dangers.

  • Martin

    The effect will be to stigmatise normal relationships with children, to point suspicion at anybody who chooses to interact with other people’s children, and to reduce participation in scouts, guides, sports and many other voluntary activities…

    Isn’t that teh whole fucking point? The dead hand of Common Purpose.

    Meanwhile…

    http://www.youtube.com/watchv=08W7W9xJnZo

  • Suhayl Saadi

    Yeah, totally, it’s nuts. More stupid – and dangerous – social control by the instigation of irrational fear. But you know, on its darkest level I think it stems from something deeper than statist and gender politics – though these are the immediately culpable ‘philosophies’. I think this arises from the very deep-seated terror of physical human contact that runs through British (and North European) culture. At times, you know, it’s such a relief to be around people – adults, children – who don’t flinch when you touch them.

  • Craig

    Suhayl,

    Yes, I agree. In Ghana I often walk around villages hand in hand with male friends. I foound it strange at first but now its completely natural and very companionable.

  • Anonymous

    Cat’s foot iron claw

    Neurosurgeons scream for more

    At paranoia’s poison door

    Twenty first century schizoid man.

    Blood rack barbed wire

    Politicians’ funeral pyre

    Innocents raped with napalm fire

    Twenty first century schizoid man.

    Death seed blind man’s greed

    Poets’ starving children bleed

    Nothing he’s got he really needs

    Twenty first century schizoid man.

  • Anne

    I’m offended that any government thinks me feckless enough to put my child in a car with any old passer-by, but I suspect that’s not really the agenda.

    I have, within one year, held as many as five disclosure certificates enabling me to work with children as a volunteer. I’ve filled in all the forms and given consent for police checks and now the government has a neat little life story on their database, paid for either by me or the voluntary organisation. I think that’s appropriate for those people who will supervise children in school or groups, but it becomes money and information greedy when applied to anyone within a mile of an unrelated child.

    There’s also a worrying possibility that it will create a nervous generation which, because it has never been exposed to either the good or the bad, has none of the skills to spot a predator and is over-reliant on the government to keep it safe. As a child I don’t recall finding it at all difficult to spot predators and that was largely because I knew what a friend, sounded, smelled and felt like. Now very small kids stand physically isolated as adults circumvent them. There’s a whole shower of negatives involved in just that.

  • Clark

    Seems to me that Gimpy has a point. Every year, getting on for a thousand children must be killed by cars in the UK alone. Probably several times that get permanently maimed, and tens of thousands must suffer long term emotional damage. Traffic is the real danger that limits childrens’ freedom in a country like the UK, so probably no one gets out unharmed. And yet very little objection is raised, presumably because the majority of people like their cars. Maybe society is displacing its collective guilt onto some amorphous, ill-defined group of “child abusers”. Whatever, this latest government certification scheme isn’t going to do anything but raise money for the certificating authorities.

  • Mike Cobley

    Y’know, I’m steadily coming to the conclusion that the cold archnoid intellects who control the finance-&-greed webs of our majorly sucking world are now capable of monetising ANY human activity. All they have to do get laws passed to either outlaw it or regulate it and, Ta-DAAA! – instant revenue stream.

  • Derek P

    “What’s the problem? All children should be nationalised and access restricted to a small number of State-approved paedophiles” – Gandhi

    If we can assume that within about 330,000 government-approved workers there are a small number of paedophiles then you may be spot on. Caps applied selectively to the text in the following extract:

    “ContactPoint … is a government database … that holds information on ALL children under age 18 in England.

    The database … cost £224m to set up and £41m a year to run. It operates in 150 local authorities, and will be accessible to AT LEAST 330,000 users.” – en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Contactpoint

  • Anonymous

    Good point Mike, money seems the most important part of this new law, the more it applies to the better.

    But who will all of this apply to? all and sundry?

    Will I have to have a certioficate to go round my neighbours who has young children? Am I allowed to speak to children at all?

    What will happen when mummy’s in the garden and the post man calls for a signature, the young child opens the door; is he allowed to speak to the child asking for her mum?

    Will this mean that the catholic church now has to obtain certificates for all their choir masters, decans, canons, cardinals etc.?

    Once certified, they then can carry on as they have done in the past, no doubt, and we all may feel safer for it, sic.

    This sus law with a difference is going to harm children more than it helps because it will create artificial rifts that can’t be explained to them, for fear of offending against the law, it will create mistrust where trust is required.

    How will Britain deal with its young Olympic hopefulls? will it be easy to engage and persuade top ranking training staff to come and jump through hoops for the pleasure of providing us with Olympic medals?

    Finally, think of the scope this will bring to busybodies, those with a grudge, maligners of all sorts, they will cause chaos to the judicial system, it will be unworkable.

