Gordon Brown’s media handlers have taken to ensuring that he frequently appears in front of the country’s journalists while in the company of children.  This is presumably intended to soften his public image.  However, when a 50-year-old man with a tendency to overdo the stage makeup, who suffers a series of bizarre facial tics and vocal stutters and grins fixedly over apparent signs of depression, starts appearing regularly in the company of children, he seems more like a closeted clown just itching to get his suit off, the big yellow pants on, and the balloon animals out.

The situation for Brown’s party is truly dire, with even their historic fortresses crumbling.  The Scots have been seduced by the Scottish Nationalist Party, which looks likely to break the stranglehold the Labour Mafia have held for decades over the most socialist part of the United Kingdom.  Meanwhile, current predictions are that Wales, another core Labour region, will give a majority of its votes to the Conservatives for the first time in the era of universal suffrage.  Nationally, Labour polled 15 percent in the elections to the European Soviet last spring.  They are currently polling in the low to mid 20’s.  At those levels Labour will be wiped out, barring a few pockets of resistance in the former industrial cities, and it’s anyone’s guess whether their true level of support is closer to the European number.

Just before their last party conference of the Parliament, the government announced new child-protection plans that will require all those coming into regular contact with children in any semiofficial capacity to register with a national database.  “Regular” could mean as little as a few times per year, and “semiofficial” covers everyone from cleaners at sports facilities to a parent who gives lifts to a group of kids in the morning.  Anyone wishing to help out with after-school activities would be required to register.

The details of the plans are truly wicked.  Upon application for membership on the list, opinions would be sought on the suitability of the candidate.  Acquaintances and workmates may be asked for their comments, internet forums and networking sites may be trawled, “lifestyles” would be examined.  Even the most baseless accusation would be recorded in perpetuity on a central state database.  There would be no investigation to determine whether the accusation was malicious.  There would be no requirement that accusations be proven in court.

It was the Soham murders, the killing of two young girls in 2002, that led to the proposal of this paranoid legislation.  Ian Huntley was the boyfriend of Maxine Carr, a teaching assistant at the school of Jessica Chapman and Holly Wells.  The two girls visited Carr’s house to commiserate with her for not getting a full-time job at the school.  Carr was away that day, and Huntley was at her home alone.  After killing the two girls and disposing of their bodies, he appeared on TV on numerous occasions in the following days as a vocal member of the rescue operation, making passionate appeals to the supposed kidnapper to release the girls.  After his guilty verdict, it emerged that he had previous convictions in another part of the country, and despite this he had been employed as a school caretaker.

Huntley was not employed at the school of the two girls; it was his girlfriend who worked there.  Consequently, the new legislation, aimed at tightening rules on those who come into contact with children through schools and other organizations, would have been entirely irrelevant to the events at Soham.  Ian Huntley could have been an accountant or an astronaut and ended up in the same situation.  Indeed, it is not hard to imagine a case in which the two girls knocked on the wrong door by mistake, and Huntley happened to be at that address.  If the legislation were truly aimed at preventing a similar occurrence, it would demand the vetting of the partners of all those who come into official contact with children.

While it is desirable to check that convicted child abusers are not employed in childcare and education, it is mistaken to believe that society can be regulated in such a way as to diminish substantially the risk to children of being assaulted by strangers.  Those who have this evil in their heart will always be among us, and we cannot restrain children from strangers to the extent that it is impossible for those ill-wishers to find an opportunity.  Children will break the strictest curfews, and perverts will find a way to be around when they do.  Either that, or the occasion will drop in one’s lap, as it did for Ian Huntley.

If the policy is irrelevant to the circumstances of the case that inspired it, what is its real purpose?  At roughly the same time that the policy was revealed by the papers, it emerged that Labour had introduced laws making it illegal for friends to arrange to look after one another’s children without informing the authorities.  Two female police officers had been censured for allowing each other to look after their children while they were at work.  Unbeknownst to them, the educational watchdog Ofsted required anyone who looks after a child for more than two hours at a time or for more than 14 days in a year to be registered.  The state now wants a say on whether you leave Johnny with the neighbor when you have a few errands to run.  In fact, the state wants to speak to your neighbor—what interest does she have in your child?  Says Detective Constable Shepherd, one of the unlicensed babysitters,

The girls were together all day and grew up like sisters.  I couldn’t believe it when an inspector turned up on my doorstep and said I was running an illegal childminding business.  I thought there had been some mistake.

It is not being entirely facetious to say that Labour thinks of children as allies against their parents.  The effect of introducing such legislation and guidelines for parenting—such as the government guidelines stating exactly what physical and mental development should have been achieved at any point in an infant’s life—is to make the relationship between parent and child fundamentally a legal one and, therefore, one in which the bonds of love and biology are secondary.  A good parent is one who follows the rules.  Someone who follows the rules is as good as, if not better than, someone who loves you.  By undermining the natural affection between parents and children Labour is imposing itself as a towering third in the relationship, a source of legal redress for children against their parents, a more senior parent to be trusted above the puny human.

This is reminiscent of the disastrous socialist experiment in Russia.  The truly terrifying thing about the Stalinist terror was the illogicality of it.  There was no way to protect yourself from the authorities because they were entirely irrational.  Have a relative abroad?  You’re a suspect.  Have a second cousin married to someone shot in 1937?  You’re a suspect.  Once knew someone who has ended up in jail?  You’re a suspect.  The idea of including unproved allegations injects a similar poisonous uncertainty into the relationship between the citizen and the state, and into the normal healthy relationships between adults and children.

The Soviet experiment failed because all normal people are horrified by state intrusion into close personal relationships.  If Labour’s plans are implemented people will simply not form relationships with other people’s children, with their neighbors’ families, with the families of their children’s schoolmates, simply because of fear.  It should be added that, under the plans, no one would be entitled to see his file.  And what will happen when the government closes its dirty claws on the reports that show most violence against children is committed by family members in the home?  What a hell on earth they are preparing for us.

Whether a change of government produces substantial change in policy remains to be seen; the government-in-waiting is currently discussing which television celebrities to appoint to the upper house of our legislature.  This does not bode well for their seriousness.  Meanwhile, at least we have the spectacle of a government disintegrating to enjoy.  As a probable defeat looms, Labour’s leaders are reverting to their instinctive authoritarian nastiness, previously covered up with the whore’s paint of middle-class respectability under Tony Blair.  The party’s over, but a few drunks are refusing to leave the kitchen, careering around in a conga dance.  At the head of the procession springs the jester Gordon Brown, part Pied Piper, part Saturn devouring his young, pilled-up to the eyeballs and dribbling, jabbering on about saving the world.