But what has sickened me about all this today is this report in the Murdoch-owned Sun newspaper. Baby P was, apparently, an angel ripped away from us by the malign forces of abusive adults and incompetent professionals. The paper has elicited sympathetic tributes to this effect from the British public.
Had Baby P survived, however, there is a strong chance that the gross abuse he had undergone would have resulted in severe behavioural problems which may well have been criminal And then the Sun's line has been in the past to castigate over-liberal social workers and psychologists and demand stiff penalties. Which call has been echoed by their readership. Recently Barnado's, the UK-based children's charity, published a report which revealed that
About 54% of the adults questioned thought that British children were "beginning to behave like animals".
More than a third of those surveyed also agreed that "it feels like the streets are infested" with children, while 43% said something had to be done to protect adults.
Around 49% said they disagreed with the statement that children who "get into trouble" were "misunderstood" and needed professional help.
Comments on tabloid newspaper comment columns about child crime then feature words such as "feral" and "vermin" and talk of "infestation" of the streets by children. In a few short years "little angels" become wild and vicious animals. Lest it be seen as special pleading by Barnados, in the last few weeks no less a body than the UN issued a report saying that
there was a "general climate of intolerance" towards British children and this could result in them being treated unfairly.
There is a real danger here of self-fulfilling prophecy - that regarding children as vermin will result in more of them behaving in such a way.
Ah well, it will no doubt all sell more newspapers. Which will please Rupert Murdoch.