    To sum up, it will create fear in children about some unknown risk from strangers and all those around it. Mistrust will be part of any relationships/exchange they engage in with adults, whilst the Government is raking in the money and bugger the consequences. This mistrust created could equally sicker into the families it seeks to protect, it will sour friendships with other families.

    I had the priviledge of holding young Cameron and what a lovely little chap he is. In future under this new law, I would have to obtain a certificate to even be in the same room with him, thats Orwell allright, more sinsiter control freakery from a bancrupt Government.

    Thanks for flagging it up.

  • Tartarus

    Is this one of your top-ten complaints about the government, Mr Murray?

    You mentioned Totalitarian regimes in an earlier post, and cited Uzbekistan. You DELIBERATELY refused to cite all the DICTATORSHIPS Britain and BRITISH AMBASSADORS have supported and propped up over the decades, and the blood that is on their hands.

    The reality is, Britain works with any regime, HOWEVER ODIOUS, as long as it cooperates with British interests, especially commercial interests.

    What are British ambassadors doing about the theft of Nigerian oil by British oil firms? Nigerians protestors are shot and killed, and Britain is still happy to do “business” with Nigeria. The Nigerian “security forces” doing the killing are trained and armed by the U.S., and Britain, BP and Shell, assist.

    Uzbekistan had not opened up its economy for exploitation by BRITISH corporations, and hence why you attack that regime, and that regime only.

    Under the last CONSERVATIVE government, there was no attempt made to undermine Pinochet’s rule in Chile, or Suharto’s in Indonesia, both brutal RIGHT-WING DICTATORS that British firms could do business with.

    Why don’t you defend the public’s interest and attack the government for acting just like a Tory government, handing everything to CORPORATIONS to control and profit from. Every public asset is being sold off. Every public service is being privatised.

    You won’t because you’re a former BRITISH AMBASSADOR who praises BAT, a tobacco firm, that kills hundreds of thousands with its product.

    BAT now wants “third world” people to enjoy the benefits of their product, people who have little to no access to adequate health care, people who can’t afford to get sick or die.

    Under the WTO agreement, poor nations cannot refuse to allow tobacco products into their countries. Why don’t you raise these issues?

    Why don’t you stop claiming Labour is filled with “evil commies”, when the reality is Labour politicians are serving CORPORATE INTERESTS better than the Tories were.

    Why don’t you make these issues the main plank of your “manifesto”? You won’t because you don’t give a damn about the people of this country, or any country.

  • Duncan McFarlane

    To be honest, other than the charge to get the certificate (which is a cheek and should come from some of the taxes wasted on PFIs, PPPs, subsidising nuclear power and foreign wars etc) this seems reasonable to me.

    Family members arent required to get the certificate as the government can reasonably say that that’s the responsibility of parents to deal with.

  • Duncan McFarlane

    Ingo wrote “left my name off, again….tut tut”

    So you are the mystery poster!

    Ingo wrote “I had the priviledge of holding young Cameron and what a lovely little chap he is. In future under this new law, I would have to obtain a certificate to even be in the same room with him, thats Orwell allright,”

    The first time i read that i stupidly thought you meant David Cameron and was wondering why you’d want to be in the same room as him, then i realised who you really meant.

  • logosity

    The government is about to regulate the professions of psychotherapy and counselling. Any practicing counsellor who wants to get on the register will have to pay the Health Professions Council nearly £500 or be liable for a £5,000 fine. The counselling fraternity is up in arms about this legislation, and have formed Alliance for Counselling and Psychotherapy to combat it. Read more at:

    http://www.allianceforcandp.org/

    Incidentally, I mentioned ‘philosophical counselling’ in an earlier post. The title ‘philosophical counsellor’ is in use throughout the world, with numerous publications and professional societies. By 2012, the UK will be the first country in the world to outlaw it. All counsellors must have postgraduate degrees in psychology and meet a number of further stringent tests which involve construing personal problems as signs of ‘mental illness’ or personality disorders.

    Now you need a government-approved certificate to talk about personal problems! Even philosophical ones!

    Too much regulation and indoctrination! Britain is turning in to Terry Gilliam’s “Brazil”.

  • Duncan McFarlane

    That does sound ridiculous. Counselling without labelling every problem “mental illness” sounds like a very good idea. People often suffer from problems which are not due to any innate fault in them – and sometimes they’re caused by crazy situations.

    We need more philosophical counselling.

  • Phil

    So, with this regime in place, will not the effect be to increase the number of paedophiles working with kids, and not reduce it? Normal folk are more likely to be deterred by the state bureacracy and snooping, not to mention any fees involved, leaving the way clear for determined paedophiles to fill any vacant positions.

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