(December 1996)


Last month I was drawing your attention to a very important feature of modern society: hostility to the family and protectiveness towards agents of the collective.

Here is the story of Boy M, as told in the Sunday Times. Let us first consider why we have to refer to him as Boy M. It is supposed to be protecting the interests of juveniles for the goings-on concerning them to be concealed from public view, overlooking the fact that it may be the misdeeds of social workers, local authorities, doctors, etc. from which they most require protection. In this case, Boy M is attempting to have his anonymity lifted, as the effect of it has been to make it impossible for him to clear his parents from the accusations which were made against them. "It was a cold February dawn five years ago when Boy M, then 11, woke to find his home raided by police and social workers. They were on a mission ... to root out an alleged ring of ritual child-sex abusers."

The newspaper report draws attention to the flimsy nature of the "evidence" on which suspicion was based. Referring to the principle of innocence until proved guilty, it seems a terrible thing that, however well-founded the allegations were supposed to be, it was acceptable to break into someone's home in the night and effectively place him under arrest and kidnap his offspring. There had been no court case. Arbitrary imprisonment without judicial process was what the law of habeas corpus was supposed to make impossible. Having been roused and told to get dressed by a social worker, Boy M `was sent to Inverness ... There began almost immediately a process of interrogation designed to supply the answers the authorities needed ... one social worker ... began to offer inducements. "He asked me if I liked helicopters and told me he knew a helicopter pilot. He said I could have a ride if I told them everything about various people. It was bribery, basically," he said. "My first formal interview lasted two hours. It wasn't tape-recorded. The idea was for them to really get stuck into us, to put the ideas in our heads so that when we first went in for the official interview we were saying what they wanted to hear."

Boy M says it was unclear what medical checks he had to undergo. Social workers initially told him they had to ascertain that he was "healthy" but he realised that "... they were looking for signs of sexual abuse." Physical examination, not at a child's request, nor at that of his parents as the legal guardians of his interests, should be regarded in the same light as any other violation of his will by physical means - that is, as torture. Describing it as "medical checks" is a euphemism. "For a boy of 11 ... the ordeal was traumatic." For five weeks he was sent to foster parents, where he was "very confused and scared". He had no idea how long he was going to be kept there. "I thought I was going to be stuck there forever ... I had no idea which part of the country I was in."' Accounts of nocturnal raids by the SS or the KGB are usually accompanied by a smug sense of outrage, a feeling that "it couldn't happen in Britain". We see that it can. The parent of a family is, like a Jew in Nazi Germany or a dissident in the USSR, a villain, and it is politically correct to persecute him.