Monday, August 02, 2010

Why Sarah's Law is wrong

It seems that the pilots of "Sarah's Law" have led to no outbreaks of vigilante violence. This is a useful corrective to the view, paradoxically popular on the left, that people cannot be trusted very far.

Certainly, as Brendan O'Neill once showed on the BBC website, the story that a mob attacked a paediatrician, having confused the term with "paedophile", grew greatly in the telling.

But I still have doubts about this law, because of the way it encourages people to talk of adults "having access" to children. Isn't that the normal way of things in a free society?

The idea that every contact between adult and child needs to be licensed or policed by the state seems to me a totalitarian fantasy. But it seems that Theresa May is just as much at home with it as her Labour predecessors were.


Anonymous said...

This isn't just Theresa May's whim. This is your government's policy. The Liberal Democrats now support this - you are not in opposition.

When the government does something, unless you voted against it in Parliament, it is your policy too.

Jonathan Calder said...

I am an individual not a party: I have opinions not policies.

dreamingspire said...

Jonathan, having read this post three times over two days, I have doubts about your stance.
The announcement emphasised the assurance that the national scheme enables is about checking on those who have regular access - and the obvious scenario is that of the single mother who has a new partner who is not the father of her children.
And I am uncomfortable about "licensed or policed by the state", because the check that you make should only turn up information that is in the public domain - but if in fact it also turns up that so-called police intelligence, unsubstantiated by the due process of law, then we do have a problem.